Death of a Nameless (4/5)

Your remains are taken away to the crematorium in a black body bag. The Coroner has determined that you’ve died a natural death. It could’ve been a heart attack, a ruptured brain aneurysm, or perhaps another underlying health issue. The investigator concludes that you have no family; not even a hint of a distant relative. The friend who sent you that postcard has long since disappeared. Perhaps he drowned while snorkeling or was swept farther into sea. Never to be seen again.

The Cremator shoves you into the furnace. There, the flames lick you from head to foot before engulfing you in its mouth. Your bones are charred by its searing fury.

Through a small window, you watch yourself — a human who lived yet never truly lived — reduce into ashes. You wander down the corridor, lingering by the Cremator who shivers and turns to catch a glimpse of your shadow as it walks through the wall in front of him.

She returns to work, unbothered. She is all too familiar with an unseen presence like yours. You’re not the only one in the room. There are other nameless ones. They wander the corridors and loiter in dark corners. They press their mournful faces against the windows, leaving faint traces of their presence in condensation.

Without a family or friend to claim your ashes, the Cremator gathers them up and shovels them onto the wagon. She wheels you outside and pours you into a deep pit; the communal plot. This is where you will lie; dumped and buried with the ashes of the other nameless ones.

Now, you roam with neither a body nor a place to call home. The other nameless ones tell you it’s all right. It’s not so bad to wander the Earth. You’re not completely alone.

So, for now, you circle your old neighborhood, looking up at the old apartment complex. The old lady’s Pomeranian barks at you from the window. Several kids run up to the gate with presents and balloons. Then, you remember it’s your neighbor’s kid’s birthday. They sent you an invitation in your mailbox, but that was left unchecked.

You promise yourself that you’ll do differently next time, if you get another chance to live.

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