Friday Flash: On Dying

On Dying

Tears trickled down Death’s cheeks as she lifted the woman from the ruins with one long, slender hand. The building had crushed her body, but the woman’s soul remained intact through the gentle ministrations of the guiding spirit.

“What about my baby?” the woman asked. Her eyes fixed upon the infant clutched within lifeless arms. Though its weak cries filled the small concrete niche formed by the collapsed rubble, no one heard them. His voice was drowned out by sirens and wails from the surrounding devastation.

The smile of the hooded figure filled the dismal scene with a blinding light. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Billy will be coming with you.” She reached down for the child and placed him in his mother’s arms. He gurgled with pleasure, and the three of them left the wreckage behind for the bright and shining unknown.

*Last Saturday, September 11th, I was sitting in a hotel room in Columbus watching footage of the World Trade Center disaster. We had to turn it off because my son was afraid of nightmares. The next morning, I woke up from a dream with this image burning in my brain. This story was inspired by the events of nine years ago and dedicated to the victims and heroes of that day.

**’Ruins of Richmond, VA., 1865′ image courtesy of The U.S. National Archives via Flicker. No known copyright restrictions.

***Even though the photo I picked was very old, I thought the completely ruined building fit the theme of the story.

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15 Comments

Filed under Flash Fiction, mythology, Writing Corner

15 Responses to Friday Flash: On Dying

  1. What a great tribute and so true for so many parents, its the first thing you think of in any situation like this. Great work :)

  2. What an amazing idea that the scale of the carnage, the utter madness displayed by mankind, should humble even Death himself & make him cry. Fantastic imagination

  3. Very painful to read, which means it was very well written.

  4. I didn’t find it painful at all to read. A little serene, what with the baby gurgling happily. Thanks for sharing, Gany.

  5. Exquisite little piece that isn’t small at all. Just simply beautiful.

  6. Wow. A big piece in a few words. This is great.

  7. Beautiful story. Quite touching.

  8. I liked the picture you touched with this and that death is a woman felt poignant. Sad. I didn’t own a TV (still don’t) and remember listening to NPR and the announcer say something and then go silent for a minute. It was a shock to then slowly hear it described on the radio.

  9. I like the juxtaposition of what we perceive as tragedy and the dying woman sees as relief that her baby will be going with her. Very well done.

  10. Sad but beautiful. Death is so peaceful when described this way.

  11. Very peaceful; exactly as I prefer to think of death. I like also that you have personified Death as a woman. It reminds of a scene from Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ comics. Dream says to his sister Death, “I don’t know why they fear you.” “Yes,” she relies, “especially when you are much more terrible.” Or something like that . . .

  12. Wonderful tribute and uplifting, even in death.

  13. Staggering flash…

    That memory of that day will continue to resonate. I still remember driving to work — SEEING IT — a mere 9 or 10 miles away. That was the first day that we put out an “EXTRA” edition at my newspaper.

  14. Sorry I missed this. Quite touching. Well done.
    ~jon