Flash Friday: Hell is Hope

Much belated Flash Friday from Chuck Wendig’s prompt: Life is Hell

There’s no devils and brimestone here, only white grey walls and the sterile smell of death. I’m not sitting in a lake of fire, but in a plastic chair that I’d pulled up to the side of the bed.

Hell isn’t what I’d expected.

“Tasha?” My hand curls around my mother’s. It used to be strong and soft and tanned. It used to be magical, the way it could turn bandaids into cures, and do my braid just right. Now I’m holding bones held together by blue ropes and parchment skin.

“I’m here mom,” I whisper. My throat is raw, and every word hurts.

She smiles, and it’s a struggle.

“You look so sad, baby. Don’t be so sad,” Her other hand, just as fragile as the one I hold reaches up to rest against my cheek. But the effort is taxing and soon it droops to rest on my hands.

“I’m going to a better place,” she murmurs. Rheumy eyes close. “I’ll be waiting for you.”

“I’m so sorry mom,” I whisper. I want to sob so hard I throw up, I want to curl up next to her, to go with her. I want to do so much, but instead, I smile through the tears. Or at least I try.

“Sorry for what?” She asks me, opening her eyes, smiling at me. “There’s nothing you have to be sorry for.”

But there is.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t help. I’m sorry about-”

“Shush,” she said, patting my hands. “Shush. It’ll sort itself out. You’ve got time.”

Only I didn’t.

“You’re so strong, Tasha. I can’t wait to see what you do.” She smiles again, and closes her eyes. I can feel the life slip out of her hands, draining down her arms to bleed out into the bed.

“Mom?”

I try to swallow, but now the sobs are too large to choke down. I curl around her hands, feeling the familiar hooks of grief curl into my belly, tearing up and out.

“Mom…”

I want to tell her that I’m sorry for not being strong enough. For taking the rest of her sleeping pills when I’d gotten home from the hospital, and chasing it with a gravol/vodka cocktail.

I didn’t think there was a Hell. Who could believe that sinners would wallow in fire and get stabbed by pitchforks for all eternity? But I was wrong.

“Tasha?” My hand curls around my mother’s. It used to be strong and soft and tanned. It used to be magical, the way it could turn bandaids into cures, and do my braid just right. Now I’m holding bones held together by blue ropes and parchment skin.

“I’m here mom,” I whisper. My throat is raw, and every word hurts. I swallow down the sobs again.

My mom smiles. Hell isn’t what I’d expected.

“You look so sad, baby. Don’t be so sad.”

It’s so much worse.

Advertisements