I found him on May 1st, 1908, on a slight hill overlooking some of the apple orchard. He was tethered to a pole by strips of leather looped through cuts in the flesh of his chest. The man’s eyes were closed in rapture, his face upturned to the sun.
Despite the softness of my step, the man heard me, and he smiled as he greeted me, welcoming me to the morning in a tongue I had not heard in decades. He spoke in the Crow dialect of the Asparoke, a beautiful language I had nearly forgotten.
When I asked him who he was, he laughed and asked in return, “Who do you think I am, Duncan Blood?”
The tone and the voice struck an old memory, one which sent a chill racing along my spine. My hand itched for a pistol, although I knew it would do me no good.
Death chuckled and said, “Still, you would fight me, after all this time?”
“Of course, I would,” I replied.
“Good,” Death said. “It will be a sad day for me, Duncan Blood when you welcome me with open arms.”
We stood in silence for a short time, blood running in rivulets from his wounds. Finally, he sighed and said, “Have you any friends on Myrtle Street, Duncan?”
“None,” I replied.
“Good,” he said after a moment. “I will be burning the street to the ground shortly.”
I considered Death’s statement for a moment, shrugged and asked, “Will you want coffee after?”
His laughter was pure and terrifying, launching the crows from the trees and stealing the warmth from the air.
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