I awoke from sleep with a startle. It stared at me from the end of the bed, the translucent figure of a woman bobbing up and down as it hovered. My breathing quickened, I couldn't believe what I was looking at; a cool breeze brushed past my face as it approached.
"It's time," the ethereal being whispered; her lips didn't move, the voice emanating from inside my own head.
It stopped by my side, freezing air flowed out from it like dry ice. I looked into her face, her features dissipated, as if skittish of direct eye contact.
"It's time, he's waiting for you downstairs," she said, her hand slowly raised and pointed a tendril like finger out of the room.
The woman vanished.
I felt compelled to go.
"Who's waiting for me?" I asked, but she was long gone.
I walked across the landing and down the stairs, I stopped before the open door of the living room, slowly peeking my head around the door-frame.
"What the fuck is that?" I exclaimed, scared for my life by what I saw.
A chill touched my shoulder as the ethereal whispered in my ear, "Deeeaattthhhh."
No, no, no! I said to myself as I turned to run up the stairs.
It felt as if I was wading through treacle, being pulled downstairs towards that thing.
The woman tracked me, "You can't fight it, it's your time."
I held the banister to pull myself up, resisting the urge to give up. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw it, gliding effortlessly towards me.
With all my might I made it to the top of the stairs, crawling on my hands and knees I approached my bedroom.
The ethereal angered, her voice raised, "What do you think you are going to do? You cannot outrun Death!"
Watch me, I thought as I sweated and panted my way back to the room. I forced myself to stand, uneasy on my feet, hundreds of unseen fingers tugging at me to return to my destiny. I rolled myself over my wife and fell backwards onto the bed.
I scrunched my eyes tight, my body began to numb.
I chanted, I'll give anything not to die, I'll give anything not to die.
"That can be arranged," its deep bass voice announced.
And I woke.
I flung back the covers, revealing my clammy body to the world. The sudden surge of air cooled my body. My pulse raced. I'd never been so glad to be awake.
I looked over to my wife, her naked body lay motionless. My heart dropped.
That can be arranged.
Those words at the forefront of my mind, as I reached forward and touched her ice cold skin, I accepted it, but it surprised me all the same. I collapsed on top of her and cried.
Her body was so stiff, I didn't except her elbow to thrust into my side and for her to grumble, "Get off and give me some covers, I am freezing!"
"You're alive!" I said shocked, pushing myself up.
"Of course I'm fucking alive. Can you check on Sophie, I'm too cold."
I knew before I left the room.
I knew before I saw her bedroom door ajar.
I knew before I saw her empty cot.