Last Night

She’s lying on her back. The lights are out. A dark room, opened curtains, a bookshelf, a chair in front of a desk. A police siren drifts past, somewhere in the quarter.
A moment passes. Her pulse and her breath are audible – unsteady, shallow.

Inhale-and exhale. Again.

The window frames part of the courtyard; chimneys, antennas, a neighbor’s TV flickering from the fifth floor. A gust of wind rattles autumn leaves. She lies calmly, tries to count to one-hundred.

Fifty-three, the TV is turned off.

The last one has gone to bed. A sudden movement, a sound, captures her attention. Then, sparks begin to flare up and fill the room with familiar images; a child’s giggle, the smell of damp hay and apple trees, her, tightly gripping the ropes of a swing. “Higher, higher!” she squeals, the sun shining in her face. Freedom.

Sixty-four, her eyes close halfway.

A hand gently touches her face. Church bells ring, smiling faces all around, rose petals raining down on them. Hand in hand, a tender kiss, just enough to taste his lips. A camera flashlight blinds her sight. Happiness.

Seventy-one, her breath surrenders to a whisper.

Looking out of the kitchen window, the old willow across the street dancing in the breeze, the smell of a barbeque traveling towards her from the patio. The voices and laughter of friends and family. Home.

Eighty-six, her heart slows its beat.

The sun rising, the smell of the freshly mowed lawn and roasted coffee beans. Her baby in her arms, suckling at her breast, her cradling him, singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ until he’s fallen asleep. A kiss on his tiny head, his scent – her favorite in the whole world. Love.

Ninety-eight, more images want to emerge but then halt.

An unknown light illuminates and starts to move steadily, collecting her memories, one by one. Her finger twitches, unnoticeably, in hopes to slow its speed. But it’s presence is all-encompassing, its calling’s too strong to be bargained with. The light spreads out further and further until


© E.M. Slocum


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Emily Maude Mary Slocum (born February 26. 1987) is an American writer. She has published stage plays, screenplays, two short story collections and flash fiction. E. M. Slocum was born in Basel, Switzerland to Marylin Slocum, an American artist and Manfred Gillian, a Swiss author. She currently lives in Cologne (Germany).