Everyone dies. Good or bad. Then what?

Do we become some thoughtless nothing, incapable of missing life? Are we rewarded? People speak of near death experience and exclaim the after-life is waiting gloriously. What about the evil doers? Do some experience agony, guilt and burden when they peek across the veil?

David was a portly man who made a very good living because he was blessed with intellect. He married the first woman he fell in love with and bought her a beautiful house, and despite that he had the means to ensure she would not have to work, his wife, Ellen was fiercely independent. A virtue he respected because he felt he was also blessed with independence as well as cunning.

Ellen, or as she was lovingly referred to in the household ‘Ellie’ had become pregnant- without much effort, and made peace with the idea of being a working woman as well as a mother. David agreed that she should keep working and since they had the money, a reasonable solution to events which may arise would be to hire a live in Nanny. Not just for the child, so that Ellie would not have to slave over dinner or wash her sheets. So she could relax or slovenly relieve her husband during her home hours.

They hired the first woman they interviewed. She seemed right and intuition had been a fruitful decision maker for the young couple. When Carly Atwood arrived at the house, David thought her demeanor and poise could not be matched, certainly not by the line-up of old grandmothers with faintly present accents of some land whose values did not appeal to David and Ellie Boyce. Old women who reek of perfume and makeup that rubs off on their broche emblazoned coats when they clumsily disrobe. So Ms. Attwood it would be. Young, intelligent and going into business for herself.

They only discussed it briefly in the kitchen, David insisted she was the one and Ellie agreed because Ms. Attwood was not beautiful.

Ms. Attwood was not beautiful, she had a long drawn face and had always been self-conscious that her small breasts made her body resemble that of an immature boy more than a woman. She was thin. If not for her pointed nipples her spine and rib cage would be her most pronounced features. And David began to notice this as time went on and Ellie became more plump with his offspring.

In her 30th year Carly Attwood gave into David Boyce, he was only the second man who had felt inside her and the first for a long time. The only other man to touch her was in another life before she knew herself as the thin paper doll with the twisted face. So she fell in love.

And when the baby came Ellie took back her body and her husband. She was unstoppable in her drive. Every day Carly would swear Ellie came home from work thinner and she would swear David would come home with bigger eyes for his wife.

And that little shit, they loved that little mess. When it cried it peeled the nails off of her fingers. Ms. Attwood would try to cook and fantasize about poisoning Ellen and growing a bastard of her own with David. Every day she thought about choking her with razor blades and bleach and she passed the time and fed the child twice a day and shut it in a room otherwise.

Her fantasy was interrupted one day when she felt the weight of an infant hand on her foot. Startled and confused she thought for a moment that god must be mocking her misery because she was sure she had latched the child behind an old oak door. She thought about what a cruel trick this was and so she picked up the baby and dropped it into her churning pot of corn. She was validated that the hunger cries had been in vanity when she heard the fantastic wail of the child’s full potential. The churning and crying stopped when the corn cooled and all that was left was a muddy broth and Carly Attwood sitting on the kitchen floor alert and almost hungry. Ellie came home first and when Carly dove towards her she bludgeoned her unconscious with a brass candle holder on her set kitchen table. When David came home Ellie was bathing her arms in sweet corn and letting her child pass between her fingers. David called the police and Carly Attwood was taken away…

Years later Ms. Attwood became pregnant. And she finally grew, she was a woman and it was indisputable. And when she knew it was time for the baby to come she went to the hospital. While waiting eagerly for assistance a fire began to build in her stomach. She winced in pain and her baby was audible. And when she screamed to drown out the noise she could feel her uterus smolder and wilt like a starving rose. Blisters on her stomach and thighs manifested followed by a sharp punch prying her open. Her water gave way, boiled and brown. Her tissue scalded her legs and she was alone.

Carly Attwood was pronounced dead at the age of thirty-one. She died in a coma. Technically she was asphyxiated, her malnourished body rejected supplements supplied by her caregivers and her thin frame could not support her feeding tube- the slurry pumped into her throat filled her tiny stomach and blocked her airway. And Ellen Boyce was released on her manslaughter charge.