Flash Fic Challenge – A Date With Death

This is this week’s challenge, and I chose this photo.

 

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(Photo credit to Piximus)

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A Date With Death

 

When Alfred first said he was dating Death, everyone thought it was a joke.

 

He had always been eccentric – preferring green tea to black, wearing full tie and tails down to breakfast, preferring women’s boots and nightgowns – but no one thought such a thing was even possible. Until Alfred was spotted riding a bike in the park with Death.

 

In this instance, Death was its skeletal self, although everyone quickly learned it had several guises, including the spectral figure in the hooded black cloak, a dog headed god being of some sort, and a sizable vulture. Alfred’s twin brother, Wilfred, was absolutely apoplexic. “What – how – is it female?”

 

Alfred, cutting into his breakfast sausage, didn’t even bother to look up, and his top hat started sliding down his head. “Binary gender is a ridiculous concept, at least according to Mort.”

 

“Mort?” Wilfred repeated, the ends of his bushy mustache twitching in repressed disgust.

 

“Death told me I can call them Mort. Jolly good name, isn’t it? Nice and solid.” Alfred’s hat finally fell off his head and landed in the oatmeal. It happened too often for anyone to take much notice of it.

 

As to how Alfred met the personification of Death was unclear. One time, he said he found Death in the deepest jungles of Ecuador, where it was going for a stroll. Another time, he said he met it in Paris, after running slightly afoul of a motor car. And yet another time, he said he met Death while taking a midnight swim in the Seine. All of this was complicated by the fact that Alfred had never been outside London in the entirety of his life.

 

Wilfred had hoped this was a passing phase, and his weirdo twin would snap out of both his delusions and his dalliance with Death. But days turned into weeks, and suddenly it had been months. Now seeing Alfred and his skeletal paramour out on the town was no longer greeted with shock and horror, but a kind of weary tolerance. Yes, it was odd, but this was from a man who once walked around with a poorly taxidermied stoat on his shoulder, unconcerned that moths seemed to be eating it, and it appeared to be decomposing before everyone’s eyes. Perhaps, in retrospect, it was a warning sign of his fascination with decay.

 

After several months, Alfred announced that he was to marry Death in a private ceremony. Private because Death didn’t really consider marriage a worthy goal, but would do it to make Alfred happy. That was the final straw for Wilfred, who was so upset he came downstairs without buttoning up his waistcoat.”I forbid you from carrying on this charade any longer!” Wilfred roared, making Fanny drop her teaspoon in shock. “End this nonsense now! No brother of mine is getting married to … to … a concept!”

 

Alfred gasped, a hand flying to his mouth. “How dare you! Morty isn’t a concept!”

 

“And its name isn’t Morty! Stop this foolishness and grow up, Alfie!”

 

“I have grown up, which is why I’m marrying Morty. It’s time I settled down.”

 

“Settled down?” Wilfred sputtered, his face turning as red as that time at the beach when he was out in the sun for five minutes. “You can’t settle down with Death! I forbid you to do this!”

 

A shadow loomed over Wilfred, and it brought with it an arctic chill that instantly filled the room. “Who are you to tell Alfred anything?” Death was in its hooden spectral form, although it stood so tall now its head brushed the ceiling.

 

Wilfred fell over, hitting the carpet with a dull thud.

 

“Darling,” Alfred asked. “Was that absolutely necessary?”

 

“Yes.” Death extended a skeletal finger, and touched Wilfred’s broad forehead. Wilfred sputtered and coughed back to life, while Death’s skeletal face glared down at him, mere inches away. “Know me, Wilfred Benedict Graham Stitch. I eat time. I am the end of everything. I am the nothingness, the void that consumes all. Any time I feel like it, I can rip away what allotted time you’re supposed to have left., and there’s nothing you can do about it. For Alfie’s sake, I gave you a taste of the end. Next time, it will be permanent. Are we clear?”

 

Wilfred’s eyes were as wide as boiled eggs in the stock pot of his face. He couldn’t make a sound, and only nodded.

 

“Now be happy for us, and don’t make me ruin our big day by killing you,” Death said, and then leaned over to give Alfred a kiss on the top of his head before disappearing.

 

Wilfred never again berated Alfred for any reason. The wedding went off without a hitch, and Alfred and Death lived happily ever after. Especially after Alfred died.

 

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