Last week, Chuck gave us 10 titles to pick from... this week, there's another 10 titles to pick from. I chose 'Sincerely, your Mortician'
Last week, I checked the letterbox to find an envelope inside it with the words, ‘Sincerely, Your Mortician’ written on the front in very nice calligraphy.
I had no idea what to make of this, as it wasn’t something you’d normally find in a letterbox. Was this something of a joke that the kids around the neighbourhood were playing, as they filmed me on their phones from a distance? Did they put a live spider inside it waiting for me to open it and jump out at me; scaring the crap out of me as the poor critter raced off in fear – or bit me and caused me to get sick?
Opening it carefully, I held it away from me, gave it a shake and out fell a letter – and nothing else.
I picked it up, opened it and found it was addressed to me.
It is time for you to be ready.
Is your dress organised?
Is your Will in order?
Have you told everyone you love them?
Shaking, I folded the letter along its creases and pushed it back into the envelope, looked around the street.
A bird sang from a tree.
A car putted by as it was about to turn the corner.
A child’s laugh was heard from the house next door.
I turned and walked back inside my house. I put the letter away in a place where I didn’t have to see it.
Two weeks past.
The letter’s meaning began to fade.
I had begun to get back into a normal routine again.
Then I checked my letterbox again and there was another letter with the same words on it in the same calligraphy. Inside it was the same letter addressed to me.
I called the police as I found the other letter in the drawer in the sideboard.
They came and looked at them side by side.
“They’re exactly the same.” One said taking notes.
“How long have you lived here, Miss...”
“Oh, just call me Cecilly.” I said, “Everyone around here does. And I’ve been here around forty years in this very same house.”
They asked me all kinds of questions. From how well I get along with my neighbours to who would hate me enough to scare me. I had no idea who’d want to scare me and as far as I knew, nobody had anything against me to cause this kind of thing to happen.
The two rose from the kitchen chairs, thanking me for the tea, saying they’d let me know if they find anything. They took one letter with them in a sleeve and left the other with me.
However I felt as though it wasn’t much use getting them here. I still felt fear in my heart because of what’s happened.
So, I called my daughter.
She wasn’t home.... I wished she was, I really needed her.
A week later, I found another letter of the same kind in my letterbox. My gut turned cold as I didn’t want to touch it. Pulling out my phone, I called the police from my footpath and they arrived immediately.
It was the very same as the other two.
They were grateful I hadn’t touched it.
They took it away for me.
I tried to call my daughter again; but found her mobile went straight to voice mail, and her answering machine at home told me it was full and I couldn’t leave a message.
I decided to go to church as I always found this a place of solace and where I often found peace. But as I walked through the doors, I found they were fixing up the place for a funeral. A casket was down the front with the most gorgeous flowers all around. People were beginning to arrive.
There was one problem: I knew all these people. They all walked up to the lovely casket and chatted about ‘how could this happen to her?’
Then, I saw my daughter and my two sons and rose, but a hand caught my arm. Turning, I saw a man dressed in a mortician’s suit, “I wouldn’t.” He said.
Pulling free, I walked off, “Leave me alone. I don’t know you.” I approached Lilly, Davin and Gary, “Oh my children, I’m so sorry for your loss... I have no words to express how horrible this must be for you all.”
“They can’t hear you.” He stood by my side, “And they can’t see you either; or me for that matter.”
I ignored him as I reached out to touched my darling Lilly and she suddenly pulled away from me, rubbing her arm frowning at me – through me – as she searched the crowd for who touched her... and yet... who didn’t.
“Lil, you okay?” Davin was by her side in a moment, his arm around his little sister, knowing she was a person who was known as a ‘sensitive’.
“I think Mum’s here. She touched my arm and I heard her voice calling me ‘darling Lilly’, but it was at a whisper; I couldn’t hear it above the noise here.”
“Of course I’m here, sweetheart.” I stood right in front of her, “Why can’t you see me?” I turned to the man in the suit, “Why can’t they see me? What did you do to me?”
“Here.” He handed me an envelope. It was the same as the ones I found in my letterbox at my house.
“I don’t want your stupid prank letters!” I screamed at him and the light on the wall nearby exploded as my anger showed itself clearly.
“I’m so sorry you don’t remember how you died.” His deep voice whispered through the audience of the people I know here today, “I think it’s best you take a seat before we take a nice walk. You have to calm down.”
I sat at the back of my church, where I had frequented for most of my life as the funeral procession started.
The pastor stood up the front in his formal robes, admired the lovely flowers on the casket and turned toward the full church, “We are gathered here today to celebrate the life and the death of Cecilly Lilly Archer. She was a loving mother of three children and unfortunately left this life far too soon; having been found on her footpath by passing joggers last week as she checked her letterbox. She suffered a massive heart attack and was gone into our Father’s hands before the ambulance arrived.” His voice droned on as he started talking about my life.
I turned to the man next to me, “I’m dead?”
He nodded, “And I’m your mortician.”
“I don’t understand.”
He smiled, “I’m your guide to the other side. This is normal to be attending your service... let’s stay awhile. It’s usually fun to find out what people think of you when you’re not around.” He handed me a letter, “Open it.”
I pulled it open slowly and read the contents:
Yes, you are dead. Yes this is your funeral. No, this is nothing to be afraid of, and don’t worry, we’re going to be good friends. I am somebody you knew in life.
Time went on a bit of a blur really. I couldn’t keep track of anything – the past and the present were starting to melt together in a dizzying kind of bubble. I didn’t like it. But I knew it was time to leave, time to find out who this mortician man was soon.
One day, I found myself in my house and it was empty. There was no furniture in it. No carpet, no paint, no light and no life... it was time to move on. The mortician arrived at my side and I took his hand, closing my eyes against a blinding light, “You said I knew you.”
“And you do, Cecilly.” His voice was low and at a whisper still, “Open your eyes.”
I did and found myself in a gorgeous garden; one I almost didn’t recognise. It was one I hadn’t seen in over twenty years! Looking down at my hand where his hand had been, I found it empty. The mortician had left me alone in this paradise... without a companion.
“Where are you!” I shouted turning in a panic as my eyes fell upon my lovely sweet husband, George. He was standing next to the mortician, “Is it really you?”
“Oh, Cecilly... I heard you had passed and wondered if you were going to come home.” He walked to me, holding me; his wonderful scent bringing me home to him, “So, I began sending you the letters to let you know it was almost time... because I know how much you love receiving mail.”
“But why didn’t you sign it with your own name?”
“The mortician wouldn’t let me... I didn’t want to spook you.”
“She died before the other letters arrived.” The mortician said, “Only one got through.”
George turned to him, “Well, I think it’s time we enjoyed our time alone. Thank you for your services.”
The darkly-dressed man nodded, tipping his hat a little, “If you ever need me again, just call. I am both your guides.”
My darling George turned to me, “Welcome home, sweetheart.”