Micro-fiction piece published by The Story Seed in response to the image below.
We keep the lights off for four days after he dies. Mother says it’s like dressing the house in black. She stays in her room for the first three, with the curtains drawn. On the fourth, we hold a vigil in the basement. Mother waves white sage through a candle’s flame. She says that way, if he wants to visit, he won’t bring unwanted guests. The dog doesn’t like the smell and won’t join us, only watches from the top of the stairs. I wonder what he makes of our rituals of grief. I wonder if he has his own.