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Shuffling Off Our Mortal Coil

by Cub

So this another story I'm writing for the scholarship application. Please review and help me become a better writer!


My name is Eddy Mortmain, I’m ten years old, and I’m alive.

I’m listening to the Narnia books on audio. Mamma said they were good, and she’s right. Mamma’s always right. I like Edmund a lot, even if he was kind of a brat. I wish Peter had been nicer to him. Narnia sounds very nice, though. I really wish I could go.

Mamma’s in the hall. She’s talking in her serious voice with the nurse about me. She thinks I can’t hear her, but that isn’t true. I can hear her very well, even through the audio book. She’s asking the doctor how long I have left.

I don’t have very long. I can’t hear the doctor, but I can tell from the sound of a woman-sized thing collapsing to the floor that things aren’t looking good for me. I wish. . . Well, never mind. I’m lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, paralyzed. And even though I’m inside, there’s rain all over my face.

The tiled floors of St. James’ Hospital were jarring to Mrs. Mortmain’s bleary eyes. She stared down at them, wishing that the world would crumble with her son. But it didn’t. The world plodded on, apathetic beyond belief. Her hands trembled as she reached into her purse, rubbing her eyes with a tissue. She rose slowly, and entered Eddy’s room.

He was lying on his bed, face wet and pale. Her boy. Dust motes lightly rested on his eyelashes, faintly glowing in the dying sunlight from the window. His eyes were wide, trembling, and his mouth was trapped in a mute moan. Mrs. Mortmain stumbled over to him.


"I heard. I heard. Am I really going to--"

Mrs. Mortmain’s lips tightened, and she wished again that the world would cry with her. But the sun shone through the windowpanes, and the floor creaked under her feet.

"Yes. But you shouldn’t be scared. You’ll--it’ll--"

She cried. Eddy’s lips trembled into a weak smile.

"I’m alright, Mamma. Don’t cry. I’m fine."

He continued, voice wavering, eyes trembling, as she sobbed by his bedside.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m ten years old, and I’m alive.

Mamma’s been coming in a lot. She always starts crying, which makes me want to cry as well. I almost wish she wouldn’t come, but then again, it’s so boring to be stuck here watching the ceiling above me, and listening to audio books.

Or it was dull.

I’ve noticed a mystery over the past few days. Sometimes in the night, when I wake up, I see it. A flicker of gold on the edge of my vision. I try to turn my eyes, and I see golden curls disappearing out the door, heading down the corridor. I don’t know who it is, but he or she has been coming every night, and some days too.

I want to meet him or her. I want a friend.

Mrs. Mortmain got up early every day to see Eddy. It was hard, but she kept on seeing him. Just his face made her crumple into tears. As the days passed, she started to wonder if there was any point. He was dying. Why did he keep lingering on? Why was he staying here?

She kept going, though, because he was her boy. But his eyes were growing vacant with the days, and his skin was pale and loose around his fine-boned face. Her beautiful boy was dying, and there was nothing to be done about that.

And then one day, when she left the hospital, she bumped into a man outside. Her coffee splashed against the ground, and he apologized and bought her a new one. They talked in the Starbucks, talked about nice things.

And Mrs. Mortmain went out for dinner with him the next night.

And she slept in the next morning.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m ten years old, and I’m alive.

Mamma’s not coming as much anymore. But that’s alright. She always cries anyway, and I can’t comfort her.

I found out the answer to the mystery! The golden curls belonged to a lady. She’s a beautiful lady, tall and pretty, with a white fluttering gown and long curling hair. Her eyes are like sparkling violets. She comes from a different world, she says, and she’s going to be taking me to her world.

I’m happy. I can’t wait to go. She says her world is paradise, with all kinds of food and candy and cake. I was worried about not being able to walk around and see it, but she smiled at me. In her world, she says, I will be able to walk. I can’t wait to go.

My eleventh birthday is coming up, and Mamma says she’ll be there. That she won’t cry. It’ll be happy, just like in the old days.

Mrs. Mortmain planned Eddy’s birthday meticulously. She bought a splendid cake, called all of his friends from school, and bought decorations for his room. But then his friends called back.

None of them could come.

Mrs. Mortmain punched the wall, and cursed those friends, all twenty-six of them. Then she bought Eddy more audio books, and resolved not to cry. She called Arthur, the coffee man. They had begun to spend more and more time together. And then, just as he began to pick up, she hung up the phone.

He had mentioned not liking kids. But he called her back, asking if she wanted to go out for dinner, now at a fresh and better restaurant.

And at the restaurant, he proposed.

And Mrs. Mortmain said yes.

My name is Eddy. I’m ten years old, and I’m alive.

My birthday’s tomorrow. Mamma didn’t cry this time when she was in my room, which was good. But I’m not really paying attention to her anymore. I wait in my room for the Golden Lady to come these days. She comes and sings to me about what I’ll do when I go with her. She says I can go whenever I want.

But I can never return.

I keep thinking, these days, about running around outside. I feel the wind on my face, and the dirt on my jeans from when I played soccer with my friends. I close my eyes, and feel the warm fabric of my sofa when I curled up against it. But then I open my eyes, and hear only the beeping of machines.

Mrs. Mortmain told Arthur about Eddy the night before Eddy’s birthday. Arthur’s face saddened, and he smiled at her. He asked if it would be alright if he could come to the party. And she smiled and said yes. They drank soft gulps of beer at a nice restaurant, and then he drove her home.

She closed her eyes and fell asleep on her bed.

She got the call in the middle of the night.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m ten years old, almost eleven, and I’m alive.

The Golden Lady says I have to come with her now. She says it’s the end. I don’t have a choice. She’s holding her hand out.

The grownups are around me now, bustling about, alarmed. But they don’t see the Golden Lady. The machines are beeping crazily. My body hurts a lot. But my mind rises high. I look down and watch it all, and look at the hand of the Golden Lady.

"He’s going, Mrs. Mortmain. He’s going fast."

She rushed to the bed, eyes wide, hands gripping the mattress. Eddy was writhing, eyes rolling up in his head.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m ten years old, and I’m alive.

"Take my hand, Eddy," says the Golden Lady.

"Take my hand."

"Stay with me, Eddy! Please! Stay with me!"

Mrs. Mortmain’s face was tense with terror, eyes wide.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m ten years old, soon eleven, and I’m alive.

She’s holding out her hand, but I look down and I see Mamma. Mamma isn’t crying. She’s trying not to, because she knows I hate it. Her face is red from the effort. And she’s worried. So, so worried. Her hands are twisted around my bed sheets, knuckles white.

I look at the Golden Lady.

I don’t know if I want to go.

Eddy was staring at Mrs. Mortmain, staring at her for a second. His eyes let out a single silvery tear.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m almost eleven years old, and I’m alive.

I tell the Golden Lady that I don’t want to go, and she looks almost sad.

"No one does, Eddy. No one does."

But then she looks up at me, and I wonder how I ever thought her pretty. Her face is terrible, shining white and cold, eyes blazing with terrible intent. Her hand stretches out, claws latching around my wrist. She’s pulling me forward.

I’m scared.

I’m scared!


Mrs. Mortmain watched Eddy let out a long breath, before the machines stopped beeping, and his convulsions ceased.

My name is Eddy Mortmain. I’m ten years old.

And I will never be eleven.

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23 Reviews

Points: 271
Reviews: 23

Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:45 pm
PeijiRestoration wrote a review...

Wow, this is good! The shifts between Eddy's thoughts and his mother's life were executed very well. In the beginning, the shifts were just interesting, but at the end, when the shifts became more and more rapid, it was incredible, and really contributed to the feeling of panic at the end. The repetition of Eddy introducing himself, and the introduction slightly changing was also well executed. Another highlight was the Golden Lady. The fact that Eddy wanted to go to a place like Narnia, and then was introduced to someone who would take him to another world was a great tie-in. The fact that the woman was at first beautiful, but then horrifying was a wonderful way to illustrate Eddy's view of passing on. Overall, I adore this! Keep writing!

User avatar
351 Reviews

Points: 11482
Reviews: 351

Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:54 am
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Kanome wrote a review...

Hey there, Kanome here with a review in honor in Review Day.
I don’t, I just, I thought this was going to end happily, but nooooo, I’m sad that he had to go away.
He seemed so happy about dying because he was going to go to a better place, but in the end, he was scared of leaving.
This story really got me, so hopefully, it will get others who read this too.
It ended with such a twist, I did not see it coming. You sure know how to mess with people’s emotions xD
Still, amazing read and I can’t wait to read more of your work. Keep up the great work. Keep writing and have a great day.
P.S: You should submit this, this would make a great scholarship entry.

Cub says...

Thanks for the review, and have a great day as well!

User avatar
15 Reviews

Points: 36
Reviews: 15

Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:00 am
Cub says...

Please review, fellow writers!

User avatar
15 Reviews

Points: 36
Reviews: 15

Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:00 am
Cub says...

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
— Winston Churchill