“Who goes there?” hissed the innkeeper through the rickety gate. A rapping against the rotten wood had awoken the man from his slumber.
“‘Tis but I, good sir, a weary traveler seeking refuge for the eve. The winds have been harsh, and my skin is cherry from its bite.”
The innkeeper reflected for a moment on a time when he, too, was a weary traveler, knocking on the gates of inns looking for shelter and a hot meal. He maintained his skepticism, and with his fingerless gloves unlocked the gate, but upon first sight of his guest he couldn’t help but gasp. Otherworldly may be the only way to describe the traveler. Marvelously grim, cloaked in pitch-black garments, and eyes almost as yellow as his teeth. Long, thin fingers stretched towards the innkeeper and coiled slowly around his neck.
“I am Death, the bringer of finality and collector of souls. This night is your last, and with me you’ll ride into the underworld. However, as you intended to show me kindness, I’m inclined to return the favor.” His voice was as hollow as his glance, and his frozen breath sent a chill through the spine of the innkeeper. “Any last requests?”
For a moment the innkeeper was overwhelmed, but he quickly thereafter felt a blanket of relief envelop his fear. He knew this day would come, and he felt no hatred towards Death. In fact, he found himself a bit appreciative. It had been a long time since his wife had passed, and the thought of seeing her once more filled the innkeeper with dark hope.
“Yes, Death, I have but one request.” The innkeeper invited Death into his home. With the confidence of his fate, he made his way towards his record player. Thumbing alphabetically through the dust-covered collection, his tired fingers pulled out the only record he found pertinent. He placed Safety’s ‘Congratulate Me, I’ve Lost My Mind’ on the record player. “Death, will you sit and listen with me?”
“I’d be glad too.”