Preface: This is the fifth and final installment of The Last Prophet series. If you want to go back and read from the beginning (it won’t take long) I will put the links here:
Jessie knocked, with one foot in the room, as people do in hospitals.
The Last Prophet was curled up on virgin white sheets looking like the last cigarette to be brushed from an ashtray.
“Oh, don’t do that.” He said as Jessie walked in the room.
“Do what?” Jessie asked.
“I’m not crying,” Jessie said, drying her cheeks.
“Well, if you’re not crying then I’m not dying but, at least we can make a nice poem.” The Last Prophet laughed. It sounded somewhere between a giggle and pneumonia. Jessie sat down in a chair next to the door and didn’t cry. The Last Prophet caught his breath and rolled to look at her. She read through all the new lines and blotches of old skin that had flourished around his eyes and under his nose. His mouth sagged to one side.
“You’re dying,” she said, with half a question mark.
“Not your most clever observation but, correct.” He smiled, or tried to.
Jessie looked up the sleeves of the room but found no tricks. “Why?” she asked.
“My purpose for existing is over. I told you.”
Then, Jessie felt a sadness. It began in her stomach and before she could catch it, it was running in every direction. She hid under the ends of her sleeves and wept. The Last Prophet waited. When it died down, she looked up.
The Last Prophet smiled. “Where is your mother?”
Jessie blinked her red eyes and tested her soggy mouth. The Last Prophet waited, “She doesn’t like coming to hospitals since, my dad,” she said. She might have cried more at the thought but, even tears have their end.
The Last Prophet nodded. “I see.”
Jessie got up and moved closer. “You look terrible,” she decided.
“Too many girl scout cookies, I think,” he said. Then, after a pause Jessie burst out laughing. He laughed with her, his old laugh.
“You were supposed to lie to me,” Jessie said, her sadness waking back up.
The Last Prophet sighed. He looked down at his own hands and shook his head. “No, I shouldn’t have been here at all. I was a coward. But, I have now fulfilled my purpose. And, it was my choice, my purpose,” he looked up at Jessie, “do you understand?”
Jessie shook her head.
“Does this mean I am a prophet now?” She asked.
The Last Prophet shrugged, wincing with the pain. “You are whatever it gives you purpose to be.”
Jessie scowled at him. He smiled “Oh, I’m dying I am allowed to pontificate.” He laughed.
“What does pontificate mean?” Jessie asked.
The Last Prophet closed his eyes. “Look it up,” he said softly. Then, the room was still. Somewhere an alarm went off. Nurses bustled in. Jessie was pushed into a corner where she sat and watched.
The Last Prophet was taken away.
At the end of the commotion a nurse found Jessie sitting in the corner. The nurse took the chair next to Jessie and placed her hand on Jessie’s back.
“He is with God now,” the nurse said, reassuringly.
Jessie turned and smiled.
“God doesn’t want him,” she said, “God doesn’t want any of us anymore.”