It was sunny the day we buried Mum. I kept on telling myself it didn’t make any sense. It should have been cloudy and cold. It should have been windy and horrible.
When I studied Creative Writing, they used to tell me to use the weather to mirror the characters’ feelings or events that were about to happen, but I guess that doesn’t apply to real life.
There was a short service at Saint George’s and then we walked to the back of the graveyard, to the place where my grandparents were buried.
Aunt Lucy and I were the only relatives, but most of the inhabitants of Harper’s Wood were there too. Most people had loved Mum very much and wanted to say goodbye.
Halfway through the funeral, I noticed a group of men and women I had never seen before. There were six of them and they were all wearing purple robes. Their heads were covered by velvet hoods.
‘Who are those?’ I asked Aunt Lucy.
‘No idea,’ she said, but I could tell she was lying and that didn’t make sense. Besides, Aunt Lucy never lies.
We left the graveyard and went back to Mum’s house. I hated what was coming next. I had never understood why it was necessary to feed the mourners after a funeral. Why couldn’t they just go home? The truth was I didn’t feel like talking to anybody.
Mrs Bennet, Harper Wood’s official gossip approached me when I was going up the steps to Mum’s porch.
‘So are you planning to come back now that the house is yours, Willow?’
‘I still haven’t decided, Mrs Bennet,’ I said. But even if I had, I would never have told her. I didn’t want the whole village to discuss my future plans even before I knew what they were.
I excused myself and walked into the house. There were so many people in the living room that it was almost impossible to move. Aunt Lucy was walking around, carrying a tray piled high with cucumber sandwiches.
After looking around for a while at a loss what to do next, I noticed the strange robed figures in a corner and decided to find out who they were.
‘Hello. Do I know you?’ I asked as politely as I could.
‘We are friends of your mother’s.’
‘But you don’t live here…’
‘No, not exactly.’
‘What’s with the Wiccan attire, if I may ask?’
‘The robes? We only wear them on special occasions. We favour jeans on normal days,’ said one of the women smiling at me. When she smiled, her face became all sweet and I noticed that her eyes were mauve like mine.
‘So how are you?’ one of the men asked.
‘Not my best moment, as you can imagine.’
‘If you ever need any help, please know you can count on us,’ he said. He put his hand inside his pocket and took out a silvery card. I looked at the beautiful cursive letters and had to make an effort not to laugh. The card read: Merlin Potter. Silver Woods. To contact me, just whisper my name.
‘Thanks,’ I said. I put the card in my own pocket and moved away from Mum’s friends thinking that they were absolutely crazy. Or maybe her death had hit them real hard.