An Untimely Death

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
A cynical man reads a newspaper article about the unfortunate death of a man named Albert Chambers. He contemplates the meaning of this, sarcastically. But the events that follow make him reconsider

Submitted: May 24, 2015

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Submitted: May 24, 2015

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The article reads: 
 
OCTOBER 25
LOCAL MAN ALBERT CHAMBERS OF KING STREET, 38, DIES UNTIMELY DURING UNFORTUNATE DOG WALKING ACCIDENT. CONDOLENCES SHOULD BE SENT TO THE FAMILY. 
 
Untimely, the man sitting on the bench watching traffic cackled to himself. 
 
Untimely and unfortunate indeed!About as untimely as these fools driving like maniacs. Late for a very important date. He looked back down at the newspaper and read the article again.Walking the dog. May as well have been trimming the hedges. Fool!
 
The man stands up, stretches, and starts walking down the busy sidewalk.  He tossed the newspaper into the trash can, noticing all of the people not noticing him. 
 
People die, and people lie. People steal, and people cheat, which is why they hurry down the street.  That’s the true nature of things, he thought. 
 
He stopped walking with the rest of the people on the sidewalk at the corner, waiting for the signal to change.  Cars zipped by, people checked their watches.  Finally the traffic ceased and the crowd started to cross the street.  The man from the bench stepped in to the street at the back of the group.  He sensed and approaching object to his left.  A horn blared, headlights flashed.  The man jumped, barely out of the way of the speeding vehicle. As he looked up from the pavement he saw the pedestrian light change from DO NOT WALK to WALK. 
 
“Fools!” he yelled.  They could have gotten me killed.  Damn them.  And who’s really the fool? Following the animals right into the street like Albert Chambers, the man scolded himself.  
 
Oh god! I could have been killed! He thought frantically.  A blink of an eye and I wouldn’t even exist any more.  Well, have to be more careful.  Death won’t be finding me so unfortunately untimely.  He set off down the sidewalk again, confident in his newfound caution.  
 
Half a block down the street he heard a loud crash.  Two vehicles collided.  HIs brief confidence left him as quickly as the speeding cars.  Both dead, he knows without doubt. He can’t actually know, he knows, but he does. 
 
He continued walking, picking up his pace some.  As he walked by a shop with the radio on he caught part of the broadcast: 
“Most sever flu epidemic in years sweeping across city.  Hundreds hospitalized."
 
Of course they are.  They’re as good as dead! he wanted to scream.  
 
Now he was walking briskly toward the block of his apartment building. Brushing by people he knew in his heart would be dead in a weak.  How couldn’t they be? He asked himself, reasonably.  He spotted a MISSING CHILDREN poster on a street light.  “You’ll never find them in this world!” he cries out.  The animals have them now.  
 
He started to run, but knew it was hopeless.  Who can escape it?  Poor Mr. Chambers couldn’t, and he knew it.  His heart was beating fast as he opened the door to his apartment building.  Blood pressure.  Doctor’s warnings.  I’ll be dead before I get to the top of the stairs,the man from the bench concluded logically. 
 
As he unlocked his apartment door he stepped inside, completely alive. 
 
But it’s only a matter of time, he assured himself.  Who can stand it?  Albert knew the truth, and decided to end the misery! Yes.  Take matters into my own hands, and end the insufferable waiting.  Not going to drudge on like the rest of these fools.  
 
He rummaged through his closet, finding the yellow shoebox with the old revolver in it.  It was heavy.  
 
A heavy tool, for a heavy job.  Without hesitation he loaded a cartridge, put the gun to his temple, and pulled back the hammer.  Goodbye, animals.  
 
He pulled the trigger.  
 
The gun clicked.  And clicked and clicked, as he pulled the trigger several times.  
 
Maddening he thought, as his eyes searched his apartment for a new method.  His eyes stopped on  his medicine cabinet, and he knew his worries were over.  He fiendishly searched through his pill bottles, finding the most toxic.  He opened the bottle and poured the contents into his mouth, swallowing all of the pills.  
 
Shouldn’t be long now he sighed, relieved.  As he waited patiently, he looked curiously at the pill bottle.  One word reached out and smacked him.  EXPIRED.  Harmless.  Useless!  
 
He shrieked and ran for the window, hurling himself out of his 4th floor apartment.  But instead of landing hard on the sweet, misery-ending pavement, he found himself lying safely on the walk-out balcony of the apartment below him.  
 
Impossible he thought.  Or is it? He stood up, and walked down the metal staircase outside of  his apartment building and found himself back on the sidewalk.  
 
Maybe it’s not inevitable.  Maybe there is life.  Yes.  Albert had an accident, but I don’t have to.  There’s no point in worrying about it anyway.  
 
He walked and walked, finally breathing easily.  As he found himself walking down a set of stairs towards the subway, he knew that everything would be fine. 
 
Life may end, but that’s no excuse not to enjoy it he thought as he stepped out in front of a group of waiting people.  This time he didn’t notice the blaring horn and the flashing lights, or the untimely train.  


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