Home > Into the Dim (Into The Dim #1)(2)

Into the Dim (Into The Dim #1)(2)
Janet B. Taylor

My training kicked in. I shoved back the mass of useless information, spooling it down into the mental image we’d come up with. A battered gray filing cabinet, like the one in Mom’s office. In my head, I slammed the door for good measure and glanced over at my dad.

He hadn’t noticed. That was no surprise. Pasting on a smile, Dad heaved a quiet sigh as curious mourners began to thread their way toward us for handshakes and awkward hugs.

Firmly grounded. Focus on what’s right before me.

Yeah. ’Cause that’s so much better.

The endless line passed, leaving behind a sickly odor. Too many flowers mixed with a crap-ton of cheap cologne. My gut began to rebel as Dad turned to me, brown eyes owlish and distracted behind thick frames. When he couldn’t quite meet my eyes, a last phrase—a straggler—loosed from the billions I’d tucked neatly away. It curled and flapped like a ribbon set loose on the wind.

A miasma arose. The decaying bouquet of a doomed queen’s garden.

Who wrote that? The answer came to hand like a well-trained dog. Oh, right. It was—

“Well, thank God that’s done and we can all get back to our lives,” my grandmother said as she marched toward us. “Though I still say it was a ridiculous waste of money to buy a casket, Matt. You could’ve had a nice little memorial service, but—”

“Hope and I needed closure, Mother,” Dad said. “Leave it alone.”

Beatrice “Mother Bea” Walton gave a nod to the petite, round-faced woman who had moved to stand at my father’s side.

“Stella, honey,” she said, “would you be a dear and go make sure the car’s ready?”

“Of course, Mother Bea. Happy to.” Stella proffered a tremulous smile before rushing off to do my grandmother’s bidding.

My father’s new girlfriend was a nice lady. A librarian. And one of the few people in this town my mother had genuinely liked. I didn’t blame her for jumping at my grandmother’s command. Everyone from the mayor to the bag boys at the grocery hopped to when Beatrice Walton issued an order. I was always mildly surprised when they didn’t bow.

I didn’t really blame Dad for being with Stella either, though it had only been seven months since Mom died. When he’d fallen apart, Stella had been the one to pull him back together. She’d tried to befriend me, too. But I didn’t want a friend. I wanted my mom.

After Stella scurried off, my grandmother directed her words at my father, her son the scientist. Her youngest, her pride and joy until eleven years ago, when he’d gone against her wishes and married my mom, taking on five-year-old me in the process.

“I assume you’ll get Hope registered at the high school come the fall,” Mother Bea said. “No more of that silly homeschooling, now that your wife’s gone.”

Mother Bea never called my mom by name. Just “your wife.” I shot a look at Dad. He wouldn’t look at me. But when he nodded to my grandmother, a cold dread began to spread through my veins.

High school? Actual high school? This was a joke. Had to be.

When I was younger, I’d begged to go to “real” school, but Mom wouldn’t hear of it. And waste your talents on that inbred travesty they call an education system? Hardly.

Now they meant to thrust me into that world of Friday night football games, pep rallies, and “good ole boys” with decapitated Bambis in the back of their mud-spattered pickups?

The very thought filled me with horror.

“And the letter?” Mother Bea was saying. “You’ve explained about the letter?”

Ignoring her, I turned to Dad, confused. “What letter?”

For an instant, he only glared at his mother. Finally, he forced a sickly barely-there smile and reached for my hand.

“Hope,” he said, “a few weeks ago, I received an email from your mother’s sister, your Aunt Lucinda. She’s invited you to spend the summer with her in Scotland. Isn’t that wonderful, honey? You’ll get to meet your mother’s people. I’ve told her you would come, of course, and—”

“What?” The word bounced against the walls of the empty chapel like the poor, doomed bird. “What are you talking about?”

“W-we”—my dad stuttered over the word—“that is, Stella and I, feel that it would be good for you to get away, honey. You need to heal. We all do. And . . . well . . . we’ve planned a little trip ourselves. A—a cruise. So I thought . . .”

He trailed off, helpless in his betrayal. Mother Bea gleamed with triumph as he reached into a pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. He smoothed it out, and pressed it, limp and damp, into my hand.

Hot Novels
  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Chris
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Never Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #2)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculi
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • Fallen Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #1)
  • Forever Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #3)
  • Ugly Love
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3)
  • Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
  • The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coinc
  • Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
  • Uprooted