"That's it, exactly."
"So by that, you mean you don't consider running over the grim reaper in the first place to be one of the weird things?"
It was nearly 8:30, just before sunset, and if I also gave you an approximate location, you would be able to determine the time of year, or vice-versa. But I won't… so you won't. Not that you would have taken the time to do any research on the matter anyway, because its not really important. What is important is that it was just before sunset and that anyone driving a red car at the time would not yet have turned on his headlights.
Any of you who have driven are no doubt aware of the glare that sometimes shines on a person's windshield when one drives west on these, 8:30 just before sunset, drives. This is important because anyone distracted by the glare could easily hit someone or something that has wandered into the road. Calvin Harris drove a red car. Calvin Harris was driving west.
Calvin squinted as the setting sun threatened to blind him. Out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a dark figure begin to cross the road. Even as his foot slammed on the brake, the loud thump and the sight of the crumpling human body ahead confirmed his suspicions. Leaning over the hood of Calvin's car was a figure draped in black with a black hood covering its face.
The figure's right hand was clutching a scythe. On closer inspection, Calvin noticed that it was not a hand of flesh and blood, but purely of bone. The creature stood up slowly, and Calvin saw a bleach white skull silhouetted by the sunset. The being raised the scythe in both hands as if to attack the car.
Instinctively, Calvin gunned the engine, laying five feet of rubber on the road's surface, and clipping the skeletal body neatly in half. The creature's body immediately crumbled to dust, except for the skull, which caught fire and went sailing through Calvin's windshield landing in his back seat.
* * *
As cliché as this all may sound, the conversation as Calvin entered the door went something like this.
"Honey! I'm home!"
"Hello darling. How were things at the office today?"
"Tip-top dear. We closed the Blake account this afternoon, and I ran over the grim reaper on the way home."
Calvin's wife suddenly stopped in her tracks, "What?"
"You know, dear, Death incarnate, the grim reaper, carries a big axe."
"It's not an axe, honey, it's one of those things they used to use to harvest grain with. Oh, what are they called?"
Calvin sat his briefcase down on the table and walked towards the refrigerator. "Well it doesn't matter anymore now anyway."
Calvin opened the refrigerator door, looked inside, then quickly shut it again. "Honey, did you know that there's a dead baby inside the refrigerator?"
Calvin's wife was busy setting a large pot of water on the stove. "I'm sorry dear, what was that?"
"There's a dead baby in our refrigerator."
"Look dear, if you're going to hassle me while I'm trying to make dinner, you'll just have to go into the living room."
Calvin grabbed his wife firmly and looked deep into her eyes, "Sally, I want you to tell me that we're not eating a baby for dinner." His steely voice sent a shiver up Sally's spine.
"Um, I'm sorry if you were saving it. I… ah… guess we could have it later maybe," she stammered.
Calvin let her go and turned away with a bewildered look on his face, then opened the refrigerator again. Inside he saw that the baby was missing one eye. Looking closer, he saw the child's chest sink in slightly, accompanied by a puff of breath visible in the cold air. Calvin dropped to his knees.
"It's… it's alive," he whispered, barely able to speak.
Sally was leaning over the sink crying, "I don't understand what's wrong, you always said you thought they were more tender when they were alive. All I try to do is make you happy."
Calvin let the refrigerator door fall shut on its own, and staggered into the living room, his thoughts drowned out by the sound of his wife's sniffling. He sat down wearily on the couch next to his eight-year-old son Jeffrey. On the coffee table was the day's paper. As Calvin reached for it out of habit, he noticed the top headline: Three Hundred Beheaded in Ceremony. Reading on, Calvin found that before being beheaded, the ritual participants had plucked their own eyes out and had had their tongues removed.
Calvin threw the paper to the floor in disgust. He couldn't take much more of this. Even as the thought crossed his mind, he saw a rat scurry across the floor. Before he could react, Jeffery pounced on the creature like a wild cat, and bit its head off in one smooth motion.
Calvin screamed as he saw the blood dripping down his son's face. Calvin leapt up from the couch and ran to the kitchen, where he saw Sally placing the squirming baby into the pot of boiling water.
* * *
Calvin awoke to the comforting feeling of his wife stroking his forehead.
"Honey, you passed out. Are you feeling okay?" she smiled sweetly at him.
A cold sweat broke out on Calvin's body as he looked beyond his wife's face and saw Jeffery gnawing on the dead rat. Sally was saying something.
"We're just all worried about you, you've been acting so weird lately. I made an appointment with Dr. Palmer. You just relax here on the couch, and I'll bring your dinner out later."
Calvin couldn't help but look at his son's blood hands, covered in matted rat fur. Pieces of the rodent's skin stuck between his teeth. A small greasy pile of bones gathered beside him.
"Now Jeffery, you'll ruin you appetite. We're having your favorite tonight." His mother calmly walked out of the room.
Calvin watched in horror as Jeffery licked up a puddle of blood from the floor, then jumped up onto the couch beside him. Bits of rat were stuck under his fingernails, and his breath smelled of death.
"What's wrong, daddy?"
Calvin was shaking, "Just get away from me!"
Tears immediately started flowing down the boy's face, mingling with the dried blood. Jeffery quickly ran upstairs, where his whimpering faded into ambient noise of the house.
Calvin once again got up from the couch, walked through the kitchen, past the smell of boiling baby, out the back door, and this time made it to his car without losing consciousness. He then drove to the nearest all-night bar.
* * *
Calvin walked cautiously into the smoke filled dimly lit bar, and asked for a beer. Sitting to his left was a very large man using a razor blade to slit his wrist. The large man then drank the blood until he passed out. Calvin simply stared at the scene in disbelief. The bartender appeared out of nowhere.
"Is there a problem son?" The bartender was an older man, nearly bald, with one ice blue eye and a patch over the other.
"N…No. I'll be fine." Calvin stuttered as he watched a pool of blood form around the large man beside him.
The noise in the bar stopped suddenly as a small dark haired woman walked in. The bartender walked up to her clutching an ink pen in his left hand. The woman was absolutely beautiful, delicate features like a porcelain doll, with hazel eyes and an air of confidence about her.
The bartender was the first to break the silence; "Your tab's overdue."
The girl's confidence snapped as the bartender drove the pen through her right eye. Her screaming also ended abruptly as the old man punched her in the stomach forcing the air out of her lungs. Just before she caught her breath again, the bartender grabbed her head with his two meaty hands and twisted her neck so that everyone in the room heard the snap and the thud as her body hit the floor.
The bartender walked back to Calvin. "I'm sorry son. What were you saying?"
The large man beside Calvin finally died and fell to the floor. Further down the bar, a young woman who looked exactly like the one occupying a space in the middle of the floor got up and moved to the empty blood stained seat.
"I always told her those debts would get her in trouble."
Calvin appeared mystified, "Are you talking to me?"
"Of course silly. Want to go in the back and fuck like bunnies?"
The bartender immediately stepped in, "That'll be twenty bucks from each of you for each hour."
The girl gulped down the last of her drink. "Deal."
As the girl reached over to take his hand, Calvin tried once again to come to terms with everything that was going on around him, "Wait. Hold on a minute now."
"Oh come on, it'll be fun. And then later we can go home and do your wife too."
"How do you know that I'm married?"
The girl was becoming annoyed. "Because you're wearing a ring. Now do you want to do this or not? I don't have all night. I'm sorry we can't do the twin thing, but as you can see, my sister's not really up to it at the moment."
Calvin stood up with a look of shock on his face. "I don't believe this. This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. This is insane. Just… just let me out of here. This is over now. I'm done with it."
The bartender swiftly stepped out from behind the bar and approached Calvin. "Now listen here, son. I don't want any trouble in here tonight. If you're gonna start that shit, you can just leave."
So he did.
Outside Calvin saw a hooded figure walking down the road. Calvin ran trying to catch up with it, but it loomed just out of reach.
"Stop!" he shouted in vain, as the creature ambled steadily along.
As Calvin sat down on the ground in defeat he heard a low voice whisper, "There aren't any answers."