Death To Everyone

He felt a chill. Called in sick. Sheila went in. It was nothing, just a chill. He slept until noon.

Then a figure, familiar from too many tales, came into his bedroom without knocking. The black robe, the hooded face, hidden in shadow, the sickle.

He laughed and then he stopped laughing. This wasn’t a joke.

“Who are you?”

The figure came into the light. “I am who you think I am,” he said, and pulled back an inch of hood. revealing the white toothy face of the skull of Death.

“Why are you here?”

“There’s always that denial. There is only one reason I am here, John Mannat. It is your time.” John looked at him closely. The robe looked ancient and ragged, made from some thick unkown material. He could see from the stitching and some ornamental studs that this was not some tarp thrown together to resemble a robe, and it wasn’t from any costume shop.

“Is there anything I can…”

“No. There is nothing.” Death seemed stockier than John had expected. He could see that the skull face was actually a mask. Neither of these things made John think this wasn’t Death.

“What…what do I have.”

“I do not know the illness. That is not my concern. My only concern is that you are dead.”

When he said that word, John believed him. “Is there nothing I can do?”

“Nothing.”

“I challenge you to a game!”

“This is not the time for childishness. It is time to go. Please. I have much work tonight.” Death held out a gloved hand.

“You visit everyone who dies.”

“I am Death. Yes.”

“I’ve read some statistics. A lot of people die in one night. How do you do it physically?”

“I work from a rhealm of existence other than your physical world. In the halls of infinity, an evening can be stretched over a great deal of time. Come. I will show you.” He reached out his hand this time. John took it.

And yanked it, hard, pulling with all his weight. Death lurch to the side, and John struck him hard on the side of his head. The skull mask flew into a corner. Death fell to his knees. John grabbed his hood, revealing who was inside. It was a face from too many tales.

“You!”

“Yes.”

“Of course! You’re the only one who can visit so many people on one night!”

“Yes. It’s me.”

“If I were to offer you milk and cookies, could I live?”

“This is not Christmas. It is time for you to go.”

“Then on Christmas, you give everyone presents and you collect the dead?”

“I don’t give everyone presents. But it is a long night.”

John was silent.

“It is time to go.”

“Where are we going?”

“To the land of the Dead. At the North Pole.”

“I don’t like the cold.”

“You won’t feel it.”

And then Santa held out his hand a third time, and this time John Mannat took it, and went with him up to the roof, where the sleigh waited.

As they flew away, Santa urged on his reindeer by name, and then he called out, “Death to everyone! And to all a good night!”

–Dan Kilian
Another Ghastly Figure
Feng Shui

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