Mausoleum – Flash fiction by Lisa Lerma Weber

Mausoleum - Flash fiction by Lisa Lerma Weber


Sometimes they go and they don’t come back. Read ‘Mausoleum’ by Lisa Lerma Weber.

Dear Ben,

It’s only been a week since you walked out the door but I feel like I’ve aged ten years. This cabin is too empty and too silent and it reminds me of your family’s mausoleum back home. I remember our bi-annual visits; how we didn’t speak or even look at each other, just stared at the names etched in the stone.

I brought flowers the first time you took me to meet your parents and brother. You said it was a waste because flowers died so quickly, and anyway, your family was too dead to appreciate the sentiment. I laughed, but it wasn’t a joke. You were always so practical, so stoic. But… who visits their family’s graves twice a year? I knew you were more sensitive than you’d let anyone know. You cried when we buried Max in the backyard underneath the oak tree. I asked if you would rather place him in the mausoleum next to your brother (who was allergic to dogs). I imagined a sneezing skeleton, bones rattling, and I couldn’t help but laugh. You shot me the dirtiest look with those forest green eyes of yours. I always laughed at the wrong times.

I wish we had laughed more in the days before you left. I wish we had spoken more, looked at each other more. I wish it hadn’t felt like we were already dead inside, just waiting for a room in your family’s marble mansion.

You didn’t even turn around when you stepped off the porch and down the trail into the woods. But then, I didn’t tell you not to leave. I didn’t grab you and kiss you like it was the last time.

Why were we always so stubborn? I didn’t want you to go. I would have rather shared the last few cans of expired soup and corned beef hash in front of a fire made with the last few logs. I would have rather starved and frozen together. We both knew what was lurking out there. But you insisted on going out to forage for food and gather more logs. You said you could be quiet and stealthy. You said you had training in this sort of thing. After all, didn’t you get us to the cabin safely?

And I wanted to be strong for you. I wanted to make you proud by not breaking down and crying, the way I always do. The way I did when our vacation turned into one of those scary sci-fi movies you liked to watch late at night when your insomnia kicked in. But now I’m sitting here alone and crying anyway.

I burned the last log last night and forced down the last of the corned beef hash this morning. I could just sit here and wait. But for what? Your ghost?

You’re never coming back. No one else is coming either. Everyone is tucked away in their own mausoleums, all dead or dying.

No, I would rather walk out that door, down the porch steps, and follow the trail into the woods. I would rather let those damn creatures eat me, too. Then I wouldn’t have to hear your final screams replaying in my head, over and over.

It’s ok though, Ben. I’m ready. I looked under the bed in the back bedroom and found a munitions box filled with old love letters. Underneath those letters, I found a grenade. Would you believe it? Who keeps a grenade in a box under a bed?

Probably someone like you.

Anyway, I’m taking it with me into the woods.

And I’ll laugh as loud as possible, so they know I’m coming.