Their identical smiles beamed out of the photo. Abigail and Benjamin, at age three, had been blonde haired angels. The photo hadn’t shown Abi later pushing Ben in the pool – “to see if he floated”.
Twenty seven years on, Ben was floating through his dialysis in a fog of despair. Abi was pushing million dollar currency trades through the market. Whispers had it, she’d recently started mainlining cocaine to keep her edge.
Ben was planning a party. The party had not been his idea. His hospital appointed counselor diagnosed concurrent depression. She prescribed him a party, with his closest friends and family.
The family included Abi and her ‘exact match’ kidneys. When asked, she had announced they “were available over her dead body”. As he hand wrote his invitations, the idea emerged with each new greeting. “Her dead body” indeed. That, and no evidence, was all that was required.
The planning for the evening’s events had gone well. He needed invitations (done), a catering company (email sent) and an insulin-filled syringe (supply in own medicine cabinet).
The party had been a great success. The simple swap went undetected. Old friends commented that Ben, in his role of host, looked more lively than he had been for some time. Abi may have appeared more tired and emotional than expected. But quite politely, no comment was made.
Ben found tears when his mother rang early the next morning. Abi had died in her sleep.
The blonde angels photo featured at the funeral.
Graphic image courtesy Kara Veugelers
This piece was written for the first heat of the NYC Midnight Microfiction Challenge of 2019.
Genre: Drama | Action: Hosting a party | Word: Evidence
Update 21 Nov 2019: The piece placed in the top ten in its heat, putting Ursula through to the semi-finals. The follow-up entry is entitled The Thames Frost Fair
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