For Tomorrow We Die – Flash Fiction
For [Write On Wednesday] – Prompt: Use An Old Saying As A Title
For Tomorrow We Die
Caleb the Coffin Maker worked furiously through the night, every night for months. He assembled, carved, sanded and varnished coffin after coffin. His workshop was overcrowded with new coffins. He barely had room to construct new ones, but this did not stop his fury.
Three times a day, Caleb’s wife Mary came to the workshop to check on him. She hadn’t seen him for weeks and since he kept his door locked, she would just sit his food outside the door, knock and leave. Sometimes he retrieved the food, but most of the time it would still be there when she arrived with the next meal. She didn’t understand why he suddenly felt the need to make so many coffins. There hadn’t been a death in Lone Springs for decades. The life span was 95 since the Government eradicated diseases a century ago and well, folks just weren’t that old in their small town.
Occasionally when Mary arrived at the workshop, she could hear Caleb talking to someone. Most of the time it was just whispering, but every once in a while she would hear him shouting. Today was one of those days.
“I’ve made you a thousand coffins! How many more do I need to make?”
Mary leaned against the door with her ear pressed against the wood. She hoped to hear a response. Just who was her husband shouting at anyway? Silence. And then Caleb screamed out again.
“Death, death, death! It’s always about death with you! Tomorrow, tomorrow, and yet tomorrow comes without any deaths!”
Fear took a firm grip on Mary and she banged upon the door until her hands were numb and bleeding. “Caleb! Caleb! Please open the door!” Mary pleaded.
An eerie silence filled the air around her and Mary stepped away from the door. Her body shook and her heart raced. A black mist poured out from under the door and surrounded Mary’s body. She coughed over and over again as the air around her was sucked away. Then a sharp pain pierced her stomach. She bent over from the agony, such agony that she had never felt in all of her thirty years. Blood poured from every pore of her body.
“Caleb! Help me!” she cried out as she collapsed to the ground.
As she laid there bleeding and in pain, she watched the mist swirl away from her and move off like a low, fast moving black cloud throughout the town. And then came the screams as people filed out of their homes and businesses and into the streets. Mary closed her eyes and let out a deep breath.
Caleb finally opened his workshop door and stepped out. He saw his wife on the ground mere feet from him and ran to her. “You promised to spare her!” he screamed out as he reached down to take a pulse. She was dead.
Caleb ran through the streets littered with dead bodies. He followed the mist until it reached his own house. Inside were his children. His three beloved children. He hurried inside, but it was too late. They were already gone. Caleb collapsed to the floor and wept.
The mist swirled around Caleb.
“You said tomorrow! Tomorrow, not today!” Caleb screamed. “And my family! You promised me!”
The mist swirled like a tornado and picked Caleb up into the air. After a few moments, Caleb fell to the floor and the mist disappeared out an open window. Caleb crawled over to his son and cradled him. If he had known his wife and children would perish too, he would never have agreed to make the coffins.
In the days to come, Caleb carried each member of his family and the townspeople to the workshop and placed them into the coffins. He dug their graves and laid them all to rest. Finally, there was only one coffin left. He knew it was meant for him. In a way, he always knew. He curled up inside the coffin, closed his eyes, and took his last breath.
Word Length: 678