Evermore I Told the Raven
by Ken Scholes
It was the perfect day for a funeral. Gray with a promise of rain. Mist ribboning around the
headstones. And it was the perfect size -- a small baker's dozen dressed in black, some with
umbrellas and some without. No music. Few words. I stood to the side and watched. When it
was over, I walked back to my car.
This was the first time I'd driven to Bradley. My last trip home had been by bus. Before that, I'd
come by train and in the early years, by wagon. But now I had been home for two hours and I
was ready to feel the highway mumble beneath me as I sped north and away. I climbed back into
my rental after the graveside service. I'd always been out of place here and I felt it even more so
now that he was dead.
The youngest member of the funeral party separated from the rest. She was a woman -- maybe
twenty -- wearing a black vintage dress all severe lines and lace. She approached my car.
I willed myself to turn the key, fire up the engine, pull away. I'd come. I'd paid my respects.
But she seemed intent upon speaking to me so I paused after sliding the key into the ignition.
Then I sighed and rolled down the window.
She stammered. "Are you Thomas' brother?"
I looked at her over the rims of my sunglasses. "I am."
"He told me to keep an eye out for you. There's something for you back at the store." She
paused and I saw her cheeks flush with self-consciousness. "I worked for him."
We'd started the store together though he'd always known I'd be the one to wander off. First
with the wars and then with just the excitement of a world to see. And I'd stayed on the go, too.
My ship had only been in from Hong Kong two weeks when I got the call that my brother was
"What time can I meet you there?"
She shrugged. "You can follow me over now if you want. I'm opening late today." She pointed
to a red two-door. "That's me there."
I nodded and waited while she climbed into her car. Then, I followed her slowly out of the
cemetery and onto the highway. I hadn't been home in decades but despite the growth and
sprawl, the downtown stretch was instantly familiar to me. And the corner building my brother
and I had chosen so many years ago. The original sign had been meticulously maintained: found
brothers books and sundries.