Excerpt from Scattered Leaves by Richard Roach
She had worried about her twenty-ninth birthday, which was coming up soon; she had been concerned that being nearly thirty might be getting old. She had been fretful about too many things: not having rugs beside the bed, the poor people at church, when would the roof start leaking. All those worries had taken wing when her heart had stopped beating and her blood ceased to flow.
I could not share with her the final pain of her last moments on this earth. She
would forever be twenty-eight.
The smell of death permeated the bedroom air.
She had never been a big person, but in death she seemed shrunken. A glob of caked blood held a dozen strands of her silky, blonde hair and was stuck to her temple. The swollen, black tongue protruded from her mouth. She looked at the world from behind eyelids that were almost closed.