Jake dug in his pocket and held up a black-and-white photograph of
Evaline in an embroidered sash and a dress sewn from plumes of netting
and silk. A tiara gleamed on her head. “No wonder you caught Daddy’s
“Let me see that.” Evaline snatched the photo. Her momma had spent
weeks sewing the dress for the county fair pageant.
“You’re going to take him?” Jake nodded toward the urn and stretched
his long legs, his knees almost to his chin when he set his feet down to
“It’s not Gillie land anymore.”
“It’ll always be Gillie land. There’s enough of them buried out there.”
“Amazing any of them are buried there. Do you know how many
bulldozers were busted digging graves in this bowl of clay? Fools don’t
learn.” Evaline set the urn on the table beside Jake. “Ashes or buried, it
all ends up the same.”
“Spoken like a scientist.”
“Am I wrong?” Evaline ran her finger around the lip of the urn’s lid.
Out across the fallow fields, truck engines roared to life, melting the
autumn’s night-wash of frost off windshields. “Can’t stay here,” Evaline
said. “Who’d find me if I died in my bed?”
Evaline laughed. “I don’t have those anymore.”
Jake waved his hand. “Small town. Give it a week.”
“It’s been years.”
“If they didn’t care, they wouldn’t gossip.” Jake leaned the rocker
back against the siding.
“Didn’t you come here to help me pack?” Evaline tugged at the collar
of her quilted coat. Jake didn’t know about the forced pooling or the salt
spill. Evaline had always worked to keep her kids out of Kestract busi-
ness, but then Joanne grew up and left to work for them, too. “Where’s
“Here soon. Her helicopter got delayed on the rig. Winds or some-
thing. I don’t know, it was hard to hear.”
“The funeral could have waited a day.” Jake dredged the sugar crys-
tals from the bottom of his coffee.
No, Evaline thought, it couldn’t.
No matter to Evaline what Kester thought about what she might or
might not have done, though. Kester had been dying for years, since