6 Days Before Death is a short story written by Haniya Usmani and shared via The Ugly Writers under the theme Just Barely for the month of October
6 Days Before Death
She sat there still as the night. Her eyes-a pool of tears. What was she doing one may wonder. The truth is she was collecting all those lost memories she had. Some of her memories seemed fazed, and some seemed to never occur, and that’s what stinged the most. It aches to have forgotten, the most memorable events of her life- from her children to her childhood and then to her mother she had lost all of it to something so vicious, often termed as “Alzheimer”.
That night she cooed herself to sleep while snuggling under the warmth of her duvet. Like a child anyone would have said. But the woman that lay there didn’t care much for she knew her time was coming and the clock was ticking, faster than ever before. Yet she choose to remain silent, tied her tongue to chains. For she didn’t liked to worry others-her sole reason.
She blinked furiously in the shining sunlight.” Agh! It’s too bright”, she mumbled to herself slightly. Why in the world was she outside in the light. And questionably where was she going in such an ungodly hour of the morning.
She looked sidelong to see a middle-aged woman standing adjacent to her-she gaped at her. Who was she? A question she could never rightly rejoinder for herself. The woman become aware of the attention she was getting from the elderly that sat stiff in her wheelchair.
“Mother we are leaving soon,” the woman acknowledged tenderly. But the elderly in the chair was surprised to know this was her daughter.
To hide her awkwardness she converted her attention towards the flowers in the garden, while mumbling a soft tune.
She sat there huffing in annoyance. Her daughter brought her to her son’s house, and everyone was welcoming. So far she liked the company she was getting, but a slight irritation in her blissful thoughts came barging in over and over again. Can’t she relax her nerves once in a while she thought to herself.
She faintly recited a short prayer and then openly declared she was a bit drowsy, and so her son stood up and motioned everyone out of the room. He helped her get up from the chair and lay down on the bed. He ran a caressing hand along her head, and coaxed her to sleep.
That night she had the best sleep in years.
Monitors and screens, pipes and oxygen cylinders, what was all of this? No matter how many times she had put on her signature reassuring smiles she couldn’t honestly deny the fact that she was bored and kind of frustrated of all this mayhem in her small room. Everyone had this frantic look casted upon their faces, and the atmosphere seemed a bit heavy.
She fiddled with her fingers, as she saw her son retreat from the back of the room with a long tube and a mask in his hand. He gently placed the mask over the lower part of her face and switched the machine on. The machine silently provided her loads of oxygen to breath. She smoothed out her facial muscles, and decide to concentrate on breathing- if this was the only task she was going to do.
“Her saturation levels are dropping-she has all the Covid 19 symptoms. Keep the children away!” she heard the shout from the other room. Whatever disease she had caught seemed to have taken over her small body. She was losing control of herself-her body.
She shook her head to get rid of all the thoughts, as she sighed and leaned forward to grab her book. It was then she saw a dark shadow lurking towards her, she gulped down the bile in her throat and looked at the creature that stood in front of her. It was no more a dark, and scary looking thing, but a bright lukewarm light radiated from it. But as she tried to call upon it, it moved away from her and walked out of the room.
There were two things possible either that was an angel or it was the disease crawling up her veins, taking away the little sense she had left after Alzheimer. Either of it she decide to ignore the second statement, and chose to go along the first for her sake. Now she wasn’t going to openly declare that she had lost her sanity. God knows, what kind of medication her children will come up with, upon hearing their mother’s short story, incident or experience-whatever you may call it.
These are your final two days. A distant voice spoke in her dreams, and at that very moment her eyes shot open, as she plunged forward grabbing her knee, taking in sharp breaths.
What in the world was she dreaming? To whom this voice belonged to. At this very moment she felt a bit paranoid, but from the depths of her heart, she could tell her time had come. Death was lingering around her room, and she could feel it in her bones.
Her daughter stood there sobbing, her face, facing down. A motherly instinct told her inside that her children were ripped apart deep inside, they couldn’t face a loss. But she couldn’t do anything. Instead she joined her hands together and prayed to god for them, her grandchildren and everyone else.
She slowly lay down on her bed, and tried recollecting her memories. This time they came back, so bright that she was a bit shocked. And so she relaxed herself further and dug deep into memory lane, at last finally after all those years, she finally remembered something.
Today was a special day -her children, they all came to see her with their off springs. Today the whole sole centre of attention was her after such a long time. Her body lay there lifeless and looking at the mourns as her soul roamed the house.
No matter how glad she may be to alas be free of the painful body, her heart seemed to sting as her family cried and kissed her gently on her head. She wanted to go grab her kids and tell them to stop crying, but she couldn’t. Instead she chose to gaze at them silently-like always.
Her family was looking at her for the very last time, their eyes reflected those dark rainy monsoon clouds she used to fear. After all, her body will be laid down in the bottomless grave and they’ll never see her again. She smiled for the last time and turned around. This will be her and their last farewell to each other.
Give some love to Haniya Usmani by reading her previous works: