Rachel’s Contrition, Chapter 21

Sophia Institute Press

In a harrowing chapter, we learn how Caroline died, and watch Rachel hit rock bottom in grief and madness.

Continued from Chapter 20

Rachel’s Contrition


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I wake in blackness with Caroline alive in my mind. As the last of the medicine dissipates from my body, emotions reach up through me like spring blossoms striving for sunshine and make their seeds more recognizable: they are hands reaching up from the grave.

I know what I have to do.

I slip on a clean shirt and grab my keys.

Riverside Cemetery’s wrought-iron gates are closed and locked, but that doesn’t stop me. I haven’t climbed a fence in years, but adrenaline courses through me and I scale the wall like I’m twelve again and land on the other side with a soft thud, like a cat. I hesitate, listening. The air is heavy with the slumber of the dead. The hounds aren’t after me yet.

The sun peeks through the trees to caress the grass with its fingertips, wiping away dew as I weave between the gravestones. The cold moistness chills my bare feet and soaks the hem of my jeans until they feel stiff and weighted around my ankles. I am cold, shivering, and I know she is, too. It urges me forward.

I see the Winters’ huge gravestone across the way, down one hill and a few steps up the side of the next, nestled in the shadow of an elm tree. Caroline’s small brass plaque is there. They made me come to watch her burial through the blur of drugs they pumped into my veins and forced down my throat. They said I needed closure. They said I wouldn’t be able to face the truth unless I saw her being put into the ground. Dust to dust. Gone forever.

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