“Dying to Forget” by Sunni K. Brock
From The Devil’s Coattails edited by Jason Brock and William F. Nolan
Cycatrix Press, 2011
In which we meet a man named Tim as he is hopping from consciousness to consciousness, inhabiting the bodies of random people in their final moments of life. The guilty lover with a rope around his neck; the sword swallower with a fatal tickle in his nose; the blind man with a faulty heart…he’s there for all of them, experiencing death with them – or, perhaps, for them. No one wants to die, but Tim is able to push through the experience multiple times – until he looks in a mirror during one of his “stops” and sees a familiar face staring back at him. Suddenly, Tim is no longer interested in riding the wave to the next death. Suddenly, he decides to take matters, and fate, into his own hands.
“Dying to Forget” is a compact, economical sucker punch of a story with a touching and surprisingly poignant ending. No matter how you may feel about editors who include their own work, or the work of a relative or loved one, in something they produce (Sunni Brock is editor Jason Brock’s wife), there’s no doubt that this particular tale is a snug fit in this collection.