A Tale of Death

by Merry Butterfly

Death. He lives in a duplex. His neighbors are crazy. The walls are too thin to keep out the yelling.

He listens to music whenever they start. It's usually techno.

Death lives in a duplex- he lives in the small half, where the wallpaper's peeling and the windows are dusty: with his $12 couch, where the faucets are rusted.

There are beans in the pantry, all covered in dust, because Death doesn't eat.

He's just never that hungry. He just sits on the couch and watches the Weather Channel, but mostly he tangos with the antennae and curses his analogue set.

And one night, he's startled awake from his futon- bought at a yard sale- startled by silence, rather than yelling. It's three in the morning and the neighbors are quiet. The silence that follows a sickening thud, the silence of ending, the end of all ends.

The footsteps are fleeing- they dash out the door, slamming door after door, the door of the duplex, the door of the car. He sees her. She peels out of the driveway and into the street and she's not coming back but she'll likely get caught.

Death exits the small half and enters the large half- the door should have been locked, but the girl didn't care. Her lover lies dead with a knife in his chest and he fixes Death with a sightless, dead stare.

Death awkwardly waves and beckons the ghost, but the ghost is transfixed by its now empty shell. But Death clears his throat and dangles his watch: he's on a tight schedule, couldn't you tell?

The soul stands and follows him out of the house, out down the driveway. Death stops at his door, and there places the keys. Then he walks to the bus stop and the dead man follow like a moth to the flame.

He walks to the bus stop at three in the morning, a copy of Homesource under his arm. He cracks open the paper at three in the morning and checks the new listings (for this third time this month).