Every week, The Book Blogger nominates a song to stir the imaginations of his blog’s followers, and those of us who feel so inclined submit a Flash Fiction story inspired by the song. This week the song is ‘I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You’.
However, having reread the rules, I find that the Flash Fiction entry has to be fewer than 100 words. That’s Flash indeed, and rather disqualifies my entry. What the heck, though, I’ve decided to publish and be damned, then work on the word count before next week’s foray.
In the last few days I’ve been saddened to learn that two heroes of mine have died: the immensely talented musician David Bowie and the equally talented actor Alan Rickman, so in a bid to drag myself out of the doldrums, let’s take a little sideswipe at death.
The Reaper in Love
Death arrived on Murderous Maureen’s doorstep, a bunch of withered flowers plucked from a nearby graveyard in one bony hand, an solitaire diamond ring (still attached to a rotting finger) in the other.
“Don’t you ever give up?” asked Murderous Maureen with a sigh, opening her door to a skeletal grin.
“I love you, Maureen,” replied Death. “I can’t help it. You’re the woman of my nightmares – that’s a compliment, by the way.”
Maureen picked up a nearby dagger and started sharpening it, Death’s appreciative eye sockets reflecting in its gleaming blade.
“You’ve already given me so many children…”
“Adults too,” added Maureen with a wicked grin.
“Ahh, plenty of adults, which saves me having to get up in the night to change nappies.” Death’s laugh sounded like nails dragging across a blackboard. The neighbourhood dogs howled.
“Death, please don’t laugh. It doesn’t suit you. And anyway, the dead don’t fill nappies.”
Death had to check himself before he laughed again.
“Murderous Maureen, will you marry me?” he said instead, holding out the diamond ring (and the finger). “I can’t help falling in love with you.”
“Marry you?” Maureen threw back her head and barked with laughter. The neighbourhood dogs ran whimpering behind sofas. “I can just imagine the wedding day. What will happen when we get to the ‘till Death us do part’ bit?”
“I promise I won’t. Part us, I mean. You’ll be with me for eternity, giving me ever more babies. And children. And adolescents…”
“Yes, yes, Death, I get the picture.”
“I’m famous, you know. Who hasn’t heard of Death?”
“Who hasn’t heard of Murderous Maureen?” she replied, waving a machete in Death’s face. “Since that bountiful spree I had last week, I’m all anyone can talk about.”
Death visibly sagged, the flowers drooping by his side and shedding their few remaining petals.
“So the answer’s no?”
“I didn’t say that. Actually, Death, I’ve been dreaming of this moment since my first killing at the age of seven. We’ll make an indomitable pair, won’t we? So although you’re the riskiest bridegroom since Henry VIII, the answer’s yes.”
“Yes, really. How can I help falling in love with you too?”
Smiling his skeletal smile, Death took her hand. And took her whole life too.