"The Death Warrant"
from The E.F. Benson Megapack
by E.F. Benson
After learning that he has an incurable disease, a man shares his musings on the approach of death.
I would not call this a short story-- and certainly not a "horror story"-- but I'm having difficulty deciding how it should be classified... In any case, it makes a startlingly abrupt change from the previous story in the collection, which was lighthearted and humorous, despite its war-time setting.
Maybe it's as much a reflection of my current mood as the quality of the writing, but reading these few pages brought some tears to my eyes (as I walked along on the treadmill!).
It feels very intimate, immediate, and honest-- much more powerful than the stilted language of Benson's "scientific paranormal" short stories. It's hard to believe they were written by the same person!
Some might think the style is a little Victorian-- slightly more florid than necessary-- but it touched me more than I had expected.