Friday Fictioneer 100 Word Story #8: Death Is Not The End

Death Is Not the End

Looking down at my deathbed body, I was whisked speeding into the dark tunnel. A distant bright spot grew larger; as it grew, long dead relatives lined the path: Aunt Alice holding out a bowl of jello salad, Uncle Art rolling a cigarette with one hand, the hand without the beer, Cousin Jim with his dirty magazines, my father fumbling to get his whipping belt off. Another dread-filled, interminable, excruciating family reunion…

But I sped swiftly past them, great white gates opening before me. And I was safely, blissfully, joyously, inside the most beautiful shopping mall I’d ever seen.

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22 comments

  1. Hi there, I think this is fantastically evocative of real hell on earth! or hell in heaven, or hell in hell? However, I still think you should change the phrase about the beer – maybe put a hyphen in instead of a comma.
    Also, the punch line should either not have a comma after joyously, or “whisked to the most beautiful” because it doesn’t quite work or perhaps just ‘inside’ instead of ‘in’.
    The critic

    • Hello, Ms Glamoura,
      I changed “in” to “inside” and that was definitely an improvement — thank you. I thought about the hyphen before the beer phrase, tried it out, but didn’t like the way it interrupts the flow. It’s difficult I’m still thinking about it. It gets to be very minute. Putting a hyphen in does make it clearer, but, in addition to being an interruption, it also emphasizes the beer line, making it stand out more than I wanted. So it sits, awaiting further comment. But thank you.

  2. Hi Carlos,

    Nicely done. Makes me wonder who’s in heaven and who’s in hell. Hard to believe Aunt Alice and her Jello are in hell, but who knows?

    I’m going to love seeing how the structure in the photo is used in each story.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Alice and her jello wouldn’t be in hell, if only because I don’t believe in it, nor would Jim – life was hell for him. Art will be in hell even if I don’t believe in it. I guess if you wanted to get technical about it, they’d all be in purgatory — unless, of course, you don’t believe in it.

  3. A great take on this week’s picture Carlos.
    I could picture that line of dead relatives, nicely described.
    I can see why you would want to move swiftly pass them – but then a shopping mall! To me that sounds more hellish than heavenly!

    • Thanks, Mike. I don’t have it figured out either — I just wrote it. The first idea in my head was the photo looked so pure and cathedral-like. The second was that it looked like a shopping centre. The third was that death description people have given, of going down the tunnel to the warmth of reuniting with their family… well, I’d probably rather be going to Footlocker to buy some shoes.

  4. Nice description of the “ride” past the family, Carlos! I’m not sure I’d want to end up in a shopping mall either, but each to their own – you’re characters seemed delighted by it, so i guess that’s heaven for him/her!

    • Thanks, Susie. One of the things I like about these 100 word stories is that they are like taking a Rorshacht Test: they just appear in my head, allowing me to look back over them in retrospect and see what my proclivities are. For me, I suppose, kind of negative, but hopefully lightened by a little humor. This one was probably the most personal, though I don’t actually love shopping malls. But I did love the perfection of the image you gave us. It was a great photo prompt, allowing so many different interpretations — a Rorshacht Test for everybody!

  5. Hey Carlos,

    Love the story! I thought we were gonna get a little sappy for a moment, then I read about Aunt Alice’s bowl of jello salad and laughed out loud! It only got better from there!

    I agree with some who say that he’s far worse off in a shopping mall than with his dreaded family. But then again, I hate shopping malls!

    P.S. I buried a shorter version of ‘Buckle’ someplace deep in my comments section. Give it a look-see if you’d like!

    • Thanks, JHB, I’m no fan of shopping malls either, but if you only knew this family…
      I found your shorter story and liked it a lot. It was a very good compromise between Lindaura’s and my comments and your preference to be just a bit more grounded in reality. You should post it up with the other; it’s fascinating reading people’s reactions to the different approaches.

    • You win the fictitious award for Best Comment! So true. I read your story and liked it, left a comment, and now it’s not there. These blogsites are a maze. Your story was charming and well written, had an element of mystery without specifics, like seeing things in the corner of your eye. Very good.

  6. Wow! That is unique!!
    I give you bonus points for your out of the box thinking!
    Great story..
    And retail therapy…always works! (especially after boring family reunions!) 😉

  7. I’m so glad he got away from his family… It makes me question how he died. Their fault? Or his own doing to get away from them? Maybe I’m taking it to seriously. But i also hope heaven is a shopping mall. (I can buy you a new life). Well played!

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