Author Duel!










Recently I participated in an Author Duel with a fellow member of BooksGoSocial. The way it works is, the dueling authors send one another a random picture and a short story or poem must be written about the picture. Here is my story titled, ‘Final Sunset’.

It was a fun challenge!

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I never really thought much about the sunset … until today. I lead a busy life and never make the time to stop and take in the wonder of nature. Not that it matters anymore. You see, this will be my last day alive.

I was exposed to a deadly virus at the hospital. There is no vaccine for it, no cure. I know this because I developed it. Well, I was part of the team of doctors who brought it into existence.

How could I have been so foolish? I am usually very careful. But on that particular day, I had a lot on my mind. Well, just one thing—or one person, really.

She was the love of my life. I laid her soul to rest last week, when cancer took her from me. We were married for nearly fifty years and did everything together … dancing, scuba diving, and even kayaking. That was Irene’s favorite thing to do, go kayaking.

We never had children, though I know she wanted them desperately. I always told her it wasn’t the right time. I was actually glad we didn’t end up with children, because losing a mother like the one Irene would have made, would have been devastating for a child.

In all my twenty years of living on this beach, I don’t think I’ve seen one other kayaker. Irene must have sent this person to let me know she’s ready for me to come join her. That’s what I’d like to think, anyway. Just a few more hours, sweetheart, and I will be there.

My senses are alive, though my flesh is dying. The ocean offers a warm, moist breeze across my face. The gulls are serenading me with a playful tune. This sunset is the most beautiful one I can remember ever viewing. I am regretting not sharing more picturesque moments like this with Irene before she passed. She would often beg me to come onto the back porch to watch it with her. I was always too busy with “groundbreaking research.”

Though onlookers would imagine I am just sitting here taking in another sunset, but I can feel the poison seeping into my veins and ambushing my bloodstream. I became a doctor to save lives, and to find a cure for cancer—particularly the kind that stole Irene. Funny, the one thing I developed in hopes of saving lives, is taking mine with a rapid force. But the bright side is my theory was right. The virus I created in my 10 x 12 lab is going to save many lives in the future. I left all of my notes and results of my experiments in my journal at the office for the rest of my team. It will be a bittersweet discovery for them. Finally, a cure for cancer was found. Sadly, it is too late for Irene to benefit from it, but millions more will get to spend their lives with those they love because of something I created.

The one glitch about this “miracle medicine”—if it comes into contact with air for more than thirty seconds, the unlucky person who is administering it or handling it at that moment, dies within twenty- four hours. I happened to be in a daze that afternoon, reminiscing about my sweet Irene, and lost track of time.

Was it worth it? To me—yes. I leave no other loved ones behind … no other family. Nothing undone. Irene was my only family, and now I go to meet her. My blood slows. My heart no longer beats the vibrant pace it once enjoyed. My eyes close.  A final sunset. I’m done.

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  • John W. Howell

    Wonderful going from sunset to final rest. Good job.

    • Traci Sanders

      Thanks, John! I think my duel partner beat me though:) LOL

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