Death is not the end

Submitted into Contest #62 in response to: Write about a character putting something into a time capsule.... view prompt

7 comments

Fiction Sad

 I was going to die.


Even though I already knew that was the unmistakable truth, it still came as a rather of a shock when I faced the harsh reality. The fact that my children would not be there to see it offered a small amount of comfort. 


I wasn't the strongest of people, but I had thought that I could at least be strong for my beloved husband, for my dearest children. I thought that my love for them could let me put on a brave face. I thought that I could hide the fear and pain behind a false facade of courage. 


I was wrong.


I tried, I really did. No one wants to let their loved ones see them break down. I didn't want to let them see mummy's eyes, full of animalistic terror. But as soon as they broke the news to me, I broke down completely. The tether to rational thought snapped entirely, and a half-crazed, screaming, sobbing creature emerged. I was almost in a trance, I was totally unaware of my actions. My head seemed to have sunk underwater, and background noise diminished to almost nothing. 


I was going to die. 


My brain had lost all control of my body. My limbs were thrashing like a captured wild animal, but I could not feel it. My eyes were fixated on a specific point, but seeing nothing. One single thought was running rampage through my head, shredding apart my sanity like it was the flimsiest of paper. 


That frenzied, shrieking monster writhing on the floor I had become will haunt me for the rest of my life, short as it is. The scarring images of my tortured insanity will be imprinted on my children for the rest of their lives, hopefully much longer than mine. 


I was going to die.


A month, they told me. Just long enough to sort out my affairs, to say my heartwrenching farewells. I spent a week desperately trying to leave a last good impression on the children. I let them stay off school, went to all the places they'd wanted to go, made all their favourite foods, brought all the toys they wanted. I couldn't let their last memory of me be.. that.


I crammed years and years of love into that one week. When it had ended, I felt like only seconds had passed. It wasn't enough, it would never be enough. Im sure though, it had been the best week of their lives. I would always cherish those bittersweet memories. 


I was going to die. 


It was a terminal illness, they said, uncurable. Gradual deterioration of the muscles, the brain. By the end of the first week, I was already tiring way too fast. I got shaky if I stood for too long, I couldn't lift any heavy things. Sometimes I'd look at my children's smiling faces, and it would take me a few seconds to register who they were. 


I tried to hide it, of course, with the help of my husband who noticed from the very start. It was little things, like letting me lean on him when my muscles flagged but I'd fall in love with him all over again each time. It was painful, a palpable pain that gnawed away at my heart, a mashed-up medley of love and sorrow and joy and grief.


I was going to die.


The second week was surreal, bizarre. It was as if my body had automatically switched on autopilot mode so that I was functioning, but I wasn't myself at all. I sent the kids away, the most heartwrenching and awful decision I've ever made. But I still stand by my belief that it was the right thing to do - I mean, it would be selfish, wouldn't it? To have my children offering comfort beside me in the throes of death and insanity, to see the torturously slow descent into a literal hell. 


No, it was better this way.


I did keep my husband beside me though, selfish as it may be. As I said, I was not a brave person - and certainly not so in the face of death. The mere thought of being alone in the bleak gloom of illness stabbed sharp spikes of fear and pain through me.


The second week was mostly spent in my husband's arms, wrapped in a loving, safe embrace, pretending that everything was going to be all right. Standing was no longer possible, and the smallest things tired me out. The decaying of my brain could no more be denied, and the rapid decline of my mind was terrifying. 


I was going to die.


It was his idea actually, to create a time capsule. To preserve a part of myself, timeless in the earth. On one of my better days, obviously. Family photographs, small trinkets of mine, jewellery, gifts over the years, our wedding rings. And lastly, letters for all of my children - dictated by me, lovingly handwritten by my husband. Tears were streaming gushing waterfalls down both of our faces when we were done. 


I clutched desperately at him with what little strength I had left, sobbing "I wish I could put all my love in here. I want them - you to be able to still feel my love in ten, a hundred years when I'm gone. I wish I had more time, I wish... Why? Why did it have to be me?"


He enclosed me in a tender hug, I could feel the tears dripping onto my head. His voice was utterly broken as he choked out " I know darling, I know."

We were silent for a long time after that.


I was going to die.


The next day was the first of the third week. Any traces of sanity had completely vanished, and a... beast took its place. 


I lost all track of time; blurred, crazed days all blending into one. A hazy veil of red mist settled over all of my memories. My last moment of clarity found myself in the living rooms, dried blood crusted permanently into the carpet. The house was eerily silent, no indication of human presence at all. The walls were streaked with unidentifiable stains, gore and viscera made up my surroundings.


And clutched in my hand... a sharp, vicious knife, coated with blood. My mind goes back to that steel box buried in our garden, containing the last pieces of evidence that I had once lived as a human. I imagine my children opening the time capsule and remembering the mother that had loved them so much.


There was no hesitation at all as I plunged the knife into my heart, a serene smile on my face.


I will die, but a piece of me will always live on.


October 09, 2020 20:37

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7 comments

Lina Oz
04:34 Oct 17, 2020

Woah. This story was really, really thought-provoking. The beginning was sorrowful, as the character realized her end was near. The ending was much more suspenseful, and chilling. The idea of her killing herself while also at peace ("serene smile") was so eerie. I loved the direction you took with this. Also, your handle of language is exceptional. Really wonderfully written. Excited to read your work!

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08:08 Oct 17, 2020

Thank you so much for your kind words! This is my first time writing on Reedsy so I'm so glad you like it!

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Keval Mehta
05:51 Oct 15, 2020

I love this so much

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15:56 Oct 15, 2020

Thanks! Your story was amazing!

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Tithi Banerjee
17:55 Oct 11, 2020

Loved it, this really tugged my heartstrings ❤️

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18:12 Oct 11, 2020

Thanks so much! I loved your story too!

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Elyssa Yu
18:57 May 20, 2021

Wait a minute. Um...how is the character narrating this? The story uses past tense, so clearly the character has died.

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