Papaya blinked in the sunshine. It had been a long night of harvesting. Her song had warned three people of their impending deaths. None of them would heed her warning and get their shit together. Guaranteed.
One soul she had collected from an unfortunate human who thought a lone woman at night was easy prey. He had learned his lesson…painfully. Four more souls had joined her somber parade from the local hospital. Papaya hated doing these odd jobs for death, but the magic he paid her in was enough to keep her ethereal patchwork together. If she could find one true believer she would be restored to her former glory.
These days, Belief was mythically impossible to find. So Papaya existed on whispers. Her once powerful voice had faded until she feared silence above all else.
The gates of the underworld were hidden next to the stage doors of every theater in every city. Death loved to misquote Willy Shakespeare: “Life is but a stage and humans are here to entertain me.” Someone currying Death’s favor had cross stitched his favorite quote. He had laughed and granted their small favor. The cross stitched piece now hung behind his desk in his office. No one could say that Death didn’t have a sense of humor.
Papaya led the five souls to the gates and ushered them through. After the last soul had passed through, several actors burst out of the stage door she was standing near. They didn’t see her, but they heard her soft wailing. They joked about the ghost of the theater and scrambled off to find breakfast.
The prompts for this short story:
Copyright 2019 Klaudia Grady