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Family Matters.

The old lady’s breathing had become very shallow, that horrible rattling sound in her chest was a sure sign that her time on earth was nearly up. Melanie sat by her bedside gently stroking her hand, it felt so small and fragile. This was a common enough occurrence for the young care assistant, in her short few years in this job Melanie had watched the grim reaper at work daily. Almost all of the clients in this care home were facing the end of days when they came here, she had learned to shut out most of what she had to deal with. In a job like this a person could not afford to become too attached to those in their care, this was one of the first things she had been taught. Ironically a caregiver that cared too much was doomed to failure; this was the paradox of the situation. Yet this frail old woman that hovered on the brink of death had touched her life like no other, Melanie had broken the golden rule. She had grown too attached to the old woman and now she would suffer the pain for her indiscretion, still, she thought this woman had taught her things that very few people in life ever learned.

Melanie gently placed the fragile hand back on the bed; she had other things that needed attending to. She would call back when her shift finished, she was experienced enough to know that these things often took longer than would be expected. It would be extremely important that Melanie be present when the old woman took her last breath; it was hard to resist staying here in her room until the final moment came. However, Melanie knew instinctively that the woman would not pass over unless she was with her, over the past twelve months the frail old woman had imparted knowledge to Melanie that guided her instincts. It was safe to say that since first meeting this woman Melanie was a changed person, it was as if blinkers had been removed from her eyes and she now had a clear vision of her destiny. Knowing this woman even for the short period she did, had changed her whole outlook on life and death. Melanie was no longer bound by the restrictive codes that had enslaved humans from the dawn of civilization. The old woman had converted her to a different form of consciousness. She had shown Melanie a path that would lead her to a life where nothing would be denied her.

Melanie hurried home and changed out of her uniform, she checked again to make sure she had placed the small clay urn safely in her bag. When she entered the room, she knew the time had come, the death rattle in the old woman’s chest was more pronounced and her breathing was noticeably more labored. Melanie removed the stopper from the urn and placed them on the bed, and then once again she gently took the old hand and crooned softly to the dying woman. When the time came Maud opened her eyes and smiled at Melanie, as the last exhalation left her Melanie held the urn over her mouth. With shaking hands, she secured the urn with the stopper, Melanie sat for a while as the body grew colder and shed a few silent tears. The fragile old hand had become like a block of ice before she returned it to the bed, with the urn safely in her bag she leaned over and whispered in the old woman’s ear. Then she quickly walked from the room and left by the rear entrance, she would not be coming back here again. The care assistant would cease to exist after today and the brand-new Melanie would start her life.

Melanie went over the instructions for the tenth time and checked the layout of the room, every symbol must be perfectly formed and every candle placed in the exact position dictated by the ritual. When there was no doubt left in her mind she began the ceremony, and when she finished reading from the book she carefully removed the stopper and inhaled deeply the vapor that rose from within. Suddenly a petrifying feeling came over her as an unnatural coldness seeped into her, she gasped for breath as her lungs refused to work. She was suffocating and she had never felt so cold in her life, the room plunged into darkness and she had a sensation of falling from a great height. Melanie lay on the hard floor convulsing, her body wracked with painful spasms as she felt her life drain away. When she came around again, she immediately felt the change, she was Melanie but also someone else. She had the wisdom of a very old woman and the life essence of another deep inside her, so everything Maud had promised her was true.

Melanie sent out the invitations for the reading of the will, the instructions were very specific. She was to be the executor of Maud’s extensive estate. She was to read the will in two parts. The first part would be read to the three ultra-spoiled brats of grandchildren at her country mansion, the following day her two ungrateful daughters would attend the same venue to hear of their inheritance. The very people, who had abandoned Maud when she was feeble, would now hear what they would get in her will. Melanie set out to follow her instructions to the letter; this was something Maud had been very precise about. The readings would take place in the formal dining room, but only after the special meal was served. Maud had painstakingly laid out in fine detail everything that she wanted, down to how the table should be laid and how to prepare the dish she would serve her daughters. She even told Melanie where to find the special silver oval serving platter which was to be the centerpiece on the table. Maud had insisted that her daughters would know that she had gone to great effort for them.

The two finely dressed ladies arrived separately, and their fine clothes and fancy jewelry could not hide their nasty personalities. Even sitting down at the table resulted in fighting and bickering, it was plain to see that neither had any love for each other. As for Melanie, they both treated her with the utmost disdain, she had to be stern with them as they both wanted to hear the will and leave without sitting for the meal. In the end, Melanie insisted that their mother’s wishes must be honored, so they begrudgingly sat at the table. Melanie carried the heavy silver serving platter to the table, as she placed it in the center. She watched them greedily assessing the worth of the silver. The greed practically oozed from their pores, and she could smell it over their expensive perfume. Melanie recited the words verbatim that Maud had prepared, a meal to remember family values was how she had put it. With the carving knife in one hand, she carefully lifted the silver dome lid with the other. Neither woman screamed, perhaps it was the shock of seeing the roasted heads of their offspring. Either way, Melanie dispatched them both with the carving knife before they could utter a sound. Inside her head, Maud’s voice sounded pleased, now no one could stand in their way. They had wealth and youth on their side, a new life for Melanie/Maud…

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Fantasy, Fiction, Horror