Tag Archives: death

The Bus Trip to Heaven – a short story.

The bus wound its way the edge of the cliff. Precariously positioned on the narrow road, it was an odd feeling, considering when she looked out of the opposite window, there were rolling green hills, with animals and houses dotted around. She had never been to such a place, and the sheer beauty (as well as the sheer size of the cliff) took her breath away. At every corner there was a new view, another mountain in the distance, a waterfall that seemingly springs from nowhere, a village tucked away in the foothills. Strange yes, but somehow it all made total sense. It was every beautiful scene she had ever seen or dreamed of, all in the one place.

They had been driving now for several hours, and what surprised her the most was the other passengers. Some were completely ignoring the view, others looked bored and some like herself, that were spellbound.
Except for one. A young man sat near the front, facing away for her, not moving. Still as a statue. But she could see his reflection and his face was constant movement of emotions. Like her own she imagined, but his was different, as though this was a strange new world, and he was almost scared of the trip. Maybe it was a certain naivety on his behalf. She wondered why he would be scared, seeing views like this would not mean something scary at the end of the road.

The road started climbing into the hills next to them, winding in and around the natural shape of the earth. Ahead of them lay a large area of bush land and looking closely, she could see the road disappear into the darkness. The road kept winding, feeling almost as though it were tying them in a knot. She started to feel dizzy, no lights anywhere, and with no certainty of their direction the bus suddenly felt stiflingly closed in. “Will it ever end?” was her thought on the cusp of fainting.
Rounding one last bend and the sunlight appeared as if out of nowhere, and between the faint feeling and the sudden light, her head started pounding with an impending headache. “Seriously, just what I need” she whispered to herself whilst reaching for her water bottle. Where was her water bottle? She was sure she had bought it with. That was really annoying.

Looking around she was surprised by the other passengers, still, unimpressed by the beauty of the place. Why, how could you not be affected by this.
It was then she noticed it. The young man was no longer in his seat. She looked all over the bus, front and back. No, he wasn’t anywhere. Where did he go? And what about the two kids behind her, and the old lady on the back seat.
She tried to call out, but no voice came. She tried again. Still, no voice. Standing up from her seat, although it was more like she was floating, in a panic she tried to call out, to get someone’s attention. Nothing would come out, and it was as though no one could see her.
The driver had seen her and after she started to approach him, he called out, and in an instant she was back in her seat. How did that happen, she hadn’t moved and yet she was again seated. And it was also then she realised how quiet it was. there was no noise, no engine from the bus, no chattering. What was this place, she pinched herself, was she in a dream. More like a nightmare.
She started shaking uncontrollably, scared, until an older lady sat beside her, calming her with a touch.
“It’s ok my dear, we all have to take this trip, it’s been so long since I was here, but now it’s your time. Don’t be scared now”
She looked up “Grandma! What are you doing here?.. but you’re dea..how did you get here…?”
“Yes dear, remember when you were just a child, of 8 if I remember, and I was in the hospital. You brought me a picture you drew, flowers, and us both dancing in the sunshine”
Sitting in stunned silence, she looked at her grandma, who looked exactly like she had 10 years earlier.
There were no words for such a long time, it felt like an eternity. The understanding crept in, and she remembered exactly where her body was.
“Where are we? What is this place?”
“On our way to Heaven dear. I’ve been sent to help you through. As with everyone here, they have their helpers, a guide if you will. Some have left already, and the young man you were watching, he’s still alive, it’s why he was so scared, it wasn’t his time yet. You’re nearly ready, and we’re nearly there”
Heaven? No, not now.
“But.. my family, mum and dad…” her voice trailed away, even though it was all just thoughts.
“They’ll be fine my dear, they’ve come to accept your passing is inevitable. They’ll survive, in time”

They rounded another bend before she could say anything else and the view that greeted them was beyond anything in her wildest dreams. The sight was such she swore she could hear the angel song of harps, and the butterflies and flowers all around made her heart sing.

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The family stood huddled around her bed, tears threatening each of them. A woman sat close, holding the hand of her daughter watching her chest rising and falling gently, slowing. “I wonder if grandma is there with her, I hope so” a young man, her brother, stated, “it would make her feel comfortable, welcome”
They had been here with her for several days, the illness had ravaged her body, and it was about to take the last vestige of life. She was too young to go, but they knew this day was coming, had prepared for it. They would survive, slowly learn to move on. To live again.
Her body stirred, and she took one last breath, a sharp intake of air and then… nothing. Her chest stopped moving, her eyes settled beneath her closed lids and a single tear rolled down her cheek.

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Hope you enjoyed that one which started out as they tend to do, on another track altogether.
Jen 🙂

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Slug – poem

Small and brown.
Almost unseen by
Unforgiving feet,
Squishing, flattening.
Dying.
Slippery and gooey,
Sliding silently across the grass,
Never to know it’s fate,
Eating cabbage leaves,
Grasses and plants.
Hiding under rocks,
Eyes drawn in
away from danger,
As yet unseen.
Coming out at night,
Slippery, sliding, messy.
Leaving behind only,
A trail of slime,
shiny and sticky.

Yet another from high school, this time I’ve shortened the original.

Jen.

A family broken – short(ish) story.

She watched the cars make their way up the driveway. She knew what they would say. How sorry they were about her parents. How they would do anything for her if she needed it. She would only have to call.  She had heard all this years before at her grandparents funeral. Hollow promises, no one ever came back. No one rang, or stopped her in the street. They didn’t care. It was all crocodile tears.
She wondered where she would go now. There were no siblings to worry about. And of all these relatives there were none she wanted to spend time with, let alone those who would be the slightest bit interested. She was too different. A non conformer, the black sheep.
She wondered what would happen to the house, she couldn’t live in it on her own although the thought was appealing.  It would no doubt be sold, the servants along with it.  Pulling a face at that thought, she turned and went back to the house and up the old back staircase to her room.
The voices in the formal dining below carried and she could hear most of what they were saying.
“Where is she, she should be down here, the boys wanted to meet her…”
“Who will take her now, we looked at things, and can’t afford another person..”
“her parents would be ashamed of how she’s acting, how rude to not even greet us…”

The youngest of the help came up the stairs, her light foot steps barely making any noise.
“Did you want something to eat? I’ll leave it by the door for when you’re ready…”
The foot steps retreated and within minutes loud voices make her sit bolt upright from her bed.
“What do mean no one wants her? She is a capable young lady who needs love and care, one of you must be able to take her in…”
There were other slightly muted comments followed by a slammed door.
She looked out of the window in time to see an older man in a well cut suit walk across the driveway, and lean against a tree.  She was intrigued. He walked with purpose, with confidence. There was an air about him that exuded a no nonsense approach to things.  There was also something familiar about him. She knew she hadn’t met him before. Oh, you couldn’t forget that face in a hurry.
Panicking briefly at the sight of smoke before realising it was a cigarette, she wondered who he was. He hadn’t sounded like any of the relatives, but again, something in his voice was familiar.  He could have been one of the older cousins, she hadn’t seen them for some time.  But, no, that was not it, and none of them sounded that nice.  Scanning the cars it was easy to pick which one could have been his. While the yard was full of prestige vehicles, it was a Jag that stood out, not least of all because it was definitely the newest.

The photos were a comfort. The funny portraits she’d taken of them all, the personal, private side of her parents. Sarah and James. A side that only ever came out when they were together as a family.  They were her memories to treasure forever, no one else would ever get to see them.
Putting the book away she listened intently, there were only murmers and the clinking of cups and saucers. The tray was still outside her door, petite sandwiches and mini savouries.  Her favourite. Although not hungry, she sat on the stairs and nibbled, listening to the conversation that drifted her way.
The man had come back in and she could hear his voice above the others, not from being raised, just the timbre of it.  It was a nice voice, she could listen to it all day. The lilt of a long gone accent, the richness, it was soothing.  That must be why she hadn’t recognised him, he travelled, or wasn’t from around here.
The talk had changed again, now it was about the kids and what amazing things they had done, places they were travelling to, boring stuff.  Being rich had its downfalls sometimes. So much superficial shit. Can’t afford another mouth? no, it’s just your priorities don’t want to afford it.

A door opened and before she could move, the man had come round the corner and was standing at the bottom of the stairs.  There was nowhere to go without making it obvious she was trying to get away.  He smiled at her, and with a slight gesture asked her permission to come and sit with her. She nodded, not sure what to do otherwise.  As  he sat down, his long legs stretching past her own on the stairs, she felt a wave of reassurance.  As though she had known him all her life.  How could that happen, she had never seen him  before, but she’d heard about it, how people had known as soon as they’d met someone they were meant to spend the rest of their life together.  Maybe this was something like that, although he was old enough to be her father, how could she feel like that about him.
She looked over at him, he was watching her intently, a look on his face she couldn’t read, a curiosity, a knowing. “Hi, I’m Lee” and held out his hand. She smiled at his formality, and put her hand in his “I’m Carissa” His hand was warm, and his handshake firm. She respected that.  Many of her father’s business associates had limp wrists, or soggy hands as she liked to say.   She held on a second too long, but Lee didn’t seem to mind.  Smiling, he pulled his hand as if to pull it away, and she loosened her grip just a bit. “Sorry, it’s just so nice to have someone want to talk to me. No one has said a word since the accident, apparently I’m invisible now”
His look said it all but he spoke anyway “really, now why would no one be talking to you. You’re a beautiful girl, inside and out. Sarah, your mother, often talked to me about you. I find your comment hard to believe”
Hiding her surprise at his words, she replied “mum didn’t know everything, or maybe she thought she would leave it be, and not bother me about it. After all I was not too worried. I enjoyed myself while I was at home, I had my music, and my camera”
They talked for another hour, of general interests, vaguely aware most of the others had left and true to form not bothered to say goodbye.
The large hall clock struck the hour, echoing in the now empty house. It was suddenly eerie, and Carissa felt an intense loneliness for the first time in weeks. And just as it hit her, she felt the tears well up and leaning on Lee, let the tears flow. His arms wrapped round her, naturally,  holding her tight, letting her cry,
Wiping her tears, she sat back “sorry… oh look, I’ve made a mess on your jacket..” she fussed at his shoulder, but he grabbed her hand, gently placing it back in her lap. “Never mind, leave it”
Taking a deep breath, she looked him the eye, “tell, me, how do you know my mother, and why would she be talking to you about me?”
“You mean, she never told you, about your father?”
“what about my father, he was a good man” she immediately thought he meant the worst and was ready to defend him.
He placed his head in his hands, shaking it, and muttering. Looking up he said, “there is something you should know, and your mother said you were ready to be told.  Although, I told her you were ready at 5, but she insisted on waiting.  I gather she was ashamed of herself….”
“How could she be ashamed…what would she have done…oh” Carissa covered her mouth with her hand as the realisation hit. “You mean she had an affair, dad isn’t my real father…oh no, does, did, dad know?”
“Well” Lee started, not sure how he should broach it “yes and no”Carissa said nothing.
“James knew. And no, she didn’t have an affair” Still Carissa said nothing.  All of a sudden she was at a loss for words. The father she knew and loved was not her real father. Well, not by blood anyway. Little things came to mind, they were more like good friends than parent and child.  There was almost nothing in common, the idiosyncrancies that drove her nuts, and everything she did, her mother had done before her.
Their eyes met, and in that instant she knew. Why his walk was familiar, his stance,  why she felt comfortable with a complete stranger.
“I.. mum.. why…” she stammered over the words and standing up stumbled into her room “I have to find something…”
He let her go, sitting for a moment longer. In her room Carissa was going through her dresser, tossing letters, and cards on the floor, obviously looking for something. “Where is it,  where did I put it…” she mumbled to herself, Lee stood in the doorway watching her. She was just like her mother, passionate, feisty and that beautiful thick hair. Sarah’s daughter in more than one way.
“A-ha, got it” Carissa’s voice brought him back to the present and Lee looked up to see her barely two feet away, a sadness in her eyes, an envelope, unopened in her hands.  The letter she had been given a week before the accident, but had not opened, even though her mother had insisted, it was important. Thinking back she remembered her mother’s words “Please Carissa, this is important, read it and then when you’re ready, come and talk to me…” Despite thinking it was weird she had not bothered, putting it away for another day.
Sitting on the bed, Carissa fiddled with the envelope, finally releasing the papers from within. “You read it. I can’t”, she said waving it at Lee.
Pushing her hand back, he declined “No, you need to read it, it’s important that you do it” his voice was firm but gentle, and Carissa knew not to push it.
Unfolding the letter, Carissa recognised her mother’s favourite scented writing paper, she liked to hand write letters, and always on pretty paper. No note pads or emails for her mother. Just one more thing she was going to miss.
Her hands shook as she read the pages, choking back the lump in her throat, a tear dropping onto the paper.  They fluttered to the floor as Carissa fell back onto the bed and sobbed.  Lee bent and picked them up, inhaling the scent still on the paper, oh how he would miss their conversations, her laughter, but above all her friendship.  Sarah was the real thing, genuine with no pretenses, regardless of her wealth. How he had longed to be with her for longer.
“Please read it, to me. I want to hear it again..” Carissa said between sobs.
Lee cleared his throat and started. Carissa immediately heard a mix of her mother’s soft voice and his, a beautiful mix if ever there was one. It was perfect.

My dearest Carissa,
My beautiful daughter. How I love you so much. I feel so ashamed of not being able to tell you before this. I know we can talk about anything, but this was my secret shame, I thought that if it was not spoken it would go away. I didn’t want to cause you any shame. I knew I had to tell you, but I never knew how to broach the subject. How do you tell something like I am about to.
I know school life is not fun for you, and you are so much better than this life we have here, but please be patient, Your time will come.
Your father and I love you more than you can ever imagine but there is another man you need to know about.  James knows him, and is forever in his debt.
I was young, and somewhat stupid at times, when I met James. The fateful day before I met him I had slept with a long time friend, whom I’d been on several dates with.  I became pregnant that day, with you.  By the time I realised this we had fallen in love and there was no going back. Your father, the man I married is a wonderful, funny, caring man and loves you like his own. But he was impotent, not something talked about in those days, so we married quickly and the baby, you, was ours.
It was all very simple but complicated at the same time. While he could have just as easily paid him off to never have any contact, and not know you at all, he didn’t. He insisted we remain friends, to keep tabs and so your father could get to know you, if only from afar.  He needed to know who he was, to relieve himself of the shame he felt. To know the man who gave him the child he had always wanted but couldn’t have himself.
There were conditions to this.  No affairs between us and you two were not to meet, or you would know he was your father.    You are so much more like him now than I could ever have imagined.  Please know, I did not have an affair while married, I was always faithful to him. I stood by our agreement, I loved your father, I loved my husband and will continue to do so.

My sweet sweet Carissa, please don’t hate me for this, I have waited so long to get this off my chest, and although James was happy for me to tell you,  I never felt the timing was right.  And before you ask, what was to be gained by telling you now, and not earlier.  You are now old enough to understand the implications it could have on our family, and your father, James, the one who raised you, is extremely sick and wont be getting better. How many colds has he had over the last year that have lingered far too long.
Once you have read this we can arrange to meet your father, Lee.
Please, be the mature young lady I know you to be, for me, for us.
Forever and always, Mum.

Lee looked up from the pages and saw the confusion and understanding in her eyes. The very same eyes that stared back at him from the bathroom mirror every morning.
As she fought back more tears, Carissa was unsure of what her life was before and what lay in store for her future.

 

This has been a lwork in progress over the last few weeks and I have to thank Amy (of Amy Reese Writes fame) and my friend Kelly for help in getting things moving again. I hope you enjoyed it, it turned out longer than expected.
Jen

The Snow.

Snowy trees

A friend, aka The Professor, (from over here) showed me this picture a month or more ago, and I immediately had a story form around it. It’s taken me awhile to get it together, and I now have two very short stories based around it. They are quite different, but death takes precedence in both. Of course I can see the beauty and ‘romance’ in the scene but not being a chick flick sort of girl I take the darker road most times.
The second story is more chick flick, but death still shows it’s hand.

Short story 1.
She stood at the edge of the trees, looking out at the road.  There were no tracks, the recent snow had covered up last night’s trip.  But there was someone else here. She knew it. Her senses were rarely wrong. Him. Her job.  He was watching her again.  If she turned around, the house would be in view, and she would see him at the window. Peering, trying to hide, but also not seeming too care if he was seen.

He liked what he saw. She was dressed in a bright red coat this morning. Then he stopped, a frown crossing his face, that’s funny, she wasn’t trying to hide, no furtive looks behind, or sneaking behind trees.  He wasn’t sure why it bothered him, but he dismissed it quickly, just the sight of her was exciting. He liked the look of the red against the snow. A bright splash.  He could picture what her blood would look like, sprayed across the snow, something to brighten the stark and lonely winter.  A smile played across his lips as he left the window and went back to the wall of photos.  He had plans for her. And they ell ended with her body strewn across the snow. Pure white. Bright red. Beautiful.

She moved quietly, quickly. He had no idea of what she was capable of.  Her stealth was nothing of the likes he’d ever seen.  Her pretense of hiding had fooled him into a false sense of security.  When the time was right she would move, and he wouldn’t know what had hit him.
The dog appeared at her side, and as she looked up a dark figure came out of the trees.  She smiled and turned towards him.  They needed no words, but held hands and started to walk up the driveway.

Short story 2.
She lay in the snow, oblivious to the chill creeping into her bones.
Her jacket and pants had soaked through within minutes but her grief was such she hardly noticed.
Staring at the sky, she was able to blank everything out. The pain. The fear. The tears. There were no more tears. That’s what she kept thinking, but the next day they would come again. And the fear. Of being alone. No more anticipation of what they had dubbed ‘pick-up day’. The only picking up she did now, was herself. Each day. She told herself, like a child, “get up, get dressed, have you done your teeth, eaten a good breakfast??”
It had been six months, or was it longer, she no longer knew, and to some extent no longer cared. She hated that feeling, but could not shake it. Life went on around her as she existed in some sort of daze. A state of being, but not of participation. Her friends helped out, and she was sure she’d been rude, but they were still there. The kids were still going to school, they seemed to be coping. She had to take them away, go on a holiday. Start their family afresh. Make a new start. Maybe they would love somewhere new. That could be interesting.

A movement above her caught her eye. Moving her head she saw 2 figures coming towards her. Without a word, they lay down beside her, and with tears silently running down her cheeks, she reached out and held their hands.
They lay in quiet solitude watching the clouds and the branches move above them. The snow dropped from the branches and as one narrowly missed them something bubbled up inside her. She opened her mouth, not expecting or knowing what she was about to say, but instead a laugh came tumbling out. A strange hysterical noise that quickly turned to a laugh of great proportions causing her children to look in surprise and then join her.
In that moment she knew she would be alright. They would be alright.

Thoughts of death

No, not me. I am perfectly fine in that respect.
Thoughts of death in relation to others. With regards to what has happened this week. This year.

While I wasn’t specific on my Facebook, it was enough to have people ask if I needed to talk. Yes and no. What do I talk about. I don’t want to talk about how I feel, I instead think about how the deceased person thought in those last few moments.
Of course we would like to think they have family and loved ones on their mind, but what about other things, regrets, wishes, what they could of, should have said to someone.

Do they get scared, a moment of “why me, why now?” And thoughts of where their soul may go to, their thoughts.
Are there thoughts of ‘I shouldn’t have done that, look where I am now’
Do they know what is about to happen and are they scared of that specifically. Or just what they are leaving behind, family and friends.

For those who choose to take their own life, is there a moment when it’s too late to go back. Do they realise they shouldn’t be doing this. There are other ways to deal with it.
Are they peaceful and relaxed, knowing it is the right thing.
Do they think of their family and friends, or just the reasons they are where are.

A freak accident, do they even realise what is happening, or did they have no warning.
An accident at work. Did they die doing what they loved, were they happy in that fact, but lonely at the end.
And then there are the reasons one can choose, health. When you are told you’re a prime candidate for a heart attack, what do you do. Fix things so you can get off that list. Or not worry, thinking it will never happen to you.

Would you rather see your partner and kids with you in hospital at the last minute or want to spare them them the pain. Spare yourself from seeing their faces.

And all the family wants is closure, a time to heal and then time to start over.

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