{Prose}: One Last Time

This scene is based on a prompt from a writing group I’m in called “Linefeed”, that gives a writing prompt a day. The prompt was “one last time”.

Gabriel listened to Bethany hum a melody under her breath one last time as she washed the dishes. He had always loved these sweet, secret habits of hers. She looked so beautiful, the sunlight streamed in through the window, and the ray of light captured every highlight in her hair. Her sky-blue eyes sparkled, and normally, Gabriel knew by now, they sparkled with a glint of happiness. This time, however, she knew she had one last time to do all the things she loved, and they glittered with tears. He wanted to take her into his arms and beg for mercy. He wanted her to forgive him all his wrongdoings one last time. He wanted to love her, which was something Gabriel had forgotten, the ache of wanting to be loved. He usually didn’t allow his emotions to cloud him this way; he was refined, civilized. All week he had watched her doing the things she loved one last time. From playing with her grandchildren in the garden, to sitting outside watching the autumn leaves tumble off branches. She had whispered prayers of thanksgiving, and she had murmured prayers asking for forgiveness. Bethany’s beauty left him awe-struck; he had never seen such a serene woman before in his life, and he felt fortunate to be in her presence. She took a deep breath and glanced around the kitchen. All was clean. It was time to go.

One last time, she listened to her favorite record on her record player. This time, she appreciated every aspect of it, the backing vocals, the haunting violin, the quiet padding of the drums in the background, even the tambourine most people didn’t even notice. She reread a letter her daughter from Atlanta had sent her one last time. It was time to say goodbye. It was time to go. Bethany sighed and looked around her. Gabriel approached her, his white-and-gold wings shimmering. She bowed her head in respect and as Gabriel went to collect the elderly woman in his arms, he felt her body collapse as her soul gathered to connect with him.

The scarlet, orange, and golden leaves outside tumbled, and Bethany looked back on the life she knew one last time as Gabriel carried her soul away.


I like leaving it ambiguous whether Gabriel is an angel or a demon, and I normally don’t write about matters dealing with death especially ones resulting in whether or not there’s a Heaven and a Hell, but a friend and I were discussing afterlife today because of her mother’s passing, and I figured this may be a suitable scene to write.

-L.G.

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