weekly irregular dose of fabulous1 fiction
Death Keeps An Appointment
Friday, 11 Dec 2009 21:50
Here's an example of a story that wouldn't exist without the #fridayflash gang. There've been a few really good stories with Death as a character in recent weeks, which got me thinking, "Hmm...how would *I* write Death?"
Here's the result. I'm not happy with it. I couldn't quite get it to work the way I wanted it to. I almost didn't post it, thinking it would be improve by me mulling it over more, but that didn't seem like the #fridayflash spirit.
Death Keeps An Appointment
Snow was falling lightly as Death hurried down the sidewalk along Portage Avenue. He wore only sandals over his foot bones, but the cold didn't bother him much at all. He was in a hurry, had an appointment to keep. He always had an appointment, true, but this one was pressing. Gravity and Love had had another spat and you know how that always turned out.
He hefted his stupid scythe onto one shoulder and pulled back the thick sleeve of his robe so he could check the time on his watch, a colourful number by Swatch. He had to twist the face around so he could see it; watches never fit properly when you had to strap them over bare bones.
"Shit. She's going to kill me."
His eye sockets on the watch face, he didn't see the young woman bent over, tying her shoelace in the middle of the sidewalk.
"Oof!" Death stumbled, bumped into a ladder, shaking it. The worker at the top washing windows cursed and lost his balance, dropped his bucket of water.
Death turned to see if the woman he'd tripped over was okay but in his haste forgot about his scythe, which struck the the ladder. The ladder wobbled again and began sliding to the side. The worker lost his balance completely, fell and landed on his neck with an unpleasant, but all too familiar to Death, crunch.
"I'm so sorry," Death hurried over, knelt beside the man, "Completely my fault."
But the light had already faded from the man's eyes. Death heaved a sigh.
"Love makes the world go 'round, she says to me the other day. Really? Because last time I checked, it was the sun's gravitational pull that hauls it around."
Death was holding his mug of coffee in both hands. He watched the Brownian motion and said, "You just never get used to it. Even after all these millennia. It's as sad as the first time a sabre tooth tiger ate a caveman."
"Are you even listening to me?" Gravity was slouched in the overstuffed. There were bags under her eyes and her expensive, complicated latte was all but untouched.
"I am. And I sympathize. But it's not like you and her haven't had fights before. 1908 wasn't exactly a pleasant year for Russia. You did a number."
Gravity seemed to sink even lower into her chair. "I think she might really be gone this time."
Death lolled his head in a mimicry of rolling his eyes. "You do this every time. Love, well, loves her drama. She's not happy without a bit of tragedy mixed in."
"Warm up your coffee?"
"Oh thank you," Death help up his mug for the server, careful not to accidentally brush hands with her.
Gravity said, "Do you have any idea what would happen if the moon spun out of orbit? That'd get her attention. No more love sonnets set to moonlight."
"Now don't talk like that."
Death sighed. There were going to be there a while. At least plunked down in a diner all afternoon, he couldn't do much damage.
18 responses to "Death Keeps An Appointment "
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 00:43
Haha :) I never tire of this character and I like what you've done with it, Terry Pratchett would have a field day!
The humour you have there made me smile :) so the story is succesful at that point!
I find the trouble with writing FridayFlash is that you're almost always not happy with it - a reason I took three weeks before my latest one(and I'm STILL not happy with it!)
I find it might be best to just go with the flow.
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 01:22
Love that line the cold didn't bother him, sets up your character of Death niceley for the piece
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 02:35
"careful not to accidentally brush hands with her." LOL! One of many lines that made me chuckle
When I read "Gravity and Love had had another spat and you know how that always turned out" I had a mental image of a woman pushing a cheating spouse off a 6th floor balcony :)
Carrie Cleaver wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 05:43
I love Death. I love stories about Death. Not the action, the persona. Good story! :)
Marisa Birns wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 05:46
Once again you bring the good writing and laughs to flash!
Many funny moments, the "accidental" death of the window washer being one of them. Though, ahem, may he rest in peace.
Laura Eno wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 05:50
I am dying laughing here! A clumsy Death who wears a Swatch and sandals? This is absolutely fabulous!
Olivia Tejeda wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 08:28
I just kept laughing in the first section! It was so much fun to laugh at Death. My image of Death and Gravity fighting was the same as Mazz, and I thought, uh oh! Here it comes! My favorite line: "Love makes the world go 'round, she says to me the other day. Really? Because last time I checked, it was the sun's gravitational pull that hauls it around." Now that's true cynicism. Love it! ~ Olivia
Tony Noland wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 08:59
I'm with Lisa, I thought this would give Terry Pratchett a run for his money. I'm used to thinking of Death personified, but not Gravity!
And the reference to Tunguska - brilliant.
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 09:49
Another inventive and funny read. My favourite part: "...You just never get used to it. Even after all these millennia. It's as sad as the first time a sabre tooth tiger ate a caveman."
Death makes a great remorseful (and polite) character. Well done!
Victoria A wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 10:33
Love it! I often find with my writing that the pieces I am least satisfied with sometimes get the best response :) I really enjoyed this one!
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 14:55
I like it, it doesn't seem like a bigger story that is rushed in to a flash fiction.
Lauren Cude wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 16:50
I'm w/ Mazz on this one -- was exactly what I was thinking w/ the gravity and love line :)
Parts 1 and 2 almost seem like they could be separate stories. 1st one is brilliant; 2nd I felt was not quite as resolved, but as always you managed to slip several great lines into each.
I have no idea how you manage to get 2 sections into one flash. That's taking the art to a whole new level!
Shannon Esposito wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 19:20
OMG! Genius! Seriously, love this. One of my all time favorite shows was Dead Like Me. This reminds me so much of that show. And who doesn't love a Swatch watch, even on death, must be charming. More stories with Death, please!!!!!
PJ Kaiser wrote:
Saturday, 12 Dec 2009 21:33
I love that you gave yourself permission to really run with this one and have fun. There are great little details sprinkled throughout. Well done!
karen from mentor wrote:
Sunday, 13 Dec 2009 08:55
"Shit. She's going to kill me."
Is funny ON SO MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS.
Really enjoyed this Dana.
PS try not to be so hard on yourself. [*sigh* there was NO WAY to write that sentence without using the words "hard on"]
J. M. Strother wrote:
Sunday, 13 Dec 2009 10:00
He's such a charming fellow. Who'd a thought I'd ever say that about Death. Really a funny piece.
Sunday, 13 Dec 2009 12:32
I very much thought that Death was rushing to an appointment with a Grief Councilor or something, never thought to see him at a diner though xD
Hilarious as always! Great break from studying too!
Eric J. Krause wrote:
Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009 21:45
As someone else mentioned above, I also pictured someone being pushed off a high building as a lovers spat, not actual Love and Gravity having the spat. This was a very amusing story!