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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > June 2016 > Open short story winner

Open short story winner

WHAT'S IT LIKE DYING?

Open short story competition

Winner

What’s it like, dying?’ I get that question a lot. At work, in bars, particularly when I meet someone new. I was even asked at a kid’s birthday party once. Kinda inappropriate if you ask me. But

I get it: the curiosity, the urge to know what happens, because we all have to go through it. Some of us more than once.

I died on a Friday. It was an otherwise pleasant day, apart from the whole death thing. One minute I’m at a client’s garden party sipping Champagne in a new summer frock, next minute I’m on the ground: acute myocardial infarction, apparently. Sounded like a polite way of saying I’d passed wind in public. Turns out it was a lot more serious than a breach of social etiquette.

I was 35 at the time. Four years ago. Way too young for heart trouble, though it seems the ‘people upstairs’ didn’t get that memo... or maybe they did. That was my first coherent thought when I woke up in hospital. Had fate finally caught up with me?

‘Why me?’ most people would ask, genuinely wondering what they’ve done to deserve a heart attack before they meet middle age. In my case, it wasn’t that difficult to answer. My slate wasn’t clean and I knew it, even through the haze of anaesthetic. I had an arm’s length list of things that would have put me in the warpath of fate... the Gods... karma – call it what you want.

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Handling heroes: Learn from the Bard New series: An insider's view of publishing Written your book? We'll help you sell it! How to: • Write better features • Sell and re-sell your writing overseas • Create a screenplay from your novel Pen pushers: Ideas and exercises to inspire your writing Star interview: Scandalous historian Halle Rubenhold WIN! A 6-day Arvon writer's retreat worth £600

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