(This is the first 250-ish words of my work in progress, a YA historical fiction, posted here for comments and critiques in Michelle Hauck’s Fall First Page Blog Hop)
I, Joan Price, was born to treason. ‘Twas at my father’s funeral I realized it. If I did not choose between betraying my country and betraying my conscience, I would betray them both. Just as he had.
Our parish gave my father a Protestant funeral—buried on holy ground but unshriven, without the benefit of a priest or last rites. Rain mingled with my tears as shovelfuls of mud thumped on the coffin. I pulled the hood of my wool cloak lower to hide the depths of my anger and grief. They were a window into my treasonous thoughts, and anyone might be a spy for Queen Elizabeth.
Some of the other mourners owned the implements to give my father a proper Catholic funeral, bring peace to his soul and mine, but they were too frightened to bring the bells and candles from their hiding places. Too frightened to sing or pray. I glared at them from the safety of my hood, but none even glanced at me. White-livered cowards, every one.
And I the greatest coward of all, for I said nothing. The thought of the gallows choked off my protests. Where was my loyalty?
Blessed Mary forgive me.
Songs for the deceased were forbidden, but I was Welsh. I would sooner give up breathing than singing. As they dumped the last muddy earth over my father’s final resting place, I quietly hummed the Requiem Mass and repeated the lyrics in my mind.