On her deathbed, the wrinkled woman in the leopard print jumpsuit waved goodbye and slipped gruffly away. Ten minutes later she awoke to a mourning wail.
“Stop that racket,” she said. “Can’t a woman even die in peace?”
Her daughter, Rachael, lead wailer, blinked in surprise. “Mother,” she breathed, “you died.”
Betty Mildeugum harrumphed. “Well,” she said, “I was supposed to, but those orphans at the gates sent me back.”
Rachael shot her sister, Rosemary, a glance. “Orphans?”
“You know,” Betty said, “those nude angel children. Ugliest children ever. No wonder they’re orphans.”
“Mother!” Rosemary said. “What a horrid thing to say.”
“Aren’t I the one who just died? And then didn’t? Stop your blabbering, and give me some water.” She looked over at Rachael. “As for you, you’ll ask why they didn’t take me. That’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it? Well, tough luck, they sent me back. Apparently I’m supposed to arrive with someone else.”
A commotion outside caught everyone by surprise. Cries rang out in the hall, just as cries rang out in the room. Betty had slipped away.
She arrived at the gates and looked to her left. “Oh,” she said with a smile, “so it’s you.”
Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on 200 Word Tuesdays: