Saturday, September 21, 2019

When Death Died – new fiction by S. H. Marpel

When Death Died - new Speculative Fiction Parable by S. H. MarpelOf course, Death had horrible timing.

He showed up just after I’d buried my long-time friend Bertie – a golden lab I’d loved like family.

He wanted his story written.

I told him to get lost. Because I had nothing to lose at that point. I wasn’t afraid of him.

He knew that I was his only option. if he killed me, then no one would ever, ever write his story. And he’d live forever knowing that he’d blown his only chance to set his record straight.

A lot of people have said a lot of bad things about Death – and here was his chance to get the truth out.

But he’d started out on a wrong foot – first by taking my best friend on Earth, and then showing up in a costume designed to irritate me.

So I turned away. I didn’t care anymore. At least I had a chance to tell him so in very impolite terms. He could do what he wanted.

I just didn’t care anymore. And he had no choice of what he had to do next.


Offensive is a light term for what I saw when I went to open the door to my cabin. So was overweight. And the smell in that cabin almost made me gag.

And that was through the screen door.

So I turned on my heel and walked out onto the thin grass that was working in from the edges of the gravel. I didn’t have many visitors who needed to park here, anyway. Most nowadays were simply shifting in or manifesting as some apparition.

This one I would meet on my own terms. I could guess that this proved you only had one chance to make a good first impression and whoever it was had blown that one all to heck.

I just sipped my mug of delectable coffee and glared at whoever it was who was trying to make my bad morning worse.

At least now I had something to focus my anger on.

– – – –

Of course “whoever” just glared back. And it was a draw. I was outside, and they had the inside of my cabin.

But I had a big mug of coffee, and lots of farm chores to do when the coffee ran out. Once they left, I could simply open the windows and take my laptop out to some shady spot where the breeze could find me.

If the stink hadn’t left by the time I got back, I knew some girls who could fix that for me. Sure, I didn’t need maids. And my idea of cleaning was as high as most confirmed bachelors. But calling in a favor to spruce up the place after it had been spelled into a high-stunk mess was something any of my gal-friends could do with a wave of one delicate pinky.

(I’d seen them do it quietly without asking, several times before. And I’d give them a hug and a kiss in return – to thank them. Hey, it got the place clean and sweet-smelling, so that was the least I could do for them.)

All that musing and looking around the farm helped me cool off some more, even though the day was warming up.

Eventually, some rotund form of smoky, filmy unctuousness appeared nearby. My visitor had gotten tired of waiting.

Same person – I could tell by the gross over-application of several perfumes, the same stench I’d left on the porch.

A dusky voice opined, “Well. The mountain can always come to Moses, instead.”

It was apparently a man in a woman’s rainbow-colored pantsuit. Glittery eyeliner and pink-glazed cheeks, with scarlet lipstick. Multiple earrings in each ear, none of them matching.

I just stood there, sipping my coffee. And appreciating that the breeze was coming in from behind me.

This appearance stuck out its hand. “Hi, I’m Death.”

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