Outside is covered in snow and tomorrow is promising to be a rather isolated Valentine’s Day. I’ve seen a few short Valentine’s Day stories floating around, and so I thought I would write one, too. I wanted it to be a little different, however, and I remembered a picture I once saw of a girl with her arms wrapped around a skeleton…so I thought, why not write a story where death falls in love? I’m sure it’s been done before, but once the idea came to me, I had the story written down in a matter of minutes. I hope you enjoy, and Happy (quirky) Valentine’s Day to you all!
Death Warmed Over
a short Valentine’s Day story
Falling in love was inconvenient at the best of times. Falling in love with the living was even more inconvenient than that. For one, people were just so…alive. For another, they were never very happy to see him, although he couldn’t understand why. When you wore an itchy woolen coat to a fancy dinner and someone offered to take it, you didn’t pull it closer and beg them to let you keep it. you gave it up, and gladly; because it was binding and uncomfortable and you were glad to be rid of it.
At least that was how he imagined it felt. He had never personally worn an itchy coat, woolen or otherwise. He was distracted from his own thoughts by the sound of a laugh. Not just any laugh, either, but her laugh. There were four things he knew about Cora Cutting:
1. She was the most beautiful creature alive,
2. She could eat an entire jar of dill pickles in one sitting,
3. She had a depressingly long list of things she wanted to accomplish before she died, and
4. She did not seem to be going to die anytime soon.
He often wished he could think of a fifth thing to add to the list, because five was a more complete number than four, but he never could. Imagination wasn’t his department, not at all. A lot of people said he was creative, but really all he was, was efficient. He had never quite been able to see how those two attributes related to one another.
Cora Cutting ran around the gorse bush, a vision of black hair and pale skin and lips as red as blood. She was practically cadaverous, and she was breathtaking.
He was sure that had he any breath to take, she would have been the one to do it.
Wait. She was not laughing. She was doing that other thing, the thing people tended to do whenever he showed up. Cora Cutting was crying.
No, not crying exactly; it sounded more like hiccuping now, and he remembered that the trick to ridding someone of the hiccups was to frighten them out of their wits – but did that mean they had to have wits in the first place? What if they were witless? Cora Cutting had wits. Maybe he should-
“What is wrong with me?”
He nearly lived of shock for a quick moment, until it became clear she was asking her surroundings in general and not him specifically.
Still, he said, “Nothing at all.”
“This makes the third year,” she said, the wind tossing her hair around her shoulders. “The third year without a valentine.”
“Oh, that’s awful,” he said with as much genuine feeling as he could.
“Not even a card,” she said.
He crept closer, if floating noiselessly could properly be called creeping.
“I mean…” she threw up her arms in violent exasperation. “It doesn’t have to be much. A phone call, or – an e-card. Just anything.”
Was this his chance? It was! She wanted it!
“Nobody loves me,” said Cora Cutting, with a resigned sniff. “Nobody ever will, not that way. I’ll just have to live with it.”
“No! No, you won’t!” said Death resolutely, and leaning forward, he kissed Cora Cutting on her blood-red lips. As the warmth seeped from her bones and she became solid and real in his arms, he said, “You’ll never have to live with anything ever agian. Happy Valentine’s Day, Cora Cutting. I’m so happy to meet you.”