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always the hours

'When death shakes'

Language > English
Type > Original fiction
Length > Short
Notes > 'When death shakes, there's no brakes'. Nothing seems to rattle us quite as much as death; the possibility, the thought of it, the confrontation with it. It is the one point we all live towards and yet, we tend to avoid thinking about it too much, call it 'morbid' and turn our heads away. There's no stopping or changing death; maybe that is what rattles us most of all. Nothing else on this earth is as definitive.

The line 'It is possible to die' is from Michael Cunningham's book The hours. The line 'When death shakes, there's no brakes' is from the 5591 song Mistakes, no brakes.


There’s no going back now. You’ve made your decisions and played your cards, and now you have to follow up on what you started. Ride out what you set in motion. You were dealt cards and you dealt with them. You did as you pleased and pleased as you lived. You made your choice and set out the route and as planned, you ended up here. Do you have doubts? Maybe, but none big enough. Regrets? Fears? Nothing is strong enough now to hold you back anymore.

So you soar.


A punch in the face. And then another in your gut. One moment you’re standing up straight, strong; scared perhaps, but determined. The next your world is pulled from under your feet, beaten down, scattered and shattered. The next you’re bending over clutching your sides; tumbling; fragmented; shaken. ‘She’s not going to make it.’ There is detachment in the voice, it’s just another routine, but not for you. You’ve stood by her side through it all. You faced it together and you were going to come out of it together. You were so certain.

You aren’t certain of anything anymore.


It is possible to die. You read the words and it shifts something. They’re only five simple words, four of them monosyllabic even, but you read them and something in your brain snaps. It is possible; it could happen any moment. You could die at any given moment, any given place, any given way. It wouldn’t take much more than a heart failure; a speeding car; a knife to your veins. The end of your life could be in anyone’s hands: God’s; a stranger’s; your own. You have never fully realized just how fragile living really is until you read those words, and it rattles you. You have never been so aware of the options, the possibilities.

You have never been more determined to live.
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