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159 30 ~ Pippa The greenhouse was ready. Potting tables pushed against the walls to make room for the circle of pillows on the floor. The large cardboard box filled with earth. Two dozen candles, each hand-stamped with the image of Bast’s paw print, burned in a spiral pattern on the cinderblock and plank shelf. Pippa and Jeremy looked at his drawings, hung between the windows. Anyone could see the kid had talent. Would the family nurture his gift? Jeremy leaned back against Pippa’s chest. “How did Bast die?” “We don’t know exactly. Someone killed her.” “No, the real Bast. The Goddess.” Pippa tried to think of a smart answer, but nothing came. “If she was alive, she had to die, right?” “I guess.” Pippa rested her chin on his head. “I don’t know.” Jeremy kneeled next to the carton, scooped out the dirt slipping back into the hole. “Why do we have to bury our Bast two days later?” Pippa shrugged. “Francie will know. It’s almost time to start. Go find Timothy.” After he left, Pippa sat cross-legged on a pillow, resting her hands on the early swell of her belly. Maybe if she could chant for a few minutes before the service, she could quiet her own questions and say a proper goodbye to Bast. “We grow from your earth; we share your fruits,” she started, but her mind was still on Jeremy’s question. Why two days? If she had lived, Abby would be asking her own questions. How could Pippa be a good mother with so few answers? “Your wings protect us.” This time her concentration was interrupted by the itching under the ankle monitor strap. She chanted louder. “Strengthened by your power, we reach for the stars.” She scratched her ankle through the thin white sock. After her shower, the fat red splotches had bloomed on her skin, spreading up her leg 160 ~ House Arrest and down over the top of her foot. Pippa pulled down the sock to check. Still pink, but fading. She should tell Emily the rash was getting worse. Emily was hard to figure out. She dealt with gravely ill people all the time, but a dead cat sent her flying. Still, if Emily had negative feelings about the family, she hid them well at the hearing. The lawyer said Judge Thomas listened to the professionals. She couldn’t blame Emily for running away; there likely weren’t many beheaded cats in her own family history. But Emily seemed to like her as a person, not just a patient . She had even thought Emily might take a chance and help her with the solstice. Now that didn’t look so good. She closed her eyes and tried again. “Strengthened by your power, we reach for the stars.” • The spiral of candle flames blazed. The square window reflected and magnified the flickering lights against the charcoal gray world outside. The wind rattled the loose corner pane, the one Marshall kept promising to fix. The seven of them sat crosslegged on a circle of sofa pillows, the tips of their knees just touching. Nestledintheboxofearthatthecenterofthecircle,Bast’ssmallformlaywrapped in a white sheet. Tall white candles planted at the four corners of the box represented air, earth, fire and water. The twins sat shoulder to shoulder, Newark draped across their laps. To their left sat Marshall, with Adele and Liz on his other side. Francie was already in meditation position with eyes closed and an angelic expression on her face. Pippa envied how she could open herself to Isis so quickly. When they joined hands, the empty pillows between Pippa and Liz broke the ring. “Tian and Murphy are sitting with us in spirit,” Francie said. “How can a spirit sit without a butt?” Timothy asked, but his brother elbowed him and Francie didn’t answer. How could they have a ceremony this important without Tian to lead them? When they honored Abby and Terrence, Tian knew what to do, even though the bodies had not been released for burial. Francie started quietly. “We grow from the earth; we share your fruits,” she chanted alone. “Your wings protect us. Strengthened by your power, we reach for the stars.” She let the soft sizzle of the “s” whisper into silence. Then she turned to Jeremy on her left side, smiled, and lifted their clasped hands high like a mountain peak. She squeezed his hand and Jeremy joined her in the next...


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MARC Record
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