As Good as Dead

from “Death of a Sad Face,” a short story available in the anthology, SERIAL SLEUTHS, Vol 1: Haunted!

Late at night, October 28, 1868

He dressed and tiptoed across the hall to where his brother slept. He looked red tonight. Trouble keeping down the milk, that’s what the wet nurse told him, so he kissed him and put his nose close to his face. He rubbed the hair on his scalp, and his brother smiled and moved his arms and legs fast. Teo was the only one who could make his brother smile, his mother told him that, but he couldn’t think about her now or about leaving his brother, and anyway, he’d be back after he made himself a fortune.

His room faced the front and the sea, and he went to the window for one last look at the waves, and he wondered what was on the other side. Maybe the souls of the dead, like his mother and father, and now Falco who wasn’t dead, not as far as he knew, but who’d left without saying goodbye, which was as good as dead. He stood at the window and waited until the moon was high and the stars pricked the sky before he wrapped himself in Vicenzu’s old cape and stuffed a book into his sack. After kissing his brother once more, he nodded to the wet nurse and crept down the stairs and along the hall, opening the door as softly as he could, and slipped out into the night.

Photo: Almond blossoms in the Madonie. Credit: Antonio Llardo (Flickr)

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