Danse Macabre

I hear them drawing nearer, their voices rising and falling. In my mind’s eye, I watch them wind their serpentine way around the meadows and hills in this danse macabre. Nervous laughter gives way to raucous cheers as the new recruits reach out a tentative hand to the last person of this human chain.

But I stand alone, commanded by the Angel of Death to play and charm these new denizens of the underworld while he leads them to the scales where good deeds are weighed against bad ones. As expected, the virtuous are escorted to Paradise while their unlucky counterparts are left to wander as earth-bound spirits.

It’s the screams of the ones left behind that I cannot stand. Nor does my music soothe them and their howls and wails unnerve even Black Shuck, the Angel of Death’s canine companion, who whines and licks my hand until I pat his head and murmur consolations.

Perhaps it’s better that I don’t see the contorted faces and pale, blood-streaked cheeks of these tormented souls. The Angel of Death agreed, which is why he blinded me before requiring my services. I am under his protection for eternity.

You see, I’m not dead.


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