Part I: Delphine
She stood back in disgust — stepping further away from the bed. Her hands are shaking, sweat is dripping down her temples. The room is silent except for the faint breaths of her Great-Grandmother, Delphine. Channing threw the pillow to the left of her in a fit of angst and fear.
What did she do?
Delphine had asked her to kill her, to take away the pain, but Channing was too afraid and made the decision to transfer Delphine’s wishes to someone else. But, there was no time and Delphine wanted Channing to end it. She assured Channing that if she did not carry out the task that she would come back to haunt her until she drew her last breath. At the age of eighty-one, Delphine had lived a long, healthy, active, and curious life until she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Multiple Myeloma, a form of cancer that stripped away her youthful spirit. Delphine was given a measly two months to live, however, that was seven months ago.
The pain is becoming unbearable. Every day there is a new ache, something for Delphine to suffer through. Her ribs are sore. Her throat pulsates and aggravates her and it hurts to swallow. Her eyes leak tears that will not stop falling. Channing gives her around-the-clock care. She promised her own dying mother that she would do whatever her Great-Grandmother wanted and she intended to keep that promise until Delphine saddled her with the heavy responsibility of killing her three weeks before today.
Now, here they are, in a room crammed full of ancestors living in the walls — taking up space. Channing, standing at Delphine’s bedside, breathing heavily, trying not to cry. Did she do it right? She sorted the pills just like Delphine advised. She crushed them and mixed them in water. She counted to twenty, then covered her face with the pillow, pressing into her, cutting off her air supply and damaging blood flow to her brain. For three minutes, she held down until she saw Delphine’s limbs droop beside her. But she could still feel her breathing — hear her. She placed her right index finger under Delphine’s nose for two seconds, air met the tip of it. In the gloomy room, Delphine gasps.
Channing grabs the duct tape from the nightstand and applies an ample strip over Delphine’s mouth, then her nose. She takes the pillow to her colorless face and presses as hard as she can again.
One, Mississippi. Two, Mississippi. Three —
Delphine laid there. Her eyes, solid like marbles, white as chalk. Channing breaks down to her knees and begins sobbing. She can hear her mother’s voice chanting, “The blood of old souls. The blood of old souls. The blood of old souls.” The walls cry blood — each corner confesses its sins, yelling out to Channing for a second death. Delphine’s body cracks into multiple pieces, sinks into the bed, and disappears. The last words the souls of the ancestors moan are,
Originally published on January 14, 2018, via Medium.