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What We Forgot to Bury

The Perfect Stranger

Into the Night

All the Pretty Lies

The House without a Key

The Ruined Wife

The Girl That Got Away

Because You’re Mine

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2021 by Wilted Lilly LLC

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by Thomas & Mercer, Seattle


Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Thomas & Mercer are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates.

ISBN-13: 9781542022989

ISBN-10: 1542022983

Cover design by Anna Laytham

When I started writing this book, I never thought it would be from a mandated and not self-imposed quarantine or that we would witness a deadly virus straight out of a Stephen King novel, invading our lives and changing them in such fundamental ways. It has changed our routines and given most of us a “new normal.”

I’d like to dedicate this book to all the essential and nonessential workers on the front lines who have risked their lives to provide those at home the opportunity to do just that—stay at home. I am one of the lucky ones who was sick but not to the extent I required hospitalization.

A special dedication goes to Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, who died February 7, 2020, at the age of thirty-three. Not only was he the first whistleblower to try to alert the public and his fellow doctors about the virus, but he also ultimately succumbed to it.

He was punished for his actions by his own government.

He is survived by his wife, their young child, and, at the time of this writing, an unborn baby.




CHAPTER 1 Deborah

CHAPTER 2 Deborah

CHAPTER 3 Deborah

CHAPTER 4 Deborah

CHAPTER 5 Deborah


CHAPTER 6 Sibley

CHAPTER 7 Sibley

CHAPTER 8 Sibley

CHAPTER 9 Sibley

CHAPTER 10 Sibley

CHAPTER 11 Sibley

CHAPTER 12 Sibley

CHAPTER 13 Sibley

CHAPTER 14 Sibley


CHAPTER 15 Sibley

CHAPTER 16 Deborah

CHAPTER 17 Sibley

CHAPTER 18 Sibley

CHAPTER 19 Sibley

CHAPTER 20 Deborah

CHAPTER 21 Sibley

CHAPTER 22 Deborah

CHAPTER 23 Sibley

CHAPTER 24 Deborah

CHAPTER 25 Sibley

CHAPTER 26 Deborah

CHAPTER 27 Sibley

CHAPTER 28 Deborah

CHAPTER 29 Sibley

CHAPTER 30 Deborah

CHAPTER 31 Sibley

CHAPTER 32 Deborah

CHAPTER 33 Sibley

CHAPTER 34 Deborah

CHAPTER 35 Deborah

CHAPTER 36 Sibley

CHAPTER 37 Deborah

CHAPTER 38 Sibley

CHAPTER 39 Deborah

CHAPTER 40 Sibley

CHAPTER 41 Deborah

CHAPTER 42 Sibley

CHAPTER 43 Sibley

CHAPTER 44 Sibley

CHAPTER 45 Deborah

CHAPTER 46 Sibley

CHAPTER 47 Deborah

CHAPTER 48 Deborah

CHAPTER 49 Sibley

CHAPTER 50 Deborah

CHAPTER 51 Deborah

CHAPTER 52 Sibley

CHAPTER 53 Sibley

CHAPTER 54 Sibley

CHAPTER 55 Deborah





Six Months Ago

Getting the mail should be an easy feat, except in this case, it’s minus five degrees, and the blustery cold unavoidably renders Deborah’s limbs numb.

She can’t feel her face, even though it’s mostly covered by a wool scarf, and her toes are frozen stiff as she trudges through the deep snow.

It doesn’t help that the mailbox isn’t twenty feet away but at the end of a long, winding gravel driveway, smack dab in the middle of a colorless sky, a subtle hint more snow is on the way.

Groaning, she curses the dreary landscape.

The mailbox is the only vibrant speck in the distance, a forest-green metal container with a neon-orange flag that sticks out like a sore thumb in the drabness.

Midwesterners do this every cold season once the promise of sunshine and bearable temperatures arrives. They swear it’ll be their last, but the spring, summer, and fall make up for the bitter winter. By the time the last of the snow melts and the sunshine reappears, it’s a fading memory—out of sight, out of mind.

Deborah angrily tosses her head, the blast of cold air penetrating the thick material of her down coat. Her rail-thin frame is made hulking by the layers of clothing—a turtleneck, a heavy sweater, and a wool coat. If anyone spotted her barely five-foot stature, they’d think she was a miniature version of an adult, playing dress-up in her mother’s clothing.

Sticking her bulky glove inside the metal tin, she predicts bills and the hometown newspaper and, at her age, maybe an AARP magazine.

She’s not wrong, but there’s one more package—a manila envelope that takes up the width of the box but is thin, the edges creased to make room for it to fit.

She’s unable to grasp the mail firmly in her bulky glove, and a gust of wind almost takes the contents from her clumsy grip. She yanks her glove off with her mouth, and it’s mere seconds before her fingers succumb to the winter’s version of a sunburn—windburn.

The handwriting’s unrecognizable, though it appears feminine, due to the impeccable cursive spelling out of her address in broad swoops and curlicues.

No name is listed as the return sender, only a scribbled post office box.

Curious, but not enough to withstand any more blasts of wind, Deborah replaces her glove and lumbers back to the farmhouse, worn out and exhausted from her one errand of the day, the trek down the driveway exacerbating her depressing outlook on the unchanged scenery.

After cranking the thermostat to a temperature on par with a kiln, she curls up underneath an heirloom quilt from her deceased mother and sorts through the other mail before carefully opening the slim package.

Deborah gasps when a single picture falls into her lap.

Her hands shake as she scans the letter written on pale-yellow stationery.

No, this can’t be.

This is too unbelievable.

Teetering between clutching it securely in her fist and gently examining it, she instead smooths the creases with her fingertips. The photograph’s wrinkled, having been folded up and then flattened out. The lines draw a likeness to the worry etched on her face, all the years she can’t erase of

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