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This Here and Now

"A Viking funeral?" Stephen groaned. "But Miguel's family already arranged for a church, and..."

"They shouldn't have done that," Lynne snapped. "Not without consulting Arla."

"They were just trying to help," Mrs. Dayne said. "Arla's had no time to even think about a service. The sheriff was here, asking her if Miguel had any enemies, or if she'd ever heard anyone threaten him."

"Do they think it was intentional?" Stephen asked.

"They said that with a hit-and-run, you never know. There were no skidmarks. Miguel was doing his usual run; it was foggy; they don't know. Probably a drunk driver. And now Arla's gone for a walk, on the route they used to do together, before Miguel took up running." Mrs. Dayne's voice broke.

"It's a shock, Mom, we all know," Stephen said. "But Arla doesn't act like she just lost her husband."

"You'd feel better if she got hysterical?" Lynne raised her voice.

"That's not her way."

"This Viking-bonfire thing is a warning sign," Stephen insisted.

"Grief does weird things to people."

"It's not weird," Lynn said. "It's in his will; it's what Miguel wanted."

"He wants a Viking funeral?" Stephen sputtered. "He's Spanish, for crissakes – we're the Norwegians!"
(excerpt from "Benediction," This Here and Now)

"...these stories are so powerful they never cease to grab me by the throat, even after several readings."

–Leila Joiner, editor, Imago Press publisher, author of Seven Days in December