GRAVE (work in progress)

There's nothing worse than collecting the wrong body. So even though there was only one human shape covered by a blanket, on one bier in the basement room, Antonia checked the label hanging from the toe. The name on the tag matched the name on the death certificate. Antonia went to the other side and lifted the blanket from his face. "Hello Oscar Glenn”, she said. "Sorry to meet you under these conditions."


As the sound of the nurse’s heels died away down another long corridor Antonia thought how death in a hospital was still seen as a failure to fulfill the Hippocratic oath. And the evidence of such failure had to get out of the way quickly to make space for lives that might be saved – at any cost. "Maybe you got it the better way" she said to the cocooned Oscar. "Some resuscitations do work but often only for a short time and with serious side effects. There's some truth in Frankenstein that applies to modern medicine." She locked the van and went back inside, heading for the cafeteria.

Martha Glenn was still sitting hunched over her tea with both hands cupped around the cup. The steam was gone.

As a funeral provider in Albuquerque Antonia Da Silva zooms in and out of people’s worst moments. She takes pride in offering options and support from the time of death to the funeral. This includes care for the deceased, emergency counseling the bereaved, helping with the paperwork, arranging the funeral, transporting the body and/or urn, organizing decorations and music, and much more. But is Antonia taking as much care of herself? Especially after a funeral goes wrong and the causes of death she’s faced with get more and more dire?

GRAVE, a novel in progress