Wear White to Your Funeral
by Lisa Acerbo
Publication date: October 28th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Rory is your average high school senior. Or she was, until her mother banishes her to hell, also known as Trumbull, Connecticut. The small suburb with only a mall and movie theater, sure feels like the netherworld until Rory’s first day at her new school. That’s the day she meets Bowen, who begs her to join him on a class project. But when Bowen drags her to a graveyard after dark for research purposes, Rory wants to fly back home to Atlanta, or at least return to her aunt’s house unharmed and unmolested.
Nothing could go wrong, right? They talk, they laugh, and they wander among the tombstones looking for information on the local ghostly legend known as the White Lady. Then they have to run, but they cannot outrun a ghost. In addition to the ghostly woman, a half buried dead body leads Rory and Bowen into a deadly game of cat and mouse, but who is the killer? Is it human or something long dead and otherworldly?
The police are of little help, Rory’s aunt just wants her to remain safe, and Bowen, who she can’t stay away from, keeps finding ways to get her into more trouble than she has ever known. Whether breaking into a suspected killer’s house, being followed by a menacing ghost, or being stalked at school, Rory hopes finding the killer will put an end to the supernatural haunting. Before Rory can discover the identity of the killer, she is drawn into the mystery of the White Lady, which opens the door for some very real danger.
Rory tried to pay attention until she heard a husky whisper.
“Hey, new girl.” Rory turned toward the low voice. The boy with piercing blue eyes stared at her. “I’m Bowen.”
“I caught that,” she whispered back.
“Want to work together on the assignment?”
“Is it a group project?” Rory was confused by the offer.
“It is if you want it to be. Watch and learn. But first, say ‘yes.’”
He was definitely bad-boy cute. Rory giggled. “Yes.” Maybe school wouldn’t be as horrible as she imagined. She felt optimistic for the first time that day.
“Mrs. Miller?” Bowen interrupted.
“Yes, Bowen.” Miller sounded slightly irritated, but not really. It was like she already knew what Bowen planned to ask.
“The new girl.” He looked at Rory expectantly.
“Rory.” She filled in her name for him.
“I think Rory needs help with the assignment, being new here and all,” Bowen said.
“Do you now?” Mrs. Miller looked at him over the top of her librarian glasses, not believing for a minute his intentions were pure. “Why would you say that? I’m sure she is a capable young lady.”
“You do have extremely high expectations,” Bowen replied, causing twitters of laughter to erupt from around the class. “And she has not been exposed to the inverted pyramid.”
Rory had no idea what that was, so maybe she did need Bowen’s help.
“So true. So true. You are a wise man Bowen Hesse. I believe it’s a good idea you pair up with Rory and demonstrate those high expectations.”
“Every time, Mrs. Miller.”
Mrs. Miller made a noise that did not sound at all teacher-like. “I expect a higher word count if you two are pairing up.”
“Really?” He smiled at Rory and she noticed a slightly crooked tooth in an otherwise perfect smile.
“Yes, really.” The teacher said through her own smile. He shrugged. “You got it. One hundred words at least.”
The class chortled in unison.
“You’re a jokester, Bowen. Class,” she addressed everyone now, “the minimum word count for this assignment is 750. Bowen, for you and Rory, it should be 1000 words.”
His blue eyes widened. Groans quickly replaced the recent giggles that had echoed through the room.
Class resumed, and Rory heard ideas for articles ranging from pumpkin carving to the best Halloween candy. With less than twenty minutes before the bell would ring, the class divided into groups based on the section of the newspaper or yearbook they wanted to write for. She was the exception. Rory watched as Bowen pulled his desk over to her. He stood two or three inches taller than her in his University of Connecticut basketball t-shirt and faded jeans.
“So you up for writing about the White Lady?”
“You don’t want to brainstorm other topics?” Rory was disappointed. She knew nothing of the local legend and hoped to do an article on something she had some background knowledge about.
“We can, but I have a great idea for a story on the ghost.”
“Really?” Rory didn’t want to lose the chance to work with Bowen and make a friend. “In that case, sure, but I don’t really know anything about her, being from the South.”
The broken record began to play. “Atlanta.”
“I want to know more. I’d like to go South one day.”
Bowen gave a non-committal shrug. His shirt climbed up his shoulder. The last words of his tattoo peeking out of the sleeve.
“What are you doing tonight?”
“Why?” Rory asked quietly.
“I can give you a crash course on the White Lady.” He ran a hand through his short, spiky hair. Disheveled, he looked slightly dangerous but even more attractive.
“Really?” Rory didn’t know where Bowen’s interest stemmed from. Back in Atlanta men like him would have left her — the bookworm, Honor Society, AP classes kind of student — alone, very alone.
“Sure.” He gave her a devilish wink.
Her heart stuttered. Her words followed. “Weellll, I have to have dinner with my aunt, but after that, I’m sure it will be okay.” She took a calming breath.
“Excellent.” A smile formed on Bowen’s lips. “That’ll be perfect. It will be dark when we go to the graveyard.”
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and holds an EdD in Educational Leadership. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and horse. She is the author of Apocalipstick and has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter.