Surrounded by the smell of fresh bread, I watched the dancing colors of the evening sky from the kitchen windows. My whole workspace was illuminated by the rays of the setting sun. I was interrupted from my admiring by pattering feet. Hazel, head full of chocolate curls, ran towards me.
She said, breathlessly, “I don’t know what’s wrong with Mama”.
I bolted, my stomach churning with emotion. Hazel tailed me, struggling to keep up.
Alynna’s room’s door was wide open. Surrounded by children’s toys and books, a single bed stood. The setting sun pierced the curtained window. It’s light illuminated the figure lying in bed, Hazel’s mother.
Alynna was pale, her face drawn; her dark hair golden in the setting sun.
I touched her forehead. My stomach dropped.
“You’re burning up!” I exclaimed, horrified.
Alynna took our hands, kissing them consecutively.
“I love----” she uttered, taking a last, rasping breath.
Hazel and I reached for her, the three of us locked in a last embrace.
The stench of burning bread filled the air. My ears started ringing and my mouth tasted sour. The sun finally set completely, and enveloped us in a dark unforgiving cocoon.