Open Casket

Adam Warren George
2 min readAug 14, 2023

--

It was bloated from sitting out in the sun for days. People drove by giving it a glance. I’m surprised that it is still here, they’d think. Within a minute of driving they forget.

The carcass was rotting from the inside. The furry skin was being stretched as gasses built up. It was struck by a car three days ago, and flung to the side of the road where it lay now.

Jacob was being driven to a great grandma’s funeral, when he spotted the dead raccoon.

“Are they going to bury it?” He asked his parents.

They looked at each other.

He was seven, and realized they were unsure what he was talking about. “The raccoon.” He said.

Neither of them had seen it. They were in mourning as they drove to the funeral.

“What raccoon buddy?” Mom asked.

“The one on the side of the road. Are they gonna bury it?” He asked again.

“I don’t know sweetheart.” Said Mom.

Jacob felt sad for the raccoon.

“Probably not, buddy. I actually don’t know what happens to roadkill. I think it is disposed of.” Said Dad.

“Like thrown away?” Ask Jacob.

‘Yeah buddy.” Said Dad.

Jacob got quiet and reflective. He thought about how that raccoon had a family. He wondered if the family was mourning.

They drove thirty minutes to the church where the funeral was taking place. Everyone was in all black as they filed in through the doors. Jacob held Mom’s hand as she guided him to their seats.

The service was nice. The pastor shared some words about Eleanor’s life, and her favorite bible verse. He said a prayer and invited people to the front to share final words with Eleanor in her casket.

“You don’t need to come up with us if you don’t want to, bud. We would understand.” Said Dad.

“No, I want to.” Said Jacob.

He peered into the casket, and because of his height, he was face to face with his great grandmother.

He had seen her last week. She gave him candy and a hug. Now she was lifeless in front of him. She looked alive. She had makeup on and a nice dress. She was dead.

Mom cried and Dad pulled her into his chest. They said goodbye, and the three of them walked on back to their seats.

On the drive home, Jacob thought about death.

They drove past the raccoon, and none of them noticed.

--

--

Adam Warren George

I like to write, because I enjoy communicating what I experience. And I like to do it in creative ways, lyrical and poetic prose, not sticking to the path.