A Near Demise


Photo By, Bim Peacock

An ordinary day may become one’s last.

Death is a cold and mysterious figure.  One minute he is inches from seizing a soul, and the next he vanishes back to his shadowy home, leaving his victim winded and clinging to life.  Millions of people all throughout the world have sparred with death, and those that survive always bear the greatest stories.  They live among us as ordinary people— shopkeepers, lawyers, programmers alike.  Even North Forsyth’s very own teachers have brushed the cold hands of the reaper.  Yes, the straight laced, taken for granted educators have fascinating stories of their own.  Several of these teachers have volunteered to share their near death experiences for the sake of entertaining the readers.  For those reading this, keep in mind that not everyone survives a brush with death.


Mrs. Cahill was only a sophomore in college when she slipped through death’s fingers.  On her way to a softball tournament, flying from Atlanta, Georgia to Littlerock, Arkansas, a harsh sound ripped through the air, and her jet dropped several feet before continuing on its course.  The passengers jumped at the abrupt disruption, but the pilot’s voice assured them over the intercom that there was no issue to cause them harm.

Minutes passed as they rested and recovered from the startle, before the pilot spoke again; however, this time he carried grim news: an engine had given out in mid-flight, and without it, the plane risked plummeting to the ground.

The airline fell to an eerie silence as the news sunk in.  Even the flight personnel feared the end that seemed all too near.

“The flight attendant ran to the phone that connected to the cockpit and screamed, ‘I can’t die!  I have a baby at home!” Mrs. Cahill said.

In the dead of night, with the lights extinguished to conserve fuel, the only sound audible in the darkness came from the sobs of terrified mothers.  Suddenly from the gloom outside, a row of lights appeared.  They came closer to the source, until the runway lights burned clear in the night, like a beacon of hope shining through the darkness.  Fire trucks and emergency vehicles were spread across the ground, waiting to aid the crippled plane.

The jet descended to the ground quickly, and the tearful passengers wept with relief.  The horrific nightmare finally ended, and they kissed the ground for fear it should escape them again.


Señora Fernandez was born in a region of the world where the horrific terrorist stories of 9/11 came to life on a daily basis.  The Shining Path, a Peruvian terrorist group supporting communism, wreaked havoc in Peru throughout her life there.  Their ideas rotted the country from inside to out.  Kids were seen wandering about the streets, not even realizing that their “mentors” had strapped explosives to their chests.  Then all of a sudden, boom!  In the middle of a market place, the mobile bombs detonated, killing their bearer along with everyone within the vicinity.  “Because you all were born here, you do not understand how lucky you are until you see how the world truly is,” she claimed.

These terrorists nearly spelt death for Señora Thompson when she was only a few months from finishing her internship in medicine.  On her way from the ER to the lab, she decided to take a quicker route through a nearby parking lot.  She passed quietly, her surroundings seeming to be at peace.  Yet as she finally reached her destination, the two cars behind her exploded.

The massive force of the car bombs flung her through the air, shrapnel and debris ripping through her skin.  Her body slammed into the ground and her mind plummeted into darkness.

The paramedics began to work quickly.  Her wounds were easily healed because the shrapnel had only pierced her skin deep.  Even though her hearing was lost for over two weeks, she was just thankful to be alive.


Fire has long been a source of fear and destruction for the world, and this element nearly spelled out death for Mr. Basset.  One winter’s eve in 9th grade, as he slept soundly in his lifelong home, a strange smell tore him from his dreams.  Sitting upright in his bed, rubbing the grogginess from his eyes, he heard loud shouts and screams echoing around the house.  The last bit of sleep slipped from his body, and he jumped to the floor in alarm. Smoke billowed about the room, smothering his lungs and blinding his eyes.  Coughing out the black soot, he raised a pillowcase over his face as a gas mask and sprinted out the door.

The inside of his house was a nightmare.  The smoke alarms wailed through the night air as a mad crackle of flames raged overhead, threatening to fall from the ceiling at any moment.  The members of his family screamed in despair, dashed through the residence, and saved what little they could while rushing the children out to safety.

Dazed in the horror, it was not until his father shook him from his thoughts that he began to run for safety.  Down the stairs he fled, the need for survival pushing him faster than imaginable.  It was not until he passed the living room that he stopped.

The room, where he had spent his childhood in peace and comfort, was engulfed in flames.  The chairs and couch slowly turned to black, unrecognizable masses as the fire feasted upon its victims.

“There was a painting my uncle gifted to me that burned with everything else.  I never realized how much I could miss the simplest of things,” Mr. Basset said.

The family finally escaped the blazing torrent into the cold February air.  Police and fire trucks arrived just as the family ran out, but the aid arrived too late.  There, breathing in the bitter air, his pajamas smeared with ash, he watched helplessly as his childhood abode burned to the ground.


Never take the people in life for granted.  You never know which of them has almost been caught within death’s grasp, or who may soon be caught without a way out.  The wildest experiences can happen at any time, and an ordinary day can become one’s last.