Flash fiction, 299 words. Inspired by a personal loss.
|The sight of witnessing a single magpie greet atop a rusted iron gate always felt oh so apropos in Casey's mind, as she ventured into the cemetery for her daily visit. As always, a single white rose was brought and firmly clenched in hand. Along the path to her destination, painful memories would commence flooding, causing the fists to tighten, and yet the rose’s thorns could not inflict enough pain to distract the torment that shrouded Casey’s thoughts.
Across a verdant sea of shrines for departed souls, a single pearl grave stood out in the midst. A minuscule headstone compared to others nearby, yet lovingly decorated with white roses stemming from previous visits. Unfortunately, the gravestone and plot size appropriately represented the loss, a tragedy illustrated by the carving of a cherub into the marble.
Casey’s sorrow took just over nine months to happen. Death was destined to penetrate past the bump she caressed with her palms, piercing through her best intentions, hopes, and dreams. There was nothing she could have done or done differently. The pain never lessened, nor did the sense of maternal responsibility.
Until birth, all signs indicated the successful delivery of a healthy child. Each scan showed ideal growth, vigor, and prosperous health. There were no worry-some stirs, no second guesses.
As predicted, a baby girl later entered this mortal coil, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Nature, on the other hand, had an ulterior motive. A disease unforeseen, unpredictable, unmerciful. Her daughter’s life, fated to last merely a few hours, and Casey watched that candle fade away.
Yet again, Casey laid another white rose. Unbeknownst to her, the day would come when two magpies would meet her at the gates. The day she is joined by another child, to visit her fallen angel.