• Sunday, March 01, 2015



Ishraq Hoque

She sits, as usual, in the timeworn rocking chair next to the ancient fireplace. She sits and she contemplates her birthday that had just passed. She had been one hundred for almost over an hour now. Not a single soul came to celebrate. No one sent her cards. No candles, balloons, or cakes. Not even relatives came to visit because she had outlived them all. Her husband, children, and even her single grandchild.
Her only company was the old rocking chair and the fireplace which couldn't provide the warmth that she so craved. The warmth that came from a hug of a loved one. She just sat there, the wooden house making weird noises, the mighty gusts of frigid wind whistling through the cracks of the ruined boards, and the miserable loneliness engulfing her bit by bit. Not being able to stand it any more, she just wished to get rid of this bitter, solitary feeling.
She suddenly became aware of a chilling presence in the room. She could think of no one that could possibly be visiting her, and she hadn't heard the door open. She opened her eyes with much difficulty to see a man in a jet-black pinstripe suit. Had the loneliness been driving her insane, or had her eyes been failing her? She couldn't be sure, because the man that stood in front of her was about seven feet tall, and he had a handsome face but with eyes that looked as dark as death. The aroma that radiated from this man reminded her of all the cherished times that she had shared with family and friends. She wasn't a person that trusted others easily, but she felt quite at ease with the stranger.
"Hello," he said in an inhumanely calm voice. "I am Death. It seems as if you had been waiting to meet me for quite some time now." He raised his hand; too worn-out to refuse, the lady shook it.
"Don't be afraid. I have come to give you a hug, and my hugs are exquisite ones indeed." He smiled, "I shall give you freedom from this cold and lonely existence. You shall join the loved ones that you've lost over the years. Don't you want that?"
Tears glistened in her eyes as she nodded her head and thought about the ecstasy that this man had promised to provide. He gently put his arms around her. A sudden change began to appear on the man's deathly pale face. The handsome features began twisting into gruesome deformity. His eyes weren't eyes any more, just two raging embers. She felt her very sanity snap into two. As the shrouded cloud of blackness began engulfing her, she noticed two things. One, the delightful aroma radiating from the man was replaced by the icy smell of death itself. The second thing she noticed was that the warmth she had been feeling was gradually turning into an abysmal, fiery inferno within herself…
Law enforcers found the body of the old woman the next day after an anonymous caller reported her death. One single glance at her ancient face, scorched with a look of boundless horror and disbelief, was more than enough to make them lose their appetites for the whole day.



Published: 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2014

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