Brava Rubena has worked in her family’s funeral home since she was 16- she’s in her 50’s now and sometimes she wonders what it would be like to work in an office, or as a bus driver or maybe a teacher.
She doesn’t wonder for long because once she has been charged with caring for the deceased she doesn’t wonder about anything except for the job at hand.
She rebuilds faces shattered by accidents or disease, she embalms and washes and dresses each body with care. Her small dark hands carefully shave and comb or brush hair, she applies makes with a light touch. She arranges hands, light smiles and turns and tilts heads on pillows stuffed with plastic filler.
At some point during the day she will look up at the clock and notice the day has gone.
Then Brava gets cleaned up and drives home just like all the other evening commuters.
Every once and awhile- her Mother or Father will pop their heads into the prep room and say, ” Brava, sweetheart- do you mind working the night shift? Say you will. Please.”
Brava always says yes- she never married, has no pets and hates TV. She would assume be at one home or the other.
It’s all the same to her.
“Wonderful ” her Mother said ( in this case ) ” His name is Logan Waters. We need him ready for processing by 11:00 tonight. Can you take care of it?”
Brava looked up at the clock. ” It’s cutting it a bit close Mother.”
” I know, but your work is always superb Brava. I know you can do it. And I’m sure Mr. Waters would be grateful.”
” Don’t worry Mother, I’ll take care of Mr Waters.
After her Mother leaves, Brava goes into the cooling unit pushing a gurney.
She Sets the gurney against the shelf Mr.Waters has been resting on and adjusts it with a few snaps and clicks. Then she slides him onto the gurney and pushes him out of the CU.
Shes halfway through the Prep room when she remembers she might as well turn the lights off and get the rest of her things.
The prep room is dark and lit with a few undercabinet lights. It doesn’t matter to Brava, she walks to her locker, takes out a garment bag and reaches up on a shelf and takes down a hat box as if the room was fully lit.
When she has what she needs she sets her things on Mr. Water’s legs and pushes him out of the Prep room and down the hall to the Old Chapel.
Like the prep room door the Old Chapel has a key card lock and a sign on the door that says staff only.
Brava swipes her keycard in the lock and the door swings open and she and Mr Waters move into the darkness together.
In the pitch black Chapel Brava puts on her work clothes, she opens the hat box and drops the mask over her head and arranges it on top her shoulders.
She whispers into the darkness and the windows glow dull red and the candles hiss to life.
Brava’s voice moves on through the room like a fog and she reaches down to the gurney and unzips Mr. Water’s body bag.
Logan Water’s eyes are wide open and they are looking up beyond Brava’s masked face. He would scream if he could open his mouth, but he can’t.
His mouth is sewn shut.
” Mr. Waters, you can speak.” Brava reaches down and touches his mouth. ” Now you can see.” she touches his eyes.
” Now Mr. Water’s, is your last chance. When you were a young man you wronged a woman. Her bones are mouldering under a tree in your backyard. Think very carefully before you speak. Think very carefully what your last words on this Earth are going to be.”
Logan Waters can see the dead woman’s face before he wrapped his hands around her neck. He can still see the look on his sister in laws face before he snuffed her life out like a candle.
” Tell me what she said to you.” Brava asks
She told me ” I want to go home.”
Logan looks up into Brava’s masked face, she looks down at him and waits.
” I couldn’t let her go home. She saw. She knew.”
” You are telling me the truth Mr. Waters. That will save your soul from being shredded apart and thrown into a million different directions. Just one thing…”
Logan the dead man begins to cry dead man’s tears…in the end he got away with killing that nosey bitch after all.
Brava stands up straight. She draws her hand back and plunges it down into his ribcage.
She pulls his heart out and drops it to the floor.
” You won’t be needing that where you are going to spend eternity Mr. Waters.”