The Night I Saw The Reaper – Part 4

As I turned and faced the weather outside, it was though a vengeful God had decided to personally attack me with all the rain and wind it could muster. The force of the raindrops driven against my face made me suck in a breath in surprise at it’s fierceness. As I squinted into the storm, I could see the road that ran along outside the pub was starting to flood, a river of water cascading along it. Although it was dark and stormy, there was enough light to see by and so I started looking around trying to spot Bill. I saw across the road a large open area of grass, like a small playing field or village green. Intermittently the lightening would flash, and this would give me a clearer view of the surrounding area, and it was in one of these bright moments that I spotted him.
He was across the road from me, about ten yards into the green.
He was on his knees with his back to me. His head was down, and his shoulders slumped. Though this sight was disturbing enough, what really caused my stomach to drop as though I was in a plummeting lift was the figure that stood before him. It was exactly as Bill had described to me in the pub. Tall, nearly double Bill’s kneeling height, with a long, dark grey cloak and a hood covering his head. I could see no face, just a black void, like the darkness between worlds. The rain didn’t seem to be touching this tall figure – it was as though he was surrounded my an aura that the water couldn’t penetrate.
I received a further jolt of fear as I realized that the giant figure had his hand on the top of Bill’s head, as though blessing him. But I knew that it was no blessing being bestowed, it was something far darker and ill of intent. I cried out Bill’s name, but neither figure reacted or responded. In the relative darkness between two lightening flashes, the scene changed and as I watched I saw the tall figure was now holding a long, dark pole or stick and at the end of it was a vicious looking curved blade.
As I stared in terror through the murk, I saw the hooded figure, (who I had unconsciously decided was Death as Bill insisted), lift up his arms and swing the long pole back behind him. With almost horrific timing, a crash of lightening lit up the night just as the curved blade swept through the air toward Bill’s head. I squeezed shut my eyes and turned away – I didn’t want to see what would happen next.
After a few seconds, I risked looking back toward what I assumed would be a grizzly scene and all I could see was a slumped figure lying in the grass and mud.
My paralysis broke, and I ran out from the shelter of the pub, across the flooding road, and into the field. My shoes sank into the soaking wet ground as I hurried to the fallen figure. As I approached him, I lost my footing, and I staggered and fell to my knees a yard or so short. From what I could see, Bill’s head was still on his shoulders which I was quite surprised at (and more than a little relieved). I began to crawl toward him, wanting to check if he was as dead as I suspected and as my hand reached out to touch him I sensed a presence.
Sound began to fade, as though someone was turning down the volume on the soundtrack of the storm. I looked up, and straight into the greyness of a long, tattered robe. With a shout, I threw myself backwards so that I was laying back on my elbows and I looked up into the dark space of the hood that topped off the grey robe.
All my focus was on the black hole where a face should be. The world around me began to fade, almost like an over-exposed photograph. And although I was already chilled to the bone through a combination of the weather and my own fear, I could feel cold radiating out from the tall figure stood before me. It was as though someone had opened a doorway to the top of the highest mountain – freezing cold and a lack of oxygen struck me.
As I watched, the dark creature slowly raised an arm toward me. A finger as white and pale as a bone gnawed clean of flesh poked out from the sleeve of the robe and aimed at my face. I couldn’t help myself, I screamed. I screamed loud enough to hurt my throat. And at that moment, with a final, massive flash of lightening, everything went black.

I awoke. For a split second, I didn’t realize where I was. I was lying on my back on grass that was soaked and I was wet and freezing. There was no more rain, the storm seemed to have blown itself out and as I lay there in stunned confusion I could see stars above me. In a heart stopping rush of remembrance I scrambled to my feet and looked around. Bill’s corpse lay where it had fallen. I stared at him for a few seconds, then realized I needed to call the police. I slowly walked back across the grass, wondering how I would ever explain what had happened. I realized I had left my phone in my car, so as I crossed the road I angled toward it and felt in my pocket for the key. With a click, the doors unlocked and I pulled open the drivers door. I lowered myself gingerly into the drivers seat, keeping my legs and feet outside. I grabbed my phone from between the seats, and before dialling I looked up into the rear view mirror. My breath stopped in my throat. I looked bedraggled and muddy, but the thing that made me take in a huge breath and begin screaming was my hair. Once dark brown, it was now pure white, like fresh snow.

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