Stan heard his door’s assailant before the knocking; a shush-shush against the cement leading to his flat. He rose; walked; opened; stared. There, upon his stoop, was Death himself.
“Er,” Stan managed. What does one say to Death?
In what should have been an anticipated reaction, Stan’s guest only stared.
Stan scuffed a foot against his carpet. He bit his lip. Swung his arms.
Death still stared.
“So….” Stan tried. “May I help you?”
A nod. Silence.
Stan hadn’t thought Death would be so awkward. *Ahem* “How so?”
Impossible as it seemed; Stan knew, somehow, that his somber companion frowned in thought. Death reached a skeletal hand from draping cloak-sleeve to internal robe and withdrew a scrap of parchment. Hand and paper extended toward Stan.
Stan received the paper; declined the hand. Stan Dubrough, 17:00, he read. His palms felt chill and his body followed right after. Both jumped at Death’s bony finger, tapping to point at the name. His name: Stan Dubrough.
“That’s-” Stan squeaked. “That’s me.”
His guest’s other hand appeared from near the door-post. It gripped an awful, glinting scythe.
“The time’s not right, though,” Stan said, as though observing the weather.
The scythe paused. Stan sensed confusion. He also, inexplicably, recalled his mother’s exasperated reprimand, “Always a stickler for accuracy, aren’t you, Stan?”
Death stared. Asking.
“It says ’17:00,’ right?”
A slow nod.
“And, that’s 5 p.m.; yes?”
“Well,” Stan concluded in a cheery tone, “It’s now going on 6.” He chuckled a bit till he recalled who his visitor was, and then wisely swallowed. “Hm; yes. Thing is: you’re a bit late.”
If a dark-cloaked being without voice could look gobsmacked, Death did. Without a word, he extended his non-scythe hand. Stan returned the paper and watched it disappear within the cloak folds. Then, just as silently, Death and his scythe turned and left.
Stan listened to the shush-shush of departure turn the corner before shutting his door. Returning to his couch seat, another of his mother’s oft-spoken sayings came to mind: “Stan, you’re so bent on being right you’d tell Death himself if he were late.”
“Well, mum,” he said, looking to the urn atop his mantel, “Looks like you were right after all.”
Submitted, at the last, for The 2019 Bloggers Bash Competition.