The Ticking Stops

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
When Death comes for you, what do you think you'll see? Will you see that "light" everyone talks about? This is something that Alaina will find out as she face her last hours with her family.

Submitted: August 23, 2016

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Submitted: August 23, 2016

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“Mom.”

The sobbing voice seemed like it came from a faraway place in Alaina’s ears as she falls in and out of consciousness since this morning. She wanted to raise her hand and wiped away the tears that she knew kept falling from the owner’s eyes. She wanted to speak loudly and gently hushed him. She wanted to get up from her gurney and assured him that everything would be fine. But all of these are things she couldn’t do now. Her body lays on the bed, motionless and fragile as a glass.

Instead, Alaina forced her heavy eyes to open and gazed at the crying face of her son. There were only two of them inside the white plastered room of the hospital. The doctor had left them two hours ago for a moment of privacy. Her husband had been called from his work and was currently caught in a traffic jam.

Alaina watched her son wipe away the tears from his eyes; his crying was the only thing that was breaking the silence aside from the sound of the clock’s ticking. For someone who was facing her final hours, she couldn’t help feeling slightly irritated at her son’s no-ending-wailing.

“Jace,” Alaina’s voice came out quiet and breathy.

“I’m sorry,” Jace sniffed, “I just can’t help it.”

“I don’t want to-“, She faltered. Her chest was starting to have that familiar painful, burning sensation. She caught the sight of alarm on Jace’s face and immediately schooled her expression into a pain-free one. She forced a smile which felt like trying to stretch a very stiff rubber band. Her face was like cement, heavy and numb.

“Pumpkin,” she started again. “Stop crying would ya?” She tried raising her hand again but failed. “I don’t want to leave with an urge to – to wipe that snot off your face.”

Jace laughed, his face still streak with tears. “Only you could say something like that in a time like this.”

That’s because I always knew that this moment would come. She thought. She would’ve said those words aloud but she knew it would break his heart more. What was going to happen to her was inevitable, that’s why when she learned that she had an incurable illness, and she already made her preparations as to not burden her family.

When George discovered her plans, he went ballistic. He was so angry at her. He kept on saying that everything wasn’t final. He travelled to different states searching for a doctor who could save her. However, when reality came crashing down on him, the look on George’s face was heartbreakingly sad.

Truth could take two forms: joy and sorrow. And for this one, the Truth is quite harsh but it is the truth. No matter what effort you could make, you could never bend Fate’s will.

Alaina wished she could see her husband’s face one last time but it seemed that Time was so impatient to take her away.  She looked at Jace’s sea-green eyes that were so like George’s. “I love you,” she said for both of them.

Jace took her hand and gently brought it to his lips. His hands were strong and warm, a complete opposite of hers. “We love you too, mom.” He sighed, his breath sending warmth to her cold, weak fingers.

Alaina closed her eyes. She felt so, so tired and wanted nothing but to sleep. “I know,” she mumbled.

“It’s a long battle,” His son continued, voicing out her thoughts.

Alaina felt her lips pulled slightly in a smile. This time, the movement felt miraculously natural. “Yes.,” She replied, though it seemed like she only mouthed the words.

“You know, dad’s going to get angry because you didn’t wait for him.”

The thought of George’s agitated face made her want to laugh. I know. I’d love to see that but I’m so tired.

Alaina’s consciousness was slowly fading away again. She heard the distant sound of the door opening and the sound of voices. Someone was desperately calling her name, begging for her to wake up one last time. She listened to the voice trying to identify who the owner was…

Ah. Finally. It’s George.

Alaina forced her tired eyes again to open just one more time. Her eyes complied but everything was so blurry and her ears seem not functioning well. She watched George leaned down to her and kissed her forehead, she felt his tears fell on her cheeks. She wanted to say something to him but words died on her throat as her eyes caught something she didn’t expect to see so vividly.

A tall, dark hooded figure was standing at the corner of the room, completely invisible in their eyes as they pay no attention to him. His cloak was clinging to his body like a second skin and his bone-like fingers were wrapped around a long, slender metal with an enormous, wide, wicked curved blade. A scythe. Dark smoke was emitting from his body and gradually spreading around the room like a blanket. The figure slowly moved closer and stood beside her husband, even up close it was impossible to find any features under his hood as it was like there was nothing there but swirling darkness.

Alaina never knew true fear before; she hadn’t even felt it when she heard that she was going to die. At this moment, she felt the air left her body and her lungs were working double time to fill up the emptiness, and her weak heart was beating like the wings of a hummingbird.  A wrenching sensation suddenly overcame her, as if every hair on her head and body were being pulled from their roots. Dark spots were starting to creep in the edges of her vision.

The hooded figure slowly raised his blade and was about to strike when suddenly there was a blinding flash of light. Two more figures appeared on the opposite side of her bed. This time though, they were clad in white and light surrounded them like a barrier. Their hoods were drawn covering the upper part of their faces while the lower part was exposed for Alaina to see.

The light coming from the new-comers is so pure and bright enough to blind anyone who witnesses it but strangely enough, it only felt warm and comforting to Alaina. The dark figure growled in anger at them and released more darkness that it covered half of the room. One of the two figures on the other side of the bed raised his delicate hand and light exploded around him, finally eradicating the dark figure.

Alaina watched the remaining two with wonder as they held hands and began to speak in a different language. Their voices were more beautiful and melodic than the choirs in the church. And as they speak she could hear different instruments being played in a perfect piece. She could hear the sound of the organ, the harp, the guitar, the violin and so forth. As she closed her eyes and listened to the music, she felt the pain and the tiredness slipping away from her body.

She felt feather light and better than she ever felt in years.

"Alaina?" The voice was like velvet, soft and gentle.

Alaina opened her eyes and saw one of the figures had his hand held in front of him. "It's time." He said. His pale, thin lips curving in a smile.

This time, as she extended her arm to reach for the figure's hand, she felt it complied. She sat up in bed, leaving her body behind and silence and peace descended. No longer was the cloaked one present in the room. Only peace and light and an overall sense of eye-opening rightness envelop the room. Nearly overwhelming in heart and mind, making a mere hospital room seemed like a paradise.

She watched her family crying over her pale, thin, lifeless form. Though she knew she didn't have a heart anymore that could beat, she felt an overwhelming sadness for them.

"I feel sad for them," she said.

"Even the dead know sorrow, Alaina." Her companion said quietly, "It is a feeling that does not only limit to the living." He gently pulled her away from them. "However, you could only watch over them. I am sure that they know you love them and they, as well, know that wherever you are, your heart will always be with them."

With that, Alaina and the two figures were surrounded by a warm and gentle light. The hospital and the room vanished, and they departed from all that have life on earth.

 

***

Alaina and her two companions materialized on the foot of a wide, marble staircase that leads up somewhere she doesn't know. The stairs’ destination was covered by thick clouds.

"Everything leads to where it all began, Alaina." Her companion said in an amused voice.

Alaina turned towards them and sucked her breath. The two had already pulled their hoods down and their faces were something to behold. The beauty that they possess was beyond words, and if poets could see them, she was sure that they will run out of adjectives.

They have a fair complexion -almost translucent, their long, golden wavy hair swayed gently behind them, their eyes were almost the same color as their hair but they have this kind of glow as if fire was burning inside. She watched them in utter awe as they began to move, one stood at her right while the other took the left.

"Everyone's waiting for you," the one on her left said with a smile.

Will she meet them there? Will they know her as she knows them on Earth? Her grammy and grandpa that died a few years ago, the baby brother she never met due to miscarriage, the old man who used to beg alms near the church she regularly visit. Will they all be there?

"Come and you will find out," The angel replied to her thoughts.

Alaina followed them as they began to climb the stairs. Though they didn't speak to each other, there was no absolute silence in the place. There was this soft and soothing music playing in the background. When they passed the clouds, a thought came to her mind. She always thought the clouds will feel like her fluffly pillows at home but they were simply like mist.

Finally, they stopped in front of a gigantic golden gate with strange markings engraved on them. There were eight angels guarding the gate and their beauty was incomparable as well.

"Peter," one of Alaina's companions called out.

A man wearing a brown robe walked towards them. He has a gentleman's features and he seemed to be in his mid-thirties. As his brown eyes settled on Alaina, his lips turned up in a smile, a smile that seemed to come from his heart.

"Welcome home," He said warmly.

Home. He said it like she just came home from a short vacation in Hawaii not living for almost thirty five years of her life on earth.

Seeing something on her expression, Peter laughed heartily. "I am sure you have lots of questions. Why don't we get you settled first?"

He turned away from them and walked back towards the door. He paused and looked back, he gestured at them to follow him.

Alaina turned to the only angel remaining at her side. He was the one who kept on talking to her throughout the journey. There was something in him that made her feel safe.

The angel noticed her stare and smiled, "Alaina," he started, "I am glad to be your guardian angel in life."

The revelation surprised Alaina that she didn't notice that the gate had already opened. She simply stared at the beautiful angel beside her. 

"Though you could have helped just a bit by being more behaved so I won't have to do overtime."

Alaina stared at him for a moment more before bursting out in laughter. She was still laughing as she took her first glimpse of heaven.


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