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I never understood why a corpse would need such a pretty box if it

was just going to be buried. When my goldfish died, we flushed it

down the toilet.

It was in the church, my aunty was giving her speech. I still

remember my mother’s face when she was making her eulogy, cold

as rock, shocked probably. I was looking at the stained glass windows

around me, not wanting to look at the dead body. When my aunty

was nearly finished, I knew because I had heard her practising, I

accidentally looked at the body. Her thin, grey hair was pulled back

and she wore a green, floral dress. I just realised I was staring at the

body, when a limp hand flopped onto Grandma’s chest. I blinked

hard then looked at my mum to see if she’d noticed. She was staring

straight ahead but she felt me look at her, pulled me closer and

whispered, ‘It’s okay, Mollie.’ I decided I was just imagining things,

so I ignored it.

At the burial, everyone was dressed in black, holding dark

umbrellas sheltering them from the harsh weather brought down

from the miserable, grey sky. I never knew my grandmother, but I

was there in black clothes like everyone else and the only thing I

understood was that my Gran, who I’d never met, had gone to

Heaven, where the angels lived.

A week later, we were cleaning out my grandmother’s house for

selling. The building was quite grand. Outside were small shrubs

amongst clumps of purple flowers. We stepped inside and I noticed

the chandelier hanging from the high ceiling. The air seemed

unnaturally cold, as if a breeze was coming through the closed

windows. The building was quite elegant, and, like an old person,

gentle and homely except for the cold. I was looking around when

my mum told me to start clearing out the attic. I skipped up the

dusty, staircase and climbed the step-ladder to an attic.

The room matched the rest of the building by look; old and

elegant, but it was more cosy and smelt like old people. I fumbled

around before finding a long cord hanging from the ceiling. I pulled

it and on came a dim orange light from a dusty light bulb. The attic

seemed to be my grandma’s favourite spot in the house, maybe that

was why the house was so dusty. It seemed odd that she chose to live

most of her life in a dark, dusty room since the house was so large. I

started to collect my Gran’s things. To be honest, the roomwas quite

messy. I started to collect her personal belongings first, thick glasses

Gran’s Red


Sindhu Velaga