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Don’t Blink MAG
Ms. Mabry's delicate blue blouse flittered across her collarbones, and her long eyelashes waved along the rims of her closed eyes. The peace displayed in her soft, silent smile brought tears to my eyes. I silently wished I could've met her in a different way. Our hands met as I folded hers over a small bundle of blue azaleas. I wondered if she had even liked flowers.
Mr. Wyse's tie wasn't tied correctly, so I busied myself with that task. The kind wrinkles around his eyes were permanently etched. I averted my gaze from the makeshift stitches that covered the fatal gunshot wound.
Renee's jumper was too big. I fastened a safety pin at the back, out of sight. I curled her tiny hands as naturally as I could on her plump stomach and placed a small olive branch in her grip. I don't think her parents expected this outcome.
I gripped my keys in my dry palm and locked up the dust-filled funeral home. Stepping into my car, I placed my purse on the passenger seat and started the engine. My fingers eventually found the radio.
Mrs. Livingston's eyes were open wide in fear of something that had long passed. Her maroon dress had a bean-shaped stain on the left shoulder that I remedied quickly. I shut her eyes with my fingertips, and my lips tightened.
Paulo's spiky black hair pricked my hands as I worked around his head. Delicately curling his lips into a tiny smile, I noticed his long eyelashes gently brushing his cheekbones. I squeezed his hand and swallowed a mouthful of air.
Ms. Bryant's gold hair was braided, and I undid the delicate weave with careful movements. New curls bounced around her angular face, and freckles punctuated her nose. I positioned her pale-pink-painted fingers in a clasp at her waist.
My toes wove through a carpet forest as I shuffled to bed. My blankets didn't seem to be heavy enough to keep me warm. Shivering slightly, I troubled myself with the task of falling asleep.
Mr. Fisher had a small brass key tucked in his shirt pocket. I placed the cold metal in his fingers and folded them on his chest. His face had sparse whiskers sprinkled across it, and his eyebrows were furrowed.
Jasper's hands were crinkled up near his face, acting as a shield. I unfolded them and placed them in a calmer pose. His eyes had evidence of recent tears crouching beneath.
Ms. Addison's straight charcoal hair was fanned out around her face. Her body language told me that her ending had been peaceful. I gently adjusted her pantsuit and flattened the blossoms that adorned her shoulders.
My car grumbled as I turned the ignition. I stared at myself in the rearview mirror. Curly auburn hair balancing on narrow shoulders, a soft face held up by a turtleneck sweater, intense green eyes that only meant jealousy. A smile that never showed.
I loved my job, but I also hated it.
Rory's hair was ruffled and flat on one side. My hands went to work, but my eyes stayed on his punctured eye, hidden clumsily by a patch.
Mr. Wang's small, kind eyes smiled, but his mouth portrayed the opposite. His lips were curled into a position that could only mean fear, and his fists were clenched.
And then …
And then there was Calico Clove.
She clutched a piece of paper in her hands with bitten-off fingernails. The mangled sheet said two words.
My eyes opened wide; I was trying to prevent them from closing momentarily. Ferocious shivers consumed my body. I shook and shook, and my eyes were drying out.
Keep them open keep them open.
But I blinked.
I blinked, and I was in an entirely different place.
There was a thin sheet of frosted glass beneath my feet, and I crouched to peek below.
I saw the funeral home where I worked. And in the open casket was a thin woman. Curly auburn hair balancing on narrow shoulders, a soft face with intense green eyes that only meant jealousy. A smile that never showed.