The Old Man on the Hilltop

The Old Man on the Hilltop

A Story by SaltyParabolas

"Where do we go when we die?"


An old man sat on a hilltop watching the sunrise. A child walked up to him on pudgy, wobbly legs. 

“Where do we go when we die?” The child asked, staring up at the old man.

“We go to where our family and friends have gone before us. We go alone and with many people.” The child was confused but knew better than to ask again and toddled away.
An adult trudged up the hill and asked the old man as the noon day sun floated above the heir heads. “What happens to us when we die?”

The old man replied “We become one with the universe dispersed in millions of tiny particles. We shine in heaven, burn in hell, enter the void, awaken in another body with no knowledge of our previous life.” The adult thanked the old man and asked no further questions, walking back down the hill.

An elderly man limped up the hill, cane in hand. He sat down heavily on a rock next to the old man, the gentle haze of the setting sun casting the two of them in a dull glow.

“Why must we die?” asked the elderly man.

“We must die to make room for those who come next. So that the child and the adult might have their time in the sun. We die so that our memories will live on in the hearts and minds of others. We die to make a point.  And yet there is no reason for us to die. It simply happens. With a bang, with a whimper, with a silent exhalation. That is why we must die.”

The elderly man paused, thinking. “Is it my time to die?”  he asked.

The old man looked at him and smiled. “No, not yet. When it is, you'll know. You’ll never see it coming.”

And the two watched as the sun set in the sky, as it had so many times before, and as it shall many times again, until it disappeared beyond the horizon, leaving them together in the darkness. 

© 2019 SaltyParabolas

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Added on July 28, 2019
Last Updated on July 31, 2019
Tags: death, short story



Raleigh, NC

22, Queer, lover of short stories, science fiction and fantasy. more..