Memento Mori

Jennifer was standing in front of the open refrigerator drinking Dr. Pepper from the bottle when Death appeared.

He manifested out of the darkness of the unlit hallway outside the kitchen in his customary garb: a long, black robe and a bone-handled scythe. “’Sup,” he said. The hood twitched above the cavernous void where a human would have a face, like he’d just lifted his chin in greeting.

Jennifer turned to stare, her eyes wider than dinner plates, and the plastic two-liter bottle slipped from her nerveless fingers. It dropped to the floor and bounced around, drumming a pallid march against the kitchen tile and splattering the cabinets with sticky brown syrup.

“Are… are you here… to kill me?” Jennifer stammered.

The robed figure gave the handle of his scythe a casual twist and set the blade twirling over his head. It’s edge hissed through the air like an angry cat. He let the question hang for a moment, and then said, “Nah.” He reached up one voluminous sleeve of his robe, pulled out a birthday card, and slipped it into Jennifer’s open hand. “It’s more of a courtesy call, really. Just thought I’d stop by and deliver a little memento.”

He flicked the tip of one skeletal finger against the card’s pale pasteboard with a snap. The sound drew Jennifer’s attention and she looked down. Forty tiny skeletons danced a mad, macabre jig on the card’s cover, like the characters in an old black-and-white Disney cartoon. She thumbed it open with one trembling hand. Inside the card was blank, save for three words written on the right-hand side in a precise, clinical script.

They read: See you soon.

Jennifer gave a little gasp and looked up from the card with a start. Before her the hallway yawned dark and empty, like the mouth of an open grave.