Short Story: Time of Death

Time Of Death
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This is the story of my mother as I remember her. We had this small clock; it still was in working condition, which was amazing considering it was made in 1575. It was made by an ancestor named Jacques Caffieri (no relation to the famous gilder, but a great gilder in his own right). My name is not important, but my mother’s was Marianne. She was adopted into the family, so thus was not blood, nor am I, of the Caffieli family. However as an only child she was raised without knowledge of her adoption, and so she spoiled, up until the very day the demon entered our lives. I was four. I can still remember the death in my mother’s eyes, when she lost her battle. This is the story of her battle.
“What a beautiful clock!” Marianne exclaimed. “Thank you, Daddy!” Marianne opened her wedding gift from her father.
“It has been passed from father to daughter for generations in our family.” Her father stated.
“It was mine, as the youngest child of all boys; it was presented to my wife and me. Presented to your mother. God rest her soul.” Her father as he made the sign of the cross.
“It is gorgeous. I love it daddy!” Marianne hugged her father.
Years went by before Marianne realized what was going on. She just felt sick and weak all the time. At first she just thought it was her pregnancy, but she still felt ill even after I was born. She tried with every ounce of her strength to defeat the feelings. Then one day, as the doctor told us then, she had come as close to death as she could and still be alive, and that is when she saw him.
Jacques, his spirit, had his hands on her shoulders, he had just finished strapping a choker to her throat, one in which a ribbon dangled, wrapped around his hand. “For you my love,” he whispered as he would every morning, and as he had been. Now we could see him, my mother’s dying soul gave him enough strength for me to see him.
“Thank you.” Marianne responded automatically, before she became scared. She screamed for awhile but soon the demon, who called himself Jacques, charmed her.
Over the next couple of years she had a relationship with him. He wooed her and charmed her; she spent almost every moment with him. My father was too afraid to tell anyone that his wife was having a relationship with a being that was not there. He was afraid she would be called a witch. Though they were no longer burned at the stake they would be banned from the Christian community for things such as this, and she was too weak for a priest to perform an exorcism. He was afraid it would kill her, and a few more months with his love was worth the price of her insanity in his eyes.
She was neglecting me, as she slowly joined the land of the lost. By the time of my fourth birthday I constantly tried to tie her to me instead. But I knew I was failing, some days she would snap out of it and join me. Sometimes I would even have her back for a couple of weeks at time. But just days after my forth birthday we lost her again.
I watched, as I continued to fight for her, as she faded away. I knew I would lose the fight. On the last day I figured out and accepted I would lose, but I tried one last plea. “Momma…. Please…”
“I am so sorry baby…” She rasped as I watched the demon latched the choker around her throat one last time. She took her last breath as death filled her eyes. I watched as my mother’s soul joined the demon’s within the clock.
That night, as my father buried the body of my mother. I took the clock and went down to my father’s shop. He was a black smith and the small gold plated Ormolu created by Jacques Caffieri, I threw into my father’s molten rock.
I don’t know how long I sat there and watched the clock burn, but it seemed like days. Then right before the last part melted, I heard two screams fill the air and I knew two things. The first was that the demon would never claim another life and second my mother’s soul was released to whatever afterlife awaited here.
Many years later on my grandfather’s death bed he told me of the young baby he found in the middle of the road the day of his young bride’s death. His wife had died in childbirth with their own young daughter, he lost them both and he was in so much grief. When he found my mother he had taken it as a sign from God that he was to raise a daughter. But at that moment I knew the truth, that the demon had orchestrated it so he could destroy my mother’s soul.
As I lay here on my death bed, I tell my many children and many generations of grandchildren, as they surrounded my bed. I know now it is time for this story to be told. I have lived for over a hundred years, now I know I am free to tell the truth as soon I will join the afterlife and whatever the fates have in store for me. I tell my children and the grandchildren the story of my mother’s descent into darkness, not to warn them but to inform them, that there are truly demons in this world.
I am gasping my last breast with a smile on my face when there is a knock at the door. My oldest child comes in with a package. “Mom, it is for you.”
I use what strength I have and open it and my eyes widen in shock and fear. It is the clock I destroyed over a hundred years ago. “No….” I gasp with my last breath.

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