Hi ya’ll! I mentioned once on my blog that I was hoping to post something other than book reviews — and I sorta have taken awhile to get to that (because you know… life.) But I decided recently to enter a short story contest and try to win it. I didn’t end up winning it, but I do have a short story just sitting on my computer desktop now. So I was thinking that today, I’m going to post a short story and possibly others every once in awhile… maybe, we’ll see. 😀
(Oh, yea, this was the prompt I based it on.)
You’ve learned the secret to life after death. Revealing it will help millions of people connect to their departed loved ones, but if you do an unspecified disaster will occur to someone you know. Do you spill the secret?
My grandmother’s hands are cold and soft under mine. I’ve sat in this hospital many times — in this very room even, beside friends and family that were sick. Many times, but everyone I’ve come to visit always pulled through, always ended up okay. Everyone I was close to that is. I briefly visited a girl from my school that got in a car wreck two years ago. She was transferred to this hospital.
When I say visited, I mean, I came to the room she was in with a group from my school and saw her for a moment through a window. Her face was badly bruised and swollen. I hardly recognized her and didn’t want to, so I left. She was the only person I didn’t sit with in the hospital. For awhile, I blamed myself when she died. Eventually, I told myself it wasn’t my fault and felt some relief. It wasn’t my fault, right?
I thought so at the time. A friend of mine once told me that there are some people that have a stronger connection to life than most. She said, they’re the people that have a grasp on reality, that don’t get depressed or worry about things all the time because they’ve learned that life is too complicated a thing to take it too seriously. She said they were the happy ones. I learned later that she was right. But she was missing something.
Some people have a connection to death.
Little did she know she was talking to one. Now that sounds a little worse than I meant it too. I have a connection to death, yes, but I also have a connection to life. I’m sitting next to my grandmother right now, holding her hands because that will keep her alive. At least, it usually does. It has never worked for animals, although, I’ve only tried once or twice. Once for sure with my dog, Belle. I can, keep people alive, and I can help them relive memories they’ve had with people who have passed. I can’t exactly explain it, believe me I’ve tried. I’m not going to stop trying. I mean, I have a stack of books at my house at this very moment, specifically on the subject of life after death and psychology.
Most of it’s crap. A bunch of silly ideas and analogies from philosophical or therapeutic professors, completely unrelated to what I’m looking for. The most insightful information I’ve gotten has been from personal accounts from people that were thought to be dead and miraculously pulled through. What they saw on the other side; true stories or maybe just stories. Problem is you never know with those sort of things. Otherwise, I haven’t found anything very promising.
My grandmother’s hospital room door opens and Lorrelai steps in, surprising me. Her hair is the first thing I always notice. She’s a red-head but her hair has never looked red to me. A better term for her would be orange-head because it has always looked orange like a setting sun and curled at the ends. Her hair bounces in front of her face and then behind her as she shuts the door. It shuts a little loudly and she gives me a panicked look. “Sorry,” she whispers.
I raise my eyebrow and smile. Lorrelai comes up to me and produces a bouquet of flowers from behind her. I should’ve noticed them before but I was working on my surprise that she was here. When she pulls them all the way from behind her they hit a dish at the side gently and she watches in horror as the
dish spins for a moment on the edge. She gives a sigh of relief when it doesn’t fall and mouths another, ‘sorry’.
Lorrelai is a bit of a clutz. She hates that aspect of herself, but I’ve always found it endearing and funny.
“It’s been awhile,” she says smiling shyly and handing me the bouquet.
It’s been almost a month to be exact.
“How is she?” she says sitting in the chair beside me.
“Oh, you know, the usual hospital patient. Very tired and not very conversational.”
She laughs lightly. A beautiful sound. I’ve missed it. Lorrelai looks at me brightly. Her eyes are a soft brown. I stare at them, happy she’s here. I didn’t expect it.
“Will she be okay?” she asks.
“Oh yea. I know she will.” This is true.
We sit together for a moment in silence and I breathe a slight sigh. “Lorrelai, I’m sorry about—about June.”
She shakes her head. “You don’t have to apologize, Dylan. I didn’t realize then that you were just trying to help me feel better. That you were protecting me.”
“You were going through a lot. I should’ve given you space.”
“Well you sort of have,” she says looking to the ground.
I feel like something’s stabbed me in the chest. I know she’s talking about when I didn’t come to her father’s funeral. He was found last month in June, dead in his own building where I worked for him in his tech company. It was a fine job, payed well and I loved any chance to show her father that I was a capable person. I got the job because I hung out with Lorrelai a lot and he offered it. There’s no way a teenager like me would’ve gotten a job like that otherwise.
Lorrelai’s father ended up noticing that I was a good worker. He had me doing harder, higher paying work more and more and began to trust me. So much so that I was in his building all the time working and saw that he wasn’t the man I thought he was. I witnessed him lie, steal and worse. He wasn’t a good man. He wasn’t the man I thought he was and he wasn’t the man Lorrelai thought he was, and I made the mistake of telling her that right before his funeral.
“I just wish I could’ve talked to him about it,” Lorrelai says sadly. “Found out if what you and the police said was true. I wish I could just see him again.” Tears fall down her cheeks.
She could. If she just took my hands right now, she could relive memories she had with him, and see him again. I want to do it. I want to, but looking into her soft brown eyes, maybe some things are better left dead.
That’s it. If you have any advice on my writing or storytelling, (or, maybe, by some miracle, if you liked my story and think I can make it into a book) I would love to hear it. I can take criticism, seriously, and would love the help!