"The door is shut." Her words echo in the night.
"The door is shut."
I peer over her shoulder at the wood-paneled door.
"The door is shut."
She sways, her hair like a cloud.
"The door is shut."
"Stop saying that."
"The door is shut."
"Fine. I'll open it."
"No, no!"
She screams, raking my back, tearing at my clothes.
I bat at her hands, fragile as tissue paper.
"Stop, mom. Stop!'
With a gasp of stale air, she collapses.
"The door is shut. The door is shut."
She weeps.
"Shh, Mom. It's okay. It's okay."
The earth is soggy with her tears.
"Come on, let's go inside and call Dr. Aron."
I lift her up.
Her bones are hollow reeds in my arms.
"The door is shut."
Her face, more familiar than my own, is lined with fear.
"Jason," she says. "Jason."
Jason is my dead brother.
"I'm Jeremy, Mom, remember?"
"Jason, the door is shut."
"Jeremy, I'm Jeremy."
She looks at me now.
"Jeremy, yes. Jeremy, my little boy."
"That's right, mom."
"We're going inside now."
Her eyes widen, dark, depthless pools.
"No, no. Jeremy is dead. Jeremy is dead."
"That's Jason."
"The door is shut. Why is the door shut?"
The broken stones crunch beneath my feet.
Although my mother weighs nothing, the path is interminable.
Suddenly she screams and claws my face.
Her nails are long and jagged.
Jason used to trim them for her.
"Stop! Mom, stop!"
I feel the blood roll down my cheek.
"The door is shut! The door is shut!"
"Fuck, mom!"
I drop her, hear the crack as she hits the gravel.
"Oh, jesus. I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
I reach down, but she shies away.
"The door is shut. Jason, the door is shut."
"Mom. Mom, stop it!"
I yell, shaking the blood from my face.
A drop strikes her lips,
Crimson liquid soaked up by crumbling flesh.
"Screw this."
I turn away. There's a sob.
"The door is shut."
I ignore her and walk towards the door.
And open it.