littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


Leave a comment

Death on my Mind

Your heart was slow in your chest. You were withered, old, and grey. And your younger sister was clutching your hand beside the bed.

“How do you feel?” she asked.

“How do you feel?” you retorted.

“Seriously.”

“Seriously, it doesn’t matter how I feel. My death isn’t about me. It’s about you.”

She looked at you disbelievingly, pitying.

“No one’s death is really about them,” you continue. “Except for those who really have no one, no one to care. Then their death is about them, because they’ll have no one else to carry them. Just a last flash in the pan, then they’re gone. But you care,” you said. “And soon it won’t matter how I feel, cause I’ll be dead. These’ll be my last words. And then you’ll be alone, to suffer. How can that feel?”

She squeezed your hand. “You’re still alive. You still matter, to me.”

“I know.” You stare back into her face, unshed tears in your eyes, and squeeze back. “I’m afraid to go. My mind… I don’t want to lose it.”

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste,” she quoted at you with humour, and you smile.

“Indeed.”

You felt yourself slip away, and squeezed her hand tighter. “It’s been real,” you said, unironically. It comes out sincere, full of emotion. “I just wish I had been real for longer, instead of burying it so deep I lost it. You were the one exception.”

“Sisters,” she said, “duh.”

“Yeah, I know. But still.”

She looked at me, eyes soft. “I know.”

“Will you care when I go? When mum died…”

“Of course I will. You’re my sister. Anyway, you remember I cried when dad died.”

“Just checking.”

“You’re the only one I have left,” she said.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I was glad to have you as a sister. Still am.”

“Thanks.” You allowed a tear to slide down your face before closing your eyes to sleep; to die.

Advertisements


4 Comments

A Sombre Drama… My First Funeral

Recently, my nanna died. I’ve been tossing up whether to write about this or not, but I feel like I just had to.

A little backstory: Because of something my dad did years ago, we’ve been cut out of his family’s lives. It was a stupid decision, one felt not to be in nanna’s proper interests, and one that made him — and the rest of us, by association — hated by them. They didn’t even tell him four years ago when one of them died.

So recently, we travelled down from the Sunshine Coast where we live (except for my sister, who lives in Brisbane) to go to nanna’s funeral. Gladly, we weren’t hit by outright abuse; two of the women closest to nanna (known hereafter as V and A) simply treated us civilly. One of them, though, an old friend of nanna’s, slipped dad a hate note just before the service. So now, at least we’re clear on their feelings against us…

For clarity, I’ll be keeping certain members anonymous, by referring to them by the first letter of their names.

This is my story.

We were the first behind the hearse. After everyone had arrived, it was now time to drive to the grave site. Aunt A and K were there, and they’d seemed civil enough, but all I could help thinking was how Anne must feel about us being first. Dad had arranged the funeral too; no doubt she probably thought that was her area.

“Are we going the right way?” asked mum out loud.

“I don’t know,” said dad. “I think the driver must be a little confused… I don’t think we came through this way before…”

Actually, we had. I recognised the rows of Jewish graves that we had passed, now out the left window.

I was just wording my response in my head, sorting out the markers in my head when mum exclaimed, “Oh, yes we did! We passed that Russian building before…”

It was more like a huge gazebo, with pointed dome shapes for window frames. It was blue and white, with a bench inside the middle.

And she was right, of course, we had passed it. But I could’ve told her that we had passed this whole section if I’d told them earlier. Speaking of which, why didn’t I? What was it exactly that I saw before…

We arrived soon, and parked away close by. I took the bouquet we’d bought earlier, half carnations and half yellow roses, and carried it over.

The reverend, who was now there and dressed in his long white garb, looked at me as I arrived. “Will you be placing that with the coffin?”

I looked around at my family and mum filled in the question. She then took the flowers away, and opened up the wrapping. She wanted each of us to take a flower. Dad and I took a carnation; mum and Kristi took a yellow rose.

Mum hastily or messily wrapped the bouquet up again and placed it on a field of green tarp where a number of other bouquets had been placed. It looked haggard compared to the others.

As we stood around, waiting for everyone to arrive and the service to start, nanna’s old friend V slipped a note into dad’s suit pants pocket. “To be read after ther funeral,” she said. It sounded important.

Casting the odd sight aside, I took my position facing the modern line of graves, where the reverend would be addressing an intimate audience of those seven of us and nanna’s nurses at the home where she’d spent the last years of her life.

“Mina lived for 91 years. Now, looking around at all the faces here, I can see all kinds of people who knew her. She was a wonderful sister, mother, wife, grandmother and friend. Everyone here will have different memories of her, but I doubt that everyone here will have known her for all of those 91 years.”

“Hm,” I agreed, nodding.

“I give my deepest condolences to those she left behind, Ken, Tami, Kristi, Ashley and –”

My attention perked up at the mention of my name, and as I finished listening to the names he gave, I noticed he didn’t say A’s. She wouldn’t like that, either I thought.

I looked over at her. She was leaning into K, an open frown on her face, her eyes rimmed with tears. That made sense, at least. She loved nanna, it was the whole reason she hated dad, and what was a funeral without tears and mourning?

The reverend had now started on a list of meaningless events that had happened on the year she was born, 1921. I didn’t think that would help anyone, certainly not A, with her memory. I tried to listen anyway, but these things meant nothing to me. I don’t know so much about the 20s.

Then he handed it over to dad, who took charge as he always does. The first thing he said was bring up one of those events, the only one I really heard, “because Mina really liked that. In reality, she was just like The Little Rascals too…”

And proceeded to tell a story I never knew, that nanna had apparently told all the time, about how she or someone else had lopped off the toe end of someone’s shoes…

As the service went on, and the reverend started to speak again, I remained silent, even through the prayers, playing with the leaves of my flower, looking over at A a few more times, who didn’t change much.

Then finally, “I see that some of you have flowers. Would you like to place them on top of the coffin?”

I had seen it happen, that the tarp with everyone’s bouquets had been laid aside and that the coffin had been placed on two flat bars over the open grave and looped through with rope.

Dad went first then, nervously, me. Everyone else with flowers lined up after and had their turn, and my family grouped up on the other side.

When all the flowers had been placed against the coffins bouquet, the coffin was held with the ropes, the bars removed, the coffin lowered.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”

Finally, the tarp, placed over a metal grate, covered the grave. The service was over.

People gathered in groups now, talking. I saw A take her and K’s bouquet off the tarp and offer it to the nurses at nanna’s old home. In turn, others also took their bouquets away. Only ours remained. Mum thought, and I agreed, that nanna should have at least one bouquet for herself. Messy as it was, it was hers now…

A soon cheered up after the service at least when I saw her talking with the others, and eventually she made her way to us. She learned that Kristi had gotten married last year, to great excitement and congratulations on her part. Then she asked me what I was I was up to. Great.

“She’s currently looking for work right now…” mum filled in for me. “And she’s also writing a book.”

“Oh, what’s it about?”

I looked down. In the first place, I was too embarrassed to mention the book. In the second, I always had trouble with that question, even if I knew.

“Vampires,” said mum.

“Oh…” said A, distaste in her voice.

I shrugged. Whatever. It didn’t change the fact that Dawn’s a lot like Anne.

A hugged Dad and Kristi when we left. I was afraid to go in for a hug in case she didn’t want to. “Do you mind if I hug you?” mum asked.

“I do mind, actually,” said A, seeming to hug herself in discomfort.

I nodded. Fair enough.

In the car, though, we found out what V’s letter had been. “I can’t believe that she lumped me in with you,” mum fretted. Soon I learned what she meant. “The letter. She told us both to rot in hell.”


Leave a comment

Daily Post: Dystopian Writing Challenge

From the Daily Post , inspired by this source.

She stared out the barred window with a sigh. With her hand over her pink triangle, she watched the wind blow through the green, tear-shaped leaves. It was strange how the architects of this building could manage to make this hospital look so modern, yet so restricting.

This wasn’t an old fashion; it seemed hate was the new black. Or it had been, since Hitler took over the world. She took little consolation in the fact that the world’s population was down since the war that changed everything; in fact, it was a burden.

She just wanted somebody to love. Why did it matter so much that it was a woman that she would love? Even without Hitler, the world remained in the hands of the Nazi party. And most people, people like her, were too afraid to rebel. He’d killed everyone who rebelled.

She was just determined sick, stuck in this institute, and hidden from the world.

She rubbed her knee, imagining someone else there. Anyone else, someone to help comfort her through these bittersweet times.

No one was coming to rescue her. No one.

“Come on…” said the nurse at her side, forcing her to her feet slowly.

“What?” she replied, reacting slower than her body, already standing up.

“We’re rounding everybody up to go outside…” the nurse said.

She smiled. That nature, that freedom that she’d dreamed of just moments before… it was coming. Was there a hero out there after all?

As she squeezed out the front door, and unusual pressure enveloped her hand. She looked down at it, to see her other dream come true. Looking up to the person holding it, she smiled back at the face that greeted her.

“We can do it, just me and you,” said Val. She squeezed her hand. “I’ve always loved you.”

She almost melted, but remained firm on her feet even while her chest fluttered like warm caramel. “Me and you,” she said.

They weren’t free. As they reached the front garden, the staff chained the arms and legs of every woman there together, as they sorted everyone into lines. Val and Zoe stood beside each other.

We’re not leaving, she thought. Till death… She never thought it was possible… But now that she knew how Val felt, after all these years, she couldn’t go.

Not now, not ever. Not even if it meant…

A line of gunmen lined up against them. Heavily uniform, red armbands on each left arm, rifles casually at their sides.

Something must have happened. The world wasn’t willing to keep them alive anymore. Just a bunch of old dykes, no one cared about them.

She wondered if these same gunmen had been on duty all days, killing sick people like her. She imagined all the gay men in the hospital, the ones she’d met and talked to each day. Bullets splatting their blood, heads knocked back, brains flying.

It was a disgusting thought. She squeezed Val’s hand tighter.

She squeezed back. “Don’t worry, Zoe. I love you.”

And that was enough to distract her. No more did she think about bloody bodies. Now all that was on her mind was all the things she never got to do with Val. All the kisses, all the touches, all the rest of it…

And in her mind, she smiled back again, telling Val she loved her. Zoe was only too aware she didn’t, had never gotten a chance to fall in love with Val,  but if she had, it would’ve been enough.

She could’ve been happy, just with that. Instead spending her last days mourning for the life she lost long ago; the one she never even had. Turns out it was up to her, all along. She wished she’d known that before.

The gunmen raised their double-barrels onto their shoulders, ready to fire.

She took a deep breath, counting along to herself. 3… 2… 1…

A jolt of black wracked her. She began to fall.


4 Comments

Trifecta – Zombies

He staggered, eyes closed against an ugly painful world.

At least he could shut out the horrors. My death flashed before me.

I cried, screamed. Kicked. Funny that, clinging to my misery.

Instinct.

Prompt taken from Trifecta, where you can vote for the next seven hours. Written based on the picture alone; I didn’t read the story behind it until later.

In 1937, a naked woman was found limping through the streets of Haiti.  Upon interrogation, she was unable to give any details as to her identity.  The woman was eventually identified in hospital as Felicia Felix-Mentor.  The only issue is that Felicia Felix-Mentor had been dead for nearly twenty years.  Felicia was, therefore, a zombie.”


Leave a comment

The Ivan Project, #30

She couldn’t erase the memory.

Her grandfather in his dingy little room, glaring at her with that determination. The blaze that jumped from his hand, to kill himself — or to kill her.

Why would someone so old even bother with suicide? Why, after a full life? More importantly, did anyone care?

Most suicidals don’t think anyone would, including her. She had to know…

She moved slowly through space like it would catch her, dazed by the tragic mourners. Why did they care about someone so old? Wasn’t his time coming, anyway? Surely, there could be no love left for someone so passed his prime?

Yet here was the proof. Somehow, something in him had still lived in their hearts, some lingering identity.

None of them knew his death could be anything other than senility and a forgotten cigarette light. She knew better.

People kept asking her what happened. She kept lying.

His last moment remained secret. She could’ve saved him. She didn’t, because she knew how it felt to want to die.

Even knowing, she still wanted it.

She didn’t want anyone to stop her, either. The last thing she wanted was all those judging faces from a failed attempt.