Monday Night, I got a text from my sister Erin. She had been saying
aloud to herself, "I have an appointment in Samarra." without really knowing the origin of the expression or what it meant. So, I explained to her that it was an inside joke between our mother Hope, and brothers, Brian & Joe.
Later that night, a hall door is left open, and she falls down fourteen steps. Her husband, Randy, jumps out of bed and races down the stairs only to find Erin at the bottom, head twisted, not making a sound, not even breathing! He thinks she must be dead, but employs artificial respiration anyway for a total of five minutes. The looks on her face, and the rest of the telltale signs point to a no return. Finally, after all his effort, Erin says, "I'm Ok".
She isn't really ok but after six hours in emergency with two broken vertebrae, bruises, etc., she is back home again with more than one eerie feeling...
"A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant's horse, he flees at top speed to Samarra, a distance of about 75 miles , where he believes Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, "That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra." W. Somerset Maugham retelling of an old story that he reused as an epigram.