Shattered Grace - By K Anne Raines

About the Author

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the lord my soul to keep,

If I shall die before I wake,

I pray the lord my soul to take.

-- The New England Primer --

Gone. He was actually gone.

Grace shook her head in disbelief as she wiped at her sensitive, puffy eyes with a rough tissue, unable to wrap her mind around the fact her grandfather was never coming back. He hadn’t been sick, didn’t seem to be slowing down at all, and yet…

He was gone.

With his death, he seemed to steal away what Grace had always so desperately wanted—the binding ties of family. Instead of receiving the safety and warmth of a familial bond from the two individuals who brought her into this world, she received it unconditionally from her grandfather. Through his love, she had a life. What she had now was anything but. It was dark and lonely and hopeless. He was the only person who had ever understood her and, to be honest, the only person in her life who had ever tried.

Time and time again her grandfather had told her she was a survivor, and even embraced her difference as if it were his own. Her difference was nothing but a curse. To her it was, anyway. Grace didn’t think she would survive much past this day. Obviously, he was wrong. She really wasn’t that strong.

With trembling hands, she swiped at a lone tear dangling from her chin. She tried to remember a single day in her seventeen years that he hadn’t been a part of, and she came up empty. All of her memories had traces of him.

The large manor that felt more like her home than the one she shared with her mother was filled with family. The remains of her family were going through the motions of the post-funeral visitation, and yet, there she sat, never more lost and alone. Every one of them avoided looking her in the eye, and no one offered her any kind of condolence. If a pair of eyes did chance to meet hers, there was nothing in the hollow gaze that could be considered kind or heartfelt, but was instead biting and cold. Especially the murderous glares from her much older cousin Rose.

Grace had always been the black sheep, so this was nothing new. Defiantly, she continued watching them all with contempt, refusing to hide how she truly felt toward them. Every single one of her family members mooched off the man they buried today. He had been nothing to them but a meal ticket. Even to her mother.

Grace watched from her lonely vantage point on the stairwell as her relatives milled about below, making themselves quite at home as they pretended to grieve together. Mourning didn’t move them all in swarms around her grandfather’s belongings. Greed did. She watched as they salivated over every possession with longing, sometimes going so far as to pick up a piece of bric-a-brac, turning it over nonchalantly as if to see if their name was penciled with intent by the deceased on a piece of tape underneath, before replacing it on the polished furniture with disappointment. The awful part about the whole sham was they believed they were fooling each other. They only pretended to be grieving. Grace wanted nothing more than to punch them in their pathetically sad faces.


Heartless, money-hungry pigs!

The whole thing made her sick.

Sour acid burned harshly in the back of her throat, and for a second, Grace thought she might lose what little food she had managed to force down earlier. With her face in the crook of her elbow, she scooted along the bottom step of the grand stairwell until she felt the wainscoted wall against her shoulder. An uncontrollable scream bubbled dangerously up Grace’s throat, but the sudden sight of black loafers from underneath her folded arms helped to repress it. Surprised, she snapped her head up and found a man in a black suit watching her. “Grace Morgan?”

A few straggling tears escaped her sore eyes. She swiftly wiped them away with the diminishing tissue. “Y-y-yep. That’s me.” At the moment, she wished she could be somebody else.

“I wish I could offer something other than an apology—”

“I’m sorry,” she interrupted. “Who are you?”

Extending his hand, he paused until she took it for a brief handshake. “I’m your grandfather’s friend and attorney, Quentin Kenward. I came to the reception to pay my respects, and to keep a promise.”

Grace took his outstretched hand and looked up into Copyright 2016 - 2021