‘How do you punish someone who’s already dead?’ Gretchen Grey tightened her grip around an umbrella handle while she waited for her parents to arrive. Her haunted blue eyes examined the London townhouse where she had grown up. Thick green ivy cast shadow around the entrance and spread towards the outer corners, almost reaching the top floor panes. Looking at it from afar, it seemed her home rested in the palm of a giant murky green claw.
A woman appeared in the doorway and opened her umbrella against the pelting rain. "Gretchen child! There's no reason to wait outside.”
Gretchen tore her gaze away from the townhouse and looked up at the chambermaid. “You know that’s not true,” she answered softly.
Mira gave her shoulder a gentle pat. The sound of heavy steps and subdued voices drifted towards them from the interior of the London townhouse before her parents emerged.
They carried her mother's casket out first. It was a rich mahogany, etched with gold. Gretchen imagined her mother would have approved. She’d had an eye for detail that many admired.
The group of men was followed out by a second assembly. Her father's coffin was almost identical to her mother's, though a bit longer. Her father had been a tall man, after all. Gretchen's breath caught in her throat and her hand flew up to clutch Mira's as it rested on her shoulder.
‘This is all my fault.'