The poinsettias had died. Turned brown. Maybe she didn’t water em enough. Just brown stems sticking out of a big orange pot with a ribbon wrapped around it was all that was left. She’d look at it and shake her head.

Her Christmas tree was out by the curb waiting to be taken away. Men in garbage trucks would soon fight January’s winds and collect em all. There were other brown trees out by the curb along her street. The City was way behind.

All the decorations had been put away. When her husband was alive he used to put them up in the attic. Now she just left em downstairs in the hall closet. It’d been five years since he passed. She missed him so. Each year since his death, she replaced the angel with a picture of him atop the pine. Said, he’s my angel. That’s how she felt.

In his office, she kept everything in tact. Kept his file cabinets unopened, his desk drawers closed, kept the door shut. She wanted to preserve his memory. Even though she heard noises in there, she did not look. Sounded like the shuffling of papers. Still, she did not look.

Curiosity gets the best of us. And, she was no exception. She opened the door to his office. Sure enough, there he was. Sitting at his desk going through bills and income taxes.

Her jaw dropped. She reached out for him, but, couldn’t touch him. Then he whispered with a grin, welcome to my Hell.

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