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Mortimer Dedalus, a young lawyer in his twenties, had just lain down on his bed, exhausted from the day’s work. Thankful that the next day was Friday, he turned off the lights, feeling an unnatural cold seep into the room. It stifled his breathing and bit at his open skin. He instinctively clutched his thin sheets and pulled them over his head, as if they were a protection from the hidden evil present. With an uneasy shiver, Mortimer rolled over on the bed and fell to sleep.
That night, Mortimer was visited by Death. Death appeared in his dreams as a bony, frail old man with pupil-less eyes and a twisted face, and he reeked of disease and hunger. However, Death looked hazy for he was shrouded in an envelope of fog. “Mortimer Dedalus,” whispered Death in a cracked voice that closely resembled the sound of nails scraping against a chalkboard, “I have come to warn you that you will die tomorrow in a horrible incident at work and I will come to take you from the world of the Living.” With that, Death laughed a throaty laugh and flashed his horrible teeth before disintegrating into the night.
Mortimer woke with a start and began to weep. “What have I ever done to deserve death?” he lamented. Death’s words echoed endlessly within his head. Mortimer repeated the words to himself, “You will die tomorrow in a horrible incident at work.” The only way I can escape my fate is to not go to work. In fact, I will have to leave the city entirely.
The next morning, his weak heart fluttered with anxiety as he quickly packed a small bag with all of the clothes and supplies he could fill it with. He then immediately called a taxi and drove to the neighboring city of Confugia.
That night, Mortimer once again met Death in the same manner as before. “You may have tried to escape me, but your death is imminent. With the sweet music of the wind and the crash of crystals, your life will come to an end tomorrow.” Mortimer, now trembling from his second vision of Death, tried to once more analyze the message. Unable to decipher the meaning, Mortimer quietly lay back down on his bed, reluctant to fall asleep.
The next morning, Mortimer attempted to envision his sojourn in Confugia as a vacation, to help ease the stress on his heart. After walking a few blocks from the Hotel at which he was staying, Mortimer came across a Cajun restaurant from which beautiful aromas beckoned to him. He could smell the shrimp pasta, the smoked salmon, and the freshwater catfish seasoned with Sonny Salt. He glanced up at the name: Atpep Buffet. The “t” was burned out and the name Apep showed instead. His stomach growling with hunger, Mortimer rushed into the restaurant. The place was dimly lit and crimson tapestries hung from the windows. The waiters were all dressed in black but wore a sharply contrasting scarlet hat. He was led to a table in the middle of the restaurant that rested under a beautiful chandelier. The place echoed of soft murmuring from the customers; Mortimer swore that they were quietly chanting the words “death, death, death” but he could not attest to this. In the corner, the gurgling sounds of water cascading from the edges of a fountain could be heard. When Mortimer walked over and playful dangled his fingers in the water, his hand was met by a sticky dark substance that seemed to be red in color. It must be the light causing it to have a red tinge. There’s something not right about this place.
“I have the order of Seth ready!”, called a cashier from the to go counter. The man named Seth walked up slowly, took the bag of food, and flashed an uncanny grin at Mortimer, revealing a set of black, rotting teeth. He dangled his thin, bony fingers at Mortimer in a semblance of a wave, and skulked out of restaurant with a frightful, menacing laugh. At that very moment, a slight breeze rustled through the trees and wafted through the windows, blowing the nervous sweat off of Mortimer’s face. The wind-chimes outside the restaurant, chimed with a soft beautiful melody that drowned the sounds of the restaurant. The sweet music of the wind!
Mortimer quickly looked up at the sharp crystals hanging precariously above his head. In a split second, he jumped out of his chair as the chandelier crashed onto the exact place he was sitting. An eerie moaning was heard as the restaurant and the people within dissolved in front of Mortimer’s eyes. He was left lying on a deserted street staring at an empty lot with a for sale sign jammed into the ground.
That night, Mortimer once again met Death, but he was less shocked for he had expected Death visit him. In a fury of words, Death croaked, “You may have escaped me today, but tomorrow you will surely die. You will meet me at the crossroad of night and day, and experience the revelation of the horrible. For temptation is the bane of man!”
Sunday morning, Mortimer decided to remain in his hotel room for the meaning of the warning eluded him. All day he stared out the window and warily watched the door. That night, Mortimer received a call from Elle, his high school sweetheart. Elle tearfully begged Mortimer to meet her at Central Park near his house for she had just lost her grandmother. Elle was a beautiful yet clueless girl that reminded him of Bubble the Dog. Mortimer, eager to rekindle his old relationship, packed up his bags and set off.
As he drove towards the city from which he had fled, Mortimer began to have second thoughts. I’m going to regret this. But, you know what they say? Carpe Diem! Seize the day! I am going to die eventually and I might as well meet Elle before I do.
Mortimer closed his eyes as the taxi turned into Central Park, passing a sign that read “Central Park: The Intersection of Day Street and Night Avenue”. He stepped out of the taxi into a cold, moonless night. Shivering and pulling his coat tightly around him, Mortimer walked towards a bench lit by a lone lamp. Elle sat demurely on the bench, batting her tear soaked eyelashes at Mortimer.
“Oh Mortimer! You came! I knew you would,” she cried with a sweet, musical voice. Mortimer sat down next to her on the bench, comforting her and telling her amusing stories to ease her pain. Elle plucked two apples from the tree that was shading the bench and handed one to Mortimer. “A little night’s snack!”, she whispered as she bit into the juicy apple. Mortimer eyed the apple tree with suspicion as he was positive it had not been there before. With a little hesitation, he bit into the sweet, luscious apple and smiled.
Suddenly, a burning choking sensation filled his stomach and throat and he rolled, twitching onto the wet grass. Mortimer looked up pleadingly at Elle, whose face was contorted into a malicious smirk. Her golden hair receded into her scalp and the flesh on her face melted like hot wax. Her hands and feet shriveled into stumps, and her blue eyes transformed into tiny red slits. Mortimer, traumatized by the transformation, realized that he was face to face with Death. Seized by a heart attack, Mortimer fell limp onto the grass as the city’s clock tower pealed twelve distinct notes into the starless night.