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(A short story of 1621 words)

Rebirth in Earth


by Alyson Morris

An estranged daughter goes to her father's funeral.

I am sitting on the fourth step curling my toes around the stair where the carpet is worn; the naughty step. I was left there once, forgotten; so I’d picked at the wallpaper. And here it is now, the same ripped hole.

It’s almost time for my father’s funeral. A man who insisted on a vertical burial underneath a tree. This, of course, is understandable – he was a sixties teenager and wore a garden in his hair.

I now imagine his body being lowered into a hole feet first, then being covered with soil, then being topped off with a baby oak. I can see the roots winding themselves around his neck.

While picking at the wallpaper, once again – it’s been twenty years – I hear a van arriving. So, rising from my naughty step, I turn and give it a little pat before descending to heaven knows what.

The van is yellow like my plumber’s, except this one has REBIRTH IN EARTH written on its side – thankfully with no painted flowers. Dad is inside the van, inside a cardboard box painted blue with lots of clouds on it. It looks like a screensaver...

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