Friday, 3 September 2010

J.M. Prescott's 'I Dare You' Challenge

Rising to the challenge by Paul Phillips, guest 'editor' on J.M. Prescott's Weekly Dare, I submitted a piece entitled 'RECALL'.

The remit was to use the term 'passage' in whatever connotation that took our fancy, be it a 'passage' of time, or a physical 'passage' as in thoroughfare, etc.

Herewith, my entry (which actually is a prologue to a bigger work, but that's another tale!)


He knew he was a dead man.

He knew, because the intense pressure and pain in his chest had ceased.

He knew, because the noise of people and machines around him had gone and he heard – nothing. Not even the steady pulse you hear when you jam your fingers in your ears; the sound made by your heart pumping blood around your body.

He knew he was dead because his body didn’t feel cumbersome and heavy and uncomfortable any more. In fact he felt weightless, as though he was floating.

But he was puzzled.

He remembered he'd read accounts of people dying and being led towards a bright light. There was no light as far as he could see, but he did have a sensation of moving along a passageway. He could see a series of what looked like half-open doors moving into his field of vision. In fact, he wasn’t sure if the doors were moving or he was.

Whatever; just as he drew level with each one it closed and he moved on to the next, and the next, each one closing as he reached it. Finally, there was just one left; straight ahead.

He was torn between wanting to know what was behind the last door and yet there was the urge to turn back, almost sensing that he’d forgotten something; like when you run to the top of the stairs with a purpose and then when you get there you have no idea what you planned to do when you got there.

He turned his head, or what he assumed was his head because at this point he had no sensation of having a body at all. As he tried to look back he felt a searing pain. It was unfamiliar. It hit him almost as if he’d never, ever, experienced the concept of pain before. Going from a state of feeling absolutely nothing this was shockingly raw, crude, gut wrenching pain. A pain that seemed to arc out from his chest, pulsing down the insides of his arms, speeding to the tips of his fingers.


And a third time.

After the fourth, he’d felt like his body had been slammed onto a concrete floor and he could hear a cacophony of noises and voices and sensed a flurry of activity.

“He’s back! I’ve got a pulse!”

He heard the words, somewhere above him, like the melody line over the accompanying chorus of mixed voices calling out stats and codes. After the previous, almost peaceful, silence this was bedlam but no matter how much he tried he couldn’t summon command of his muscles to even flicker open an eye.

He felt trapped and immobile and there was an intense sensation of pain and pressure all over his body but the relentless pulsing rhythm in his chest told him one thing - that he was back in the real world and that he’d left death behind.

Yes, he was back.

But, given this new unadulterated agony, there'd better be a damn good reason why!


  1. Well done, Sue. I'm glad you chose to accept the dare and then post it here. Cheers.

  2. The message is clear: when you're dead, stay dead!

  3. Nice one, Sue. Why is he back? I see a follow-up on the horizon. :-)

  4. Thanks, folks! Was dead chuffed to have an Honourable mention! :-)

    David - you're right, there's more to the story..... about 45K words so far!

  5. Really liked this Sue. There better be a good reason indeed.