Death can be so cruel. It comes at inopportune times, teases us with flashes of the past, and frightens us with the unknown. Little Violet, however, doesn’t seem to mind. Death visits her room every night. He’s her best friend. He teaches her things her parents would never let her learn. She once tried to tell her parents about him, but they didn’t believe her. An active imagination is what they called it. An imaginary friend. Thinking nothing of it they let it go. Violet didn’t mention him again.
He would bring her gifts. Little trinkets covered in blood. She’d wash it away and hide the gift under a loose floor board that he showed her. There were toys, jewelry and stuffed animals. He once even brought her an old coin. Soon the small storage space filled to the brim and she couldn’t get it to shut anymore. When she told death so he just shook his head not understanding. She lifted the board and showed him. He still shook his head. She didn’t want to hurt death’s feelings but if her mother and father were to find the things he’d given her, they would think she stole them. Frustrated she threw a decorated rock at him. One he’d given her last week with purple crystals on the inside. Death grew angry. His eyes flamed red and his scythe took on a more menacing appearance. He roared at her before disappearing.
Violet didn’t want to play with Death anymore after that. She didn’t want her parents to be mad at her, and she didn’t want the gifts he brought to her. The next night when he returned she covered her head under the covers and pretended he didn’t exist. He tried to pull the covers back but she held them tight, her little knuckles squeezing with all their might. He roared in anger again before leaving. For a week this continued. She’d hoped he would go away. On the eighth day the night remained quiet. Death didn’t visit, and gifts weren’t given. Little Violet finally got to fall asleep.
The next morning her parents found her cold body laying in her bed surrounded by toys, trinkets, and jewelry they’d never seen before. They trailed around her body, off the bed and into a loose board not far from her bed. In their grief they called the police, assuming someone had murdered her in her sleep. There was no sign of forced entry, no fingerprints, and nothing wrong with her to show any violence.
In the days of waiting for her autopsy reports, her parent’s started the painful arrangements of her funeral. Family arrived from all over to help. Violet’s little cousin, Joseph, slept in her room with a few older siblings. He slept fitfully and complained of laughter filling the room keeping him from sleep. No one else herd anything so they figured he’d been effected by his own grief as he was close to Violet.
The next night the same thing happened again. He stayed awake hoping to catch the culprit. What he saw, he knew no one would believe. Violet was kneeling over the loose board in her room pulling out phantom toys and playing with them as a cloaked figure watched from behind. She laughed and didn’t seem to mind the figure’s presence.
“Violet?” Joseph asked in a broken whisper. She looked up immediately and smiled. Taking the phantom teddy bear in her hand she used it’s paw to write ‘PLAY WITH ME’ on the wall. The writing was red, and her hands were too. He looked at the wall, then back at her. Frightened, he pulled the covers from her bed over his head and prayed she’d go away. That he’d go away. The scary cloaked man watching her.
The words were still there the next morning. Joseph insisted he did’t write them, that Violet did. The family berated him for his tasteless joke and made him clean it off the wall. It didn’t matter how much he protested and swore up and down that he didn’t do it, no one would believe him. He refused to sleep in there again, and no one forced the issue.
On Violet’s funeral day her parent’s received the autopsy report in the mail. Cancer. Their daughter had bone cancer that not once ever showed any sign in any of her yearly checkups. When they inquired about it, sure that it was a mistake, the doctor insisted that she’d had the disease for years.
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