Today's Story by James Hutchings

"I spent my life looking over my shoulder for you!"

Death and the Merchant

There was once a merchant of Aleppo who saw Death in the marketplace.

Trembling, he fled to Damascus. There he lived a long life, and at last died in his sleep.

“O Death,” the merchant said, “do you remember the time, many decades ago, when I saw you in the marketplace in Aleppo?”

“I may do. I see so many,” Death replied vaguely.

“By the laws of ironic comeuppance, I expected you to come for me here in Damascus, having an appointment with me.”

“The barber’s razor does not make appointments with each hair.”

“But, damn your eye sockets!” the merchant cried. “I spent my life looking over my shoulder for you, fearing you would come within the hour, and hoping you would never come, and all my hope and fear made not one whit of difference.”

“How, then, were you different to anyone else?” asked Death.


James Hutchings lives in Melbourne, Australia. He mostly writes fantasy and science fiction. His blog,, is updated daily.


To comment on this story, visit Fiction365’s Facebook page.