My Brother’s Dominatrix

Women's Fiction

When Joanna’s twin brother, Jem, dies of an unexpected heart attack, she’s shocked to find he’s left everything to his dominatrix. Joanna, his executor, steels herself. She contacts Angelica Belle and together they visit the Chapel of Rest. But who is in the coffin?

Extract from Novel 

‘Jeremy was my twin brother…’ I glance at Jem’s portrait propped on the easel beside the coffin, while the horseshoe of family and work colleagues wait expectantly. Must stay focused.

‘When we were seven…’ I recount a funny story of our escapades. I tell of Jem’s fascination with volcanos, his obsession for Star Trek. When I get to the part about dressing him up in a tutu, they laugh. I want to howl. Was it my fault?

Jem always insisted he wanted a humanist funeral – it’s called a civil ceremony now. Funny, I thought that was a term reserved for weddings. He’d joked he wanted ‘Highway to Hell’ played at his funeral but our older sister Penelope vetoed it. She’s a Christian – she’s allowed one veto.

‘Jeremy was well regarded at work.’ His work colleagues nod encouragingly. An older lady dabs her eye with a tissue. ‘He was kind and patient, always at the end of a phone.’

I could tell them the truth. I could stand here right now and tell them everything… But I don’t. Instead I signal to my son and Pink Floyd’s Breathe floats through the speakers while images of Van Gogh’s paintings fill the screen.

This is supposed to be a time for reflection. My eyes travel across the heads of people and I find myself counting, thirty-seven, thirty-eight. Fifty percent family while his work colleagues cluster together in solidarity. Are they really Jem’s friends? Lurking at the back are others I can’t identify.

Afterwards I invite people to stay for a cuppa and a chat. People wait to speak, gushing with condolences, clasping my hand and engaging me with earnest eyes as they tell me how wonderful Jem was.

I smile back, scanning the room to locate my daughter. She’s offering around plates of biscuits. I want to check the time but my watch has slipped around my wrist. Why don’t they just go? I have so much to do.

An appointment at the bank to try and ascertain what assets, if any, Jem had. And after that I’m meeting with my brother’s dominatrix.

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