It was a long, bitter winter the January that Emma Pratt died. It was the coldest winter on record, far colder than anyone could recall. An embolism took her life, the rumour around town being that she collapsed in the back room of her shop; that she blacked out on the floor and it was the cold that really killed her. It was lucky to be so cold out. The wind and snow coming from the back door, propped open to rid the cigarette smoke from the air as she readied herself to leave, caused her body to freeze overnight, keeping away the decomposition smell of a corpse until some teenagers found her a few days later, rigid, glassy-eyed, frozen cigarette still half dangling from her mouth.
The funeral took a few days to arrange. The ground was frozen solid, and no amount of hard work or prying could get it to budge. The deceased had left no wishes for funeral arrangements- only a simple will stating that her niece was to get everything. The town was unable to reach the niece until that spring, after the ground had thawed. After they had cremated Emma Pratt and she sat, her ashes in a simple clay pot of her own making, on the mayor's desk in his home office.