It’s Tuesday night. My husband is working and I’m at home getting some editing done on The Day The World Burns. In a few weeks to a couple months, I’ll release my baby to the world for all to enjoy.

Can’t wait!!


I got some good news today. I applied at Channillo to write a series and publish each installment online and they accepted my application. It should be a good way to get my name out there and also bring in some new readers. My plan is to get the account and everything set up this weekend and hopefully have the first installment of my series out within the next week or so. I have a book I’ve been sitting on that would be perfect to break it down chapter by chapter for this occasion.

Let’s hope my year keeps going down this nice track!

Inspiration just hit my brain so hard, I had to hurry to finish the paperwork for my day job so I could write down my brain’s new baby before I forgot everything. I just spent the last half hour, typing on my phone, the notes for a new story. I can’t wait to get this one started!

A great day for writing!

What Happened After I Died?

Let me tell you about the day I died. Well, there isn’t much to tell really. I was stupid and young. Driving too fast and texting was more important than looking where I was going. Car accidents happen every day and people die every day.  I simply became part of that statistic.

The day I died isn’t as important as the day I came back. It was your typical Tuesday morning with snow falling from a cloudy sky. After an eternity of floating through a black void of empty space that was my afterlife, a flash of light devoured my eyes and sent a shockwave of torment ripping through my chest. That burst of energy kicked my heart into overdrive which triggered an effect on my brain activity that got me to open my eyes and stared into the buzzing annoyance of a fluorescent light in the ceiling.

Like I said; a typical Tuesday morning.

I woke up in an empty warehouse, strapped to a metal examination table in the middle of a rundown room. That fluorescent light was the only source of electricity in the entire three-story building. No heart monitors, no electrodes attached to my skin. Nothing. It was as if the people who wanted to bring me back, stopped caring if I ever would and took off.

I found clothes in a bag near the table with slip on shoes that were a size too big. I found my way out into the snow, clutching onto the false reality that I was trapped in some sort of heaven or hell. It took a bit for me to realize that the coldness of winter didn’t pierce my skin like it once had. I saw no fog from my breath or goose bumps cascading down my arms and spine. Something about my return to life erased my sense of hot and cold and that was more than fine with me. Sweating sucks and freezing is no cake walk either.

The first town I came to was filled with strange life and fancy new cars and technology I had never seen before. People passed me awkward glances and crossed the street to avoid the strange girl walking along the sidewalk. It wasn’t until I saw my reflection in a storefront window that I realized why they gave me such odd looks.

My hair was a complete disaster of tangled curls and dried blood. Purple bags stuck out against the pale skin of my face and deep veins throbbed on my neck. I leaned closer to the window and noticed a trail of dried blood at the corner of my mouth. I scrubbed it away with the sleeve of my hoodie and ran like hell to get away from the crowd.

Running only attracted more of the wrong attention. Someone called the police and sirens blared through that town like an ocean of madness ready to release a tidal wave of death in my direction.

But I still ran. I ran until the town was a mere shadow in the background of the world behind me. Until the snow stopped falling and I was completely alone in the middle of nowhere.

I ran for days, passing through cities and towns that gave me the same derisive looks. I met the same fate as police cars and governmental figures chased after me. And for what? Because I came back from the dead? Because I walked upright like a normal human being and could put on a damn good act to blend in?

No. They chase me for none of those reasons. They chase me because of what I became after I woke up. After I learned the truth about what happened to my body after I died and the insanity of experiments that brought me back.

You see, as much as I hate to admit this I am no longer a human. I can put on makeup to hide my pale skin and purple veins. I can put in contacts to deceive those around me that my eyes aren’t filled with a hunger drive so strong it could wipe out an entire city block within minutes. I can dress the part and act the part as a normal human being, but deep down inside my once beating heart, I know I’m not.

I’m nothing more than a savage beast, doomed to roam the world until the end of time. A constant hunger always burning in my mind and I can’t give in. I don’t want to give in to the creature I became after death or face the disgusting path my life is now headed down.

The government is after me. People want to kill me. I can blend in with a corpse like there’s no freaking tomorrow. I wish I could find the demented people who did this to me and turned me into a creature I prefer not to recognize, but there is no escaping this. There is no hiding the truth from myself or the rest of the world.

I am a zombie, but I’m trying not to be.

Flash Fiction: 47 Days

Day 1:

Hello, my name is Madison—or Maddie—Parker; age 23. I was asked to keep a digital log upon landing on our new home, Planet Unger; named for the woman who discovered it, Sheila Unger. I’ll send updates as often as I can about our new home to give you all insight on what life will be like here.

Our vessel, the Blue Titan, carried fifty passengers safely to the surface at 10 a.m. this morning. We set up tents and shelters, found a nearby water source with fresh, blue water that’s at the perfect temperature for drinking and getting cleaned up. The sky is a constant glow of red and orange. The air is fresh and warm; cleaner than the atmosphere of Earth before she collapsed.

So far, Unger appears to be the perfect new home for us. Without other life forms to get in our way, we’re free to do as we wish to this land and we plan to start first thing in the morning.

Day 4:

We’ve been busy the last few days and I didn’t have time to update the log. With the tools we brought on the ship, we managed to build an infirmary shack out of the native trees. They’re stronger and more durable than the once mighty oaks on Earth. We also began construction on an irrigation system that will bring water from the blue river to our little village. We will have that finished in two days, then we’ll begin building the housing units. The guy in charge of the village, Hank Testin, believes we can have an established society by the time the rest of humanity arrives in a year from now.

I’m pretty excited for all of you to see this place. The tall, skinny trees are beautiful shades of pink, red, and purple. The ground is soft and supple which is perfect for planting and growing food of our own. I can’t get over how refreshing the water is. It’s like bathing in a pool of heaven.

Maybe that’s where we landed; Heaven.


We hit a snag with the irrigation system the other day. Some type of underwater plant clogged the pipes and we had to start all over. That put a damper on other work and we barely got started on the first cabin.

On another, more horrible note, one of the harvesters stepped on a poisonous, black root and has been unconscious since last night. Kaleb’s not responsive and is barely breathing. Not sure if he’ll make it.

Day 10:

We had our first funeral at noon today. Kaleb succumbed to his wounds which left both of his legs black and swollen. The poison from the root spread through his bloodstream faster than the doctors could handle and they didn’t have the proper medicine to control it. I’m grateful to admit that Kaleb went peacefully in the middle of the night and we had a lovely ceremony for him near a ridge overlooking a vast canyon with yellow grass growing far below. I sang with the other women while the men buried him under three feet of burgundy dirt and multicolored rocks we gathered from the river.

I didn’t know Kaleb very well, but he was a funny man in his thirties. He always found a way to make people smile. It’s heartbreaking now that he’s gone.

Day 14:

I went with a small group to explore beyond the village yesterday. We found a cave system with odd colored stalagmites jutting from the ground. Also found a plethora of gorgeous crystals and gemstones we gathered to make jewelry. I can’t leave out the amazing, green berries growing in a field on the other side of the cave. They taste like every amazing flavor all rolled into a tiny ball of glorious deliciousness. Can’t wait for you all to try them!

Day 18:

Don’t try the green berries! I’ve been puking my guts out for the last four days. Haven’t been able to leave my tent or communicate with anyone outside.


Day 25:

Now that I’m no longer sick, I finally left my tent. We got the irrigation system up and running and no longer have to carry buckets to and from the river for drinking water. They also managed to get two cabins built for Hank and another member of his counsel. Two more are in the works and should be finished shortly. It’s wonderful how much progress we can get done when everyone pulls together and puts in the effort.

Day 29:

Something strange happened about an hour ago at midnight. Another moon rose; which makes four, white balls of light that make it difficult to sleep. It’s an odd sight to see when you’re used to only seeing one.

Day 32:

The fourth moon stays up at all hours of the day and night. I checked it out through a telescope to see it up close. The surface is dimpled with craters and trails cutting through the dust. It’s similar to Earth’s, only a bit smaller.

Day 35:

Three people went missing overnight. Not sure what happened to them. They didn’t take their belongings or bothered leaving a note. My neighbor was one of them and I checked over her tent for clues. It looked like she was dragged out in her sleep by something. Her blankets and pillows were in a pile by the tent flap and the grass was flattening for a few feet outside. The other two had the same, eerie features and now everyone’s afraid to sleep alone. Some even rigged their tents together to make a large, community sleeping tent with two guys keeping watch.

I’m taking my chances alone. I like my privacy.

Day 38:

There’s something living in the water. We thought this place was void of all life except plants, but we were wrong. A long, thin creature with five limbs and a very round head swims a few feet below the water’s surface. We believe it only comes out at night, but no one has seen it yet.

To add to the confusion, four others went missing in the middle of the night again—despite our watchful efforts. Hank’s been talking about relocating the village to a safer place that’s further away from the river. He sent a team of men in search of new land to call home.

Day 41:

We lost communication with the search team. One minute they were there, talking and describing the landscape. The next, we heard a low grumbling noise in the background and screaming immediately followed. What’s worse than that, we hear the same noise emanating from the river.

With this update, our original count of 50 souls is now down to 37. Make that 33; I forgot to count the few that took off after the last four went missing.

Day 44:

The growling from the river intensifies at night. It sounds like more of those creatures are moving to our location and will strike at any moment. Six more people are gone and the rest of us are starting to get our gear together to head out. Hank’s plan is to leave this place behind at first light and never look back. If we had more people, we could get back on the Blue Titan and head for the Mother Ship, but we need more people to handle the controls. Unfortunately, we’re stuck here on Unger, praying we make it another day.

Day 45:

Hanks dead! I’m sure of it. His tent was empty at dawn this morning with a trail of blood leading into the woods. Everyone’s freaking out and no one has a clue about what to do.

Day 47:

This will be my last post. I don’t have much time, but I needed to make time to send this out before it’s too late. There are only six of us left now. The rest are all dead or still missing. Those creatures pulled them into the woods and river to eat them while they screamed for their lives. They watch our village like hawks and take out anyone who tries to leave.

I know my time is up soon; I can hear the screams outside my tent and the growling is getting louder by the second. I just have to warn the rest of humanity to stay away from Unger. This planet is NOT our new home. You have to keep searching. You have to find a more viable…


By: Tahnee Fritz 2017

Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 25

Alissa waltzed over to Sam and stood directly in front of her. She stared into the girl’s eyes, glancing at the similarities between the two of them. They were the same height, had the same hair and skin color. They even had the same twitch in their upper lips whenever they got nervous.

Her eyes moved back and forth between Sam and Flint and she instantly knew why he was so attracted to the girl that looked so much like his lover. Alissa could even see why Darrick was so in love with Sam as well and her twisted mind came up with an idea to settle things for both of them.

She passed Sam a snide smile, then turned around and walked toward Darrick, then said, “You want me to let her go?”
“Yes, that’s all that I want.” Darrick replied.

Her smile grew wider as she spoke, “Then I have a proposition for you. I can see that you and my Flint want the same thing and I believe there is only one way to settle it.”

“What are you talking about?” Flint asked, pushing himself through the crowd to approach Alissa.

“You want that girl,” Alissa said to Flint, then motioned to Darrick, “he wants that girl, maybe the two of you should fight for her. If you win, my dear Flint, I will leave and you will never see me again. You can kill the boy all you want and take your prize.”

“And if I lose?” Flint asked.

“Then the boy shall have his love again and I get to watch him do the one thing I never could do to you. He will get to kill you and I will take your ship and let it sink to the deepest parts of the ocean with you and your crew tied to the mast.” Alissa spoke firmly.

Flint directed his attention to Sam for a short moment. He noticed that her gaze was more focused on Darrick than anything else. Her eyes beckoned for that boy to save her and she wanted nothing to do with the captain.

“Alissa,” Flint called out and she turned her eyes to him, “all I have to do is kill that boy and you will leave me with Sam and I will never have to see you again?”

She nodded, “That’s right.”

He smiled and turned his demented glare to Darrick and said, “Very well, bring me a sword.”

Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 19

Sam sat across from Flint, eyeing the small meal before her. He had the chef prepare toast and thin ham slices for their breakfast. Sarah and Rusty were starved and eating their food as though it was their last meal. Sam stared at the food and hadn’t touched a single morsel of it. Her mind was elsewhere.

She was thinking about Darrick, wondering what he was doing and where he was being kept. She worried about him getting hurt because of her and wanted to bring an end to it. She wanted to go home, wanted for all of them to go home. Living at sea with a pirate who saw her as someone he was very much in love with, was not something she had planned on. Although her predicament was exciting, she really missed the small town of Hardwood.

She used to hate the seagulls that perched on the railing of the balcony at her apartment. The smell of baked lobster from the restaurant down the street from where she worked used to drive her crazy. She found herself missing all the things she hated so much and would do anything to get it back.

“Are you alright darling?” Flint asked after taking a drink of his morning rum. “You’ve barely touched your food.”

Sam poked at the ham on her plate and said, “I’m fine.”

“You really should eat something. Your friends are enjoying their meal, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be doing the same.” Flint stated.

She glanced to Sarah who passed her a sympathetic grin. Rusty had a mouth full of food and was stabbing at more with his fork. Sam wasn’t in the mood to eat when all she wanted was to be back home with Darrick.

A clap of thunder rolled in the distance and Flint said, “There’s a storm coming soon. I don’t expect it to be a bad one, but I’ll have you three stay below deck just in case.”

“Okay.” Sam replied quietly.

Another clap of thunder resonated through the room and she was taken back to the night with the lightning. It lit up the sky over and over again until they wound up back in time with terrifying savages.

Sam looked up from her plate as her mind concocted a strange idea that maybe the lightning had something to do with their time travel. That all she had to do was wait for more lightning and all four of them could go home again. She felt her lips curling into a small smile and all she had to do was find a way to get to Darrick before the storm was over.

She opened her mouth to speak but was instantly interrupted by a sharp blasting sound that shook the entire ship.

The Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 18

Darrick was once again shoved into the old storage room with only Jonah for company. He leaned against one of the barrels of gun powder and listened to Jonah whistle a song he didn’t recognize. He tried tuning out the sound, but it seemed to only add a certain depressing soundtrack to the thoughts bubbling in his mind.

He saw the look on her face as she tiptoed across the deck, searching for him. She didn’t pay any attention to the pirates looming on deck or bother checking to make sure the captain wasn’t out that late. Darrick could tell by the look of determination on her face that she was only on deck to find him. He had no idea how their encounter would have went if Flint hadn’t gotten in the way. Things could have gone horribly for both of them, but he knew Sam was willing to take the risk.

The ship hit a rough tide and Darrick had to hold onto the barrel in order to keep his balance. The sound of the waves hitting against the sides of the ship were like thunder rolling in the clouds in the sky. He couldn’t wait to get off that ship and be back in his apartment in the crappy town he suddenly missed. He knew that as long as Sam was with him, he could tolerate even the worst parts of Hardwood.

“You sure are thinking a lot over there. Care to talk about it?” Jonah asked.

Darrick sighed and stepped away from the barrel, “We have to get out of here.”

“Like I don’t know that.” was the response.

“I mean, we really need to. If we don’t get off this ship before the captain kills me or strands me on some deserted island, Sam’s life will be in danger. I have to save her.” Darrick stated.

Jonah pushed himself up from the short stool he was seated upon and said, “How do you expect we do that? We are locked in a damn storage room where they keep gun powder and rum. Unless you think getting drunk off our asses will do the trick, we got nothing to work with.”

Darrick shook his head and ran his fingers through his tangled hair. He tried thinking of the dozens of pirate films he had seen in his life, hoping that one of them would grant him with some spark of a good idea.

Suddenly, he raised his head and marched across the room to Jonah, “We have everything we need to work with right here.” He put his hands on Jonah’s shoulders and shook him gently. “We can get out of this room and take charge of the ship in order to get off of it.”

Jonah raised an eyebrow out of confusion and said, “What the hell are you talking about?”

“The gun powder. All it takes is one spark and it could cause quite an explosion. If we do it just right, we can scare the shit out of the captain long enough to get my friends and get off this thing.” Darrick explained.

A smile crept its way across Jonah’s lips as he spoke, “Brilliant! I don’t know why I never thought of that.”

Darrick smiled as well and took a step back. He admired the barrels of gun powder stacked against the far wall of the room. He would have just one shot to make a stand and he had to make it count.

Beauty and the What?!

Installment # 26

“Tell me where it is so we can put it out of our misery, Sally.” Anson’s father demands.

She keeps her mouth shut and shakes her head in a refusal to answer. She doesn’t even know the whereabouts of the beast and she wouldn’t tell them if she did. It’s still strange to her, but she has feelings for that creature that are hard to explain and she’s not willing to let those feelings go.

“C’mon tell us where it is.” A man in a flannel shirt says, “I’m itching to kill the damn thing already.”

“You’re not going to kill anything.” A strange voice came from the opposite corner of the room.

Sally looks past Anson’s father and stares at the stranger in the room. He’s tall and pale, with dark hair that matches his eyes. His jeans are torn and aren’t long enough and his hands are shaking as he stands.

“Who the hell are you?” Anson asks, storming up to the stranger.

“My name is Shawn and you need to let her go.” he says.

Sally stares at his face, squinting her eyes hoping to recognize him. She’s seen those eyes before, stared into them and wondered about them. He’s different now, no longer the beast he was forced to hide inside. She pushes her way around Anson and his father, moving closer to the man she’s been waiting to see.

“Is it really you?” she asks.

He nods, “It’s me.”

She keeps her eyes on him, trying not to gawk at his bare chest and good looks. His hair is a tousled mess and he seems like he can barely stand on his own. She can’t hide the smile on her face as their eyes meet.

“I’m sorry, but who the hell is this guy?” Anson sounds annoyed and angry.

“He’s the beast.” Another, deeper voice catches their ears and Sally turns her attention to him.

The man in a flannel shirt is holding an old photograph of a younger Shawn with his mother. The facial features are the same as well as the hair and eyes. Something he can’t hide.

“See,” the man holds the photo up higher for everyone to see, “he’s older now, but this is him.”

Anson’s father glances from the picture, then back to Shawn, “I guess it was human after all. That doesn’t make up for all those people you hurt and the trouble you’ve caused over the last decade.”

A Sign of the End

I decided it was time to go through some of my old stories I have saved to my computer. I found this one which I wrote for my Creative Writing class in high school, I believe it was my junior year. Not surprised at how crazy my mind was back then when I came up with this little story. Anyways…hope you all enjoy!

Sign of the End

An evening just like every other evening with birds chirping their beautiful songs in the darkening sky. The sun was setting with rays of orange, red, and gold off in the horizon. Just a typical evening with no excitement to bother anyone in town. I couldn’t help but think of that evening while I sat alone in my hospital bed clinging to every last ounce of breath in my body.

That evening, I was walking down the street, headed to my house as the sky was growing heavy with darkness. The stars were beginning to shine through the sun’s fading rays and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Everyone was inside getting ready for bed and I was on my way home from a long day at work.

A dog crossed my path and sat down in front of me. Nothing special, just a mutt. A small brown and black spotted dog with long shaggy hair that nearly covered his eyes. He gave me a puzzled look and I returned the favor with a smile. He laid his ears back and yawned as though his whole life were a bore. Then out of nowhere he spoke to me clear as day. I remember the exact words the little dog said and I will never forget his voice. The deep voice that will forever haunt my dreams.

“Did you know that everything in your life is a complete and total lie?” he stated.

I raised an eyebrow, without acting too surprised, I replied with a question, “Why on Earth would you think that?”

“Well, if you were to live the life of a dog, especially one like myself, then you would understand why I think that.” was his reply.

A confused expression crossed my face and I continued my walk home. As I passed the dog, he stood up and walked by my side. I could not think of any reason why he would do that, but I did know that as long as he was friendly to me then he could follow me wherever I went. He stayed close to my side and did not say one word until we got to the front steps of my house.

“Wait.” he said as I was beginning to walk up the stairs.

I stopped and turned to look at his emotionless face with his eyes so full of loneliness, “I would very much like to speak with you more this evening.” he said. “There is much I need to tell in a very short amount of time.”

I shrugged my shoulders, “Come sit with me and I will listen to everything you wish to say.”

A smile crossed his face and his tongue fell out of his mouth in excitement. I sat down on the porch steps and watched as the shaggy dog sat on the concrete in front of me. I looked into his eyes and his age became clear to me. He’s an old man for a dog, at least fifteen years old.

“So, do all animals talk just like you?” I asked, breaking the silence.

He nodded his head with his ears flopping up and down, “We all do, just like you. You humans are just too busy to pay attention to what we have to say.”

I smiled and chuckled a bit then said, “Then why are you talking to me?”

The dog stood up and began to pace back and forth before me and I watched his every movement. I would guess that he was thinking of a smart enough response to my question. Or maybe I should already know the answer and he must be talking to me because I was the only person that would dare cross his path. Then, finally, he spoke and he spoke fast.

“Well, my friend, I have chosen you to share my life stories with for I am afraid I am nearing the end of my days. I had high hopes that you would one day stop and talk to me and take me home for your very own friend, but I fear that I have waited too long to approach you. You see, I have been watching you for some time now and I notice how much of a lonely man you are and I’ve always longed to be your one true friend. The one person you could tell everything to no matter what.”

Silence broke the air once more as I sifted through my mind for something wise to say. I never thought in all my life that a talking dog would want to be my friend and how could he ever know what kind of man I really was. I know I was not the world’s best person and that I would never get anything achieved for success in my life. But maybe this new friend of mine would be there to make that success happen and bring me a hint of good luck.

I finally said, “Well, I would be honored to have you as a friend and you can live here in my house with me for the rest of your long days.”

He sighed and lowered his head, “I am afraid that this could be my last day and I will venture into the unknown place of ‘doggy heaven’ as you humans like to call it. I would love to be your friend until that time comes and goes.” he said with half a smile.

I wondered how this kind of animal could ever know when his days are growing short or how he could know this would be his last day on Earth. But I ignored his comment of death and patted his soft head with my hand. This was our agreement that we would remain friends until he was no more. The dog licked my hand and took a long sniff of air in his cold, wet nose. I followed his move and could smell the sweet scent of an apple pie that was freshly made sitting on the window sill of the neighbor’s house.

“So, what kind of life stories are you planning on telling me, my friend?” I asked as I exhaled air from my nose.

The dog laughed louder than ever and his laughter echoed through the neighborhood and down the streets, “I have traveled far and wide to find you and now that I have, the only story I have to share with you is the one of your life and how it ties in with mine. Which is the only reason why I have come this far to find you.”

By this time I was so confused and had no idea what the dog was talking about, “How does your life tie with mine? I don’t think I understand what you are talking about little dog.”

The dog jumped on my lap and stared in my eyes and said, “Well, you and I are one and without you I would be of no existence and without me you are nothing. Which is why I had to come here and tell you that my days are soon coming to an unfortunate end. Us dogs cannot live as long as you humans and since you and I are tied in as one, your life too is coming to an end and soon we will be nothing.”

“But how can I stop this from happening. I don’t want my life to come to an end.” I said as I was beginning to believe the words this dog was telling me.

“You can’t. No one can stop death from happening. But we can warn those who are nearing an end.”

“And how do you know that I am nearing an end?” I asked.

His eyes were filled with so much agony and sorrow as he spoke, “Something terrible is coming your way. It will end my life much faster than it will yours. That is what’s wrong with you humans, always finding ways to cure the impossible. Maybe one day you will wise up and live the life you were given and go through all of the hardships that are put in place for you.”

He jumped off my lap and walked across the driveway with his small tail swinging back and forth. I watched as he strode carelessly into the street without checking for cars. Music was blaring out of someone’s truck as they sped down the middle of the road.

I stood quickly and shouted, “Look out!” but it was much too late.

I was frozen on the porch as the unmistakable thud echoed through the neighborhood. The truck didn’t even stop after the accident. My eyes were glued to the little dog. The way he lie motionless in the middle of the street was giving me a heavy heart. Then my hands went numb and cold tears came to my eyes. I felt a strange tingling feeling throughout my body. I thought at first it was the shock of watching an innocent animal die right in front of me. But I was wrong.

My heart was beating incredibly hard in my chest. My breathing soon became difficult. I carefully reached into my pocket and pulled out my small, black cell phone. My numb fingers slowly dialed 911. I attempted to put the phone against my ear but a sharp, stabbing pain went shooting up my spine. My legs grew weak and I fell face first onto the concrete. I could hear the faint sound of a woman’s voice on the phone. I groaned for help, praying I was loud enough for her to hear me. Luckily I was loud enough. I heard her voice telling me to hold on, that help was on the way. Unfortunately everything faded to black before that help came to me.

I awoke in this hospital bed a few moments ago. I have no recollection of what time or day it is. I could barely breathe and my heart felt like it was not beating. My eyes moved slowly and I could see all of the life support machines that were attached to my body. The little dog was right. We do try to prevent death when we should just let the inevitable take its course.