Fear the Reaper
By Dana Quell

It stared at him, a deep, bone chilling stare that never blinked or looked away.  He stared back, his eyes wider than they had ever been, only staring because he didn't want to take his eyes off this gruesome apparition lest it move to attack.  The room was silent save the soft thump thump of his heart beating somewhere beneath his ribcages, pounding on them to be let out so it could save itself from this thing, this staring creature that invaded his home and never lifted its gaze.

It was small in stature, but still very menacing with its hollow eye sockets.  Rotting flesh hung off in clumps on what parts of its body that weren't hidden by the black robes it wore.  He wasn't close enough to smell the thing, and for that he was thankful.  Staring at it, he wondered if it could kill someone with its smell.  It looked like it could.

Still staring, his hand groped blindly at the table next to him for his phone.  Found, he dialed the number so familiar he didn't need to see what numbers he was dialing.

"Hello?" a well-known voice replied to the ringing of the phone.

"Diana?  It's me."  His eyes never moved from the thing.

"Oh, hey, Jack.  I was just thinking of you.  What's up?"

"Oh, nothing much.  I'm just staring at this small, hideous looking thing that looks like it's going to eat me any second.  You know, the usual."  Words spoken flippantly, meant to be taken seriously.

"Ah, of course.  What else would you be up to?  At least its not aliens this time."  She was laughing, not having any way to know he was serious.

"Actually, I don't know if it's an alien or not.  It might be, but I don't think so.  It looks like a gnome or an elf or something."

"Hmmm, and what might this elf look like?"  A hint of amusement hidden within her voice was not hidden very well.

"I don't know... it looks like a skeleton, except it's got some skin that looks diseased and rotting hanging off in clumps in some places.  It's got pointy ears and no eyes and black robes... shit, it just smiled.  Diana, it's got very very very sharp pointy teeth."

There was a missing sustenance to his voice that always let her know when he was joking.  "Jack?" she asked after a moment's hesitation.

"Yeah, I'm still here.  And so, unfortunately, is it."  A pause.  "We're having a staring contest.  I think it's winning."

"Oh creation, you're serious Jack?  Scheisse, why couldn't you have said you were?  I'll be over as soon as I can."  The click of the dial-tone let him know she had hung up.

He stared at the thing for the next twenty minutes, unblinking.