The Man Who Almost Cheated Death
A man who brags without shame will find great difficulty in living up to his bragging
There was once a middle aged man who had cheated Death three times in his life. The first time he came down with an illness then got better. The second time he had been riding his bike and had crashed into a tree and spent three days in a coma but then woke on the fourth day perfectly fine. The third time he was on a cruise ship that was blown up by a bomb, but was found the next morning lying on a sandy white beach.
The man would walk around town visiting bars and boasting of his triumphs over Death. It got so bad that Death, who had been collecting some souls in the small London town, heard of this man and decided to go see for himself. Upon arriving at the bar Death found himself face to face with the man who was bragging loudly to a crowd of people that he could cheat Death again. Death listened carefully then walked over to the man on his old withered legs and requested that they speak in private. The man, thinking that perhaps the old man would want to know all the details of his achievement, agreed and followed Death out into the alley. Once they were alone Death looked the man in the eye and told him, “I am Death and I heard you say that you could cheat me again.” The man started to answer but Death didn’t give him the chance. “If you think that this is true then you must prove it to me. Go on the train that leaves London at five tomorrow morning. There is a bomb on the train and if you can escape then I will admit that you can indeed cheat me.”
The man didn’t have the chance to answer because Death had disappeared into thin air. The man was nervous and was suddenly unsure if he could cheat Death for a fourth time. However, the following morning he woke early and boarded the train leaving London at five o’clock. As he sat on his seat nervously the train swayed rattled underneath him. Not too many other people were on the train, so at least he didn’t have to talk to anyone. Sweat was beading on his forehead as he found himself wondering when the bomb would go off.
He had purposely chosen a seat by the window so that he might be able to crawl out the window when the train blew-up. As the minutes ticked by slowly he wrung his hands together in his lap in a nervous manner. Suddenly the train jerked and his head smacked against the window pane with a loud thud and the world faded into darkness.
When he came to consciousness he found himself still in on the train. He raised a hand to his head and his fingers came away bloody. He suddenly felt faint as he looked back at the window. He was overcome by shock as he saw that the train was no longer passing by green pastures, instead it was passing by pits of fire where people writhed and screamed in agony. He jumped as a skeletal hand landed upon his shoulder. The man turned around to see Death standing before him.
Death had on a black robe with a hood that didn’t quite cover his skeletal head with empty cold sockets and an icy smile. In one boney hand he held a scythe; the other was still resting on the man’s shoulder.
“No, it can’t be you!” The man shrieked at Death. “I’m not dead, not yet.”
“I assure you that it is me. I have come for you at last. Even though you don’t remember it, the train exploded. I’m sorry to tell you that what you bragged about isn’t as easy as you made it sound. Many men in their days try to trick me but it never worked. It is true that a few, like you, slip through my fingers but I always catch them in the end.”
The man screamed as Death’s great scythe swung through the air and sliced the man’s soul from his body.
© Copyright 2016 Amaya Kateke. All rights reserved.
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