Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sore Loser - #FridayFlash

This is a continuation of last week's story "Time's Faux Pas."

Chronos stumbled into his house after a long visit with Nyx and collapsed on the sofa. Perhaps he should stop time for a week or two and get some sleep. Death sauntered in from the kitchen just then, a bowl of peanuts balanced in one skeletal hand.

"You look like hell, old man."

Opening one eye, Chronos found Death peering at him closely.

"You have a peanut stuck…" Chronos motioned a finger to his nose, trying to stifle a laugh. Death dug the nut out of his nasal cavity with as much dignity as he could muster before chuckling himself.

"Wouldn’t do to make a collection with a peanut stuffed up my nose. It could hurt my credibility."

"With your cowl up they probably wouldn’t notice anyway."

Death studied the sand in the hourglass on the table.

"My collection is right outside Lucien’s, but I’ve got some time yet. Do you want to play a couple of racks?"

"Why do you want to play pool with Evil?"

Death shrugged. "Why not? I’m neutral. Besides, he’s got the best joint in town. I hear Clotho drops in there from time to time."

That got Chronos’ attention. "The Fates hang out in a pool hall?"

"Only the youngest one. She still likes to party."

"You go on without me," Chronos said. He gave in to a huge yawn and sank deeper into the sofa. "Turn the hourglass over for me on your way out, will you?"

Death shook his skull in amusement as Chronos started to snore. He set the bowl of peanuts down on the table, in case his friend woke up hungry, and faded out.


"Thanatos, it’s good of you to stop by," Lucien called out as Death materialized next to the bar. "Join me in a game?"

The bar patrons shrank back as Death ambled over to the table. Most people saw him as a nice looking young man, if they saw him at all. Only those whose time has come would see the skeletal visage. Of course, all in here were doomed so they saw him for who he was.

"What brings you here?" Lucien waved his cigar in the air, its smoke twirling around the woman standing next to him and intoxicating her with its unique aroma.

"I’ve got a pickup later on."

"Not in here I trust." Lucien smiled but his eyes narrowed and sparked with glints of red.

The floor next to Death opened, swallowing the person standing beside him in a belch of flames. He ignored the theatrics.

"No. It’s outside."

Lucien relaxed his stance and called for the bartender to bring over a bowl of peanuts.

"How about a game?"

The shriek of locked brakes and rend of metal came halfway through the second game.

"That’s my appointment." Death turned to go just as a car burst through the wall, lodging itself amongst the scattered bricks. Lucien chomped down on his cigar and grinned.

"He’s inside my establishment. That makes him mine."

"A soul in the hand, Lucien…" Death pointed to the customers starting to scramble over the hood on their way out.

"All right!"

He chuckled as Lucien’s fists balled in impotent fury. He really was a sore loser. Concentrating on Chronos, Death sent out the call that he was needed right away.

Chronos appeared, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"This better be life or death—" One look around convinced him. He shifted his hourglass to the side and time stopped for the mortals.

"Thanks for coming so quickly, old friend."

"You're lucky I heard you—"

Motion in the corner yanked both Chronos' and Death's attention. The bartender still moved as if nothing was amiss. Lucien followed their stares.

"He's not mortal, but demon." When they turned a questioning glance at him, Evil shrugged. "It's hard to find good help these days. Besides, he makes a damn fine martini. Now, can we get on with the problem of keeping my clientele penned in here?"

Chronos rewound time to just before the point of impact and they stopped the car from coming through the wall. Time flowed again as Death collected his soul.

"Lucien seemed a bit testy tonight," Chronos remarked.

"He's just mad that I beat him at a game. Evil hates to lose." Death chuckled, his jawbone dropping in a fair imitation of a smile. He put his bony arm around Chronos. "Let's get back home, shall we?"

©2010 Laura Eno