A second chance

A Second Chance by

Ethan felt the needle prick his arm then a warm, black blanket enveloped him.

 

The trees on either side let shafts of sunlight illuminate the narrow path that wound gently before him. Under his bare feet the grass was soft and bore the imprints of many who had passed this way.

 

The gentle breeze felt pleasant on his skin and the sweet scent of wildflowers calmed him. He breathed deeply as he took his first steps forward into the unknown.

 

Birds twittered as they flew amongst the branches and small creatures hopped and skittered in the dappled shade. The forest brimmed with life and Ethan felt himself

 

welcomed into its embrace.

 

Gradually the path narrowed and the overhanging branches began to block the sunlight. The birds quietened and fewer animals disturbed the stillness. The air felt heavy as if a storm might be building, and the ground had a cloying, muddy feel that made walking increasingly difficult.

 

The darkness deepened at each turn of the path. Ethan strained to see, but was drawn onwards by some strange compulsion.

 

Suddenly he became aware that the path ahead was blocked. A dense black shape filled the path. Ethan peered up at it and felt his pulse start to race and a cold shiver of fear. A cowled figure towered over him and a stray glint of light reflected off the metal object he was holding. It looked

 

sharp.

 

“Ethan.”

 

The voice was basso profundo, as dark as the robe. It seemed to reverberate inside Ethan’s head.

 

“It is your time.”

 

Few words but very much to the point. Ethan’s eyes were drawn to the blade.

 

“Why me? Why now?”

 

Death, the Grim Reaper or whatever name he might choose to go by, fumbled inside the folds of his garment and pulled out a rather battered laptop. Opening it up he turned so that Ethan could see the display. A flat line ran across the screen.

 

“Your heart has ceased to beat.”

 

Ethan’s laughter seemed to break a spell. The air felt fresher and patches of sun broke through the trees.

 

Death took an uncertain step back, trying to remain in the shadow. Although his face remained invisible, his stance somehow conveyed a sense of shock.

 

The laptop wobbled in his grasp but he continued to stare at it. A flat line.

 

“You are …”

 

The monitor gave a bleep then another. A second line appeared above the first. It wavered, then settled into a steady rhythm of peaks and troughs.

 

Death shook the laptop then snapped it closed. He rammed it back into his robe, and faded away into the darkness.

 

Ethan blinked. The light grew brighter and the sound of voices reached his ears. A surgical-gowned figure leant over him.

 

“The operation is over Ethan. Your new heart is working well. You should have a full life ahead of you.”

 

 


 

 

Kay Lesley Reeves is a retired UK ex-pat living in Spain. She is spending her time exploring her creative side through art, choral singing and writing poetry and prose. She has had several poems, two paintings and two stories published.

 

Photo taken by Amanda Miller

 

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1 thought on “A Second Chance”

  1. I wondered where this was going – a bit like the path! – but it ended really well. Clever. I love the idea that The Grim Reaper went off in a huff. My only (hopefully) constructive criticism would be you don’t need the speech at the end. Show us Ethan survived, rather than telling us. But that’s just my opinion! Counts for nowt!! Well done on a good bit of flash.

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