Chapter 9

Chapter 9

A Chapter by Autumn

Adelaide attends the funeral and delivers the eulogy.


Adelaide’s hand was placed in the crook of Butler Grimsbane’s elbow as she escorted her down the marble stairs. They continued to walk through the first floor, under the balcony, and into a spacious room in uncomfortable silence. The enormous room was filled with black, wooden chairs in rows with the middle aisle empty. Each seat that was next to the walkway had a huge bow that possessed the color for the occasion. He walked her through the chairs and led her up to a small stage. She wobbled a bit, but the elderly man held her hand, steadying. "Stand here. The rest of the things will be brought out momentarily," he said before leaving.

"Okay then," she mumbled to herself before staring around the room.

A man appeared from behind a maroon curtain and was holding a portrait of her great aunt. He wordless set it down in a corner of the stage.

Adelaide staggered over to the painted picture. The relative's dark chestnut eyes held no emotion, not a flicker of happiness nor a twinge of sadness. Her stone-colored hair was formed into a bun on the crown of the woman's head while her pale face remained stoic. The neutral color top stood out from the light blue background.

The heiress heard the rustling of the curtain. She turned to see two middle-aged females holding back the edges of the long fabric to create an entrance for the four men carrying an ebony casket that Adelaide reasonably guessed had her great aunt’s body inside. The pallbearers set it down on top of a pedestal that she had not noticed previously. Another female came over to the burial box and placed a bouquet full of while calla lilies on top of it. A wreath was made of the same flowers on another side of the platform. A pulpit made of oak was adjacent to the wooden container.

“Guests arriving,” a gravelly voice informed.

Adelaide’s heart practically leaped out of her chest at the sudden intrusion. She placed a hand over the rapidly beating organ in her chest. “Seriously? Warn someone when you’re sneaking up on them.”

“I’m sorry, but you should step off the stage and greet the guests. Most of them are waiting outside.”

After Adelaide inhaled deeply, she mumbled, “Most of them probably showed up only to see who the new supreme ruler of this town is.”

The butler slightly shook his head as he held her hand, helping her step off the stage. “The eulogy is already on the podium, so no need to fret.”

“I wasn’t,” she interrupted him.

His jaw clenched before he continued speaking, “It is dire for you to be polite and maybe even show some grievance for the dearly departed.”

“I’ll do my best.” Adelaide smoothed out the nonexistent wrinkles in her dress.

The servant led the young woman to the front.

As they walked, meaning Adelaide was wobbling, she noticed that various people, mostly men, placed either in front of doorways or in even intervals along the wall. “Why are these people standing at certain points?” she curiously questioned.


The pair stopped in front of the double doors. He set her practically in the center of the floor, directly under the chandelier. “Stay in this spot until either myself or one of the men from security escort you to your seat in the ballroom.”

“Wait, that’s how large a ballroom is?”

“Yes, there are many other rooms but those are for another day. We are only using about half of this room. Back to the necessary information, if anyone says anything that is off the lines of ‘I’m sorry for your loss’, reply ‘This is a funeral, please show some respect’. This is not the time to talk about anything else, and there will be people who act inappropriately at during this memorial. That is simply a fact. You are the new face of the Barnhardt estate. Keep that in mind for the rest of your life. Now put your shoulder back and hold your head up some. You don’t want the town to perceive you as weak.”

Adelaide did as she was told with a roll of her eyes. She then crossed her arms over her chest.

“Keep your arms at your side. You need to appear open to everyone. Body language reveals more about a person than words ever could,” he informed.

Adelaide argued, “So you want me to appear open, but every word that you want me to say is guarded. Isn’t that a little bit contradicting?”

“Yes but it gives the impression of you being open to people in the future.”

“Alright,” she replied.

While the butler turned around to open the doors, Adelaide thought, I’m going to do this my own way. I’m not just some doll someone can dress up and tell me what I can say.

A large line of people stretched as far as the young woman could see. “Holy s**t,” she muttered under her breath. Her lungs expanded exponentially as oxygen filled her lungs before releasing it. I can do this, she encouraged herself silently as the first person approached her. It was a man who was a bit taller than current height with hair dyed the color of the ocean. He was dressed in the traditional black clothing: a black suit with a tie in dark grey and a white dress shirt.

He politely smiled as he stared down at her. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he expectedly said in a deep voice that was so low, Adelaide could feel the bass in her toes. Before he fully walked away, he added, “I never thought a heiress would look so…young.” He then walked into the room.

Adelaide barely had a moment to ponder the confusion due to another person delivering their condolences. She politely forced a smile as she accepted with a nod. Dear Lord, my neck is going to snap off by the time this is over with.

As the mass of people were nearly diminished, a familiar group of people approached the heiress. “I can’t believe you actually came!” Adelaide exclaimed with a grin stretching from ear to ear.

Arielle was the first to hug her. “How could we not after you seemed so terrified?”

Adelaide eagerly returned the embrace. “I’m truly sorry about that. Either way, I am really glad that you guys came, especially since I just met all of you last night. None of you had the obligation to do anything for me.”

Andy scoffed yet continued to smile. “Honestly, I don’t know if this is true for all of us, but I feel drawn to you, like you have this fantastic potential to be a part of a friendship like no other.”

The blonde woman’s blood rushed up to her cheeks. “Thank you so much, Andy. I could really use some friends.” Her eyes became glassy.

Michael flashed his pearls for teeth at her. “I completely agree with you, Andy.” He momentarily wrapped his arms around her small frame. “Those heels make it a lot easier to hug you.”

Adelaide laughed, genuinely happy for the first time since she had been at the mansion. “Thanks, the only trick is not to walk so I don’t fall.”

Michael chuckled. “By the way, I apologize for Ray not being, actually not wanting to come to the funeral. He just doesn’t handle death well.”

Adelaide nonchalantly moved her shoulder up and down. “I understand. Just tell him I said hello.”

“Will do.”

While Samuel stepped forwards, Arielle gently shoved her other brothers towards the ballroom. She held both of the palms of her hands against their back as she marched them forwards. “We’ll meet you inside, and if we don’t have the chance to talk to you again, I know you’re going to give a fantastic eulogy.”

“Thank you!” the heiress called out as her friends disappeared through the doorway.

“You, um, look great,” Samuel said while scratching the crown of her head.

Adelaide swallowed hard, forcing the rosy hue of her cheek show. “I think it’s too much. I’m usually not one to wear a dress either. I prefer skirts at most,” she rambled.

His pink tongue peeked out of his lips for a split second. “Better get used to it, princess. You’ll be living like this for the rest of your life.”

The young woman playfully punched the man in the shoulder. “Don’t remind me. I only agreed to this in order to find out more about my mom.”

“I know, but those heels really help both of our neck out.”

There was no stopping the happiness from spreading across her face. “Shut up! I can’t even talk in these things without a little help.”

Samuel chuckled. “So the princess has some flaws?”

She playfully roll her eyes. “Everyone has their flaws, gigantor.”

His teeth were completely visible. “I know, but I enjoy teasing you.”

Adelaide scrunched up her nose as she stuck out her tongue. “How rude of you.”

He shook his head. “You are one goofy ruler.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

A silence filled the small space between the pair.

After a few agonizing moments, Samuel cleared his throat, “I’m not good with apologizes, but I want you to know that I wasn’t trying to be an a*s before you left. I’m just not used to people.”

“Don’t worry about it, but I’m happy that you apologized.”

Samuel nodded. “I should go in there. I have already held up the line long enough.”

While he walked away with his hands in his pockets, Adelaide began to stretch out her arm to reach for him yet quickly pulled away. She shook her head side to side while she wordlessly told herself, I can’t keep getting attached to people so quickly since they always hurt me in the end, except for family.

As the young woman mindless accepted the sorrows for endless people, her brain wondered back to her years of high school, which was only a short time ago. Her freshman year was the loneliest of all of them. She would barely speak at all, if any, throughout the school day. The only time anyone would talk to her was if something was needed. Then it all changed the following year. A girl in the same grade moved to the town, who later became friends with the loner. The newcomer encouraged Adelaide to be freer with herself, took her to parties, and made a few more friends. The lonely girl adapted to the new lifestyle. Her fashion choice contained more shorts and skinny jeans along with slightly tighter fitting shirts. Adelaide became more relaxed around people and started attending parties. By her junior year, everyone knew who she was. She was the girl who danced like there was no tomorrow and who joined anyone if they asked. It was also the year she fell in love for the first time, but months later, he was in bed with her best friend. The best friend was forgiven but was always held at a distance from the heart. To a great deal of everyone’s surprise, Adelaide did not revert back to her previous ways completely. At school, she was more reclusive, but at parties, she was the exact opposite. The girl was a perfect contradictory of herself. The teenager was wild; she would dance like no one was watching, drink like tomorrow would fail to exist, and flirt like shame was a thing of the past. Due to her dual lifestyle, a wide array of labels were created in her last year of high school. The males and some females wanted to be with her except that they were too intimidated to ask while other women loathed the way she acted. She was a coin with two very opposite sides, making her exceptionally unique.

Before the young adult realized it, the line was gone and the butler was dragging her along by the crook of her arm. “Are you listening to a word that I am saying?”

“Honestly, no.”

“This is very important, Miss Way, for you and the town.”

Adelaide nodded. “I understand. I’m sorry. My mind was a thousand miles away.”

“It’s alright, but I am truthfully surprised that you apologized.”

“What’s the use in fighting?”

The butler led the heiress to the right front row and sat her in the seat closest to the aisle. Adelaide crossed the leg with the slit in it over the other and laid her hands in her lap. Grimsbane stood in front of the audience before opening his arms wide open. In his rough, gravelly voice3, he said, “Thank you all for coming to the funeral of Miss Irma Adeline Barnhardt. It is a loss to us all…”

Adelaide stared at the man speaking but her mind was elsewhere. She subtly glanced around, looking for her new friends. Where are they? she wordlessly asked herself. Her eyes spotted the family sitting in the farthest corner away from her. She frowned. Why would they be sitting there? It appears as if it was first come, first served. Even if it was seated by the order of which a person arrived, they would be sitting somewhere in the middle.

Meanwhile, the reverend was speaking about the elderly woman passing onto a better place. Adelaide returned her attention to the proper place. Soft, soothing sounds from an acoustic guitar were background noise to the reverend’s words. As she listened closely, she noticed that those were in fact the only two sounds in the room minus the relentless tapping of a foot somewhere in the crowd. Typically, crying would be an addition to the noises yet it was nonexistent.

Before Adelaide was able to think more about it, the time for her eulogy made itself known. The butler stood up from his seat next to her, which she did not even realize, and gently took her soft hand in his paper thin one. The female slightly wobbled but swiftly regained her balance as she began to walk to the small stage.

“The notecards are up there with the prepared speech on them. You will be perfectly fine as long as you follow the words,” he quietly reminded her.

Adelaide took her hand from his after she stepped onto the platform. While Butler Grimsbane took his seat, she approached the lectern. The index cards were sitting in plain sight. The young woman took a deep breath, trying to shake away the nervousness. She wrapped her fingers around the edges of the tilted top. “Hello,” she croaked out. She cleared her throat once more. “Hello everyone. My name is Adelaide, the great niece of my dearly beloved relative. She may not have been prominently active in my life as I grew older, but she was there for me when I was younger. I remember that my great auntie…” she paused, inhaling deeply. She stared down at the perfect cursive handwriting before searching for her friends. Her eyes found Samuel, smiling kindly at her.

Adelaide glanced at her new butler who was discreetly gesturing her to continue speaking. She picked up the notecards and chucked them across the stage, sending them flying. The audience was utterly perplexed, and the servant’s face few into a red hue. “I’m not going to read from some index cards someone else wrote me to. As I said before, my name is Adelaide, and I am the great nice, but I never truly knew her. I do have brief memories of her though from when I was a toddler. My family would come here and visit her at least once a month before my mother passed away. She would tell me ghost stories about this mansion. One that always terrified me the most was how my family acquired this magnificent building and the supposed curse that came along with it. Soon after my mother’s untimely death, we stopped visiting. Great Aunt did keep an eye on us though. Distance did not stop the woman from making sure her family was okay. Irma Barnhardt lived a lengthy life and cared for her family. In As You Like It, Shakespeare wrote, ‘All the world’s a stage/And all the men and women are merely players/They have their exits and entrances/And one man in his time plays many parts…’ Irma was numerous things in her lifetime, and may she always live on in our memories, for better or for worse.”

The audience applauded as the young woman stepped off the stage. She took her seat beside the butler who glared at her maliciously. “You could have screwed up everything,” he hissed.

Adelaide rolled her eyes but kept her mouth closed.

The butler stood up in front of the people, not bothering to stand up on the stage. “This marks the end of a life while a new one begins. I encourage you to take this time to say the last goodbyes to Irma Adeline Barnhardt.”

Four men walked out from behind the curtain and stood at each corner of the casket. They simultaneously took a step forward with the same leg. Their hands grabbed the silver bars attached to the mahogany wood. The feet slowly marched in the time down the stage.

Adelaide stood up and walked behind the men, following the out of the enormous room and out of the lavish mansion. She crossed her arms over her chest as she watched the tall men load the burial box into the black hearse that would take Irma Barnhardt to the family’s burial ground.

As she watched the men walk back into the mansion and the hearse began its journey down the driveway, the people started to the flood the entrance. The Abells family pushed their way to where Adelaide was staring off into the distance, hugging herself in an attempt to keep the cold out of the thin fabric.

Samuel laid a hand gently on her shoulder.

Adelaide jumped slightly and briefly turned her head. “Oh, it’s only you,” she said emotionlessly.

“So I’m pretty important,” Samuel sarcastically said.

“We’re going to grab the truck. I’ll meet you at the front of the second entrance,” Arielle informed.

The young woman looked up at him. “I didn’t mean it like that. I thought you were the butler. He follows me around like a freaking shadow.”

“It’s okay. Just a little enthusiasm would be nice is all.”

“Sorry. I guess it’s just the mood of the funeral that takes it from me. Not to mention, I’m going to hear an earful because I did not follow the eulogy that my great aunt wrote.”

“Wait, she wrote a eulogy for herself? That’s not right,” Samuel commented.

“Exactly! I was not comfortable with reading it, so I improvised. I barely knew the woman though, so it probably wasn’t any good. I don’t even know why she chose me to give the eulogy for anything for that matter!”

Samuel gently guided her to the mansion’s entrance since everyone was leaving. “It will be alright, Adelaide. You just have to take it in moderation.”

She shook her head side to side repeatedly. “It won’t though! I felt something change as soon as her body left the mansion. I don’t understand it, but something in the atmosphere changed, and it is malevolent. The air automatically felt heavier, and I know this sounds crazy, like something is bound around my wrists and neck.” Her eyes shined in the evening light as she stared up at the tall man. 

Samuel wrapped his long arms around her small body, bringing her close to his chest. “It will be okay,” he softly comforted her as she scrutinized the old home’s entrance. He tightened his embrace as she stared directly at the empty doorway, glaring at it as if his eyes could incinerate everything in sight. “I got you.”

© 2018 Autumn

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Added on January 4, 2018
Last Updated on January 4, 2018
Tags: funeral, supernatural, eulogy, troubles, difficulty, sad