500 Word Short Story
Scott A. Gese

500 Word Short Story

Herman Desi passed away on Saturday. He didn't want to go.

Herman lived a long and fruitful life. At the age of 98 he left his wife of seventy years and two adult children. His death was a long and drawn out affair. The cigarettes he smoked for over eighty years finally caught up with him. It started with emphysema. He was on a respirator for his last ten years. Even then he still stubbornly enjoyed a good smoke several times a day.

It was the lung cancer that finally did him in. Even then he didn't go easily. He laid in a hospital bed set up in his living room for over a month. He passed away in the middle of a major thunder storm, and only then because a bolt of lightening crashed through the living room window striking and killing him instantly.

Herman Desi didn't go. He was taken.

One can only imagine what was being discussed on the other side of life to cause such a thing to happen. Seems Herman needed to be drug across the threshold between life and death. God, or maybe the Devil, would not be denied. Either way, Herman Desi was forced to take his leave from this world and depart to the hereafter.

At Herman's funeral, those who knew him had a chance to publicly say their good-by's. As his oldest son was at the podium a strange thing happened. The church organ suddenly began to play a single note for a full ten seconds before it stopped just as suddenly. No one wanted to think it was anything but coincidental.

Strange things began to happen at home as well. A full time caretaker was at the house seeing after Herman's wife. At times, in the middle of the night, the caretaker could hear the sound of Herman's favorite rocking chair creaking. The smell of a freshly lit cigarette occasionally filled the house. The most telling sign that Herman may not have made a full transition to the afterlife was on the mornings when a fresh cup of steaming hot coffee was found sitting next to the Keurig machine in Herman's favorite cup.

It got to the point where the family was concerned about the safety of those in the house. There was even talk of bringing in a Catholic priest to perform an exorcism, or a shaman to smudge the house.

Herman's wife was not keen on making him leave his own home, even if he was dead. Her family convinced her, at the very least, to see if she could talk Herman into continuing his journey. She reluctantly agreed.

One evening when she was alone, she called to her husband who, to her surprise, appeared before her. They had a heart to heart talk. It seems he had wanted to stay so badly that he had gotten himself stuck between life and the hereafter.

Herman's wife helped him make the transition and he was never heard from again.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.