May 22 2016: Writing Prompt: Tarot: Major Arcana: Death


Death is not only about a physical manifestation – death happens in millions of ways, unfolding as surely as the sunsets. But predictably, the sun rises each morning. Beginning.


Death stood at the end of the old man’s bed. It was a routine pick up as far as he was concerned and he was as always in a bit of a hurry after all the humans were dying like flies and so often it was a matter of life or death if he got there in time. Hence the term limbo was that period in which death was running late and so you lingered in no man’s land awaiting his arrival. It could and was a somewhat anti climatic from time to time.

Death wasn’t a happy character, who would be in a job that attracted Death himself and lets face it not many welcomed him, most were afraid of him and every time there was a sense of disbelief that he actually existed.

So often it was the old coming to him as their lives came to an end, the young who brought about their own end in what he thought was a never-ending variety of ingenious ways.

Today it was Niles Casey taking his final breath. Seconds after his soul was in the hands of Death. Niles had been a sceptical character in life and in death wasn’t much different.

Death greeted him with his usual lack of enthusiasm; you have to bear in mind that Death had been greeting the dead for an awful long time and the novelty had long worn off.

It was a matter of choice Death informed Niles in his now perfected drollness, you got to choose, reincarnation, the darkness or an existence wandering aimlessly in time.

Niles wasn’t very impressed when he pressed Death for some guidance in relation to reincarnation. Death stated that reincarnation was a bit of a lottery and there could be no telling where he might end up. A lot of people Death stated chose the darkness rather than the aimless wandering as like reincarnation wandering aimlessly for eternity wasn’t much to look forward to.

But as Death pointed out the darkness didn’t mean the end but rather if you could find your way out of it, it meant a new beginning, where? Well again the lottery theory came into play.

Death looked at his sheet, his one document on Niles and made a statement that he could only improve in this life on the one he’d just come from. A miserly, petulant, trivial miserable old man who would be lucky if no one actually spat on his coffin.

Niles looked down, asked about God.

Death chuckled to himself, they all asked about God.

‘He’s everywhere,’ said Death, looking about, ‘He turns up at the most inopportune times, runs spot checks, checks my ledgers, makes sure I’m keeping up my quotas, it’s a tough life I have you know.’

Niles looked on in disbelief. ‘Is God an accountant?’

‘Might as well be,’ said Death looking more disconsolate. ‘So what’s it to be for you?’

‘The darkness, ‘ said Niles and in the wink of an eye Niles found himself in a black space with a pinprick of light away in the distance.

‘I’ll walk,’ he thought, ‘how long could it take?

Away to his left a small voice sounding like that of a child’s said: ‘ Eternity.’



Written for:

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10 Responses to May 22 2016: Writing Prompt: Tarot: Major Arcana: Death

  1. Deb says:

    I love imagining what death feels like. Love the story. Would have chosen darkness too…I think.

  2. wildchild47 says:

    Niles looked down, asked about God.

    Death chuckled to himself, they all asked about God.

    OMG – I am sitting here thoroughly letting this piece soak into my brain Michael 😀

    Wow! What a great, fascinating and entirely creative way of responding to the writing prompt! thank you for sharing 🙂

    Oh those 2 lines, at the top of this reply – LOL – totally had me chuckling, the sense, the characters, the “moment” – you’ve set up this entire piece is such fine form and fashion, that when I arrived at this place, I was smiling a mile wide. And oh, the last line – sheer brilliance. Well, actually the last several lines are totally awesome. And ending worthy of a standing ovation!

    I love what you’ve done with this story – the way you’ve explored some of the concepts relating to the tarot card – and how, in your own unique and highly fun way, while still provoking thought, you’ve cast some light into this shadowy place.

    Wonderful characters and exchanges between them – and the idea of “limbo” being the waiting time for death to arrive because he’s running late? Hysterical! Love it!

    Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend Michael and the new week is dawning well and gorgeous for you 🙂

    • Michael says:

      Thank you Pat, I needed this prompt yesterday as times aren’t always roses as you know so a chance to play with the Gods was what I needed and I’m so glad I spend time years ago reading Terry Pratchett who introduced me to the most wonderful representation of Death.
      So pleased you had a good laugh as well, as I did in the writing.

      • wildchild47 says:

        well I’m glad that the prompt was able to allow you spend some time in releasing some of the energies …. and here’s hoping you are well …. and thinking of you and yours (hugs to you if you are open to them)

      • Michael says:

        ((Hugs)) are always welcome Pat….but you must expect them to be reciprocated…..its only polite after all…

      • wildchild47 says:

        LOL … hugs are always graciously accepted Michael 🙂

  3. Lyn says:

    Poor Niles, you have to feel sorry for him. It looks as though the darkness or wandering aimlessly through time are linked–I consider that double dipping on death’s part :/

  4. Pingback: Music Prompt #44:”Drink the Water” by Justin Cross | Morpethroad

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