Publication Date:January 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
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Before the earthquake, no one had ever really tried something like this before. It was a proposition of something that might work in a trade magazine that no one would ever have read. Except now it was read, and practiced, because there were so many opportunities to try out things people had never tried before.
Opportunity, and the potential to save money. A perfect combination for experiments. And this thing works.
Watch them. Right there. They’re lifting the denuded house up off the foundations. It creaks and groans but it holds together. Amazing.
And look down in the foundations. Where they’re cracked and broken and the floor on one side has dropped almost a foot in height because of the liquefaction souping up the earth. That bit, where it’s broken so much the bare earth can be seen straight through the concreted silt. Even before anyone starts to try to crack it up. Broken along a prior instability.
That’s where I am.
Watch them as they pull aside the hard clods, and now – that one – he’s reaching forward, pulling one aside to expose a creamy white bone. He’s taking a step back now. He’s calling over his shoulder to a colleague. His site manager is about to be wholly pissed off, and frustrated because he’s not allowed to show it. Not in this situation.
But the whole site’s going to be roped off and their work is going to be backed up and he’s going to be on the phone for the rest of the day trying to shuffle everything around so he doesn’t lose more than a day’s wages for his crew.
It’ll take a while before they know that it’s me. There’s going to be a stream of ‘professionals’ coming by. They’ll carefully dig, and photograph, and exhume each bone. They’ll lay it out on a board in a morgue, making sure that each and every little piece of me is tagged and laid out in place.
They’ll drill into the bone, the femur, and try to get a read on the DNA left in the dried out marrow. They’re going to find a match with a file on a missing person. And that missing person file is going to be me.
My mum’s going to get a knock on the door that she’s been waiting for, and dreading, for a decade. She’s going to break down and cry with the easy tears of a drunk, even though her ten year chip takes pride of place in her jewellery box.
She’ll cry, and won’t hear half of what they say. But they’ll be patient, and they’ll go through everything with her again. And again.
I would cry too, if I still had something to cry with.
But for now that’s all poised in the distance, a series of dominos not yet pushed into action. For now, there’s just the hi-viz workers and the glimpse of something they know shouldn’t be there. For now there’s just my dead bones and the cold ground they’ve been stored in, hidden in, waiting for the puff of fresh air to caress their curves and lines. Waiting for the dirt to be brushed aside and their porous surface to inhale the warmth of the sun.
Waiting to be found.