John Lazarus was a beloved member to his family. He was a sunshine that brightens the night. John was lively and full of Love. But he soon fell ill, and his health was quickly fading. On his final death bed, he accepted his fate and told his family to let him go in peace.
But his family was too distraught, and wouldn’t let him go. They could not accept that his Life was ending, and thus went into extreme measure to delay his passing. They sought the help from an old “Medicine Man”. Hoping that the Medicine Man would cure whatever ails him. The Medicine Man performed questionable dark arts to appease the spirits and requested that they can postpone John’s departure for another year or so.
But after weeks of rituals, John released himself from his suffering. The family mourns their lost, and cursed the Gods for taking their beloved from them. Funerals were made on the cheap end. Cremation was the preferred choice for the Dead, but the family members decided against it. They dressed him in his finest clothes and buried him. Inside, they pray to have their John back to them.
Three days passed, and the family still mourns. Not accepting their lost, and his passing. Every night since, they saved a place at the dinner table for him. On the third night of his death, the doorbell rang.
A cold darkness envelopes the evening. A chill creeps itself upon the family. A brave child went to answer the door. As the door opens, the young boy stood still, gazing upon the image of his departed Uncle John.
He shuffled in like a man sleepwalking, and without a word, took his seat upon his table. The family is surprised, but not afraid. They went about their dinner as if Uncle John had just come from a long trip abroad.
Uncle John sat motionless for a couple of minutes. Allowing his family member to examine his physical appearance. His clothes were covered in dirt. His flesh a bluish hue. Fingernails black and covered in dirt. Face ashen and almost sunken. And the smell. One could not ignore such pungent odor. But Uncle John was back. And the family accepted this.
Someone passed a plate of food and placed it in front of Uncle John. Slowly, his head bowed and his dazed eyes focus upon the meal. Eagerly, his dirty fingers dug into the meal and he ate his dinner, ravenously.
Everyone’s thought was the same, “Poor Uncle John haven’t eaten in Three Days.”
Only after a good moment had passed, did one child ask innocently, “Where have you been, Uncle John?”
He ate, and swallows. He turned his gaze slowly at the child, with eyes like the pit of the grave. And mumbled in a slow voice, “Oh, here and There.”
The child asked, “Where is….There?”
This prompts a response from Uncle John that could only be described as a mirror to a dark void. His eyes bored into the child with a harsh coldness. The entire room was silent, waiting for the response of Uncle John Lazarus. The temperature fell into an icy dread.
The child asked again, “Where is….There?”
Uncle John straightens himself on his chair. He sat staring into the shadows, reminiscing about something. Those three days lying alone in the damp darkness. Unable to release himself from his suffering. His mind began to race and doubts filled what’s left of his soul.
Why did I return? He questioned himself. Is it because my own family would not let me go? How selfish then, that I have returned from my own passing to satisfy their needs.
“Uncle John?” the child’s voice asked.
Nobody at the table said anything. They did not chastise the child of his inappropriate behavior. No one respects the Dead. They live only in the moment.
He sat there, unmoving. The families bowed their head and continue to eat. For they must eat to Live, or they would have starved to Death. No one wants to die. But if you are Dead, do you really want to live?
He sat there, unmoving. He has returned. He is dead inside but he continues to Exist. He is alive, but yet he is not living. He’s just there, existing among his family. And throughout the days and throughout the weeks. they took care of him, dressing him appropriately, and feeding him.
He became like a crippled man. There was no Life in him, but he continued to remain. He was not lively. The sunshine in him had dimmed, and what was replaced was the pale light of a living death.
© Copyright 2016 Sammy Wang Yang. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Horror
Poem / Poetry
Poem / True Confessions
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