Jim Walsh says he has all this stuff to do in town and do I want to go with him, so I tag along. We go to the bank. The post office. Taco Time. After we’ve eaten our burritos he says he needs to stop by work. His office is in a strip mall. We park out front and I follow him inside. We walk down a hallway. Jim opens a door, turns on the lights, and enters a room. I follow him. The first thing I see is the old man. Eyes open. Skin waxy. Looking serenely at the ceiling from the table where he lies covered with a blue sheet. Over in the corner I can see a gray motionless child. Then, behind the old man, I see the girl. She’s lying face up on a gurney. Her chestnut hair is meticulously combed out. In thick tresses it hangs down almost to the floor. Her beautiful features are sharp and striking in death. She too looks serene, like she’s just sleeping with her eyes open. A white shroud covers her body. The main thing about her is how still she is. She’s my age. Sixteen. Jim lifts the shroud, peers underneath, and winces. He shakes his head, replaces the sheet. Nothing is moving in the windowless room. I’ve stopped breathing myself. I look again at the girl. Her hair hangs down. I’m amazed at how much of it there is. How thick. How long. How still.
About the AuthorMark Crimmins's fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Inscape, Happy, Confrontation, theNewerYork, White Rabbit, Columbia, Flash Frontier, Cha, Tampa Review Online, and Eunoia Review. When he is not writing he teaches Contemporary Fiction at the University of Toronto. He grew up in England, emigrated to the United States, lived in Japan for four years, moved to Canada to study, and currently lives in China.