Don’t Fear The Reaper

Preface

Although this fictional story can stand on it’s own two feet, to set the optimal mood, (time permitting) view the above video prior to reading onward.

Chapter One

Gavin yanks the 9-volt battery from his klaxon-like smoke detector, chuckling a bit while stepping down from his wooden, three-wrung, kitchen ladder. It’d been the lit 60+ candles atop his very own two layer, thickly chocolate frosted, devils-food birthday cake, which had set off that, at times, overly sensitive, perhaps malfunctioning device. His slight smile now crossfades into a deep frown as his sudden realization kicks in… namely… he feels his life is going up in smoke.

True, so far… as far as he knows… only the normal aging process is slowly but surely, unraveling his life. Yet, that’s but a small consolation considering there’s no escaping the inescapable truth… from the moment we’re born, the lifeless gray, grainy sands of time start relentlessly running downward… passing from the upper to lower chambers of the hourglass possessed by the ghoulish Grim Reaper.

Gavin can almost feel the swooshing draft of ice cold death as Mr. Reaper brandishes his scythe and “playfully” threatens to tap the top of his eventual victim’s noggin… can practically hear that ghoul’s unnerving, otherworldly guffaws accompanying his gruffly intoned, menacing, parting words, “Good-bye for now… but… I’ll see you soon!”

Chapter Two

Seven torn off calendar pages later… mere days following All Hallows’ Eve… several hours past dusk on this blustery night… we find Gavin arming his clock radio in order to wake up to music. Switching off the pale glowing lamp, standing tall before the curtain parted, raindrop beaded windowpanes, he beholds the fluttering maple and oak leaves scattering across the ground… hears the soft pine and cedar branches brushing against the window screens… witnesses the occasional breaks in the clouds permitting the sparkling starlight to shine through.

He shivers as he lets the curtains fall back into place. The sound of nine chimes emanate from the downstairs foyer’s grandfather clock. Slipping between the bed sheets, his body heat starts to ease the chill he feels all the way down to his bone marrow. Dozing off, his last conscious thoughts of the day still excessively obsess about his own mortality.

Gavin is heading off into the land of dreams but, considering his troubled state of mind, sweet dreams would be far from an apt description.

So… will this ONLY be a nightmare… or something more?

Chapter Three

Gavin soon winds up at the REM stage… tossing and turning while turning the tables on the horrifying Mr. Reaper. He’s actually relentlessly stalking his enemy. Perhaps recklessly so, he’s also gleefully firing up his alter-ego’s snarky, I refuse to be intimidated, devil-may-care attitude. His primary mission, on behalf of humanity, is to order the Grim Reaper to stand down… or die trying.

Even Gavin’s inside his head pep talk instructs and prods him onward…

What the Hell… why the F not? On the odd chance I might buy each of my fellow humans a few more years, would that not make my dangerous undertaking all the more worthwhile? Hey, at the very least, I might wind up making death far less scary for everyone.

A snap of the twig, which Gavin has just stepped on, almost seems to trigger a flash of lightning and immediate crash of thunder. The near blinding afterimage and high decibel rumbling reverberations have hardly begun to die down when the Grim Reaper stops DEAD in his tracks… crouching a mere ten feet away. Gavin, taking that as his cue, knows it’s now or never. He hails his foe, thusly…

Pssst… hey Reaper! Yeah… I’m talkin’ to you! C’mon over… this’ll only take five minutes, tops. What do I want? Uh… well… since there’s no way to put this delicately, I’ll just blurt it out.

FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL YOU PLEASE BURY THAT GROTESQUE, SPOOKY PERSONA OF YOURS? YOU’RE CREEPING EVERYBODY OUT!

Seriously… an image makeover is long overdue, pal. Think earth tones! Deep-Six that depressing, dreary, black hooded robe and replace it with… oh… say… a hunter green hoodie and a pair of stain and wrinkle resistant, khaki hued, cotton slacks. In your bloody line of work, easy to launder would be a plus and, lest we forget, cotton is “the fabric of our lives™!” Oh… so sorry… I guess that’d be in poor taste since you don’t dig life.

Let’s move on now to that anachronistic hourglass. Seriously, who the hell, in the 21st Century would ever choose to lug around such a bulky low-tech timepiece? Can’t your cell tell you what time it is? Do you mean to tell me you’ve not developed and installed the necessary software on your devices to keep tabs on the timelines of the 7 billion plus Earthly souls?

As for that nasty ol’ scythe of yours… do you really need to brandish such a formidable blade? If you really must resort to intimidation by threatening physical violence, how about studying martial arts? With Karate chops, the bloodshed would be next to none. In time, you might even earn your black belt. After all, basic black IS your favorite color, right? Am I right?

Think about it, Mr. Reaper… you could pass yourself off as a hip, professional, tech savvy, debonair, far less overbearing dude. Look, if you don’t clean up your act soon, U.S. Homeland Security is bound to flag you… move you to the top of their Terrorist Watch list! And once you’re on it… you’re on it for life. Hey, don’t roll your eyes… life isn’t a four letter word… well… OK… on a technically it is… but not in the sense of life being profane.

Let’s now move on to the inner you. Long story short, you’re worrying me sick. Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, STAT! You’re nothing but dry, moldering bones; one has to wonder just what in tarnation is holding you together, anyway? Tar? Duct Tape? Superglue™? ‘The cadaverous look is dead, big guy! Even some catwalk models are starting to see the light… are going off their starvation diets! Key here is hydration and nutrition. At the very least, you’ll need to get in your daily eight, eight ounce glasses of H2O and triple your caloric intake.

Hey, ix-nay on those four-letter words, pal, I’m trying to maintain a family friendly nightmare!

Say what? You’re delighted that I’m worried sick? Rather than passing on my know-nothing knowhow I should just see the light and pass on? Screw the earth tones? You’re current image is exactly what you’re going for? You’re completely happy with THAT? OK, have it your way… as if that’s anything new, huh?

And away he goes… muttering obscenities… storming off into a dense billowing bank of dark, dank fog. Geesh, that guy sure has anger management issues! Hey! Did you see that? He just turned to whip me the finger! Look, he flipped me off again!

Well… there go five minutes of my life I can never get back! Of course… considering how PO’d I got him, I may be as good as dead already! Well, looks like I’ll just deep-six any of my future dealings with Mr. Reaper… well, at least until we meet again… in the end… in the end… in the end… in the end…

Epilogue

At daybreak, Gavin’s fitful sleep comes to an abrupt end as his clock radio awakens him to the sounds of a subdued cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s, Don’t Fear The Reaper… performed by the Harp Twins Camille and Kennerly.

As his mind momentarily zones out to the mesmerizing, melodic tones of their angelic harp playing, Gavin cannot help but wonder if he’s just awoken from a nightmarish dream… or was it something more?

 

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