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(HSSC) Conversations with death.

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posted on Oct, 8 2005 @ 07:21 PM
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Unlike many of the short stories i've written on this site, this one happens to be true. It happened on a winter night while I was suffering thru the worst flu I'd ever experienced. I honestly thought I was going to die.

Conversations with Death.

I think I actually know what happened on the day I talked with death. Or at least I’ve found many clues and explanations for what may have happened. We can start with the Flu itself which was none like I’d ever experienced. Bone rattling chills which were quickly followed by miserable sweats.... well, you get the picture. Then throw in all the meds I was taking for it and a night that set record lows outside...

Rather than explain it away perhaps I should just tell you what happened.

It was evening and NO, I had not yet resorted to liquor to try and make this thing go away. My easy chair was close to the door and I’d occasionally open it to cool off before I had to close it again and pull the covers as close and tight as possible to try and warm up. The only light in the room was coming from the TV, which was on mute cause the noise from the darn thing hurt. Not that I was in pain though, the meds I was taking were working great with the exception of the hot to cold episodes and the general misery that goes with having the flu.

So there I was, Wrapped up like a fat white burrito in a Lay-z-Boy chair, drifting in and out of sleep when the room got very cold. This time it wasn't just me that was freezing but I could also see my breathe in cold wisps so the room itself had gone frigid. I started to sit up but noticed a shadow sitting on the far end of my sofa, No real features to make out but just a clear outline of someone sitting there. I did what I believe anyone in that situation would have done. I threw the covers over my head and pulled them as tight as I could get them.

After just a moment or so of that I realized I was being silly. Slowly I slid my fingers out from under the covers and began to lower them. The shadow was still there. I think it was watching the TV. It didn't seem all that interested in me anyway. We sat there for several minutes, I watching it and it watching the TV. Neither of us seemed in a big hurry to break the impasse. Finally I decided if I was losing my mind I might as well lose all of it so I spoke.

"Hello?" I asked. Nothing. It didn't even look my way. "Helloooooohh" I said again. This time a little louder. Heck, it’s got to be old so it may be hard of hearing. Still it did nothing. I decided to try a different approach.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Waiting." It replied. I stood strait up, blankets and all. I HAD HEARD THAT! I'm not talking inside the head or telepathically but a low, mellow voice had come from across the room. I had to sit back down cause I was shaking uncontrollably and I don't think it was the flu this time. I pulled the blankets as tight as I could and finally the shaking began to slowdown. I could speak again.

"I hope your not waiting for me." I replied, "Cause all I have is the flu I’m going to be just fine in a day or two."

It snickered at me. Just a derisive kind of chuckle that was dismissive at best and downright arrogant at worst. I would have thrown something at it if I had had the energy. Something inside told me to throw it out of the house but quite frankly, I was scared silly, I wasn't going anywhere near that thing.

I started talking to it. I talked about life and how much I like it here. I talked about my kids and how great they are. I even said a few nice things about my ex wife which proves beyond a doubt I was desperate. I asked questions about family that had died before me and why things happened the way the did.

It never said a word in response. Just sat there staring at the TV and waiting. I was tired of talking as well. My throat was raw and speaking was difficult even before this had begun. We both just sat there awhile longer before I finally decided to ask one more thing.

"Can I take something with me?" I asked.

"What could you possibly want to take from this place?" It asked in response.

"Its not from this place." I replied. "I want it from you. Give it to me and I’ll gladly go."

The shadow actually shifted away from the TV and was now looking at me. It was still just a shadow but now I had its full attention. I was shaking again.

"Just name what you want then." It said.

I opened the drawer in the table beside my chair and fished around in the dark until I found small locket that actually belongs to one of my children. I opened it and sat it on the table then turned back to face the shadow thing.

"Grims tear." I said. We sat staring at each other for a very long time. Finally it began to speak.

"The grim reaper has no tears. I regret nothing."

"You MUST regret something." I shot back. "All the children who have died. The horrors of the wars you've witnessed, the ones who sacrificed themselves for others. The lovers and suicides, the innocence lost to your bloody grip. Don't tell me there is nothing you regret. Nothing your soul would cry for. I don't believe it."

"What you ask would change things. If I ever started crying I’m afraid I’d never be able to stop. Ask for something else."

"Nope." I replied. "I want a tear. That’s my price."

The shadow went back to watching the TV and slowly began to dissolve away. The last thing I heard was it saying, "Tell everyone I said hello." and then it was gone.

Not long after that I got up and turned on the lights. At the end of the couch was a pile of laundry. The door was still open about a foot cause I’d opened it earlier to cool off during a miserable sweating session and I’d forgotten to close it. That night was a record setting cold spell for that date and the door being open had let the whole house go frigid. I now believe that somewhere between the meds I was taking and the other circumstances I pretty much dreamed the whole thing.

The only odd part remaining is the locket. It’s still sitting on the table where I placed it that night. It’s now closed.

Love and light to each of you,

Wupy




posted on Oct, 10 2005 @ 06:58 AM
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This story was right up my alley and very well written. Well done once more, wupy.
My favourite genre of fiction is modern fantasy - where elements of the fantastic are mixed with the mundane. Your portrayal of death as a snickering, arrogant, maybe even jaded entity who goes about his work with mild derision was a perfect example of exactly why I love this type of writing.

This story was also disturbing in a very visceral way. None of us likes to think about death, and the idea that Death would turn out to be a jerk is both cold and frightening. This was the prefect story for a Halloween contest and I am sure it will do well. You continue to impress, wupy. Well done again.



posted on Oct, 13 2005 @ 06:46 PM
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Hi mrwupy,

I liked this story one, because it is true, and two because Death came to visit. Now of course I am not happy that Death came to take you away, but the idea that you had a conversation with Death is what I like. To me Death comes in an instant, even to those who know they are going to die. They never see a manefestation of it. (As far as I know)

I know that one could rationalize the experience as a flu and drug induced delirium. However, I am weird and I am inclined to believe that you actually did have an experience with some sort of entity. (Which to me makes it scary because it is unexpected, and you are vunerable!)

My favorite part of this story was this line:



did what I believe anyone in that situation would have done. I threw the covers over my head and pulled them as tight as I could get them.


That would have been me!! I also liked how you were able to "hustle" Death into leaving you alone. It was brilliant to me how you asked for a simple tear, which it could never provide. This is a great story mrwupy!! I think it will do great in the contest.



posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 01:43 PM
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Mrwupy, this is a very fine story. There is an awful lot that I liked about it: for instance I liked the interplay between the narrator and the Grim. Moreover, the mere fact that the Reaper was sitting watching TV is quite a sight - certainly a lot different to the Ingmar Bergman/Bill and Ted/Neil Gaiman representations of Death. Also the demand for Grim's guilt was unusual and intriguing.

The very first line "Unlike many of the short stories i've written on this site, this one happens to be true" is always a good way to start a story. It doesn't matter if it actually *is* true or not, the mere fact that you suggest that the story is a representation of actual events is enough to put us on edge.

However, although the story's origin of 'fact' is a good narrative device, I think that maybe it is not fictionised enough. For my mind the narrator gets off way too easily at the end - maybe it is the sadist in me talking but I think you need to punish him. (And no I'm not talking about whips and chains!)

The idea that writers should be prepared to 'kill their babies' should refer not only to ideas, words and phrases that they become attached to, but also their characters. They should inflict misery upon their favourite characters to move stories on - if the writer attaches a deep bond with a character then there is a good chance that the reader will also. By making their favourite characters suffer (note that they don't have to die - there are far far worse literary punishments than death), it will often make stories more poignant.

In any case I enjoyed reading this story and look forward to seeing more of your work on this board.



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