My father, my dead father, was so reviled that even the ghosts would not tend to his corpse.
I’d hauled what was left of his body to the pier myself and bound it securely in thick necklace chain. I sacrificed a grackle and used its blood to adorn him. Seven stumpy candles were lit with the birds feathers. I ate the feet. The ghosts came. They had to. The dead cannot ignore a summons done propper.
But they would not touch his body. I sat in the funeral barge and argued with them. Tried to convince them to carry him over. They would not. I ignored the sailors on the dock. Broad shouldered, spitting men who agreed with the dead; my father deserved no peace for what he’d done.
The ghosts melted into the night. Once the sailors saw that there would be no redemption, they too, faded into the dark. I was alone in the gently rocking boat with two mangled corpses; one family, one fowl.
I looked down at the man. His features were clear, even beneath the cuts and bruises. No amount of stones could crush a visage like his. It was too strong, too determined. It was too much like my face.
A cold wind tossed my hair as I cast the line. I raised the umbrella sail and, carried by the chill, we headed into the choppy sea.
“You do not deserve this.” I said.
At my feet, my fathers broken face smiled.