A Ride in Hell!!!
I slipped my boot into the stirrup of the carriage and stepped down not caring if I fell because of this thankless task. I looked at my partner, the driver of this wretched carriage, a faceless soul, and one that was lost centuries ago. Never to be found or wondered about, all before him are dead. Now he is just to be feared.
His hood reared its head toward me, I seen nothing but a paralyzing darkness. One that if I paid enough attention to would eventually conjure up memories of the ones I loved so dearly. Each had a story of death and sorrow.
Dropping off the carriage to the flagstone I sank into my boots. I could feel a worrisome stillness on this night, only to be interrupted by leaf’s frolicking in a sudden gust of wind.
I turned to the sky and my only true witness in the steadfast night, the one that hides behind the billowy clouds that cast light only on the deeds of the dead.
Like roaches that are caught when the light is turned on, salvaging all the crumbs of survival under all their claws and legs. Only to realize that they’re a roach, a bug one that is fulfilling not some grand scheme in the universe but they are playing their own part in their own nightmare, they’re not exempt from the bottom of a shoe or some poison, they are after all, just a bug.
Like me I’m no specter like my partner I’m just a man; A man with a fate no different than you. But there’s one little difference; I have a deal with my partner. You see, I didn’t make the deal but I live with it ever since I was born. It was a deal that someone made in the stars or in Hades, I guess, one that I was never involved in, laced in fate and mystery I was forced to set this part of my existence on the backside of the stove in favor of the main course of delectable delights.
We entered the lobby, old and drab. Up the stairs I trudged, as my partner prescribed with a raise of his robe and pointing with his lengthy finger, so up I went with this primal order.
I entered a room that smelled not of roses but one that had an odor of something flowery but not pleasant, one that if you concentrated on to long would get a gut wrenching puke taste in the back of your throat.
I took my hat off and held it before me. Expecting the worse and I wasn’t disappointed. I seen a woman lying in bed, not just any woman, I could barely recognize her, it was my mother. She was lying shaking eyes wide lost, but open, with that look.
I turned toward the door waiting to see my partner, but I knew he was still downstairs, and by the way my mothers eyes were fixed she knew he was too. It wasn’t time but it was close. If there was a time to say a prayer it was now but I couldn’t, to me it just wasn’t fitting to start chanting to someone that brought me here, allowing me to use her body as a vehicle for the trip, feeding, bathing, singing to me till that fateful day we met face to face.
Now here we are, I’m not sad, or happy, I’m just here. I lean down near her, she senses me but doesn’t acknowledge. I say to her, mother, its okay, you lived a joyous life, we don’t want to see you in pain, and you have to do what is right by you.
I kissed her forehead and sat in the chair watching what little she had left slip out of her. As time fell to the horizon, I sat and pondered all those times, the regrets, the memories, all those great things that she made me realize both good and bad, that it all won’t matter, not to anyone but her and I. then it made me sad, I told myself I would never feel this way, but here it is. It was like I was starring down the barrel of a gun, but it didn’t matter.
I pulled out a flask and took out a stiff belt, the door opened and my partner entered. I rolled my head his way, and offered him a shot then I sneered knowing he doesn’t drink and with a chortle I put the flask back of the inside pocket of my leather trench.
That rotting flowery smell of vinegar was back, but it was stronger this time, I seen it all before, just as in birth here it is in death, nobody wants to be seen when it’s occurring only when it’s over. That’s where my partner comes in. Why I’m here I have no idea, just that I am. He doesn’t seem to mind so why should I?
We’re together till my time comes. That isn’t decided by anyone it just comes, some say that its written on the wall somewhere or in the journal of life and death, if so then I want to find mine and erase it, but here we are bound to the same fate, death do us part.
Minutes slipped into silent tears of her suffering. The death rattle ensued for an hour or two then I looked at my partner he turned to me and I seen everything play back faster than the speed of light, then it all made sense, we were all players and I have my part. Son. And so took in a deep breath, realizing this was it. I leaned into her close and whispered how much I loved her with her frail hand in my mitt. That she had created.
I kissed her for the last time as a tear tumbled down my cheek, I said goodbye mom, see you on the other side. And then it happened he took her. I followed him out the door back to the carriage with her in his wake; she went inside, the glass case with the rest of the soulless. With my head hung low I climbed up next to my partner we never said a word to each other but we knew the drill. It was over once again, of the many that I’ve been with that I’ve watched either die or knew about it when the very second it happened I knew this routine all to well. I grew sick and disgusted of my mortality and those of the ones I love a long time ago, but here I am. Worn down by those piles of bodies one become I guess desensitized for lack of a better word.
But does one ever become ill when they smell the rotting flesh of their own mother dying in front of them? I guess it really doesn’t matter except for the mother and son that shared life and death together.