Clay Among the Stars, beginning

The realm of Jacky Clothilde and her friends

Prologue

Clay Gilbert stood through the whole ceremony. It wasn’t terribly long, and it wasn’t intentionally moving, but he was wiping a tear by the time it was over and his father’s ashes were scattered to the sea. He turned from the funeral dock, turned and faced the headland.

A hand grasped his. “Hey Clay,” said his older sister, Marie, “going to be okay?”

“I think so,” said Clay.

Another hand took his other hand. He looked down: Yvette, Marie’s kid, gave him a quick smile and then looked up meaningfully at the top of the broken mountain. “Is that an old castle there?” she asked. “Was there a castle up there when you were little?”

“No,” said Clay, “it’s just a lookout tower. It’s pretty ruined.” He looked up to the rounded stony peak overlooking the harbor and remembered looking down from there as a child, maybe Yvette’s age…

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