Timothy is a Christian who enjoys creating visual art and writing. He has a B.S. in Psychology.
A New Flash Fiction Story
It’s been a while since I’ve offered up a flash fiction story. I decided to return to one of my characters, Death. I love to take the idea of death and give him or her a persona with a little emotion because death is always pictured as an emotionless figure. I hope you enjoy the story.
“You might say I’m religious but I actually deal with the truth. There is a life after this is one. Where depends on one thing you do in this life which .
Death found himself in an odd situation. He was assigned to work as an orderly in a hospital. He figured with all the bad going on in the world these days the hospital was a perfect assignment. Here in this building there was a lot of death and dying. He’d already run into a few colleagues since being here. The question he asked himself was not what he was doing here but why at this particular time.
Death stared at the room across the hall
A nurse sidled up to him. “You don’t want to go in there that man has been Code Blue about three or four times tonight.”
He looked over at the woman. Her name tag labeled her as Nurse Rodgers.
Death smiled. The nurse took a step back.
“The end is merely the beginning, you know?”
The nurse wrinkled her brow. “Religious man are you?”
“You might say I’m religious but I actually deal with the truth. There is a life after this one. Where depends on the one crucial thing you do in this life which .”
The nurse looked nervous like all the religious talk was getting to her. “If you excuse me I have rounds to do.” She turned and hurried back off down the hallway,
Death shook his head. “Humans, they seek the truth but when the truth stares them in the face there in front of them they take…”
Death turned to find another nurse standing there. “Nothing, just thinking out loud.”
“You know Death, someday people are going to think you’ve lost your mind.”
“Louise, I see you’re still here.”
“Yes, my assignment is still not ready to go home. He’s a stubborn old man who refuses to see the beauty of the other side. Instead he seeks to hold onto this… She laughed and motioned to all which was around her. Why would these humans want this rather than new found glory.” She laughed again. She looked Death in the eye. Though from what you were mumbling to yourself you already see this. Well no matter, other than that I’m doing well. How is your assignment going
Death didn’t say a word, he just turned and walked out of the door. He had to try and figure out what to do next.
“Well, I’m trying to figure out my assignment. His name is Joe. He worked for a long time in a factory. It is where he met his wife of 50 years. Like your assignment he knows it is his time but he refuses to go…”
“What is holding him here?” Asked Louise.
“Well you see his wife is in a nursing home. She suffers from Alzheimer’s and he has no one to take care of her.”
“So he doesn't want to leave her here by herself.”
Death looked at her. “No, his love for her is holding him here. Love is a powerful bond between humans.”
“Yes,” said Louise, “It truly is.” She looked Death in the eyes. “ I just wished I understood love as much as humans do…” She winked at him and turned to walk away.
“I think you do understand more than you think you do.” Death smiled. “You just don’t like to seek true understanding.”
“I didn’t know you knew me so well.” She laughed and strode off down the hall.
Death turned and strode across the hall and onto the room where his assignment lay in his bed, All sorts of machines beeped and made swooshing sounds. Death knew what one or two of them were but some were beyond his understanding. Of course he didn’t care either. He had only one thing on his mind. The man in the bed turned his way.
“Oh, you again. I told you I’m not going anywhere until I know my wife is taken care of. So you best be on your way unless you got some good news for me.” He coughed. “Darn oxygen dries your throat out.”
“Relax Mr Mayberry, I’m not here to lead you into glory. I’m just checking in on you to see how you’re doing.” Death gazed out the window. “Though I don’t know why you don’t want to be led into a place with no dying or pin.”
Mr. Mayberry laughed. “What makes you think I don’t want to go? I do…but I made a promise to my Leia I would take care of her until her end. I can’t go before her because it would be breaking my promise. A promise I made out of love.” He coughed.”Now if you’ll excuse me I would like to be alone with my thoughts.”
Death didn’t say a word, he just turned and walked out of the door. He had to try and figure out what to do next.
The problem was he’d never had an assignment quite like this before. No he was wrong. There was the little girl. She had taught him a lesson. Nothing is as it seems when faith is involved. He started up the hallway. Up ahead a young woman caught his eye. His brow wrinkled. What was she doing here? He strolled down the hall and into a small waiting room. There sat a girl, with blondish brown colored hair, he’d seen once or twice before, her name was Jeannie.
“So we meet again…”
She looked up at him. “Do I know you?”
“Well, yes and no…we’ve not really met but you know one of my associates. His name is Fred.
Her eyes opened wide. “You’re and Angel?”
“Again, yes and no. I’m an Angel who has a unique assignment on this world.”
“Which would be?”
“I’m a retriever of souls who are Heaven bound.”
“So you’re Death…Fred has told me about you. Hopefully you’re not here to take me.
Death laughed. “No, I’m here for a gentleman down the hall here. The problem is he doesn’t want to go. But that is my problem.” Death looked up and down the hallway. “So, why are you here? Fred working on an assignment in the hospital?”
Jeannie turned around to find Death standing there. She looked at Death, a little fire in her eyes but also a little understanding. “He is your assignment…my grandfather?
“No, Fred is off on a solo adventure. I’m here visiting a relative of mine. I didn’t know someone could, “not want to go.” I thought when your time was up…”
“Normally it is, but you humans can be stubborn about going. Especially when there is a strong anchor holding you here.”
“Yes, anchor. Like an emotional attachment, unresolved business or some such thing….”
“So, your assignment has an attachment to this world.”
“Yes,” Death looked down the hall. “Yes, a wife he needs to take care of. He wants to know she is safe…”
“Before he moves on…”
Death smiled, “You’re good at this.”
“Occupational hazard of working with an Angel.”
“Well I’ll let you visit your relative. I’ve got to figure out how to move forward.”
Jeannie got up and headed down the hall. Death watched her go. He opened his eyes wide. She went into Mr. Mayberry’s room. He turned and walked down the hall in the same direction. He walked into the room. She stood over the bed and kissed him on the cheek. Mr. Mayberry looked up. He looked Death in the eyes.
“I told you I wasn’t going.”
Jeannie turned around to find Death standing there. She looked at Death, a little fire in her eyes but also a little understanding. “He is your assignment…my grandfather?”
“Yes…” Death said wanting to add more but he didn’t.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Death looked at her. “ to be honest I didn’t know.”
A tear touched her cheek. She walked into the hallway. Death followed.
“I am truly sorry.” He said.
She looked at him. “No it’s ok. I told Fred I had to come here to see him. I knew it was his time. I'm just not ready to accept the truth. I know you’re only doing your job. I also know where he is going he will be better off…he will be better off…right?” Her eyes pleaded with him.
“I’m usually bound not to answer that specific question but have been advised I can tell you. He will find eternal peace and love where he is going.”
She looked across to the room. “You must know I came here to say goodbye because I lost my grandmother two months ago. I wasn’t there. I was helping Fred. I didn’t want to miss saying goodbye to him.”
Death looked at her quizzically, “Wait, your grandmother died two months ago?”
“He keeps saying he can’t go until she is taken care of…”
Jeannie looked at death. She started to tear up. “My grandfather is suffering from Alzheimer’s. In his mind my grandmother is still alive and needing his help. She crossed her arms. “I think my grandfather got worse after her death. The doctors told me he doesn’t even realize she’s gone but I know the love they had for each other is stronger than the loss of .”
“Stronger than any other bond for humans.” Death paused. “Wait, you said he is suffering from Alzheimer’.”
”Yes, in his mind my grandmother is still alive but she passed a couple of months after taking of my grandfather for months. The problem for me is even though I don’t want him to go. I also don’t want him living like this. He should be home in Heaven with her.”
“I don’t want to sound crass but your grandfather is merely a shell which holds a soul…a soul which could move on. “
“To a better place…you’ve said that before. But…how do we get him to…”
“Go with me.”
“Yes,…” She trailed off.
“Hi de ho neighbors and friends.” They turned to find an older stocky man with slightly grey hair strolling down the hall. He wore a big smile on his face.
“Fred…” They both said at the same time.
“In the flesh…so to speak.”
“What are you doing here?” Jeannie asked. “I thought you had an appointment.”
“Oh that.” Fred waved his hand in the air. “An easy fix. The mother passed away.” He looked at Death. “Kali says to say hi by the way.” Death smiled.. “Where was I…oh yeah the mother passed away amd left her estate to the new hubby…kids were a mess. I had to smooth out all the wrinkles but in the end it worked out and here I am to help my good friend…Death.”
“Help me out…”
“Yes, the Boss sent me to help you with Mr. Mayberry. I brought somebody with me.”
Jeannie and Death looked around. They saw no one else in the hallway.
“I do not see anyone here.” Death said.
“Me either.” Jeannie chimed in.
“The person I brought with me is not physically here. She is only here spiritually.”
“Right,” Said Fred. “She is talking to your grandfather.”
Jeannie rushed down the hall and into her grandfather’s room. There she saw her grandfather with his arms outstretched seemingly grasping thin air. She knew better. “Hi grandma, she whispered. “Love ya.” Her grandfather pursed his lips as if kissing the air . Suddenly bells and alarms went off. Her grandfather slumped back to his bed. Tears streamed down Jeannie’s cheeks. “By grandpa..,be well.” Nurses and doctor poured into the room.
“Code blue!” The doctor yelled. “Code blue.”
As they jumped into action Jeannie left the room. “Bye,” She sobbed. In the hallway stood Death and Fred. She looked at Fred, tears still running down her cheek. “Thank you,” She said. “But how…
“God works in mysterious ways…” Death said.
“Yes, he does…” Fred smiled. “So where to now Death?”
“Don’t know but a new assignment should come in soon. See you around…oh yeah thanks. I owe you one.” He blinked out.
Fred and Jeannie turned me headed down the hallway.
© 2021 Timothy Whitt
Timothy Whitt (author) from New Jersey on August 28, 2021:
Thank you for your kind words.
Teodora Gheorghe on August 27, 2021:
What a nice and touching story with a healthy (not deadly) dose of humor! I will check your other hubs as well. :)