Thursday, November 12, 2009

When death comes knocking

Thus that which is the most awful of evils, death, is nothing to us, since when we exist there is no death, and when there is death we do not exist.

Mrs. Ray used to live in the house at the very end of the street. Just like the lady the house had aged over the years and was nothing but a shadow of its former glory. All the neighbors had just one thought in their mind...which one wold go first....the old lady or the house. The house from lack of maintenance was almost on the verge of collapse. Mrs. Ray was a widow. Her husband had passed away when she was very young and so she had to bring up her son on her own. Unlike other widows she never had any financial difficulties as her husband had left her quite a bit when he died. The only thing was that she had no immediate family. But she was a strong woman and raised her son as good as any mother could. She always had hopes that her so would grow up to be a doctor or an engineer, but when he joined the army she was heartbroken. She felt cheated by her son as she wanted him to be there with her, but alas it was not meant to be.

It was Christmas eve and she was expecting her son home any moment. The weather outside was chilly with a soft breeze blowing through the streets. Mrs. Ray's health was not keeping well for the last few months. It was the darn cold. But all that did not matter to her. Her son was coming home and that to after a long time. She had spend the entire day cleaning the house and cooking some of her son's favorite dishes. She felt tired and decided to rest for sometime on her rocking chair which always used to be placed beside the drawing room window. No sooner than she sat down she fell asleep. She was woken by a fain knock on the door. Her heart started beating fast. It must be her son, she thought. She rushed to the door to open it and found instead a thin man dressed in a shabby black overcoat standing on her porch. She felt disappointed that it was not her son. She asked curtly what he wanted at this time of the night. It was almost eleven. The man is soft voice told the lady that he was looking for something to eat. All the other houses very dark, only this house had a light on, so he decided to give it a try. Being an ardent Christian, Mrs. Ray just could not turn away a beggar on Christmas eve. She told him to wait while she got him something to eat. He took out a portion from her sons meal and filled a cup full of some mead and gave it to the man. The man devoured the meal in a few minutes and sat on the porch slowly sipping on the mead. Even though she felt sad for the poor man she kept a vigilant eye on him because one just couldn't be too careful. Thieves and robbers could go to any extent.

"You are lucky that I made some food for my son. He is coming home today from the war.", she said. "Thank you so much. Yes, I met your son on the way I think. He is an army lieutenant, is he not?", said the man. "That he is, but pray may I ask you where you met him. He was supposed to be back home an hour ago", said Mrs. Ray a bit suspiciously. How could this old beggar know her son? "On the freeway. About a mile back. Well then, thank you for the meal and I believe it is time for us to leave", said the man in a commanding tone. "Us? Why should I be going with you". "To see your so of course", he said with a smile. "Who are you?", asked Mrs. Ray. With that the beggar extended his arm to her and said with a smile, '"Let me show you".

The terrible freeway accident was all over the papers the next day. A cab had collided head on with a bus. Both the driver and the passenger of the cab was confirmed dead. The passenger was a hero of the war returning home after a long time. But most of the people failed to notice a small article at the very bottom corner of the paper. "Millionaire widow dies of a heat attack at the age of 75. Locals fear foul play".

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