Ebenezer is a small crossroad's community, located in the hill country of Mississippi. The hamlet can boost of around one hundred or so families, two small churches and two general stores and one carwash. If you your traveling down route fourteen and take a right at the crossroad's and travel say a quarter of the mile more. You will find on the left-hand side of the road a small country church. The church is a boxed wooden church that looks like something straight from the history books. Behind the church is a small graveyard.
Here in the graveyard, you will find a number of people, most of them passed members. My mother, the late Lisa Rebecca Brewer, who was buried here last year. Its been almost one year since my mother was killed in a car wreck. That wreck changed my life in so many ways, for one it freed me since my mother would have never approved of me becoming 'Madeline'. two, it caused my sister Kayla to reenter my life. Three, it caused me to move from the Capital to Benton, four because I was in Benton, I was allowed to live more freely as 'Madeline' and five, because I was allowed to live as Madeline I become a better person.
But Lisa, for good or for ill had still been my mother. So a few days before Christmas eve, my sister and I had loaded up and drove the eighteen or nineteen so miles down the narrow, crooked, poorly paved and rarely maintained country roads. To this, this tiny outpost of mankind, it was time as my sister had said for both of us to put the past firmly behind us. And she was right. If I never made peace with the past, how could I ever live for the future?
The sky that day was gray and overshadowed. A cold wind from the north blew across the barren fields. An early morning frost has coated the land in ice and caused the brown and yellow grass to crunch under my feet. The gravestones were covered in ice.
"Its colder than a trench diggers bottom," Kayla said as she stepped out of the car and wrapped her arms around her. Her breath turned to smoke. "Come on sis, let's make this quick. This is redneck country."
I rolled my eyes a little. If you look at me and my sister you'll both call us rednecks, despite one having a girlfriend and me being transgender. We both live on a farm, we both work with our hands, My sister owns and operates a Christmas tree farm and does some small time farming on the side. I work part-time in a small bakery in town. Plus, I fished and did a little gardening on the side.
"Like Benton, not redneck country?" I said stepping out of the car. The cold breath of winter slapped me right across the face and caused me to shiver as I closed the door and started to walk across the frost-covered field. The dead grass crunched under my foot and the wind blew harder and harder with each step I took. It was like the wind was trying to push me back.
"Benton is.. Benton is a mini Yazoo City. And Yazoo City a mini Jackson." My sister said in response to quip. She speeded up and soon she was standing beside me, I know because I felt her hand reach down and swat my backside. The minute I felt the sting of her open palm was the minute I felt a blush form across my cheeks. It was a clear warning shot.
"I don't like it," I said after we walked a few yards from the parked car. "This whole area seems wrong, like where being watched by something or someone," I said finally after a few tense moments of silence.
"I don't like this place at all," Kayla said taking a deep breath. "Mom loved it here, I always hated it. To many hollows. People can go missing here you know, and they'll never find them. Plus there that urban legend about that old black truck that's supposed to haunt these roads. That always gave me the creeps."
I shifted my eyes toward my sister. And then away from her to the graves that surrounded us. Now I love ghost stories as well as the next teen. But being in a graveyard, in rural Mississippi, in the middle of winter and in the middle of hillbilly country is not the ideal place to be sharing something spooky with me. Okay maybe it is, but now. No.
"Let just find her grave and get this over with.." I said taking a deep breath.
"Agreed. And let's get back to Benton." My sister said nodding her head.
And so, She and I started to make our way through the graveyard. Passing old wither headstones and new ones alike, till at last, we came to a new marker that read 'Lisa Rebecca Brewer' under that was written 'Sunrise August 8th, 1979. Sunset December 18th, 2017'. And finally under 'Rest in Peace'.
"I wonder if she really resting in peace.." I said peering down at the gravestone.
"I don't know sister, I guess its not for us to know," Kayla said shrugging her shoulders. "The Lord be with you."
"And with our spirit," I responded as I crossed myself.
"Let us pray," Kayla said taking a deep breath as she crossed herself as well. A moment of silence passed before Kayla opened her mouth and in a loud, clear tone of voice called out.
"Lord, we ask you to shine your light on our departed mother Lisa Rebecca Brewer. It's hard, she was not the best mother to us. She was not really a mom. But she, none the less was our mother. Therefore we ask, that you shine down upon your light upon her soul. And comfort all those who grieve for her passing and morn her death." Kayla prayed. She then gave my hand a squeeze. A signal that it was my time to add a few words.
"Mom," I called out, Gotta love being Anglo-catholic, addressing the dead directly and all that good jazz. "I know, you kind of flipped out on me. But mom, I was supposed to become Madeline, my life's turned around so much since I've started down this road. Sure it has been rough in places, but everybody been so supportive of me and we'll. I know the night we died, we said some pretty mean things to each other. But, I just wanted to tell you. That I love you, I still do and I miss you."
We both paused and then we both sighed.
"Mom." Kayla started. "I know you disowned me because of something I could not help. But as Madeline said, life's gotten better for me. I finished collaged, I own a thriving business now. I have a loving girlfriend. And we'll I forgive you. I forgive you for all the dumb, hurtful things you did to me back then. I hope, that where ever you are, you find peace.."
And with that, we both paused again and then under our breath we muttered 'The Lords Prayer' and are little session came to an end.
Kayla and I stood there for a good long minute, peering at the gravestone, Kayla shifted her weight back and forth and I just stood there peering down at the stone.
"Well, I guess we should be going now.." I said turning toward my sister.
"Yes. We should let's get home and get some pizza." She said reaching over and ruffling my hair. "What do you say kiddo? My treat?"
I nodded my head and then I looked over the shoulder and noticed that standing behind the tombstone that belonged to my mother was a woman, who looked just like her. Only everything about her was gray and black. She looked tired and her eyes seemed moist like she had been crying a lot. Her dress was what shocked the most, she had been wearing that dress the night she died. The longer I stared at her, the more I noticed she was indeed crying. She was reaching out to me as if she wanted to hold me one more time.
Then as quick as the phantom appeared it started to fade away, starting at her bottom and working upward. Like ash being blown away in the wind, her form started to vanish. But before her face vanished, I swore I heard her say. 'I love you. I'm so sorry..' And with that, she vanished like dust.
"Come on sis.." I said reaching down and taking her hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. Then walking side by side we started to walk toward the car.