[04.02.00] » by Noah Bayens


He sighed heavily. Nowadays, he was always tired. He just wanted to rest. She was inside, hurt and pained, but what could he do? Nothing. He leaned over and scratched the head of their dog, an old collie. He smiled. The influences of the dog’s great-great-great-great-grandfather could still be seen under the eyes. He smiled again.

The chair creaked as he sat down in it. The wood on the porch groaned, as if in pain. A bittersweet thought crept into his mind. We are all getting to be old, aren’t we? Everything we knew, everything we were was . . .old. He chuckled. The world is moving on, but we’re stuck, and there’s no way to free us.

He watched the zephyrs blow across the plains in front of the house, scattering a few leaves and petals before them. The sun warmed the land, but the spring air still remained cool. Everywhere, wildflowers bloomed. Their sweet fragrance filled the air.

A rattling cough broke the low lullaby of the wind. He stood up, grimacing a little from the pain in his bones. He paused at the doorway, caught between a world of life and a world of death. With one last breath, he stepped into the door. This is going to be my last time with her. The realization finally dawned upon him. He stepped to the bed in the corner.

Lying beneath the thick blankets was a still figure of a woman. Liver spots had dimmed her skin, and a yellow pall had crept upon her, but underneath her image, he could still see the woman who he had loved all this time. He had promised her long ago to always be there for her, and he had never failed. Her white hair, spread out around her head like a halo, was still streaked with brown. Her chest rose and fell softly, but all was not well. A thick, raspy sound could be faintly heard with each breath. She was dying from the consumption; her lungs being reclaimed. And there was nothing that he could do about it. Tears filled his eyes.

"Love, please…" He stopped, not trusting his voice any longer.

"Love, please… please wake…" Tears spilled from his eyes, dripping down his cheeks, wetting his lips. They fell ever onwards, down to his chin, where they dropped onto her face.

But she remained still. Her shallow breaths filled the silence following his plea. She was going to die.

He slowly stood up, his knees unsteady. The dog followed closely behind him as he left the house. Wobbling slightly, the chair supported his tired frame. His hand idly scratched behind his dog’s ear. The dog leaned into it, obviously enjoying it. Such a simple pleasure completely unrelated from all the troubles of the world. Slowly, ever so slowly, he stopped. The dog pushed his hand against the hand, but he never resumed petting.

The wind gently blew on, slightly harder, dislodging flower petals from their niches. Human drama could not stop the wind, nor could death cause the rain.

Everything was ending now.


The effects were subtle at first. His heart slowed down, followed by his breathing. But it no longer mattered. He no longer had a reason to fight against time. Blood started to separate as his extremities slowly numbed. His vision tunneled, then completely blacked out. He faded away into sleep. He never woke again.

The dog pushed his nose under his master’s hand, but it wouldn’t move. He barked. Nothing moved. Again. Still nothing. Fear sparked in his canine brain. The dog paced back and forth, occasionally sounding a bark. Finally, out of a sense of loyalty, he laid down in front of his master, to protect him until he changed. The dog let out a noisy sigh, then relaxed.

All his life, the dog had loved and served his master. Always, tirelessly, loyally. The dog was old now, nearing his time to relax. Sleeping and running no longer satisfied. His body had reached its prime years ago, and downward it has been from that point. Now, too, it was his turn to relax.

The only sound on the plain now was the wind, the tireless wind combing the grasses and the flowers. Occasionally, a stronger burst would send a veritable storm of petals flying into the air. From inside the small house, a broken cough filled the air. After the outburst, all was silent.

Thunder rumbled in the distance.

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