Death stood waiting, scythe in hand, long black robes, a pale, green horse with eyes that burned like tealight candles. In the old days, the horse's eyes were balls of molten flame, and that may have been much more terrifying, what with the soul-crushing smoldering and resembling the torch of eternal torments. The vet had ensured that those days, the days of being an ethereal, majestic symbol of Death's icy grip were in fact over. All by stating that a more mature horse spirit was better off eating a diet of skinless, organic cucumbers... raw, unfried and with absolutely no fatty gravy either. What was the point of cucumbers without the fatty gravy I'd like to know.
As Granny Voggle's soul popped up into view, Death smiled. His smile, though terrifying and able to put icicles into the warmest heart, did nothing to distract from the dimness of his horse's eyes. Neither did it give the soul who was passing on a feeling of comfort, as it was originally meant to do. Instead it was the type of smile that reminded one that they'd left the mousetraps empty without so much as a crumb of cheese in them. This smile reminded one of things left incomplete in life.
“You feeling alright, are you?” Granny asked looking Death right in the eye.
“I'm fine. You, however, are dead.” Death remarked and tried the smile again. This time envisioning tiny ballerinas in music boxes, fluffy bunnies, and melons on sale two for a dollar. Anything comforting could be transferred from one being to another by just the right sort of smile.
“Yeah? If you don't mind me sayin' your smile's a bit toothy. Maybe try just tiltin' your head or a polite nod, or you could get a hat. You know, tip it lightly, then you wouldn't need to smile at all.”
“I will take it under advisement,” said Death and added, “You are dead, you know. You've been poisoned.”
“Naw,” Granny Voggle argued, “Can't be!” And Death had no idea how to argue with this as most spirits wept for a few minutes and then demanded their eternal reward. He'd never had anyone just refuse to be dead. That's not how it worked was it?
“I am Death...” he began.
“I know who you bloomin' are. You ain't hearin' what I said is all. I'm a witch ain't I?” snapped Granny sharply.
“Yes,” Death replied but before he could go on Granny exclaimed, “Then I just can't be dead. Every witch knows their number of years don't they? It's a well known fact that every witch has whatcha call 'em... premonitions. And I ain't had none have I? That makes it seem a bit... just a bit mind you, like ya ain't doin your job proper on accounta you ain't givin me no warnin' what so ever.”
“I do see your point...” Death agreed. To his knowledge he'd not sent any bad dreams to warn her.
“Not a dream,” said Granny.
“Yes...” said Death.
“Not a whatdya call spiritual visitation,” said Granny.
“”Yes,” said Death, “I get what you're saying.”
“Not a bloomin letter or telegraph,” Granny argued.
“Yes,” said Death.
“Not even The Great and Omnipotent Bob and his dancin' cabaret of eels singing me a dirge,” said Granny.
“Yes,” said Death, rubbing his temples, or at least the place where there would've been temples had he not been a skeleton.
“I ain't received no mysterious owls hootin in me attic during a mid-summer storm to the beat of some old disco song,” said Granny.
“Yes” said Death, sort of anxiously bouncing around.
“I mean you ain't even sent me a proper sign such as me tea leaves risin outta the cup and spellin out the word, Soon,” said Granny.
“YES, yes yes,” Death said, “I understand.”
“I mean if you want people to go pushin up daisies, you gotta make an effort don't you? I mean it ain't as if you couldn't of run down to the local post and wrote me up a post card with a picture of the cemetery on it, sayin' I wish you were here!” said Granny.
“Yes,” said Death now backing away.
“I mean it ain't as if ya didn't have plenty of opportunities to properly haunt my stockings on laundry day. They're right there on the clothesline ain't they? I mean...” Granny howled as Death mounted his horse, “It ain't as if you couldn't a done somethin classy like sent a raven to me door with a blood red parchment baring the words, 'You wanna dance?' What I mean is in the last hundred and two years you coulda found five seconds to have a tornado touch down and scribble the words, 'Be seein you soon' in the mud. And it ain't as if...”
But then Granny stopped. She spun in a circle. He was gone and she was back in front of the campfire with Ratchet and Wren snoring vigorously near her.
“Ah,” sighed Granny, “He's buggered off. And just when I was getting to the good part too.”***
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