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Mum wiped the blood from granddad’s mouth.

“Emma, grab me more tissues, will you?” she said.

I looked at granddad’s sad, tired face as I wheeled over holding the tissue box. He lay on a battered mattress in the corner. His body, tucked under a cough-stained duvet was half way to skeletal. When we found out his lung cancer was terminal mum moved him from the cabin by the pond to the farmhouse so he could spend his dying days here with us. His skin reeked of cigarettes even though he hadn’t smoked for weeks.

He coughed more blood.

Fear twinkled behind the dry sickness in his eyes. He moved his finger over his duvet in a circular motion while mum wiped his mouth. I had no idea what he wanted. I wish we could’ve bonded more, but in truth, he scared me and always looked anguished. Eighteen years we’d lived on the same land and I knew little about him. On top of that he was a mute. Mum said when grandma had a heart attack he just stopped talking.

“I’ll go get him some water.” Mum blew her long, greasy brown hair out of her face. Sweat dotted the clothes that had hung off her for three days. I’d been told that as well as mum’s pale skin, figure and monster metabolism, I’d inherited her smile. I hadn’t seen that for weeks. I guess it’s hard to smile when you’re waiting for someone to die. She nudged my wheelchair as she left the room.





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