My Grandmother passed away, she always said, 'I'll be around'. This always made me smile. She was a nice old lady. Until one night, I crawled into my cover and closed my eyes.
A few days after her funeral, as I drifted into sleep, I imagined her in her rocking chair. The smell of her food would steam the house like a bakery store. Her passing nearly made me cry.
I remember glimpses of a vivid dream I had that night. I was running down the stairs in her cottage. The rooms were dark and the walls emptied of family photos. My nose couldn't escape an awful smell which scratched at my nostrils.
Grandma once had a mouse problem. She'd lay traps and when they died, we'd have to sniff them out. Her three cats were lazy and they'd let the mice eat from their food. In the dream, a mouse ran past my feet, down into the lounge room. It scurried along the floor, off into the dark. I was keen to catch it.
The mouse vanished and I stopped. A rocking chair creaked, back and forth like the tapping of a clock. On a chair was my grandmother. Her back faced my direction. She didn't move, and I watched with confusion. "You're up early, food is on the table," said a calming voice.
I looked into the kitchen. Candles were lit on the table. I grabbed the bowl of soup and returned. Her chair was empty. "Take a sip," I checked the kitchen and saw a shadow wiz past. "I'll be back soon,"
I raised the spoon to my lips. I slurred the first mouthful and a few chunks of cooked meat slapped my lips. The soup tasted thick, burnt and it left my tongue dry. The meat was tender. It was tough to chew. The soup almost resisted slipping down my throat. I finished the bow, a little worried I might choke on the last mouthful.
"The cats are naughty," I turned around, forcing a smile. Down the stairs, my Grandmother took her slow steps, as if afraid to hurt her back. She wore a white nightgown and around her shoulders was a knitted scarf. She walked my direction, two hands clenched behind her back. "Did you enjoy that, sweetie?"
Her smile revealed gum, glued with red saliva. Her eyes pinched at my stomach. 'Yes,' I murmured as she stopped in front of me.
"Good," she giggled. "Made it for you," from behind her waist she held out a tightened fist. Tangled and knotted between her fingertips were a bundle of rats, clawing one another and resisting her grip. "Would you like more, sweetie? I said I'll be back,"
The sound of rats thrusting for sweet release. I woke up choking and coughing. A hand gripped over my chest. I coughed hard enough to release a lump buried in my throat. A chunk of meat fell into my lap. We're visiting her grave in the morning.
Submitted December 08, 2018 at 07:00AM by IsaacJMadigan