Death Has Some Fun
This time, the challenge was to write about Halloween. Not from the point of view of kids, or students in a pub, but use that of pensioners. I missed the Friday deadline by a few days, but did get done. It's a cute story, I think. 998 words.
Death Has Some Fun
Tim wasn't ready to cancel Halloween. Frank Johnson was, as head of their retirement community board of directors. It was a kids-free, gated community, and he announced this year that the gates would remain closed to "all those rowdy trick-or-treating kids".
Tim folded his arms and glared, "Fine then, my friends and I will dress up and go door to door."
Easier said than done, as not that many of his neighbours were interested in dressing up. They did promise candy at the door, though. Finally he persuaded two friends, Vince and Dylan, and a new guy, Danny, to dress up and meet in front of his house by 6pm, on the 31st.
It was a quiet clear evening, with the crisp air full of the smell of autumn leaves. Vince was dressed as a pirate, compete with black coat, fake sword, three-corner hat and a peg leg in place of his own artificial leg. Dylan, who was both tall and wide, had simply hidden his dark skin under a white sheet, queen bed size. He was a very large ghost.
"Thanks for doing this guys, well done," said Tim.
"Well, you made a brave choice," said Dylan. ″An older Superman. Stretchy yoga pants, a too-tight t-shirt, boots, and a cape. You′ll need that to cover your fat ass.″
″At least yours is under that bedsheet,″ said Vince. ″Did the new guy chicken out?″
″Danny? Nope, here he come now,″ said Tim. ″Dressed as Death. An unusual move, given our crowd. We better keep him back a bit.″
Danny walked up slowly. ″HELLO, MY NAME–sorry, too much—Hello, my name is Danny. I am here for the trick and treat.″ His tall slim body was draped in a robe black as coal. The hood covered his head and some of his face, or rather some of his plastic skull mask. One white gloved hand grasped a tall scythe, fashioned from a hockey stick and aluminum foil. He extended the other to Vince. ″Nice to meet you, Vince.″
″Likewise Danny. Wow, nice bony grip you have there. Nothing like Dylan's fat paws.″
Tim smiled. ″Glad you could make it Danny. And don′t try to force that scary voice, sounds like you could hurt yourself.″
Vince waved his crutch. ″Come on, let′s get hopping. Get it? I brought loot bags for us all. And stuff for pranks.″
″There will be pranks?″ said Danny.
″You bet,″ said Dylan. ″But, candy first.″
Their costumes, even Danny′s, were a hit. They soon had filled their bags with candy, and their stomachs with wine and beer from generous neighbours.
Their last stop was at Frank Johnson′s place. Tim held up a hand as they approached the front walk.
″Okay, pranks now. First, the toilet paper.″ He threw a roll at the house, barely reaching the edge of the roof. ″Damn, not nearly high enough.″
″Higher is better?″ said Danny. ″Here, let me try, I have a longer arm.″ His roll went right over the roof, trailing a white streamer behind it. So did the next five. ″Hey, this is fun.″
″Way to go, man,″ said Vince. ″Now, I′ll sneak up and soap some windows. Then I ring the doorbell and we all head for that clump of bushes down the street. Hopefully we can get there before Johnson comes out.″
″Why don′t you let me ring the doorbell and run,″ said Danny. ″I can move pretty fast. You guys do the windows then go hide.″
The three friends huddled in the bushes and watched as Danny rang the bell and then sprinted back to them.
Dylan slapped him on the back with his big hand. ″Wow, you are fast. And look at Johnson, he is pissed. He′ll give himself a heart attack.″
″Not quite yet,″ said Danny.
Vince glanced up at his face and saw that Dylan′s slap had knocked the mask loose. Enough so that he could see a real skull, with eyes that were black pits of darkness.
Danny readjusted the mask, and brought a thin finger to his lips. ″Shhh″. The others were too busy laughing at Johnson to notice.
"So much for his hope for a quite Halloween," said Vince. He high-fived Dylan.
"Awesome," said Tim. "It's getting late, what say we call it a night. I'm heading back to Danny′s place."
When he got there he noticed that the door was slightly open. He peeked inside and called, but he knew what he′d find. Danny was slumped lifeless in an armchair, his face pale, but with a slight smile.
″Was it quick?″
“Only a few minutes,” said Death. “And painless. He actually laughed when I showed up. He was getting his costume together and looking forward to the night, and new friends. But he was pleased when I seemed intrigued by the whole idea, and then volunteered to take his place.” Death took off the mask and gloves. ″The robe is mine. I left my own scythe behind. It's too sharp to be near mortals, as it has to snip that thread that binds your soul. But, I did have a good time. Many thanks to you and your friends.″ He chuckled. ″Pranks. What fun. Now, I must get going. Places to go, people to see, or rather to see me.″
″You′re not here for me?″ said Tim.
Death gave another deep chuckle. ″No, not yet.″ He paused. ″However, you and your friends were so good to me, I′ll give you all—say— a six-hour advance notice. Enough time to tidy up some things. But you can′t tell them about tonight, okay?″
″Okay, it's a deal.″ said Tim. ″Thanks. Boy, those guys will be laughing when you do show up—I mean not the whole death thing, but the fact that you were you.″
Death smiled, as well as he could. ″Well, I′m off – SEE YOU SOON.″ He laughed. ″Just kidding – boy, your face . . . ″
And with that, he grabbed his scythe and disappeared.
What should be terrifying is actually quite comforting. Or should I say who... No one ever thinks about Death as anything but dark and menacing. But you've shown another side to 'him'. Why not let him have one night where he can play some pranks and have a few laughs? And he's decent enough to give some of them fair warning when their time comes so they can tidy up their affairs before his final visit to them. This is a great story, and perfect for the time of Halloween.
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