Afternoon Tea with Time and Death

Date: 5th February, 2019
Edited: 6th February, 2019

Written at the Writers Cafe meetup
Prompt: Purpose

Time met Death one starry afternoon. Just two old friends coming together to chat over tea and biscuits.

“You made the biscuits too dry again,” Death complained, the crumbs falling from his long spidery dead fingers. “Did you put sand in them again?”

“The recipe called for it,” Time groused, “They’re sablé cookies.”

Sand cookies,” Death countered, throwing away the crummy cookie into the void below them, “ I don’t want your sand in my insides. Disgusting.”

“I’ll tell your mother,” Time lifted his teacup and with his pinky outstretched he jabbed it in Death’s direction threateningly.

“Mother Nature isn’t my mother. I was adopted and you know it,” Death scowled at Time, or at least if he had a face, he would be scowling.

“Semantics. We’re still your parents,” Father Time waved Death off dismissively, more sand falling from his skin and onto the mountain of cookies on the table.

No chance Death would be eating anymore of those cookies.

“Colleagues,” Death deadpanned, sipping his tea aggressively.

“Nonsense, we’re family.”

“We’re unfortunately gifted individuals stuck in the same space.”

“Now you’re just saying things,” Time picked up another biscuit delicately between two sandy fingers and held it out for Death to take. “We’ve known each other for ah… a few hundred millennia?”

Death pushed away the hand that offered the unappetising cookie, his blackened fingertips hissing upon contact and sputtering out steam up into the aether and past the stars. “We’ve known each other for forever, Time.”

“Well, there you have it!” Time was unrelenting, pushing the cookie forward into Death’s angrily hissing hand.

“No, Time.” More crumbs joined their previously fallen brethren into the unending dark abyss below.

“Just take the damned cookie, Greg.” It was Time’s turn to hiss, the sound of pissed-off snakes rising from underneath his sandy flesh.

“We don’t use that name anymore, Time!”

And there was a resounding smack! The sound echoed throughout space and beyond, reaching past the cosmos into somewhere unknown where someone somewhere out there might hear it. And as for the cookie- it fell. It fell from Time’s hand like a falling star, warm, bright and yellow, falling starkly into the darkness… becoming a smaller speck each passing nanosecond…smaller…and smaller…until it was gone.

Time withdrew.

The hissing stopped on both sides.

Death sat up straighter, assumed a more poised position, and very delicately picked up his porcelain teacup. “I have no idea why I still come to these meetings.” Death tipped back the teacup and the tea was icy cold. Just like him.

“Love needs no purpose, Greg.”

Death groaned, a pitiful exasperated sound. “Death.”

“Greg…”

Death.” His teacup hit the saucer forcefully, the sound like ice breaking under the blade of a chisel.

“De…Death,” Time continued, “We come together because of love.”

“Bull,” Death gritted out, “I’d love to set his cherubic arse on fire if I ever see him again.” Death turned away.

“No I will not allow you to do that to Love, Gre- Death,” Time sternly wagged his finger at Death.

“The humans have softened you,” Death suddenly said, still refusing to face Time, “Time has no meaning to them anymore.”

“Until you come in, Death. I have meaning as long as we’re together.”

“Moocher,” Death said accusingly, huffing cold air into the aether.

“A friend,” Time persisted, sipping the last of his cold-as-Death tea.

Death grunted and then, there was a pause. Silence between them. It didn’t last for very long.

“So…”

“So…?”

“Same time next week?” Death dusted the biscuit crumbs off his robe.

“Of course,” Time replied, “No more dry biscuits.”

“You say that every time.”

6th February, 2019
Writer’s Notes:

I wanted to try writing something fun this week. Fun and somewhat nonsensical. When I got the rather serious prompt of “purpose” I was a little bit discouraged at first but I decided to stick with it. My mind during brainstorming went up and beyond past reality and into the metaphysical and abstract and I somehow had the idea to have Time and Death’s personifications chat over tea and biscuits. Because why not? I also viewed this as an exercise of writing mostly dialogue and developing different characters on the fly. It was difficult but still, rather fun.

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