nominative determinism

When I was a young teenager, we once talked about nominative determinism in English class. Mr. Death made us laugh uneasily and then we fell silent. It was the last lesson of the day and of the year. After the summer break the new teacher did not know where Mr. Death had gone.

Until the end

His shadow led him away from evening. Turning to catch the falling of the sun the path of his life was clear, scuffed through the grass of experience and forgotten lovers. He turned away again and closed his heart. Forward, always forward, until the end.


He was being chased. Through the dark woods he ran, nearly caught as he reached his front door. He leaped up the stairs and hid beneath the blankets.

He woke up, the dream still vivid, but kept his eyes tight shut.

In the silence he heard the door handle turn.

Written for Scottish Book Trust 50-word competition April 2022