There was a man, a very old and crippled man lying on a bed all alone. The man was in a white room that seemed to absorb sound and nothing could be heard but a clock ticking on the wall far opposite of him, and his heavy labored breathing. He was easily in his 90s with a bald head that could reflect light if the room had any windows. The senior was of African American descent, onyx eyes that seemed to hold a lifetime of wisdom, and wearing a white gown. He had many gadgets and supplies hooked up to him that kept him alive for far longer than he felt he should be. It’s not like anything was wrong with this man, he was not suffering from any kind of disease or problem. ‘Well unless you count old age as a disease’ he thought with a chuckle that made him cough into his hand. It was a long coughing fit, that seemed to tighten his lungs and cause severe pain in his chest. He rose his hand up shakily to stare at the appendage and was not surprised to find blood. It was his time, the man was dying, but he only lay there with a smile.
At the sound of his coughing fit, a lady entered the room in a panic. She was young, in her early 20s, and looked beautiful. The old man couldn’t help but think that she would look even more so if she stopped her constant frowning. This was his granddaughter, Alexis Dark, who began taking care of him when he became bedridden. Oh how he loved her, the girl had a ruthless personality to those she doesn’t know but to family it’s as if there’s a switch that gets flipped. She became kind and compassionate the moment someone she cared about was involved but if you were a stranger she would have no problem laughing at your naivety and incompetence. A mean and vindictive bitch if you ever seen one but a sweetie at heart. Alexis was a lighter skin tone then him with long gorgeous black hair with a single long strand of purple mixed in her french braid. She had hazel eyes, was about 5’9 tall, and had a practiced smile on her face. The girl wore a white doctor’s uniform and seemed to always have a clipboard in her hand. She was walking around the room, checking all of the machines one by one with swift precision. Alexis has done this thousands of times by now and when she was done, she sat on the edge of his bed.
“How are you doing Abuelo, is there any severe pain?” she asked and he smiled at her. Her father and his son, Neo Dark, married a latina women when he was a youngster. The old man didn’t know a lick of spanish but he learned a few choice words to connect with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter better. He turned out to really like the language, it was passionate and he loved arguing with her mother’s side of the family in their own language. It’s how they connected.
“…It is time for me Nieta.” At those words her heart sank and her eyes dimmed. “I’ve been here to long. It’s way past my time already. The life I’ve lived…has been full of regrets. Opportunities I was too scared to take, strength I was to weak to grasp, and time I was too lazy to make use of. Even with all these regrets in my life, I’m happy how it turned out. Although I wasn’t ready at the time, I raised an amazing son, who in turn raised an amazing daughter. You’re both smart, accomplished, and determined to grab life by the cajones. Much better than this old man!” The man said with a laughed, not a mere chuckle this time but a full bellow with a wide smile. Before long, he clenched his chest in pain and blood forced its way through his mouth with a cough.
“Abuelo! You shouldn’t-” the man raised his hand in response to silence her. “Quiet girl, let these old bones fully enjoy what’s left of his life one last time at least without worrying about coughing up a lung.” Alexis turned away and looked down at her grandfather’s scolding. Her hands on her legs, she balled them into fists so tight that they began drawing blood. She clenched her eyes shut as tears threatened to escape and grit her teeth as if to hold herself back from yelling at her own blood. It became quiet for a moment while the old man worked to catch his breath. In the silence what probably only took 10 seconds felt like 10 minutes. There was no sound but the ticking of the clock and her grandfather’s wheezing breath. She couldn’t stand it, the silence that was meant to be calming began to suffocate her and the ticking became mocks. Like Death himself was standing below that clock with a scythe in hand and silently watching. Watching and observing for a time and moment and place to take her precious grandfather away, mocking her. Saying all her efforts will eventually be for nought and each second he steps a little closer to her grandfather, a hand silently reaching out with every tick and getting closer to his soul and heart and very being with every tock.
“I’m tired Nieta.” he said after catching his breath. “I’m so very old and so very tired…do you understand?” the girl nodded rapidly and began trying to interrupt her grandfather.
“Only because we haven’t gotten the new me tech from the city. The things they come up with Abuelo, I know it’s been a while since you’ve been outside but soon-!”
“I love you” interrupted the man. “and you’ve been raised good enough to do anything you want in your life. There’s nothing left for me here and I just want to close my eyes.”
“No!” the dam broke, unable to hold her tears from falling even a second longer. She began to rock back in forth while grabbing her grandfather’s hand. Her eyes squeezed even tighter and her head shook side to side in denial. She could hear him. She could hear it. The Reaper steps hastening with every word spoken from the dying man. “No! No! No! It’s going to be okay, with the new tech that’s being shipped here it’ll be like you’re young again. Don’t you want that?” she asked, opening her eyes a bit to look upon the feeble form of the man, almost as if asking how could he dare want anything different.
“I want to close my eyes Princess, and just rest for the first time in years.” the old man said in a wishful voice. “My sweet, sweet girl, I know this is hard to understand, but please do not argue with this old man…” she tensed tighter, her hands, feet, eyes, she clenched everything as tight as she could. The more he spoke, each tick got louder. The more she understood what was being asked of her, each tock became more mocking. She didn’t dare open them yet she could feel it. A Reaper standing over her grandfather with a cold smile and arm over his chest. He was here.
She heard her grandfather speak one last time and everything changed yet stayed the same. “Goodnight Nieta…” Her body became cold but she could feel the sweet slowly trickling down her back. Her stomach churned, and it took the entirety of her willpower not to dispense her lunch onto the floor. Breathing that was previously struggling to keep calm suddenly lost control, and she felt as if she was hyperventilating.
After a couple of minutes of struggling to regain her calm, she opened her eyes to find him sound asleep. The girl’s entire body started to shake and when she began standing up she felt weak. Like walking through water, she was sluggish and slow. The girl slowly moved next to his bed that connected to the wall. This is where all his machines were plugged up. The machines that were keeping him alive. The machines that were to be replaced to keep her grandfather alive. Well, that was the plan at least. With her shaking and tears now freely falling down her cheeks, she forced her hand to grab hold of all the cords keeping him alive.
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