Author’s Note: This story was written in response to the following prompt in the WritingPrompts subreddit:
A professional mourner is paid to attend the funeral of a well-loved local schoolteacher, who died suddenly in a freak accident. The professional mourner can’t help but wonder why all the children won’t stop smiling…
This story was first posted on Reddit. It’s been a year since I wrote posted something in response to a prompt in r/WritingPrompts, and I think it’s good to be getting back in there, especially since I haven’t been exercising my writer muscles and burning all those carbohydrate-like ideas more regularly lately. I’ve been spitting out works in big bursts in irregular rhythms, and I don’t think it’s been getting my writing motivation properly stronger.
Anyway, here’s me with my latest r/WritingPrompts response. This time, it’s a short piece of horror. I wonder what you’ll think of it, dear readers?
I’m not really interested in acting, but since most people I met thought that I was good at acting, well, I decided to make some extra profit out of it.
So yeah, my acting skills seem to be professional, but my regularity with the acting work isn’t. I didn’t want a lot of attention, so I just take odd jobs, particularly the ones where I won’t be easily remembered…though maybe remembrance would be inevitable with more consistency.
That aside, this time, I got paid by a friend to mourn for a pretty popular schoolteacher. Well, within the school, at least. I honestly didn’t know her, and if I weren’t paid by my friend, then I would have just left. I mean, my usual clients were families of dead rich people who didn’t have a lot in terms of loyal people. Now those were pretty much my favorite clients, as it was fun to put my skills to use and rake in all the cash to subtly teach some lessons to those people who were impoverished in a different and more hard-hitting sense.
Anyway, back to my current client. I could just leave, but I didn’t want to be rude, considering that she was a close friend’s former teacher during his elementary days, and that she died in a freak accident. That, and my friend had some urgent work to deal with, but he didn’t want to just leave his teacher behind like that. I asked him about using Facebook or something to contact her family, or maybe just visit some other time, but he was really adamant about his plans.
So yeah, he didn’t make sense, but hey, I’ve been strapped for cash lately, so I went with his offer.
Strangely, though, there weren’t as many adults as I thought. In particular, I was expecting some people around my age, considering what I knew from my friend. The only people standing in front of her closed coffin were a bunch of children.
And speaking of which, where are the adults? There’s no one, not even anyone who looked like a rubbernecking money-grubber.
“Uh, excuse me!”
I then felt regret and dread when my listeners turned around to face me.
They didn’t look normal, basically, and I don’t want to describe more about them.
Seriously, it was like they had their eyes on me even when I was miles away from the town where my friend once lived…smiling like they won yet did something horrible.
I really didn’t want to know more about that, even if my close friend’s popular schoolteacher was involved.
Maybe I should go visit a priest or someone like that? Proper funerals should have people like them, right?
I just hope I can get some sleep once I do just that, then…