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GhostLad
February 14th, 2006, 08:27 PM
Meeting the Reaper



The traffic outside hummed softly in Roger’s ear, although he did not hear it. The swarming life of the generic diner was lost upon him, as well. Even the waitress went unnoticed as she attempted to take his order. Roger didn’t mean to snub her; he was merely lost in thought. Thought which was eating him alive.

He recalled the muted horror he had felt when he had first saw the burning hulk that had been his apartment building, as he ran his hands through his shaggy, black hair. Horror that was born from the realization that so many texts that had once been his were naught but ash. So long he had labored to procure every last manuscript, only to have his collection burnt away like so much cheap cordwood. Fate must have a black sense of humor, Roger had thought to himself, cutting the one thread that held a man above the abyss of purposelessness.

He recalled how the paramedics had tried to comfort him, saying that no one had died in the fire and that everyone got out in time.

“No,” he had replied. “There were deaths in that building.”

And he was right. So many tales of conquest, heroism, horror, love, and life had died in that fire. Heroic journeys were now a fine, white dust stuck to the bottom of a firefighter’s boot. Men and women alike spent hours toiling to create those serialized epics, epics that were now nothing but burnt paper.

Roger slammed his fist on the table, causing the silverware to clatter and the people in adjacent booths to shoot strange looks his direction. He didn’t care about what they thought of him; he was too consumed by his fury at the situation. Fate or God, Roger didn’t know which, had betrayed him. It had driven a stake into the still beating heart of his only love.

His rage turned to despair, as he realized that his collection would never be complete again. There was no longer a point in trying. He was lost, adrift in a hopeless sea of the inevitable, where only death and destruction lay beneath the waves. He might as well jump from his makeshift raft and into the ocean, so that he may end his pitiful struggle.

Roger began to contemplate how he would do so. Would he slit his wrists? Overdose on sleeping pills? As his mind somberly wandered through the morbid possibilities, another issue was raised. Why not enjoy his final meal? He hailed the waitress as he decided that he would consider his method of destruction over a decadent final meal - or rather, as decadent as this every-day diner would allow.

Roger ordered a stack of pancakes, a double cheeseburger, a plate of french-fries, and the largest Pepsi money could buy. Swallowing his inhibitions as he swallowed forkfuls of pancakes and mouthfuls of hamburger, he decimated the food on the plates before him.

After filling his stomach to the bursting point, he finally decided on his method of meeting the reaper. He’d set up a noose in the hotel room that the insurance company had provided him. Quick and easy, just as he wished. He drank in the image of the frenzied movement around him, knowing that this would be the last time he would gaze upon the life-blood that coursed through society’s veins. Roger breathed in deeply, and grunted as he prepared to stand. Suddenly a curious thing happened.

The world around him stopped.

Each and every car outside, the screaming child three booths away, the waitress that poured coffee, and the coffee she was in the process of pouring had all frozen in time. Roger looked down at himself and felt his chest, making sure that he was entirely mobile. He looked up in time to see someone open the door of the diner.

The thing that entered was a tall figure in a black cloak.

Roger’s muscles tightened and his breath caught in his lungs as it stepped inside and turned towards him, revealing a skeletal head and several vertebrae beneath the hood. The thing seemed to scan the parallel isles of booths for someone in particular, before its gaze fixed on Roger. As it began to walk towards him, Roger felt cold fingers of ungodly terror on his spine. He needed to flee, to run, to escape, but he was unable underneath the gaze of death itself. It closed in on him and stood erect before of the booth that contained Roger. The specter then spoke, in a deep, echoing voice.

“I know you, and you know me, so let’s skip the introductions, shall we?”

Death held out a bony hand and Roger lifted his own to shake. Death pulled it back and laughed a chilling laugh. Roger gave a confused stare, when death answered.

“A little reaper-humor, there. Y’know, ‘Touch of Death’ and all…”

Roger forced smile and attempted a pitiful laugh. Death scoffed and sat in the seat opposite of Roger. It pulled a cigarette pack from a pocket on his robe. He offered it to Roger, who shook his head. Death shrugged, placed the package back in his pocket, not taking one for himself, and cleared his throat (or whatever it was that he had to clear, considering he lacked a throat).

“I have a message for you,” he spoke, and then pointed to the ceiling. “Straight from the man up top.”

Roger stared as Death pulled a black glove from the same pocket where the cigarettes were held. He pulled it over his skeletal hand, cracked his knuckles, and drummed his fingers in midair. Taking a moment to examine it, Death nodded in approval.

He then delivered an almighty, backhanded slap to the face of Roger with the gloved hand, before screaming at him, “They were freakin’ comic books! Ink on paper, you overly dramatic idiot! Find a girlfriend and a new hobby, already!”

Stars cascaded through Roger’s vision, as he saw death stand up and head for the door. Roger sat up in time to see death open the door, and fix him with a hollow stare.

“I’ll see you in thirty-five years.”

And with that Death disappeared, and the world slowly fell back into motion. Roger sat in his lonely little booth, and thought about what had transpired. Perhaps he needed a new hobby.

cellardoor
February 15th, 2006, 12:03 AM
haha. yeah

Sigg
February 15th, 2006, 04:00 AM
fantastic, definately a very nice piece of writing. The language kept this interesting without slowing the flow of the story, and set up a scene that in turn set up an even better surprise ending. i have no suggestions to make it better, great job.

GhostLad
February 15th, 2006, 04:49 AM
Wow. Thanks for the feedback, everyone. :D

garza
December 15th, 2010, 07:19 PM
GhostLad - Excellent work only slightly spoiled by one misused word - one of the most misused word in the English language. You say Roger '...decimated the food on the plates before him', which is the same as saying he ate one/tenth of what he was served. That's what decimate means, to take out one in ten. Find another way of saying he ate it all, which is what I think you mean.

Otherwise a good one with a delightful portrayal of Death.

len_ryuka
December 15th, 2010, 09:02 PM
haha that was humourous and well done. I love "Death" the character, great stuff.

Sync
December 15th, 2010, 09:10 PM
hello

I am unsure what you wished looked at, or if anything but a read you wished to present.

i'll just pick lil things here and there I saw, but not do a full critique.

you wrote:

Heroic journeys were now a fine, white dust stuck to the bottom of a firefighter’s boot

- ash is not dust, since they burnt I wondered why you brought 'dust' into the picture.

I understand you using perfected past, but once it has been established in the sentence or para, you don't need to continued using 'had' all the time. You are reflecting to a past, from a past tense story, which is fine, but still the 'had..had...had' seemed a redundancy of time.

in ways you over tell a scene, like going too far.

for example

you wrote:

He didn’t care about what they thought of him; he was too consumed by his fury at the situation

why 'at the situation' - especially since you just showed me and told me in the paras before. I know why he's mad, so why not just focus the sentence and scene at that fury and how it consumed him.

***

so lil things here and there that could be tightened to make this better.

I liked the story.

thanks for the read

**oh that font, why so small?**

Sync

Katie D
December 15th, 2010, 09:28 PM
I enjoyed it, I like your sense of humor! You fooled me, here I was thinking he had poured his entire life into writing. Although, I did wonder about computer backups. Maybe it should be set early 20th century.
Just one more quick thing. When you write:He’d set up a noose in the hotel room that the insurance company had provided him.
I got confused with tense. I assumed it was he had, meaning he would have the noose set up already, when he's only just decided to off himself. Funny, I just posted a thread on abbreviations and I think my question has been partly answered. I wouldn't abbreviate here.

JohnGMarino
December 16th, 2010, 05:36 PM
Nicely done, I enjoyed it from begining to end.