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February 23, 2019

Fiction: For Rent

This week's Words for Wednesday prompts are: bathroom, parasol, furniture, duck, phone, puzzle and/or wade, grim, barge, sporadic, pizza, burial

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Fiction: For Rent

The place smells like a medicine cabinet with the scent of incense and leftover cheese. Jesse looks up at the white parasol-shaped light fixture dangling up there on a thin wire and wonders if it will fall on her. The furniture are all black and grey with white sprinkles that may be dust. She wades through the shelves of black skull sculptures here and there, piles of hardcover books about death and destruction, small black boxes marked with 'RIP' in white lines the floor around the room, pizza boxes that has oil stains are stacked beside the grey couch that appears almost new and unidentified lumps that may have once been plant life on the window sills. The black curtains however appears to be silk and quite nice. The view through all four windows are of bricks, bricks, bricks and some bits of blue sky if you tilt your head slightly to the left. The center wall has a painting that looks like a giant black hole where lost childhoods and socks go.

In the small corner is a white stove. Above it hangs two shelves with neatly organized glass jars with white labels with inscriptions such as 'a drop of sunlight; dust from a queen; a bear's breath,' but they are empty. Beside the stove is a tall block of gray-black wood and on this wood sits a white rubber duck and a white phone that has a torn core. Jesse puzzles over all these things as she heads toward the bedroom.

The bedroom is small with white walls and a single oval window that looks out to the sky which at the moment is dark when it has been bright blue a moment ago. There is a large bed with white bedding. The ceiling however, is black. Jesse wonders why all the black and white. She have not seen a single color except for the pizza boxes with the red pepperoni drawing and that strange photo of a yellow bell near the door. On the floor is a small globe that glows blue. Jesse reaches out a hand to touch it but then Mrs. Hatch, the landlady, suddenly speaks as if standing very close. "All the furnishings and fixtures are included, no charge." Jesse turns around and smiles at Mrs. Hatch and then turns toward the other door.

The bathroom is immaculate. Not a hair or dust or dirt to be seen. It's all white with a silver shower head. Even the white towels hanging there looks brand new. There is no sign anyone has used the place aside from the single black toothbrush inside a clear glass and a rolled up toothpaste on the sink.

Jesse steps out of the bathroom and is surprised to see Mrs. Hatch standing near the front door. "Everything's included in the rent including gas, electricity and water." Her smile has been sporadic. Each time Jesse looks up at her as Mrs. Hatch is a rather tall lady, Jesse would find a smile or a frown as if the lady couldn't decide which to use.

The front door opens and a tall figure in a black robe and hood barges in. He holds a scythe in his left hand and a slice of pizza in his right. He pushes his hood off with his pizza hand. His long black hair falls onto his shoulders in clumps and looks as if it has not been washed in days. His ashen face is lined and thin. She can almost make out the bones of his cheeks. Looking into his eyes, Jesse shivers as if she has seen something unpleasant but whatever it was, it had immediately left her mind. The gray shadows beneath his eyes seems to have been there for years.

He winks at Jesse. Jesse looks toward Mrs. Hatch. Mrs. Hatch half-smiles and says, "This is Mr. Grim. He will be vacating by the end of the week. Shall we draw up the contract now, Miss Angel?"

George Edward Grim leans his scythe right beside the door. Then he gobbles the last bit of pizza and swallows. "Mrs. Hatch, let's be reasonable. Give me another week and you will have your rent." His voice is a bit strained and yet strong.

Mrs. Hatch's lips twitches. "Mr. Grim, I have enough of your...your mucking. You have been given notice." She turns to Jesse. "Miss Angel, I must have your decision today."

Jesse wonders maybe she should just bury the bucket with Dave and move back in. At least his place isn't decorated by a grim reaper. She lets out a breath. "Very well, Mrs. Hatch. I am not going to rent this...this abomination." She half runs out the door which George have not bothered to close.

'There goes another one,' George thought though he is not surprised.

Mrs. Hatch huffs. "Mr. Grim, please vacate the premise at the end of the week."

"Mrs. Hatch, you do not mean that. I swear to you, you will get your rent next week." George has been used to Mrs. Hatch's threats. She has shown the apartment to sixteen people including Miss Angel and all of them had ran out of the apartment either abhorred or slightly confused but none would rent the place.

Mrs. Hatch keeps her eyes forward as she opens the door and lets herself out. Six seconds later, she opens it again and leans her head in, "Mr. Grim, if I don't have your rent by the end of next week, I really must insist on your leaving." She smiles and then slams the door shut shaking the framed photograph of the yellow bell hanging next to the door. It swings for a bit and then falls onto the floor and shatters.

George glances at the mess and then turns away. He suddenly doesn't feel as upbeat. He removes his robe, drops it where he stands and sits down on the couch. He runs a hair through his long blond hair and lets out a long breath. Miss Angel has looked horrified by his appearance no doubt like every human. For once, he would like someone to see him as he is. But only his family or his kind would see his true self. He sighs.

The black hole on the wall begins to whirl with hints of white reminding him of his job. He stares at the hole with a sudden hatred. This business of dealing with souls is not exactly his choice. If he isn't the oldest, he might have escaped this fate. Then George might have been a vacuum salesman or a gardener but plants and flowers tend to die when he's around. Anything, even an undertaker, would have been better than this. At least, he has his own place. That is, when he can pay the rent.

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For more Words for Wednesday, visit River at Drifting through life

8 comments:

  1. Oh, spookylicious story. I felt sorry for poor Mr. Grim. And I'm dreadfully sorry for thinking that April Gale 6 was your Words for Wednesday-contribution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. actually, that april gale story is my words for wed, I was inspired by the prompts to write this second piece.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  2. Hope the rent can be paid! I like what you did with parasol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. of course he will or else he would be a homeless grim reaper.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  3. I'm not sure I would want to rent such a space either, unless it had better views from the windows. Does George have black hair or blonde? Or does it change colour when he removes the Grim Reaper Robes?
    Really Great use of the words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. george have blond hair but humans always see his other self which I guess I didn't explained it well, we see grim reapers as scary creatures but here I thought it would be nice that they are just normal being with normal looks and a somewhat normal life.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  4. Quote: "The center wall has a painting that looks like a giant black hole where lost childhoods and socks go."
    I love this quote!

    Now this was creative! Having a Grim Reaper in a domestic environment was fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do think that's where socks go...

      I've always like the idea that certain figures are not as they seem, like the grim reaper.

      thanks for visiting, have a lovely day.

      Delete

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