Prompt: Write a short story (300 words or less) about a character who has a brush with death (you can interpret this as dramatically or humorously as you want).

I'd lived in Japan all my life. Though I was always looked at differently because of my half-Brazilian, half-Canadian heritage, I generally got along well with the people in my relatively small town. We would do everything that a normal teenager would.

Today, I find myself, a 16-year-old girl, waiting to give a speech to group of tired-looking teens who could probably care less about what I have to say. But, I care. Because just months earlier, everything I ever knew and loved had been destroyed.


My heart starts beating wildly as my mother's desperate yell rings loudly in my ears. How could I ever forget? That day, I'd been sitting on the swings, talking to my friends, when all of a sudden the ground started shaking. Frantically, I stood up and fell over several times. After the third time, I heard my name. And that's when I looked up to see what would probably haunt me for the rest of my life.

As if in slow motion, all the houses toppled to the ground, including mine. The last thing I saw was my mother's frantic face as the house came crashing down upon her.

I think I was running and screaming towards the house, but those memories are a bit harder to recall. I only remember my heart about to beat out of my chest as my world came crashing down, all over my family, my friends, and my life.


My eyes open suddenly. This time, someone is really calling me. I look up to see the hand waving me onto the stage.

It's time. It's time to tell everyone how quickly life can change. It's time to prove to them that their world isn't as stable as it seems. It's time for them to understand how important it is to cherish every waking moment.

Because the next thing you know, it's gone.