Cold as Death
Kristen Hansen

T he bell jingled as he went outside. It was October 31st, 1932. Darkness was falling, and he could see his breath as it puffed in and out like his very soul was trying to escape from his body. He could hear his footsteps falling heavily on the snow covered ground. Shoving his hands into his heavy overcoat for warmth, he contemplated life without her. He never thought she'd actually leave. He paused, his feet shuffling to keep warm. She said he was wicked. Not so wicked he thought. She was a witness to his crimes. If he truly were wicked he would have killed her. Watched her die, struggling for breath as his hands cut off her life source. Just like all the rest of them. A murderer in love, he mocked himself. Now that she was gone there was an emptiness inside of him, not the kind he'd always felt, a new kind. Suddenly he realized he could still hear footsteps although he had stopped walking. Turning, he saw a figure step out of the shadows. "Who are you?" Asked the murderer.

"You know who I am." Death replied, reaching out to him with a withered hand. "We've been friends all your life."

A chill wind flowed through the man as he heard the howls of the damned and then nothing. The bell jingled as a woman went outside into the cold night air.

"Cold as death out here." She murmured under her breath.

First published: November 2001