I dreaded the doorbell ringing. Even though I’d put out the notice for a new roommate, I still hated the idea. When Lizzy moved back home, I’d thought that would be the worst part. But now I have to interview people? And potentially live with a stranger? Ick. The entire thing made my skin crawl.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, I’d only had one person answer the ad. One. And the beginning of the month inched closer with each passing day and if someone didn’t move in soon, I’d be saddled with the entire sum of the rent, which I could not in any way shape or form afford on my own and I just couldn’t stand the idea of the whole thing weighing on this ONE interview.
Breathe, Tabitha. You’re being ridiculous.
But then the doorbell rang and I jumped a foot off the couch. I hurried to the door and then paused. Did I want to seem eager? Would it be wise to make it obvious how much I needed this person to work out? They could probably smell my desperation from the lobby. Ugh.
But I had to open the door eventually. And now was better than later.
I plastered a smile on my face and swung the door open to greet… no one?
I leaned my head out into the hallway and looked back and forth.
There wasn’t anyone there and I couldn’t hear footsteps on the stairs, so they couldn’t have run off either.
“Hello.” The voice came from behind me and I spun so fast I felt my neck crack.
“Shit! How did you do that?” Or that’s what I wanted to say. What really came out of my mouth was a weird garbled noise because a super tall dude with a black cloak was in my living room. The hood covered his face and I felt feint at the sight.
“Damn. I thought you’d like my theatrics.” The man shrugged. “Come sit down before you fall down.” He gestured towards my couch and his hand looked skeletal.
“Uh…uh…uh…” There were no words in my head.
The man sighed and approached me. I tried not to flinch when he reached out to grab my arm. But I did flinch because his hand didn’t just look skeletal, it was skeletal. As in a skeleton. As in bones. As in what the fuck was going on in my apartment?
But he took my arm and guided me back to the couch. After I was seated, he shut the door and then sat in the chair across from me. He moved to take his hood down and a squeak escaped my lips. He hesitated. Then the air around him rippled and swirled until all the colors were mixed together.
At this point, I’d already accepted that I was either dead or dreaming and this was just more weird shit to forget in the morning. But then it stopped and the man pulled his hood back to reveal a perfectly normal man’s face. Almost handsome, even. And I was happy to notice his hands were not skeletons at all, just normal hands.
“Hi, I called about your room for rent,” he said with a smile.
“Right.” I licked my lips and tried to remember what I was supposed to say next. “I’m Tabitha. You can call me Tabby.”
“I’m Death, you can call me Scott.”
“I’m sorry, what did you just say?”
Scott, or Death, or whatever the fuck drugs I accidentally took this morning, smiled at me.
“Don’t worry. I’m not here to take you. I’m really here for the room. I need a place to stay for awhile.”
I had no idea what to say to that. Death needed a room? He needed a place to stay for awhile? What did that even mean?
“Look,” he said and waved a hand. A folder appeared out of thin air and he placed it on the coffee table between us. “I don’t like living nowhere. I’m not always busy. Sometimes I like to relax and have a little downtime.” He opened the folder. “Here are the last seven people I lived with. You can contact them for a reference. I always paid on time and they sure did like the perks of me being a roommate.”
“P-perks?” I looked down at the pages. Each page had a photo of a person and their name and phone numbers. More stuff was written below it, but my vision swam if I tried to look at it for too long. I felt too woozy to concentrate on what was happening.
“Yeah. For instance, you can’t die if I’m your roommate. I’m not about to take out the person on the lease and leave myself homeless. Plus, if there’s someone you’d like dead, I can arrange that.”
My jaw dropped open. “If there’s someone I’d like dead?” Not a single face passed through my mind, which comforted me. At least I wasn’t a psycho. Crazy, apparently, but not a murderer.
“Sure. Which I’m sure you wouldn’t take that lightly or anything. I’m just saying.”
Why did Death talk like he was a freshmen in college?
“I… uh…” What was I supposed to say now? If I refused to live with Death, wouldn’t he just kill me? This was worse than when I’d thought they’d be able to smell my desperation. I tried to think of roommate related questions to ask, but this was so cut and dry.
“I’ll give you some time to think about it.” Death scooped the folder up and stood. “I know this can be a lot.”
But I already knew I was going to say yes, didn’t I? He was at the door when I stood up.
“Wait,” I said.
Death turned around with such a hopeful expression on his face that I almost laughed.
“Okay, you can be my roommate.”
I did laugh now. “Yes. Really. Just… no pets.”
“You got it!”