Party Invitation

“Yes?” Turner asked the stranger at his door. When he opened the door, his first thought wondered if it was Halloween. A tall, lean figure wearing a black cloak and hood stood on his doorstep. He spotted a pale, delicate chin under the hood before the stranger pulled it back. She was a pallid woman with sunken eyes and long forest-green hair flowing down her back. The woman looked Turner up and down, then sighed heavily.

“You don’t have a tattoo, do you?” she asked with a voice full of disappointment. The question confused Turner enough that he couldn’t answer with more than a shake of his head. What kind of person knocks on people’s doors to ask them about tattoos? “Damnit!” she hissed in a near-whisper. “You had to be slumbering.”

“Well, thanks for checking in…,” Turner wanted to shoo this person off his doorstep and started closing the door. She stopped him by blocking the door with her foot.

“I came here to warn you off my turf…,” she pushed her way into Turner’s house while grumbling annoyance. “…but you’re not even doing it intentionally.”

“Get out of my house, please,” Turner said, but the woman shook her head.

“I know you can stop time,” she said with a sly smile. Turner’s eyes went wide. “And, I need you to stop saving people. It puts me off schedule and makes more work for me. Turner tilted his head as he processed the new information.

“D..Death?” he asked. The woman smiled.

“My name is Eden,” then she nodded. “Being Death is my career and your attempt at good deeds is interrupting my workflow.”

Attempt? I save their lives!” Turner blurted his defense. Eden shrugged.

“Then what?” she asked. Turner narrowed his eyes.

“Then what, what?” he asked for clarification.

“Did you really save their lives? They’re still going to die.”

“One day, probably. But not while I can stop it.”

“Why not?” Eden asked and let herself fall to his bright red couch.

“Because! They’re people, they deserve to live.” Turner sat in a matching red recliner next to the sofa.

“They deserve to live?” Eden giggled for a moment, then sat up straighter to talk to Turner. “Pretend you’re in charge of keeping someone from a surprise party until it’s time. Then, you get so focused that you forget your job. All you know is if you take them to the house, your time with them is over. You’re so worried about that time coming to an end you take every opportunity to stay away. You convince yourself that they deserve to spend time with you, despite the plan that was already in place.”

“You’re saying Heaven’s a party?” Turner asked. 

“I’m saying you’re messing up the plan and I’m here to put a stop to it,” Eden stood gracefully, but quick enough to cause Turner to step back. “You have two options. Join up, or move on to the party. Either way, you won’t interrupt my work again.”

“Join? You mean, become Death?” 

“You already are in some ways. But you have the option of formalizing your relationship with the universe.” 

“Huh? How am I Death?” Eden rolled her eyes, then she bent her left knee and lifted it. She pulled the black gown upward to reveal a tattoo on her calf; a silver scythe with a clock on the blade and the number 14 on the handle. 

“Your favorite number is 14. You can stop time. You’re a Unique Soul known as a Muerte,” Eden lowered her leg and pointed at herself. “We Muertes are the ones that keep things running. So. Do you want a job, or do you want to go to the party?” 

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