Final Request by Randal Houle

The door opens. More people move in behind. The temperature drops another few degrees, but I feel warmer. No one moves. We all wait at the same speed, the speed of fresh snowflakes floating over ice floe streets.

Cold here, colder still, and still more outside, where winter has the city in its icy grip like death in the throat. I’m not the only one, and that’s no comfort – in fact, it makes this whole ordeal worse. The door opens and more take their place beyond the others.

A layer of sand coats my membranes. My skin glistens, protects the little creatures as they claim their prize. That is our bargain – a lifetime détente in exchange for a feast – although I had never been consulted. It’s an ancient marriage made by some outer space yenta.

Open the doors. Cause me to bathe once more in the full day. Get me out of here so I may remember my family. Let me cut in and hitch a ride with one of the others. Forget me not. No, inter me now. Close me in with my sorrow and allow me rest.


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Filed under Randal Houle

9 responses to “Final Request by Randal Houle

  1. Randal Houle

    In December 2008, the Pacific Northwest experienced one of the longest continual snowfall as long as I can remember. It shut down the cemetery where I worked.

    Unfortunately, burials could not be completed for nearly two weeks, creating a backlog of over 120 deceased.

    When I thought of the contest theme, Long Lines, I remembered the families and their frustration. But instead of telling the story from the grieving families POV, I attempted to tell the story from the point of view of a corpse.

    I hope you enjoy.

  2. Quenby Larsen

    I love the fraught and fickle voice of the last paragraph. And now that I’ve read the explanation for the piece, though I did sense something more than just an ordinary line – there was lots of mystery, though as I kept reading, I sensed it was a line for death – I selfishly want to see all of this as a whole, the background along with your own voice or a fictional narrator’s voice. What an experience to be able to write about and what a job in terms of a source of grist for the mill.

    This also I liked/will remember: “We all wait at the same speed.”

    — Quenby

  3. Ganymeder

    I liked this before I read the explanation. Now I love it.

  4. The explanation makes one read the story again, though there was a hint of what was going on. Nice.

  5. Pingback: Week #23 – long lines « 52|250 A Year of Flash

  6. Pingback: Flash Favorites! | Wink/Nudge

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