Okay, without further ado, making it in just under the 500 word count, my entry:
Time In Purgatory
Most of the sorrows of the world were caused by envy and greed. Of this, Madeleine was certain. Just as she knew that the best of our history would be forgotten for fear. Our most significant accomplishments were often in the mistakes, and those we took care to bury much deeper than the ordinary lies we let people see.
Cocooned in the prison of hospital sheets, she ran crinkled fingers over the stiff material and attempted a sigh through the plastic tube stuffed down her throat.
"Not much of a thread count there, cheap bastards."
Madeleine stopped willing herself to die a number of days before. It just didn't work. You'd think a simple thing like telling her own damn heart to stop might be easy, but it wasn't.
She listened to the respirator beside her bed with its steady, annoying huff, and she whispered a prayer, if only in her own head. Well, how the hell else was she meant to do it? For once in her life, she couldn't use her mouth.
She finally resorted to swearing at God, hoping it might bait him into finishing her off. But that bastard always was smarter than her, and she figured he was keeping her there, stuck in purgatory for a lesson. Either that or he was cutting her a little break before eternal damnation, but she wasn't quite sure which it was.
Visitors came and went. Her children hovered and sat, clicking through the stations on the wall-mounted TV and staring at the blinking, neon numbers on the machine that let them know she wasn't dead yet.
Madeleine's oldest granddaughter, Fiona, swooped in once a day, filling the room with the stink of expensive perfume. The smell stayed for hours, settling in the back of Madeleine's throat with a vicious tickle.
"Have you cleaned out her house yet? We should go through the jewelry and bank accounts soon." Fiona said to her mother, who was sitting in the chair next to Madeleine's bed.
"Not yet. I think we should wait until after. Your father and aunts will throw a fit if we go through their mother's things while she's still alive." Elaine's eyes flicked over the emaciated woman, lying prostrate in bed.
Madeleine heard every word, but didn't stir. Her lashes fluttered open here and there but otherwise she acted as if she didn't know they were in the room. Thirty five years. For thirty five years Elaine was sunshine and light around her mother-in-law, and she made sure Fiona was, too. Not now, though. They had some nerve when the old lady couldn't respond.
"That's okay," Madeleine thought, the corners of her mouth just twitching up around the tube.
Her mind shot back to the papers in her desk drawer at home and the copy with her lawyer. Madeleine wished she could give a mighty guffaw, but settled for a slow cackle in her head as she slipped off to sleep in the sterile room.