Tag Archives: death

312. You won’t go gently

“You won’t go gently”, the doctor tells the boy. “It will be hell.”

He’d go into details, but the kid would never fathom it. He’s just too young. Not that the disease cares. It has taken his parents. Soon it will take the boy.

Though the virus is decimating the population, the kids are still best off. They will last three weeks, sometimes a full month. But how comforting is that when bursting ulcers will eventually destroy you from within as your glands swell and cut off all oxygen to your lungs?

Yet not a frown is seen on the boy’s face. His gaze doesn’t look at the doctor at all but towards the window. And he smiles.

When there is nothing left to salvage, what is there to do but laugh it off?

The doctor gestures in the motley gang behind the glass.

“Send in the clowns!” he yells.

In the boy’s eyes, they’re already there.

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284. A neigh. A kick. Death.

A neigh. A kick. Death.

The nightmare had haunted Paloma from an early age. She was sure it was an omen of a horrible, inescapable fate and so she had made a habit of avoiding horses. No mean feat on the Argentinian plains, where the animals roamed freely and could sneak up on you unexpectedly.

But she made it through and, at age 21, started a new life in a New York high-rise, a place as far removed from horses as she could imagine. Settling into her apartment, for the first time since she could remember Paloma was not afraid of her nightmare anymore.

The TV news had just started when the door bell rang. Convinced it was the pizza she had ordered, Paloma opened the door only to find a tall hooded man in front of her. He pushed through the open door, ripping her top to shreds, then forcing her onto the living room floor, his hand on her throat to prevent her from screaming.

Paloma struggled to escape from her attacker’s grasp, continually kicking and hitting at him, until he momentarily loosened his grip and she was able to wriggle herself from under his heavy body. She grabbed the first thing she could find, a heavy wooden ornament, and pummelled the invader in the face.

He now lay squirming on the floor, bleeding from his temple, down but by no means out. That’s when Paloma started kicking him. Kicking him square in the face, as hard as she could. Kicking, kicking, kicking till the pool of blood was an ocean and the attacker moved no more.

On the TV the news had reached the sports bulletin.

“Derby day today in Kentucky,” the reporter said, as this year’s winner neighed loudly beside him.

 

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249. So this is the afterlife

So this is the afterlife.

No pearly gates.

No virgins.

No rebirth.

Just atoms scattered across the vastness.

I could get used to this.

 

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244. On page 87 of the screenplay the actor died

On page 87 of the screenplay the actor died. Again.

He had been in 37 feature movies but he had survived none of them. In ‘Reminiscence of rape’, his first role, he had been ‘second victim’ and killed off before the opening credits rolled. His stature as an actor had steadily grown since, but one through-thread remained. Whatever role he played, he didn’t make it to the fade-out. Even in the Academy Award winning  ‘The word not uttered’ he died of cancer.

That in itself had been a respite of sorts, since usually he would be beheaded, drowned, stabbed, shot, strangled, poisoned, or – in one instance – kicked to death by a zombie horse. As an actor he was always on the lookout for versatility, but as he’d discovered, there are only so many ways in which one can shuffle off a mortal coil.

“Listen,” he therefore pleaded the director, “this role is amazing. Some of the best writing I’ve ever seen. There’s just one problem. I die.”

“That’s why I hired you,” the director said. “Nobody croaks the way you do. It’s your calling card. Your one defining feature. The way you slumped over and writhed in agony in ‘Text M for Murder’ still haunts me.”

The actor pleaded some more, but to no avail. He seemed burdened with death for the rest of his career. He’d never made his peace with that. But he did now. He died. Magnificently. And he’d die again, in another 53 features. He’d become an internet meme and only once, as a stunning twist, he’d make it, only to be killed in a post-credits tag anyway.

But when he died, for real, the papers did not go with ‘actor, dead at 72’. His obituary instead read: ‘actor’s legacy will live on.’

 

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226. Death followed Martin around like a shadow

Death followed Martin around like a shadow. It was there on the commute to work, on the opposite chair at the cafeteria and during his weekly tennis game. This had been going on for several weeks, when Martin could not take it anymore. He confronted Death head-on.

“Make up your mind, mate,” he said. “Don’t leave me hanging here.”

“I will kill you,” Death let on, “For all men must die.”

 

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192. Boo Boo Snicklefretz

Boo Boo Snicklefretz believed every word she read. And thus she was convinced on Monday that global warming was nonsense, on Tuesday that it was an undeniable fact and on Wednesday that the weather might be a tad warmer than usual but at least that was better than a tad colder. In short: her gullibility was mostly harmless.

That all changed on February 9th, when in the back pages of the Kingston County Chronicle she came across her own obituary. Clearly this was a mistake most people would have laughed off as just a grim joke, but for Boo Boo Snicklefretz it triggered an existential crisis.

How was it possible, she pondered, that she was dead, while at the same time she was enjoying jam on toast? She was also still breathing, which for someone without a pulse, was quite a feat. And yet there it was, in black ink on white paper: Boo Boo Snicklefretz, aged eighty-eight, untimely taken from us.

Perhaps she was a ghost. But then, would not she be translucent? For in everything she had ever read ghosts were always see-through. They were also mostly nasty and cruel, which Boo Boo Snicklefretz, even now she was dead, certainly was not.

So for a brief moment she considered the paper might be wrong, only to laugh it off immediately. Why, if it was wrong about her demise, wouldn’t it also be wrong about it being a tad warmer day than usual, which it was? No, she was dead alright.

Luckily she had a shotgun stowed away in case of emergency.

Equally lucky, after scattering her brains all over the paper, she was no longer able to read the factual error in her obituary, which categorically stated she died of a heart attack.

 

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152. The giraffe’s neck pushed through the foliage

The giraffe’s neck pushed through the foliage like a periscope splits the water: upright and rigid.

The sweet juicy foliage. O how the animal wanted to take a bite out of it. But that meant bending its neck down, something it had not been able to do since its fifth vertebra had locked up three days ago.

Ever since the other animals started mocking it for its perilous situation. Lion cubs and hyenas playfully bit its ankles without the giraffe knowing if it was for taunting or for dinner. Rhinos tickled its belly with their horn, causing painful neck spasms. And birds made a sport out of circling around its head, whistling insulting remarks.

In their mind they had every right to. The giraffe had always been haughty towards them – it was the tallest animal among its troupe and therefore of the savannah – and they had never forgotten its disdain for them. Even members of its own troupe did not come to its rescue.

This torture went on for several more days, until the giraffe, exhausted by lack of water or food, bent its knees, breathed one last sigh and fell dead onto the dried grass below its feet.

The other animals talked about how they could have helped the giraffe. How the birds could have fed it berries and the elephant could have used its trunk to spray water into its mouth. But they felt no remorse. This was the way of the savannah. No mercy for the feeble ones.

And as the scavengers and big cats feasted on the giraffe’s carcass, they knew that one day they’d befall a similar fate as that of the giraffe with the locked-up vertebra.

 

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81. The girl declared dead half an hour ago

The girl declared dead half an hour ago forced open her morgue cell and took a deep breath. She suffered from a rare condition that periodically shut down all bodily functions, creating the illusion of death. There were a couple of close shaves before but this one was the closest by far.

She wasn’t out of the woods yet though. As she threw the cold white blanket from her body her intuition made her duck a whooshing sound. The scythe missed her by a whisker. Scrambling to her feet she caught Death, intent on finishing the job.

 

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45. The golf ball hits Jesper right between the eyes

The golf ball hits Jesper right between the eyes and for a moment he suspects he’s dead. No such luck alas. He’ll probably have to settle for a severe concussion and this exceedingly painful bump.

Try again, he yells at the guy in the baggy pants at the other side of the driving range on the off-chance he might not think him a lunatic. Use a driver this time!

But the guy calls the police instead and Jesper, still wearing nothing but a sock on his privates, trudges off the range.

Tomorrow is another day, he tells himself. Another chance to achieve his goal of making the Wikipedia list of unusual deaths.

Little does he know he’ll croak of a common heart attack that night.

 

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26. See you tomorrow

See you tomorrow, she told her colleagues as she exited the office before adding: that is if I don’t get eaten by a flesh-eating bacteria whilst jogging in the park. Classic Sondra. She always had a zinger up her sleeve before she went home. Her remarks never failed to put a smile on her colleagues’ faces and neither did this one.

They weren’t smiling the next day when they heard that Sondra had the previous evening indeed been eaten by a particularly ferocious flesh-eating bacteria whilst jogging in the park.

What are the odds, one colleague muttered in disbelief. About 293.5 million to one another colleague, a statistician, replied.

It was comforting to know that amid the madness of the day at least the math still made sense.

 

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