Posted in English 9

Death’s Race: A Reinterpretation of a Poe Passage


In the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart“, author Edgar Allan Poe narrates his story through the eyes of a madman, driven mad by the feeling of judgment from the eye of an old man. In my reinterpretation, I retell my story through the eyes of a character who is always watching. Death is personified, an arcane character who lurks “in the darkest shadows of the room feeding off of the old man’s fear” and tries to “beat Life to the eye”. My story’s point of view becomes third person limited, erasing the thoughts and actions of the madman from the picture and makes the crazed man seem as a good person, feeding Death another life.


He was eager for the man’s fate to be sealed. Another beautiful specimen would die, joining him in his dismal haven. Every night, skulking in the inky blackness of the old man’s bedroom, silently cheering on the madman. Seven nights had already passed, Life barely beating him to that d*mned spot. Even for the symbol of hope and aliveness, she couldn’t win the race every night…

Eight – a beautiful number; a sign of luck for some. Eight was his savior, bringing forth a night in which Life could not win. On the eighth night, he knew he had done it. Death heard the low groan of terror as he felt the fresh waves of fear pulse around him. Many a night, just at midnight when all the world slept, the sound had become a comforting echo. Every night he sat, lurked in the darkest shadows of the room feeding off of the old man’s fear. He loved this feeling, watching the story unfold, chuckling softly to himself as the old man whispered false suppositions to himself every night this past week.

He was well aware of the other foul presence staying carefully – oh so carefully – still in the old man’s room night after night: a dark shadow opening a door and sticking his head in, his manic eyes darting carefully around the room, searching for the old man’s eye. However, Death was always late, running from the gates of the Underworld to keep Life from closing the d**ned eye. Every night, every time the crazed madman came to fuel his anger by gazing upon the eye, that cursed “do-gooder” angel had already beat Death to the eye. He was late, always late. Life would close the eye preventing the madman from shining that beautiful exposing light upon the eye. He knew he had done it; waking up before the first soul could cross the gates of the Underworld to open the precious killer. He gleefully watched as the madman separated the old man, stuffing him into the floorboards, so cunningly, the human eye – not even his- could have detected anything wrong. Soon, Death would welcome the old man’s spirit and guide him down to join him, smirking as shame fell upon Life.

Finally, he opened the eye so the man could die. He won the race. He had beat Life; beat her to the eye, beat her to this man’s fate.

The Other Side of the Story (Life)