by Fiona Lambert
Mavis knew the journey would be hard and painful, but she was ready for it. Even as a brilliant white light filled her vision, the conversation with her son less than an hour ago still swam around her head. The words “care-home” rang in her ears.
“They’ll take care of you, Mum. You’re getting weak. We’re worried about you alone, especially now Dad is gone,” he had told her.
She had had to admit that she felt old now, no matter how hard she fought against the slow creep of time as it seeped into her bones. Since Bill had passed away, being home alone had become a bit of a struggle. The thought of a care home was too much, though. She didn’t want to become another old-aged-zombie. Many years ago, she had decided what her fate would be and that was not it.
“Don’t worry, Bill darling, I’ll be with you soon,” she whispered into the air.
She felt her heart lurch, maybe with one last desperate beat, but she thought it was in anticipation of seeing him again. Her body lifted into a tunnel, fingers brushed against soft marshmallow walls. The tips of her toes just touched the smoky floor, which whipped up in her wake and swirled around her ankles.
She smiled as she saw the outline of a figure, a man waiting for her. He had soft, floppy black hair and a warm smile. He wore a white tunic with white trousers. As she landed softly in front of him, she noticed that his feet were bare.
“What’s you name, dear?” he asked.
“Mavis Bannister,” she replied.
The man looked down at a clipboard in his hands. That wasn’t there a minute ago, Mavis though.
The man frowned as he flipped over a page, then another, then another. Finally, he looked up at her and shook his head. He leant over, pushed a button on the desk in front of him, and talked into a mic on the desk. Mavis chewed on her lip as her brain failed to comprehend how the desk had suddenly appeared. Maybe this was a dream?
“John, I have an early-bird for you,” the man said. He gestured sideways and Mavis turned to see another man, again in white, stood next to her. His hair was blond and slicked back and he looked very serious, as if was concentrating hard on something.
“This may hurt,” he said.
He brought his hands up, placed one around her waist and cupped her breast with another. He took a deep breath then suddenly pushed his face into hers and shouted,
Mavis lurched back and blinked hard. She looked up into the face of the man and groaned as a deep pain ripped through her chest. She felt bed-sheets underneath her and looked around to see her son and another man stood by the bed. She looked back at the blond-haired man.
“Glad to see you back, Mavis. We thought we’d lost you,” he said as he pushed an oxygen mask over her face.
Oh bugger, she thought.
Fiona Lambert lives in Bristol and writes fiction in a dark room, at night.