The Friendly Face of Death: Flash Fiction

I was walking across town the other day when I saw him standing in a field on the outskirts: an old man, skin turned swarthy by decades-long exposure to the sun, sharpening his scythe.

He turned and grinned a friendly, welcoming grin: he was waving to his neighbour across the road. Had it not been for the newly-sharpened scythe, he would have looked entirely harmless.

I remembered the song by Joan Osborne ‘What If God Was One Of Us.’ I’d always found the lyrics pretty silly, for if God were one of us then surely by definition he or she could not also be God? With Death it could be different. What if Death was one of us? Just a stranger on the bus, seeking companions to take home?

What if Death were one of us? Happily sharpening his scythe. He hadn’t smiled at me. The smile, I’m sure, had been intended for his neighbour. But maybe I could have been collateral damage? Had my card been marked by his seemingly unassuming smile?

All I know is this: stranger or no, whether friend or foe, one day he will surely show up to take me home.

I hope you enjoyed this flash fiction. For a factual article on the same subject, check out Postcards from Slovenia #16. If you would like to contribute your own flash fiction or short story to this blog, please contact me at

11 thoughts on “The Friendly Face of Death: Flash Fiction

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  1. great writing!

    I love that song and have written quite a few poems and fiction about death …
    it will come one day
    we never know the way!

    Nice to meet you 🙂

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