A muder mystery surrounding the real truth about life and death.
|I'd love critiques on this, please. Be harsh! |
"I can't go in," I said as the pressure of tears welled up behind my eyes and my father gently pressed against my back, ushering me along the white hallway. "Please, father, don't make me."
He knelt down on the floor suddenly, almost frustrated, taking my hands in his. His black hair was ruffled in an almost funny way, probably from sleeping in a waiting chair the entire night. "I'll be right behind you, I promise." His voice, which was usually smooth, came out hoarse with grief. I wanted to believe that this time, my father had reassured me as always.
I nodded, my chest tightening. My father stood tall, and his hand came to a rest against the small of my back again. I didn't want to move, but somehow, without telling my body to, I took a step forward. I wanted to stop. I wanted to tell my father that I just couldn't do it. I couldn't go in there. I wanted so badly to remember her for who she was, when she would read me bedtime stories and host Sunday Dinners for the family. I did not want to be pained of the memory I would have of her now, at her weakness, just like my mother.
My voice never came though, so I kept silent. My family would have been disappointed in my if I had retreated like the frightened child that I was.
Together, we walked down the hallway until my father gently pushed me inside one of the dim-lit rooms. The number '121' stood out against the plainness of the door. I repeated the number in my head, trying to make it sink in, as if it had meaning. '121. 121, 121'.
"Go. I know you are scared, but she wishes to see you," My father whispered in my ear. Unwillingly, I made my way to the small bed, ignoring all the creepy noises that were echoing throughout the room.
The voice was raspy from disuse, and I swallowed. "Y- yes, Grandma, it's me."
I peaked over the side of the bed to where she lay, her hair thin and grey. It was almost waist length now, and I wondered what had happened since the last time I had seen her, when her hair was only to her shoulders. It must had taken her so long to grow it out.
Her skin was as pale as mine, I noticed, though it looked more translucent, and her lips were drawn in a tight frown. Her eyes however smiled from the white haze of the room, the brown colour sharp and noticeable.
"Come here then, girl," She said, reaching for my hand. "We have much to talk about. Why, I feel like I haven't seen you in over a year. And you‘re hair! It‘s almost as blonde as your mother‘s once was. You were only twelve when I last saw you. Can you believe it?"
"Yes, it's almost been two years, Grandma," I said timidly.
"I have missed you." She patted my hand fondly. "Why haven't you come to see me?"
The guilt rose in my throat, and I wanted to cry then. I opened my mouth, to tell her that I had been busy with school and friends and everything else, but I knew it was a lie. I had been selfish. When my mother died, we would visit less and less until it became never at all. I believe it pained my father to hear about her, and I didn't object, because it had pained me also.
Still, it had been stupid of me to believe that my Grandmother would be around forever, that I could just go visit her next week, or maybe the week after that.
She continued, "It's no matter. Put the past behind you, girl. Jack, would you please allow me to speak to my granddaughter for a moment alone, please?"
My father looked taken aback, but nodded and left the room, closing the door behind him. A few tears escaped and ran down my cheek.
"I'm so sorry, Grandma. I have been rude. I should have come sooner. Maybe-"
My Grandmother laughed. "Why are you crying, girl? You have nothing to be sad about. Why, you have your entire future ahead of you, an entire life to live. Don't cry over nothing."
"I just don't want you to leave me, that's all. I'm sorry for not coming to visit, I swear. Just don't leave," I practically sobbed. "Please. I will miss you too much."
"Look at me." She put her fingers under my chin and lifted my head up until our eyes met. "I won't be leaving forever."
She smiled. "I will always be in your memory, and in your heart, and if you wish, you can ask your father to tell you all about me. There is still much you do not know about me, girl."
"Well, I can't tell you everything, now can I?" She laughed again. "Then you would have nothing to be curious about when I am gone."
"But why do you have to leave? Can't you stay for just a little longer?"
She pushed the bangs away from my face along with a few dried tears, and then she smiled. I couldn't help but smile back, although the pain in my chest was threatening to burst.
"Just a little while, but not too long," She told me.
"Like how long?"
"No more questions, girl," She said with an exasperated sigh. “I am too tired, and there is something more important I need to tell you.”
I frowned. "But I want to know. I want to know when you will-"
"It is best you do not know.”
I nodded. The tightening grew in my chest.
"Just one more thing, Grandma, please?"
Her eyes were half shut, and she leaned back down into her bed, my hand still grasped in hers.
"Where will you go?"
She smiled fondly. "To heaven, of course. Why do you ask such silly questions?"
"But is it real? Will you really go there? What is it like?" There was much I wanted to know, but she waved her hand around, dismissing me.
"Will you be okay there?" I asked, concern flooding my heart.
My Grandmother stared at me then, her eyes open in wonder, though still sparkling. She squeezed my hand tighter, and I had the feeling that she was trying to comfort me more than I was trying to comfort her.
"Of course I will be okay. It is supposed to be wonderful there. No more worries, no more pain."
"Are you in pain, Grandma?" I stood up suddenly, looking her over. I almost rushed to get a doctor, but she held on to me.
"I won't be for much longer."
"But the doctors can help you, right? Are you sure you have to go?"
"Girl, you are naive and ignorant. Tell me, why are you so scared?"
"I am just unsure of this place you speak of. How do you know what it is like there? Have you ever been there?" I spoke in a disbelieving tone, as if, in this case, I knew more than she could ever know.
"Don't be silly."
"Then how do you know?"
"Because I will meet my creator there, and I will then have all the knowledge in the world. Can you think of a better gift?"
"No, Grandmother, I can't."
"Lily, there is something else I must tell you, but it is a secret. It has to stay between us, do you understand?"
She glanced around the room curiously, before whispering, “My last present to you will hold many secrets. Do all that you can to figure them out, and remember that even in death, I will be with you always.”
“But when will I get this present?“
“Curious child, you are too much." Her eyes were twinkling for a second time. "You will receive it in short time.”
"Alright, Grandma. Is there anything else you wish of me?"
She shook her head as she let go of my hand. "There is nothing else. Now, please, go retrieve your father for me. I would like to talk to him one last time."
And so I did. My father and I said our goodbyes together that day, and then we slept. When I had awoken that next morning, the alarms were going and the machines were beeping until finally, her eyes went back into her head and she stopped breathing. My father cried in my arms as I cradled his body. I did not cry though.