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Chapter 8 - Frail

Various tiny stories using the 2019 prompt list, because I looked at all the things I have to do and decided this was a good opportunity to practice my flash fiction because I am profoundly stupid.

Wish me luck.

Chapter 8 - Frail

Chapter 8 - Frail
Dorothy was starting to think it was time to stop sleeping with her dead husband.

She didn’t want to. Even years after the cancer took him, Henry was still a part of her life. Nearly six decades of marriage will do that to a couple, turn them into something that isn’t whole without the other half. She had been quite fortunate that God had allowed Henry to return to her side even after he passed on, and rejecting God’s gifts had rarely been in her best interests.

He had been as devoted to her in death as he had in life. Always by her side, he kept her company in the long, lonely days in the facility, He never spoke. Henry hadn’t exactly been a chatterbox in life, and that certainly didn’t change when he no longer had a mouth. But she felt his comforting presence regardless, whether she was sitting by the window or taking her meals or trying to follow a conversation with the men and women who helped her.

She felt him more strongly in the dark, after the sun had gone down. It had seemed strange to her at first, that one of God’s hand-picked creatures would shy from the light, but she wasn’t about to question His will. Over time she assumed it had something to do with how close she was to sleep. Sleep, they said, was a time of temporary death, and she believed them. In her dreams she actually saw him, as young and handsome as ever, and she too became young and beautiful, not the frail, forgetful shadow she had become. Their nights together were wonderful, playing out conversations and scenes from their lives in perfect clarity, spending minutes and hours together again.

Oh, and having sex.

She and Henry had a perfectly fulfilling sex life, back when they were young enough to have sex and also both alive. It wasn’t anything to rattle the rafters and wake the neighbors, but neither was it the perfectly chaste relationship they presented to their friends and family (and vice versa, thank Heaven). In death, though, Henry had let loose, introducing her dream-self to so many kinks and scenarios and positions it made her head spin. In the land of sleep, where no consequences bled to the outside world, they could do anything they wanted: she could go dancing in the skimpiest dresses and stroke his throbbing member inside his suit while they were pressed close: she could strip out of her uniform and climb on top of him on his cot, surrounded by the other recovering soldiers in her tent; she could let him bet her during his poker nights, and have the winner of each pot tie her to her bed while he claimed her, a constant train of Henry and his friends satisfying themselves with her body. All the thoughts she’d had in life, but convinced herself she hadn’t, Henry now knew, and he walked her through each and every one of them.

But the more she explored her fantasies, the more changes she noticed in Henry. In the beginning she’d felt only love and warmth from him during the day. Now she felt other things, like disgust and rage when the nice men and women in the facility said things they thought she couldn’t hear, or when they talked down to her after she forgot something again. The more restless he became during the day, the more aggressive he became at night, the darker the fantasy he helped her experience, and the more exhausted she was each morning.

And then, one day last week, Henry left her side. One of the other residents had said something to her—she didn’t even remember what—something to which Henry had taken offense. His presence disappeared, only for a few minutes, and when he returned she felt the same calmness again. She found later that the resident had fallen around that time, and that she had gone away in an ambulance. She hadn’t come back.

Dorothy knew Henry was involved, and she thought she understood the reason. God had clearly sent Henry to help her, but Earth was no place for a creature of Heaven. Clearly Henry was changing down here, letting the world and the Devil work their way into him again. Henry had always had such a temper. If she let him stay, he would eventually become more and more sinful as his human anger returned. To save his soul, she had to let him go.

Just as she’d made the decision, as she went to sleep to tell him it was time to move on so she could join him at her own pace, he took her through the most erotic experience of her entire life. It was everything she’d ever told herself she didn’t want, with words she couldn’t even say, hours upon hours of bliss and fear and radiance and depravity and endless satisfaction. When she woke, she was as tired as ever, and her frailty had escalated until she could barely rise from bed, but Henry felt even stronger by her side.

She was still going to let go of him. She knew it was time to stop. She was going to send him back to his eternal reward before he gave in to earthy desires and became a demon like so many fallen angels before him. But it could want until tomorrow, or the next day, or the next week or month or year. They’d been together so long, and the nights were so good, and she knew he would only ever turn his wrath on people who deserved it, just as he had in life. Surely she could hold onto him just a little bit longer.

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