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The telephone starts to ring. It’s midnight and Carey looks at you from the other end of the couch. It’s late and you weren’t expecting a call. It’s on the third ring.

You shrugged and reached for the telephone but Carey stops you.

“No good news comes at an hour like this,” she says.

The telephone is on the fourth ring. You pick it up.


“Good evening, Mr. Linden!”

The voice sounds cheery and fake, as if they were shooting a commercial for TV instead of talking on the phone.

“Who is this?”

“You may have heard of me,” the man said. “I’m Death and I’m here to give you a special, limited time offer.”

“Did you say…Death?”

Carey is staring at you. Her eyes are wide.

“Have you ever thought about funeral expenses?” he asks. “Do you fear burdening your family and loved ones after death?”

“…I’m only thirty four.”

“I know, Mr. Linden. Death can come at any time,” he said.

“You should hang up,” Carey whispered.

“Death can come unexpectedly, so it’s best to be prepared. I have a limited time offer, just for you.”

You didn’t think this was very funny. You reached towards the receiver.

Don’t you hang that phone up,” the voice blared through the speaker.

Your hands were shaking now. You slowly press the phone back to your ear.

“What do you want?” you ask, stomach tightening.

“I just want you to hear my offer. A package deal.”

“I don’t want it.” Your voice to was too soft, too shaky.

“Oh, come on,” the voice cooed. Why did he sound so happy?

“At least let me tell you what it’s called,” the man says.

You didn’t want to know.

“Please…I don’t know how you got my number, but please leave us alone.”

“You aren’t alone, Mr. Linden.”

“I know,” you said, looking at Carey.

“No, you don’t,” the voice said. “I really don’t think you know.”

There was a soft thump from somewhere in the house.

“You want to know about my package deal, Mr. Linden? You have limited time.”

Your heart was racing.


“I can tell you the name.”

Floor boards creaked.

“What was that?” Carey said.

You couldn’t think.

“What, then?” you said, nearly breathless. “What is it called?”

The man chuckled over the phone.


And then the phone went dead, the lights went out, and Carey began to scream.

Original Post:

© Mercury The Scribe - 05-21-19


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