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A church bell is heard nearby the hospice. It plays a hymn. An ambulance siren kills it. Rachel knows that the hospice is a place for people waiting to die. She lives there. Her Mother doesn’t want to come to the realization that Rachel is terminally ill. “Look how healthy you look. It’s true,” Her Mother says.
She’s watching her little Rachel look at her bald head in the mirror. Rachel looks like a cancer patient. A commercial on the hospital television reminds Rachel of a movie she saw at summer camp called Faces of Death. She was ten years old then. She saw videos of humans and other animals dying on film. A chicken has its head chopped off on one video. Rachel remembers that the video made her feel bad about eating chicken. Her Mother took her to eat at McDonald’s a month later after seeing the film. Rachel had asked Her Mommy if Chicken McNuggets were made from real chickens that died.
“No little girl, it’s not from a real chicken,” Her Mother said. “It’s true. Bless your food and eat sweetie.”
“God, thank you for this food,” Rachel said. In time, Her Mother told Rachel the truth that Chicken McNuggets were made from dead chickens. “The chicken’s death was a sacrifice for us to eat and live,” Her Mother said.
The young Doctor Null is close to tears when he brings Rachel the form. The paper has a drying drop of water. Rachel signs the document to donate her organs after her death comes. She knows it’s a sacrifice of her organs for others to use and live.
Rachel signs the paper. She smiles.
“For science,” she says.
“I’m officially declared dead,” Rachel whispers to Doctor Null. “It’s true,” she says using Her Mother’s favorite phrase. “It’s too early to tell her though. My mother doesn’t need to know yet.”
Her Mother overhears. She knows it’s true too. She stares at the McDonald’s commercial that’s on the television with a solemn expression.
Tagged: fiction, Issue FIve, It's True, Jacob Richardson, Winter 2015