In bright red, 4:00 a.m. glowed on the clock’s face, signaling alarm. It wasn’t a dream, the phone continued ringing, raising me from a one eyed slumber. Without answering, I knew death was calling.
The hallway, looming and long, sucked me into its vortex, past the reverent faces’ greetings at the front door. Awake with activity, the death house eluded sleep. The walls wept as I neared her door, as did I when I heard death’s moan.
There they huddled like moths to a flame, whaling and wincing, in tempo with death’s pangs. Her brother, his manhood trodden in tears. Her sisters, their sisterhood yearning for more years. Her mother, whimpering, caressing her daughter’s head.
Death’s moan, still bleating from her locked open jaws, smeared itself indubitably across her brow, in a frown. Between sagging lids, the whites of her eyes peeked through, while her hands and her feet stained shades of purple and blue. Breaths growing faint, only exhaling now, still death moaned, death whaled, death howled.
“Hush now Mama, hush now, don’t cry”
“Hush now Mama, hush, everything’s gonna be all right”
“Hush now Mama, hush, you don’t have to be afraid”
“Hush now Mama, hush, a better place awaits”
“Hush now Mama, hush”
Skin paled to the hue of creamy milk porcelain, transformed into a figurine, flawless and lifeless. The year was 2010, October 10, as the sun rose Sunday morning, death’s moan made its final decree in her last breath.