“The poor guy.”
The park was lively, except for the grim area the two women were approaching. “Yeah, it’s still a shocker two months later. What a pillar to the community. It’s too bad they weren’t able to clean up all the blood. How long were they trying? At least a couple weeks?” They arrived at the tree. The nearby concrete was still stained with blood.
A sudden rattling.
“They can’t clean up my blood!”
One of the women laughed uncontrollably, while the other recoiled in fear.
“Don’t do that!”
“Why not? That’s why we’re here, aren’t we? To get scared?”
“Yeah, but with the real deal, not your stupid jump scares!”
They looked around. It seemed like everything became still. They stopped hearing the couple’s quiet guitar in the distance, the laughing of children at the nearby playground, or the dogs barking as they fetched frisbees in the pond. Even the water fountain. Then they saw it.
A bloodied head rolled toward them followed by a decapitated body.
“Hello… ladies. What brings you in… today? How can I help… you?”
The prankster sweat with fear, the hairs on her arm fully upright.
“Woah! Um… what the hell! We believed in you! Why’d you do it?”
The head’s eyes glowed as it floated up to answer this question.
“Why did… I? Simple… ma’am. Because it… needed to be… done!”
The other woman threw salt at the floating head.
“Begone, demon! Find a retirement place far away!”
“Why’d you do that?”
Both made eye contact.
“I read about it online?”
The body, head, and blood-stains disappeared.
“Hey- look. What the hell’d you do? It worked!”
Sound and senses returned.
“Nice! So it actually worked!”
The overwhelming silence returned, permeating every sense with shocking fear.
“Ladies… I really did not like… that! Such a grave offense deserves… another!”
The park disappeared in erratic darkness.
“What’s going on? Are you seeing this, too?”
The poor guy appeared in front of them, head reattached, almost back to new.
“Prepare yourselves… ladies. Perhaps… you will join me in… infinite suffering?”
The salt-thrower dug into her pocket and unfolded a glowing piece of paper.
“I think not! This is your offer letter to retire peacefully in the afterworld!”
A series of black symbols floated off the paper and engulfed the poor guy.
“No! I will not retire on these… terms! Where is my pension! My… party!”
She stepped forward. Reality crumbled around them.
“Don’t be consumed by glory, demon! Retire yourself!”
The poor guy looked over the symbols, sighed, then initialed every symbol.
“I find these terms… agreeable. I will accept… them. Thank you… kindly.”
Reality’s routines returned. The couple’s quiet guitar played over the laughing of children, as dogs barked, and water splashed in the fountain. The blood stains completely disappeared.
“What was that?!”
“I read about him. He was fired instead of getting full retirement. Probably why he lost his head. So I just came prepared.”
“Obsessed over that? Poor guy.”