Tag: Death

Lost in Transition by Leslie Wolfe

Francine usually avoided baggage claim, especially after an international flight arrived. The palpable, cranky energy that rolled off the living as they watched other people’s luggage bump down the ramp was enough to put her on edge for days. She ignored the red flags her brain flung out and held her ground, waiting. Again.

Hours passed. When even the security guards were dozing in their uncomfortable chairs, the baggage conveyor belt’s fogged plastic flaps parted to admit an abandoned duffel. An ethereal shape draped itself over it, quickly apparent as a diaphanous, boy-sized human that leaped off the carousel and ran to Francine. “You’re back!”

Burying the Dead by Abigail Seltzer

There was some confusion about where Carole should sit. She had ordered five low mourners’ chairs, but the rabbi (who had stayed far too long as it was) explained yet again that Jewish law did not permit ex-wives to sit on mourner’s chairs, even if they had been married to the deceased for nearly thirty years. She could, if she wanted, sit near her ex-brother-in-law and her daughters, but not next to them. She was only there as a comforter of mourners, not as a mourner. As he put on his high black hat to leave, he reminded her to cover her mirrors, as was required for a house of mourning.

‘All the mirrors,’ he added, with the air of a man who knew a rule-breaker when he saw one.

Father’s Acrylic Gunshot by Jazeen Hollings

My father’s finger nail bed, picked raw from worry, would’ve hugged the trigger of the gun. After hesitating, maybe not, the finger would’ve curled shut. The gun would’ve erupted, its bullet would’ve split his temple. No matter how long he had planned to end his life, even he couldn’t have escaped the surprise of death, which would have eventually trickled away, the deep crease of his brown unfurling, finally soft.

It had probably been a moan not a shot. A tired exhale.

This is what I thought of, in the middle of the quiet and dark hospital room, as I cradled my newborn son.

The Funeral by Ecem Yucel

My mother was born into a family that believed in all kinds of superstitions. Growing up, whenever we were alone, I’d watch her pray to her Gods and perform small rituals to be protected from evil. She would never place two mirrors facing each other for instance, believing that the infinite reflections in each mirror would open a gateway for the devil. If she accidentally spilled some salt, she’d take a pinch of it and throw it over her left shoulder to undo the bad luck and repel the devil. She would change her way if she saw a black cat on the street and knock on wood every time she or someone else mentioned something unfortunate, such as accidents, illnesses, or bad fortune.

“It wasn’t just my family,” she told me once. “Everyone in my village believed in them. They lived their lives accordingly.”

Lone Bird by Beth Kanter

Her feet always showed her age more than the rest of her body. Dried blister atop dried blister, flaking skin; a bone spur adding dimension to her little toe. I cradle her foot in my hands and began to massage it starting with the toes and working my way down to the heel. Slowly and evenly I make circular motions with my thumbs, kneading the cold flesh of the woman who raised me. Everyone needs a little pampering. What you don’t get in life, you should get in death.

Middle Distance by D.B. Miller

My neighbor had a baby once. That much, I got. Just like I got the cup of coffee more or less how I wanted it. Last week, at a different café, I ordered iced coffee but was served black coffee with a sinking scoop of ice cream on top. The waitress smirked at my accent, too, which made me want to flip over her tray.

My neighbor describes the circumstances leading up to the moment she could no longer say she had a baby. It happened a while ago. I’m not sure about the rest because my class just finished Unit 8 and, judging from the syllable count, her words are sophisticated and come from Unit 20, possibly even Unit 35.  

Marrowbone Creek by D.W. Davis

We set up camp by the creek. As I was stoking a fire, the sheriff told us the name. “Not sure why it’s called that,” he said. “The name just stuck once, the way they do sometimes.”

There were five of us, an uncomfortably large number. Normally it was just Wilcox and myself, which could be uncomfortable all its own, depending on his mood. He normally kept to himself, hidden behind his beard and grizzly frame, a hulking man who kept his Winchester carbine closer than most mothers did their children. The others in our party were Sheriff John Walken, a man of indeterminate age but whose way of carrying himself suggested he’d seen plenty of action, perhaps on both sides of the law; Nadine Effins, a thin waif of a young woman whom Wilcox and I had been hired by the sheriff to rescue; and Miles Myerscough, the man who’d kidnapped her. That Myerscough still breathed surprised me; Wilcox had a tendency to kill men like that without hesitation, either through some flawed moral principle or, just as likely, enjoyment.