Death’s Artwork (Inspiration Monday VII)

Dr. Gloom is an ancient fellow. He looks like Moses probably did in the moment he smite the original set of Commandments into eternal dust upon coming down the mountainside to see his people in a party mood.
Always angry. Perpetually wincing.
He taps his teeth with the back of a pencil while seated in his practice room. Across his expansive table sits Death, an energetic young man with a grave look on his face. Most folks are rather surprised to learn death is a newcomer to the universe.
“You’ve lost weight since your last session,” the doctor announces.
“Um, yeah, I’ve been working real hard,” Death explains.
The doctor taps his teeth faster with the pencil. He eyeballs Death, waiting for more, but the lad has finished speaking.
“So how you been?”
Even though the doc tries to sound upbeat, he manages to make the question sound like a threat.
Death opens the book he brought with and slides a piece of paper from it across the table, face down.
Dr. Gloom stops tapping his teeth and raises an eyebrow.
“I started drawing,” Death says.
Dr. Gloom winces.
“It’s not very good, I know. But I wanted to share it with you.”
The doctor does not touch the paper. Instead, he tries an ominous smile, but it has been an age since his mouth moved in that way and so he winds up looking like he has been paralysed.
“Something the matter, Doctor Gloom?” Death asks, worried.
“As a matter of fact, yes. What on earth possessed you to draw a picture?”
As naïve as he is, Death knows the question is rhetorical. He stares at his shoes.
“I’m going to ignore this little episode,” the doc continues. “Write it off as a bad week. I see it all the time around here, you know?”
Doctor Gloom gets up from his seat and makes toward the door.
“Come with me,” he commands. “Let’s go to the pharmacy and get a little something for you.”

Dr. Gloom is hypnotized by the ceiling fan. He taps his teeth with the end of a pencil. The cell phone in his pocket beeps to signal the end of another day. He stands up and starts packing files from his desktop into his briefcase when he notices Death’s paper.
He stares, then reaches for it to crumple and throw it in the dustbin. Against his better sense and in a moment of weakness, he turns the page over to look at the drawing. He breaks into a cold sweat and curses Death.

—Please be sure to visit BeKindReWrite’s Inspiration Monday—


29 thoughts on “Death’s Artwork (Inspiration Monday VII)

  1. Pingback: Inspiration Monday VIII | bekindrewrite

  2. Pingback: Inspiration Monday VIII «

  3. Carl

    I love this one. I was wondering how Gloom was senior, but it had me spinning with the possibilities. I loved the ending – It feels perfect.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Hey Carl, that is a great question. And I’m not going to attempt to answer it, because I find the idea of spinning possibilities so much more satisfying, particularly if they reside in the reader with an imagination as active as yours.
      Thank you for taking time to read and comment here.

  4. romancingforthrills

    Love this piece – the great dramatic tension had me hooked from the start. The twist on Death, being a young man makes the scene really interesting. And as for the drawing – I really want to know what it was!

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thank you very much for taking time to read and comment on this piece. I really appreciate your visit. And I’m very glad you enjoyed the read.
      As for the drawing… see my comments above (up one and two commentaries).

  5. Mike

    You paint some great pictures with your words – old Dr. Gloom, “Always angry. Perpetually wincing” and then there is young Death, “newcomer to the universe”.
    Then to finish with the reader thinking, ‘What was on the paper that causes Dr. Gloom to break out into a cold sweat?’ …… this was brilliant.
    Great work.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thanks Mike. I surprised myself here too. Love it when the muse takes the wheel from me and then I grab the credit, lol.
      See above re the cause of Dr. Gloom’s sweat.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Lol you two. Okay, the rest is somewhere in your imaginations, but I will reveal that the subjects in the drawing were Dr. Gloom and Death, and it weren’t pretty.

  6. jeremythurston

    Hm.. I see a message here. The folly of man to think they can fix all their problems with half assed effort or medication. But death comes to us all eventually. The doctors dismissal of this reality was one of the causes of his undoing. That and his crude demeanor. Having a constant bad attitude is not good for you. I think that, even though this is a good story, the appointment is a metaphor for the fact that he’s not taking care of himself, as he “writes it off as a bad week”. “But you cannot write death off. Good on you scribbla.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Holy shit, Jeremy. You summed that up beautifully. You hit several metaphorical nails on the head here. I especially like: “But you cannot write death off.”
      Wish I’d thought of that!!! 😉

  7. Jinx

    totally love the take on the prompt! I’ve been thinking about a similar concept of death being put in personal levels and as a newcomer.

  8. Indigo Spider

    What a great take on the prompt! Ha! I love the idea of a young Death instead of the usual creepy ancient skeleton. Another favorite — the concept that artistic bent of any kind is frowned upon so give Death medication to curb that idea. Perfect, thanks!

  9. MyWordsWhisper

    What an interesting take on this prompt.

    “Across his expansive table sits Death, an energetic young man with a grave look on his face. Most folks are rather surprised to learn death is a newcomer to the universe.”
    Death, death, Doctor gloom….. and love the “a GRAVE look”….

    Your mind intrigues me!


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