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by on May 14, 2013

This story was written for Trifecta’s weekly prompt, which was to use the word “deliberate”: “slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved <a deliberate pace>. It’s also a continuation of the Volcano Rain stories. Roll film!

“So,” William said, “just to recap, we’ve lost both our wings, we’re being pursued by a full fighter squadron, and we’re still hours from the lunar colony.”

“Yep,” said Rain.

“I don’t mean to complain, but…exactly how are we getting out of this?”

Rain shrugged. “How should I know?”

“But…but…” William spluttered.

The shuttle’s alarms were still wirping madly; Rain kicked a console and the alarms went mercifully quiet. “Look, we pulled off a miracle just getting here. You can’t expect repeat miracles. I’m probably going to die anyway; I’d rather go down fighting then end up as a crispy volcano sacrifice.”

William was going to make a further protest, but at that moment grey smoke bloomed in the cabin. At first William thought they were on fire, but then the smoke gathered itself together into solid form. A black cloak swirled into existence around it. Cold eyes glittered beneath its sinister cowl. A scythe flashed in its hand. It took a deliberate step forward, and spoke in a sonorous voice. “Um….hi. I’m Winifred. No, darn it, that’s wrong. Let me start over.” It coughed. “I am Death. I’ve come to… um…come to….do…something….can I go out and come in again?”

William being rendered speechless, Rain had to ask the obvious. “You’re Death? Really?”

Suddenly Winifred burst into tears. “You hate me!” she wailed. “I knew it! No one’s going to take me seriously! I told them I wouldn’t be a good Death, I wanted to be Nature! They wouldn’t listen! And now everything’s ruined!”

“There, there,” Rain said, giving Death’s shoulder a reassuring pat. “You’ll be fine.”

“You think so?” Winifred sniffled hopefully.

“Sure. You just need practice. Like with your speech. You ever use flashcards?”

“No, not really…”

“Why don’t we go back to your place and I can help you with that? I used flashcards all through Flight Academy.”

“Awesome!” Winifred said, and waved her hand. Rain, William, and Death vanished from the shuttle just as it exploded.

  1. ‘Why don’t we go back to your place?’

  2. This is hilarious! I love Rain’s reaction to Death’s breakdown. Clever way to get out of a burning spacecraft, but I’d be careful about befriending death 🙂

    • I don’t know; Death might be a good ally to have on your side if someone’s trying to sacrifice you to a volcano….

      • Well, if Death is your friend either you won’t fear it (her), or, even better, you are in a position to start making deals… Which is handy when there’s a hungry, bloodthirsty volcano in the equation!

      • Exactly! I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship. 🙂

  3. I love it when writers personify Death; there have been so many iterations (although Pratchett’s is my favorite) from scary to bumbling to savvy. This is the first sensitive girl who wants to be liked and bursts into tears I’ve ever read and Winifred can now join the pantheon of Deaths that make me happy 😉

    • I’ve been meaning to read Terry Pratchett; I’ve heard nothing but good things. I’m going through Robert Jordan’s series now, but perhaps when I finish. Anyway, I’m glad you think Winifred is a worthy member of the Death pantheon. 😀 Fun fact: Winifred began her career as an Igor to a mad scientist, but then things went wrong with the Frankenmanatee experiment, and, well….now, she’s Death. C’est la vie. (Or c’est la mort, I suppose…)

  4. Lance permalink

    THat’s a hell of a line. Literally. wow, I’m going to read this again. There’s enough darkness to entertain me for a while.

    awesome job

  5. Draug419 permalink

    Wait what lol That is certainly a unique way out of a bad situation xD

    • I was trying to work out how one escapes from a wingless shuttlecraft; Death’s intervention seemed the best alternative.

  6. What didn’t I like about this? Nothing. What did i like; everything. God job Michael!!

  7. And good job too!! Freudian slip about how much I liked your story i guess!

    • To quote a song from “The Road to El Dorado”, it’s tough to be a god…:P

  8. Poor Winifred – a new job is always daunting
    As well as Pratchett’s death, check out Neil Gaiman’s version from the Sandman stories – a chirpy, friendly, happy go lucky goth girl. Almost makes it tempting to await her. I loved this piece, the humour was great

    • Neil Gaiman is also on my to-read list. I’ve heard great things about his work. Death as a happy goth girl….that’s awesome.

  9. Oh, this is so awesome! Love Rain’s nonchalance. Love that Death’s name is Winifred. Love the “why don’t we go back to your place” line. Just keeps getting better and better!

    • Rain’s a very nonchalant person, I’d say. Does this all the time. (Well, not this exactly, but still. )

  10. Hahahahahahahahahaha. How to get out of a difficult situation. So over the top, yet the storyline is so laid back.
    Definitely read Neil Gaiman!

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