“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” ~Benjamin Franklin
I read a book recently. I won’t reveal the title. But it seemed like an awful lot of people died. Just when one family finally got a handle on life and things were looking up for them, Wham! the father would get killed in a logging accident. For such a heavy-handed book it became, sad to say, almost laughable, a game to guess who would die next.
Why do I bring this up in an issue of Flash Fiction Online called “Death Comes to Flash Fiction?” Because that book changed my view of death in fiction. It made me scrutinize death and the purpose for it in everything I’ve read afterward. Which is what makes all three of this month’s stories remarkable. All passed the death test for me. I won’t tell you who dies or how. That’s for you to find out, but I think you’ll be satisfied all around.
First up is “Monoceros Ptolemy Cluster,” a tough as nails, brush-the-dust-from-your-ray-gun space western by author Steven W. Johnson.
Next, “Black Friday” by Brynn MacNab. When Uncle Joe comes home for a visit, Dad starts keeping a stake under his pillow. A heartfelt take on the Vampire trope.
Last up we offer “The Rules of the Game” by Alexandra Grunberg. Death plays chess with Yue year after year. If death wins, Yue dies. A deep and subtle story about the way we mortals tend to cling to mortality.
Suzanne W. Vincent
Flash Fiction Online
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