A Blood-Spattered Letter from Mr. Grim

There is no redemption in this world.

Joseph Anderson stood statue-like in his hallway with the morning post collecting dust in his hands. The bills, the catalogues, the junk mail faded away. All he saw was the white envelope with its black border and Reaper’s Office seal. A full five minutes of nothing passed before his knees gave out and slammed into the floor. Sobs wracked through his body. Four hours later, his wife returned home from work to find him curled in the foetal position beside the coat stand.

“Stand up,” she barked. “You haven’t even read the thing.”

He didn’t want to. He wanted to rewind time and climb back into bed.

“Stand up.” Her stiletto heel drove into the back of his hand. God, she’d been a bitch all week and now this.

Dear Joseph, your time is up. Regards, Death.

Rachel hooked her hands under his arms. Playing the corpse-to-be, Joseph allowed her to pull his dead weight into the parlour. She rested him against his chair and poured them both a glass of whiskey.

Rachel didn’t drink alcohol. She also didn’t smoke, eat junk food or indulge in any pursuits that may result in a letter from Mr. Grim.

Joseph flinched as her sharp fingernails tore through the seal. She turned the letter over several times before declaring, with a sigh, “Do you want to be buried or cremated?”

When he didn’t reply, she added, “We need to fill in the form.”

Angry at her indifference, he balled his hand up into a fist and drove it into her chest. Her gasp lodged in her throat and blocked air from entering her bruised lungs. His knuckles shattered against her cheekbone and the blood from her busted nose dripped down his arm and soaked into the thick vellum. He snatched the letter from her open palm and crushed it in his.

Panic fuelled his actions. He opened her sewing basket and pulled out a pair of scissors. He snipped off her hair. There, now she was more Joseph than Josephine.

Her hand flapped and pointed towards the basket. Tears washed the blood from her face. She loosened the neck of her blouse, tearing at the fabric and exposing her breasts. The bitch wanted them to take him. Well he’d show her that he wasn’t finished yet.

The kitchen drawers proved tool-worthy. He returned to the parlour with a sharp knife and a turkey fork and found a man in a black suit kneeling beside his wife.

“I’m afraid you have no need of those implements, Mr. Anderson. Your wife is deceased. Shame really, I do enjoy a good show and intended to arrive early for our meeting. Ah well, I guess it’s time for you to fall on your sword.”

“What?” Joseph stuttered. His hand played traitor and drove the kitchen knife into his own stomach. As he fell, Joseph knocked over the sewing basket. Amidst the knitting needles, thread and wool, a letter dropped to the carpet. A letter from the Reaper’s Office, addressed to his wife.

Ω

Catherine J Gardner  Catherine J Gardner's website has sealed her letterbox shut, and is wondering how she can take delivery of her chapbook, The Sour Aftertaste of Olive Lemon, when it is published by Bucket ’O’ Guts press later this month. She hopes you are brave enough to pull the tape off your letter and mailboxes.

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