Dealing with DeathA Story by thewritingbanana
A man in a fatal collision finds himself making a very difficult choice
Tom Swanson was driving his sporty, red corvette on a warm July afternoon. Seated to his right, in the ever-desired front seat, was his seven-year-old daughter Casey. Casey was an average girl; she loved dolls, tea parties, and a stuffed bear called Milwaukee. Tom was excited to watch Casey grow up, he didn’t want it to happen immediately, but he was excited to watch her live life and enjoy it. Today she was a little girl with her daddy, but soon she could be going out for cheerleading, learning to drive, going on her first date, or to prom; Tom loved Casey and wanted the best for her.
Without warning, there was a loud screech. A huge truck barnstormed into the coming intersection on a collision course with Tom’s car. He had no time to react. The semi was closing in; Tom had to make a decision or he and Casey would be killed. Tom’s arms clenched to turn the wheel when suddenly, everything stopped. The semi had stopped moving, his car had stopped, the passers by in the streets, and sounds and lights outside were frozen in time. Casey was still, and his car seemed okay, the only irregularity was a well-dressed man in a dark suit who was seated in the back.
“Do you know who I am?” The man asked with a calm, smooth voice.
“I’m not sure what’s happening here,” Tom said, “but given the circumstances, I’m guessing you’re pretty important.”
“I like you Mr. Swanson,” The stranger said smiling, “so I’m going to give you a choice. First though, I suppose I should introduce myself; I am Death.”
Tom looked at the man, he didn’t appear to be kidding, not to mention he had apparently stopped time, and, judging by his surroundings, Tom was about to die. “What’s the choice?” He asked, wondering what choice Death possibly could offer him.
“The choice, Mr. Swanson, is between your life, or your daughter’s. My notes say this is to be a fatal collision. One of you must come with me.” Tom was floored. Death was asking him to choose between his own life and the life of one of his children. Of course his first instinct was to protect his daughter, but Death played the Devil’s Advocate. “Remember the consequences each person’s death will have for your family. Don’t make a hasty decision.”
Tom knew he would be crushed if Casey died, that was to say nothing of how his wife would feel, or his other children. Tom knew they would all miss Casey, but he also considered the advice of Death, and thought about the effects his own end would have on his family. His wife Sandy, a homemaker, would have to find work to support four daughters, and they would surely lose the house without his income. His girls would grow up fatherless and his wife would work hard just to scrape together a living for the family. He would not be able to put his girls through college, so they would have to work to pay back loans, or, Tom’s biggest fear, not attend school; Tom understood the importance of an education for women, even if his own wife had passed on school to stay home and raise a family.
He thought about his wife, and their life together, and their dreams and hopes. He thought about his girls, and how much they would suffer. ‘Think about your entire family’ Death whispered to him. Tom felt terrible, the worst he’d felt his entire life, but still he prepared himself to take the advice of Death. “Can I hug her one more time?” He asked Death softly.
“Yes, I believe we have time for that.” Death said checking his watch.
Tom looked at his daughter, and pictured her growing up, going to dances, bringing boys home, getting married, and one day having a daughter of her own. He found himself in conflict. He loved all of his children, and never wanted them to suffer, but he couldn’t sacrifice one to protect the others; they each deserved a chance at life.
“She won’t be injured in the crash?” Tom asked Death hopefully.
“That’s quite a request at this speed Mr. Swanson,” Death replied, “with the momentum of the truck, and your car, well, I’m afraid it’s difficult.”
Tom sunk in his chair, he wasn’t afraid of his own demise, but his family would suffer enough because of the crash, he didn’t want Casey hurt.
“But,” Death said slowly, “I do very much like you Mr. Swanson. I suppose I can make that promise. Your daughter shall emerge from the carnage unscathed. You, on the other hand, will not. I suggest you pray to whichever deity it is you subscribe to; we are on a tight schedule.”
And so Tom prayed. He asked for forgiveness, for his family to know that he loved them, and for his girls to grow up as well as they could without him, even if it meant another man would have to step in and be a new father figure in his absence. Tom cried a few sorrowful tears before he said his goodbye, then he kissed Casey on the cheek before turning to Death and quietly mouthing, “I’m ready.”
“Excellent”, Death smiled, “We’ll take my car.” Death snapped his fingers and Tom found himself in the driver’s seat of the most beautiful black corvette he had ever seen; Death was beside him. Tom saw his own red corvette and his body, and little Casey, smash into the semi at full speed, and cringed, but when he looked back he saw a man pulling her from the wreckage, and later, her mother holding her close. He knew he’d made the right decision.
“Are you ready to drive on?” Death asked.
“I get to drive?” Tom wondered aloud, feeling an odd excitement in spite of what transpired.“Oh, I never drive, Mr. Swanson.” Death said, “I’m required to take you, but not to decide how you go.”
© 2012 thewritingbanana
Added on May 14, 2012
Last Updated on May 16, 2012
AboutI like to write and read all kinds of different work. I do review stuff everyday, but usually it's just random. However, if you review something of mine, I'll review yours. more..
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