Sam’s laugh rang through the church before she could stop it. She could feel the disapproving looks burning into the back of her head. That girl, laughing at her own mother’s funeral.

She took a few breaths to compose herself and forced herself to ignore the words of the priest as he gave a eulogy. She looked at her brothers sitting on one side of her. Their identical faces were held in angelic composure. Bastards.

She couldn’t stay angry with them. Their mother had a wonderful, dark sense of humour. She would have loved it. But for them to make up a brother for the eulogy – it was too much for Sam.

She tried to focus on the words of the priest again. “When Cranstone developed his individual technique for knocking down all the pins in his favourite sport, he dedicated it to his mother. Many was the night his team would be chanting ‘Barbara Split! Barbara Split’ as Cranstone went for his second throw.” Here the priest paused for a moment. “Though why it was named the Barbara Split I am a bit confused about, myself. Nonetheless, Catherine was proud.”

That was it. Sam and her brothers collapsed in a heap. The priest frowned, and announced the next hymn.


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