The sin-eater was tall, almost a head taller than anyone else in the room, and a malnourished-looking skinny. His biceps and triceps were thin slivers of overly tenderized skirt steak glued to either side of his humerus. A cheap fleece-lined hunting jacket hung across his too-thin shoulders. It was probably green, but filth and exposure had rendered it a vague shade of dark something and gray-nothing bits of stuffing poked through the various slits and holes. Underneath the jacket was a white t-shirt with a capital ‘A’ on it that could have been the anarchy symbol or a poorly drawn pentagram or even the beginnings of a mediocre attempt at Aerosmith’s logo. His jeans were in shambles, worn through in multiple places and so thoroughly caked with dirt as to look like they had been brought straight from the sweatshop pre-dirtied. His boots were almost entirely covered in various dark shades of duct tape. Creased, dirty, and sun-baked, his face matched his clothes. His crooked nose was too flat, his cheekbones pressed against his skin too hard, and his chin came to a point. His eyes were small and dark and hid beneath heavy brows and his hair stopped at his jaw line as if raggedly sheared by the sharp edge kept by his jawbone. He leaned against the wall and flurries of dust shotgunned off.
Half the room started checking their shoelaces and the other half checked the wallpaper for tears. One person made eye contact and offered a nod and a strained facsimile of a smile in return. Mary Whitaker was the stout head of the Whitaker family and was determined not to show superstitious fear in front of anyone. She was not so determined, however, that she would offer the sin-eater a handshake. Whereas the sin-eater could have been hung up on a wooden post in a cornfield, Mary Whitaker could have been rolled down the hallway like Violet Beauregard—if the roller was willing to lose the hands with which they rolled and then be strangled with them.