Prompt for June 8, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

The problem with growing old isn’t the creaky bones and the fading memory, it’s going to all those funerals. I looked around at the mourners and shook my head slightly. This was number seven this year and we hadn’t reached the end of summer. Not that I thought of myself as old, I was still in my prime, at least that’s what I told myself every morning when I was in the gym. Yeah, my hair was a little thinner than it used to be and some of what was left was getting a little grey, but, damn it, I didn’t picture myself as old and that’s what really counts.

The problem with funerals is that they’re not for the deceased, they’re for the living. The number of people that show up is directly related to the worth of the deceased and the living need to know the value of the dead. Bullshit. Funerals are bullshit. They are nothing more than an excuse for people to say “there, but for the grace of God, go I”. Get off your high horses people, Death comes for us all and your belief that God is keeping you around for some higher purpose is such supreme arrogance that I almost want to kill you. OK, deep breaths, deep breaths. Now, where was I?

Oh, yeah, funerals. If I hate them so much why do I go to so many? Because I made a promise to a group of people almost twenty years ago, and they made the same promise, that when our little group was down to two people we would tell the world what really happened in that research lab that was shut down. We would tell people what they had been harbouring for the past twenty years and we would expose the horrors that our group laid on the doorstep of the world.

We would come clean.

And now we are but three.

So I go to funerals to commiserate with the living and congratulate the dead on having escaped the burden of the truth. I go to look into their faces and wonder whether or not I want to tell the truth or take my life and force the remaining members of the group to suffer in silence. I go because I’m scared. Scared of living. Scared of dying. I shake my head, hoping those thoughts fly out of my head.

but before I can move, before I can voice my platitudes to the widow and the rest of the family I feel a small, delicate hand slip itself into mine. I freeze, unable to even breath because I know who this is, I know who slipped passed my defenses, I know who is here to watch. My eyes slip to the side, my brain not seeming to be able to control my own eyes as I turn to look at this intruder. Dark green eyes look at me. The face, elfin in shape, is framed by dark auburn hair that falls below her shoulders. I’ve never seen that face before in my life, but I know who it is. My voice, normally so rich and full, comes out raspy and soft, almost as if I were dying, which considering what was happening, was a distinct possibility.

“Hello, Lilith,” I whispered as I watched the end of the world come a little bit closer.

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