the big scary inevitability

the big scary inevitability

A Story by TopHatGirl

In the definition of miracle, it defines the impossible. But children believe that dying itself is impossible.



   Your mother is crying. That’s what you think over and over again in your mind. You never see your parents cry, because they are adults.

   Your name is Arthur Niels, and you are ten years old. Ten whole years. That’s a decade. The hospital bed you’ve been lying in for the past eight days is starting to get a little constricting. The doctors are tall and terrifying, they keep mumbling like you aren’t there. You ask many, many questions but no one wants to answer you. It’s very frustrating.

Your father holds your hand and calls you champ. He says that the doctors are going to do a little surgery on you. It shouldn’t hurt. You’ll be fine.

   You find yourself shaking as they are rolling you into the surgery room. Skin goes pale and your breathing quickens. A nurse gives a reassuring smile, and again repeats that you will be fine. You will be fine, right?

   A funny little mask is placed over your mouth, and the doctor starts to count back from ten. Then you dive under.

   The next thing you know is that you are standing in the hallways of the hospital, still in the operation gown. Everything seems to be very bright. The walls are a pale grey and even the children’s drawings tacked to the boards seem to be sad and desolate.

   “Hello?” Your voice is weak and shaking. Fear runs through your veins. You don’t feel…there. You don’t feel like you are in your body. Adults would call this an ‘out of body experience’. They would dismiss this feeling as something normal. Write a quick note in some file and then throw it away. You don’t do this. This experience is more like big lettering at the very front of your brain, refusing to scrub away.

   A man approaches you, appearing from seemingly out of nowhere. He is towering, but not terrifying. He has the look of a thirty-year old but the expression of one much older. The man wears a clean business suit with a bright red tie, contrasting against the greyscale coloring of the rest of the hallway. He smiles as your light brown hair and lion’s eyes. He sees you as a little boy who has been sick a very long time, and has spent much of his days staring out the window at healthier children playing right on his lawn.

   This man shakes your hand.

   “My name is Death.”

   “Hi. I’m Arthur,” you reply with a sturdy gaze in an attempt to seem strong.

    Death only bends down so he is at your level. “Hello, Arthur. How old are you?”

   “I’m ten. Eleven in October.”

    Death has seen many children just like you pass by, so there is no shock when you say this. You don’t know this, of course. “Do you know why you’re here, meeting with me?”

You shake your head.

   “You just died, Arthur. Your heart has stopped.”

   Your mind tries to wrap around this. How? Death only happens to old people. You’re only ten. You’re not old at all.


   “Nu-uh,” you protest, despite the lump in your throat.

   “Yes, you are. And you need to accept this.” He places a hand on your shoulder, and makes firm eye contact with you. You notice that his eyes are a dark red, like warm cherries. “Because if you don’t want to move on to whatever world is next, you will be trapped in where we are forever.” He gestured to the hallways, silent and consuming. “This is called Purgatory. Think of it as the hallway in between two rooms. In one room, there is your life. Everything you’ve done up until now.”

    “Then what’s the other room?” You ask, even though you weren’t quite sure if you wanted to know. “Is that Heaven?” Your family wasn’t a church-going family, but you knew enough from what kids would say at school.

   “No one quite knows until they try,” Death says, giving a playful shrug. “It’s up for you to find out.”

   Tears prick at the corner of your eyes. “I don’t want to.”

   “I thought you might say that,” Death says, before holding up a finger. “That’s why I have this to offer to you.” From his pocket, he pulls out a cloth badge. Like the kind you used to receive in the Boy Scouts, back when you were healthy. Sewn onto it was a shield and sword, interlacing. In black stitching, the word ‘BRAVERY’ is laced across the front. You reach for it, but Death pulls his hand back.

   “Now, this is where the challenge is,” Death continues. “You can receive this badge, and show it off, but you have to walk to that other room first. Only the bravest of little boys can get this.”

   Your lower lip quivers, and you make eye-contact with Death again. “Will it hurt?”

   He laughs softly. “No, it won’t. I can promise you that.”

   You nod sternly, and steel up every nerve in your small, frail body. Death stands up, and offers his hand. You take it, giving it a firm grip.

   He takes a step, and you follow.

   But the process is cut off, and you can’t take another step. Death smiles, and you think he says a quick ‘oh, I suppose you have other plans’ before a great light spills from the floor. It envelopes you, and overwhelms you completely.

   Then, a sort of miracle happens.

Your eyes open, and your vision becomes clear.

   You are lying in a hospital bed, with your parents and a few doctors surrounding you.

   “He’s awake, vitals stabilizing,” a nurse says, staring at a monitor and writing something down.

   Your mother gives you a large smile, and throws her arms around you. “Oh, Arthur, my baby, I thought I had lost you.”

   “I’m fine,” you said, your tongue heavy.

   “Your heart stopped in the middle of the surgery, son,” Your father said. Your mother elbowed him, making him hush.

You were alive, and you were fine.

   And throughout the rest of your life, which was nice and long, you thought you caught glimpses of the universe. Maybe when passing by a burning building you’d see a man in a suit walk inside, or near a retirement home you’d catch a glimpse of a red tie. It doesn’t matter if it was real or not. It was humbling.

   When you finally did die, you greeted Death as an old friend.

   “I have something for you,” he said, pulling a small object out of his suit. Placing it in your wrinkly hands, you saw that it was the bravery badge.

   You tucked it away, ready to face anything.

   Even the inevitable.

© 2013 TopHatGirl

Author's Note

since i haven't been on in a while i'm just throwing up a bunch of stories onto this site that i've written in the past few months

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Added on October 4, 2013
Last Updated on October 4, 2013



[Redacted], NV

Hi, I'm TopHatGirl! If you're here about my character lessons or to get some advice, email me instead of messaging at [email protected]. This is because I don't go on this site as much anym.. more..

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