It is me who gets there first, when there is no more intake of breath, as her heart slows and stops, her blood no longer moves through her veins, and her skin begins to cool. I can only take a moment or two to regard her, to mourn her, and no more.

Soon, someone will come to check on her for the last time. The news of her death will spread quickly. I think about the many people who will miss her, and those who wish with all their hearts that they could have helped her. Yesterday, she looked far older than her age. Today, now, she looks like a child.

With a sigh, I approach her, and gently touch her thin arm. She wakes, dazed and shaky.

“We have to go now,” I tell her, quietly. I give her a minute to understand, but no more. She rises and walks with me to leave the house.

“Who are you?” she asks me, as she runs her hand absently through her hair.

“My name is Ashley Levy. I’m here to take you to the next Club member.”

“What club?”

“When one of us passes, the one that has passed right before comes to walk us to the one who will pass next. This is the 27 Club. There’s a club for each year of age.”

For the first time, she looks directly at my face as we stand at the doorway. She seems very sad, for me.

“You are 27, too, then. What happened to you?”

“Leukemia. We’re going to go right back to the hospital I just came from now. Biking accident. His name is Jason Kim.”

She looks out her window, and speaks to me a final time.

“And after that, after I take him to the next one, what happens to me?”

I pause, for the answer is as hard for me to say as it is hard for her to hear.

“I don’t know.”

She looks back at what is left of her, what will be carried out in a bag and taken to a morgue to be cut, cultured, examined, and pronounced, then blankly faces forward as we close the door behind us, to go on to the next one.