1173. A death rattle

The wheezing in his breath was like a massive 16-part angelic choir; soft, and coming and going from the room in a regular pattern, near and far, near and far. “They’re coming to get him,” said Mabel. “Death can’t be far off.”

And she was right. He was to last for only another three days. The celestial choir had continued all that time, ending with a long groan followed by a sort of gurgle, and then silence. Suddenly after the silence there was a final groan and that was it. “It was the death rattle,” said Mabel. “I heard it coming on. I got one hell of a fright. But what a consolation to be accompanied by angels!”

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