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The marshmallows that dotted the sweet potato pie caught his fancy, and he plucked two, popped them in his mouth, then rearranged the remaining four so that no one would notice the gap in the pattern. The ham was growing cold, and gray-white grease congealed in the bottom of its tin foil container. Roby crossed the room to the cabinets, opened them.

Crystal. Nice stuff, the kind that would hum if you put water in the glasses and rubbed your fingers around the rim. He’d seen a man on TV once who’d played a whole row of them at the same time, the glasses filled to varying depths, the performer wetting and wiping his fingers, raising a series of full notes that hung in the air like the blowing of lost whales. Crystal symphony, the man had called it.

Mr. Snow?”

Roby looked away from the crystal. Anna Beth had entered the kitchen. She was the youngest of the Ridgehorn clan, and the prettiest. Years had a way of stealing beauty. Of stealing everything.

Auburn hair. Her nose was all Ridgehorn, humped in the middle but not yet jagged, as it would be in a decade. She had her mother’s bone structure and, lucky for her, not her father’s eyes.

Because her father’s eyes were glued shut in the back room of Clawson’s Funeral Home.

Hey, Anna Beth,” he answered, turning his attention again to the cabinet shelves, the chinaware, the tea set, the chipped bowls in the back, the plastic fast food cups that the family probably used at the dinner table on weeknights.

Can I help you find something?”

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