I hope you enjoy this episode of Gerald’s Brief Experience with Undeath and Other Things of Interest. If you need to catch up on last time, it can be found here. Or if you are joining us for the first time, you can find part one here.
An extra-special thanks to my wife for helping me find the time to dedicate to my writing. It means more than you will ever know.
Somewhere between the stores at numbers 237 and 239 Winchester Lane, the Grim Reaper entered Charon’s Chalet. It was through a door that didn’t exist, into a building that didn’t exist, and in fact, there was no room for. Why this concept was so difficult for Gerald to fathom is surprising at this point, yet also somewhat inevitable.
As passers-by showed extraordinary speed to cross the street away from him, Gerald clutched at empty air in front of the brick wall that joined the two shop fronts together. It would amuse you to know their thoughts, but I often find excessive use of profanity is rather shit.
The brick wall before him flickered as the bony hand of Death reach from within and pulled Gerald inside.
Charon’s Chalet was a lesson in fantastical architecture. As Gerald stepped into the central lobby, his eyes adjusted to the golden light emanating from the walls. A subtle glow, soft to the gaze, yet it seemed that every inch of the immense room was just as light, or just as dark, as it needs to be in that very moment.
The floor beneath his feet felt almost insubstantial as he moved further into the room, warranting a glance down. As disbelief flickered through his mind, he started to fall. . . up? Struggling to reconcile this new reality of down being the most remarkably accurate depiction of the sky – including moving clouds – with his falling up toward the luscious forest canopy which served as the ceiling, Gerald did what any grown man would. He curled into a ball, his arms hugging the back of his knees, head pulled as close as his significant midriff would allow.
The weird combination of falling and rising paused and Gerald found himself floating at what would normally be shoulder height. Buoyant in a sea of confusion, Gerald rocked back and forth, and up and down. As his thoughts flickered between acceptance and denial, the gentle swaying broke into turbulent jolting and back again.
Flicker: The forest floor has got to be down. The thought had barely arrived before Gerald jerked toward the ceiling.
Flicker: But the sky feels as though it is down. Gerald lurched toward the floor.
Gerald would have liked to think that given a few more moments comprehension would have arrived, but the introspection was invaded. The wet splatter across his face, accompanied by a splutter of pure bewilderment.
“Gerald,” said the familiar voice of Death, “how in the heaven and hells. . .”
In his current rotation, Gerald was floating face up. He watched as Death took one more step along the sky-like floor before the Grim Reaper leaped into the air. The leap was inhuman, far too high and slow for it to be anything but supernatural. Purple robe flaring behind him, the skeletal figure floated through the air, somersaulting above Gerald before landing a foot on Gerald’s chest, driving him back to the floor.
“Do you even realise the significance of what you wer–” Death broke away from his thought at the perplexed look upon Gerald’s face. “Of course you don’t!”
The Grim Reaper broke down into a fit of laughter.
Agnes fretted over the cleanliness of the dishes within the sink. It would never do to have a fine officer such as Sergeant Greenshields see the house in such a state. Her mother had been right all along. Fancy Gerald doing such a thing as going and dying when the dishes were still to be done. On a Tuesday none the less.
Agnes was pleased that the calming and rational influence of her mother, Betty, was outside awaiting the arrival of the Sergeant now, giving her the time she needed to spruce up the place. Why she was an eligible widow now after all?
A door banged shut from down the hall and Agnes quickly dried her hands on a towel. She straightened the sides of her apron and fussed with her hair before swanning her way into the empty living room. She glanced around perplexed. The door had opened and shut so Betty and Sergeant Greenshields should surely be here, but look as she might she could not find them.
No-one stood in the alcove by the front door. No-one down the hallway toward the bedrooms. No-one over the puddle of sweat where Gerald’s body had been. No-one in the kitchen. No-one by the bac-
Agnes jumped as the front door banged its way open to let her mother and the Sergeant in.
“So, ol’ Gerald has passed on has he?” Sergeant Greenshields said, laying a consoling hand upon Agnes’ shoulder, “it’ll be alright Agnes, we’ll take good care of him.”
The Sergeant glanced around the living room. “Right. So where is the poor fellow?”
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