And now here she was. Or rather, there she was. Turner wasn't precisely sure which locational pronoun was more accurate for a lifeless body in the ground.

Whichever. He was only sorry that she would spend her eternity in his ground, resting among the Bevelstokes of days gone by. Her stone would bear his name, and in a hundred years, someone would gaze upon the etchings in the granite and think she must have been a fine lady, and what a tragedy that she'd been taken so young.

Turner looked up at the priest. He was a youngish fellow, new to the parish and by all accounts, still convinced that he could make the world a better place.

"Ashes to ashes," the priest said, and he looked up at the man who was meant to be the bereaved widower.

Ah yes , Turner thought acerbically, that would be me .

"Dust to dust."

Behind him, someone actually sniffled.

And the priest, his blue eyes bright with that appallingly misplaced glimmer of sympathy, kept on talking-

"In the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection- "

Good God.

"- to eternal life."

The priest looked at Turner and actually flinched. Turner wondered what, exactly, he'd seen in his face. Nothing good, that much was clear.

There was a chorus of amens, and then the service was over. Everyone looked at the priest, and then everyone looked at Turner, and then everyone looked at the priest clasping Turner's hands in his own as he said, "She will be missed."

"Not," Turner bit off, "by me."

I can't believe he said that.

Miranda looked down at the words she'd just written. She was currently on page forty-two of her thirteenth journal, but this was the first time- the first time since that fateful day nine years earlier- that she had not a clue what to write. Even when her days were dull (and they frequently were), she managed to cobble together an entry.

In May of her fourteenth year-

Woke.

Dressed.

Ate breakfast: toast, eggs, bacon.

Read

Sense and Sensibility, authored by unknown lady.

Hid

Sense and Sensibility from Father.

Ate dinner: chicken, bread, cheese.

Conjugated French verbs.

Composed letter to Grandmother.

Ate supper: beefsteak, soup, pudding.

Read more

Sense and Sensibility, author's identity still unknown.

Retired.

Slept.

Dreamed of him.

This was not to be confused with her entry of 12 November of the same year-

Woke.

Ate breakfast: Eggs, toast, ham.

Made great show of reading Greek tragedy. To no avail.

Spent much of the time staring out the window.

Ate lunch: fish, bread, peas.

Conjugated Latin verbs.

Composed letter to Grandmother.

Ate supper: roast, potatoes, pudding.

Brought tragedy to the table (book, not event).

Father did not notice.

Retired.

Slept.

Dreamed of him.

But now- now when something huge and momentous had actually occurred (which it never did) she had nothing to say except-

I can't believe he said that.

"Well, Miranda," she murmured, watching the ink dry on the tip of her quill, "you'll not achieve fame as a diarist."

"What did you say?"

Miranda snapped her diary shut. She had not realized that Olivia had entered the room.

"Nothing," she said quickly.

Olivia moved across the carpet and flopped on the bed. "What a horrible day,"

Miranda nodded, twisting in her seat so that she was facing her friend.

"I am glad you were here," Olivia said with a sigh. "Thank you for remaining for the night."

"Of course," Miranda replied. There had been no question, not when Olivia had said she'd needed her.

"What are you writing?"

Miranda looked down at the diary, only just then realizing that her hands were resting protectively across its cover. "Nothing," she said.

Olivia had been staring at the ceiling, but at that she quirked her head in Miranda's direction. "That can't be true."

"Sadly, it is."

"Why is it sad?"

Miranda blinked. Trust Olivia to ask the most obvious questions- and the ones with the least obvious answers.

"Well," Miranda said, not precisely stalling for time- really, it was more that she was figuring it all out as she went. She moved her hands and looked down at the journal as if the answer might have magically inscribed itself onto the cover. "This all I have. It is what I am."

Olivia looked dubious. "It's a book."

"It's my life."

"Why is it," Olivia opined, "that people call me dramatic?"

"I'm not saying it is my life," Miranda said with a flash of impatience, "just that it contains it. Everything. I have written everything down. Since I was ten."

"Everything?"

Miranda thought about the many days she'd dutifully recorded what she'd eaten and little else. "Everything."

"I could never keep a journal."

"No."

Olivia rolled onto her side, propping her head up with her hand. "You needn't have agreed with me so quickly."

Miranda only smiled.

Olivia flopped back down. "I suppose you are going to write that I have a short attention span."

"I already have."

Silence, then: "Really?"

"I believe I said you bored easily."

"Well," her friend replied, with only the barest moment of reflection, "that much is true."

Miranda looked back down at the writing desk. Her candle was shedding flickers of light on the blotter, and she suddenly felt tired. Tired, but unfortunately, not sleepy.

***

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