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       Living the Afterlife, a Death and Chronos flash fiction collection, p.1
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           River Fairchild
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Living the Afterlife, a Death and Chronos flash fiction collection
he Afterlife

  A Death and Chronos

  Flash Fiction Collection

  River Fairchild

  Copyright ©2014 by River Fairchild

  All rights reserved.

  First edition published April, 2014

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Cover art and jacket design ©2014 by Erin Dameron-Hill, Award-Winning Graphic Artist


  To my family

  Thank you for all your support and understanding when I talk to my characters more than to you.

  To my four-footed babies

  It doesn’t help when you walk across my keyboard but I appreciate your enthusiasm.

  To my awesome readers

  I love you all. Sharing my stories with you gives them purpose and meaning. Without you, they’d merely be words on paper. Thank you for your generous support and I hope you’ll come along with me on this incredible journey.

  To Cathy Olliffe-Webster

  Thank you for letting the guys hijack your wedding reception. They had a blast! Sorry about the Colon Supreme…

  I love being an independent author, able to publish stories that cross genres. One challenge, though, is promotion. If you’ve enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or one of the other online bookstores. Your show of support makes a big difference.

  Table of Contents

  Time’s Faux Pas

  Sore Loser

  Time Flux

  Planet of Delights

  Different Strokes

  Night On The Town

  Surf’s Up

  Time Slips By

  Lofty Pursuits

  After Hours

  Turn Back the Clock

  Death on Wheels

  Time for a Change

  A Night of Splendor

  Bad Timing


  Death By Chocolate

  We’re Baaaaack!

  Employee Relations

  Under the Sea

  Warning System

  The Value of Friendship

  Poker Night

  The Color of Life

  One Helluva Party

  A Mortal Halloween

  Horn of Plenty

  Death In A Red Suit

  Roman Holiday

  Acronym Hell

  About River Fairchild

  Other Books by River Fairchild

  Untethered Realms

  Time’s Faux Pas

  “I’m bored.”

  Chronos looked over to see if his companion heard him. Death sat in a recliner, flicking peanuts from a spoon and catching them in his eye sockets.

  “Are you even listening to me?”

  “I heard you. Why don’t you go visit Nyx?”

  Chronos shuddered, remembering the last time he’d been in that wily woman’s clutches. The goddess of Night was not to be taken lightly. He wasn’t sure he was up to repeating that experience.

  “No, I want to do something constructive. You know, help people.”

  “You’ve got all the time in the world to do it.” Not getting a laugh at his little joke, Death stood up. “I have a collection to make. Let me know what you come up with. It might affect my schedule.”

  Chronos nodded and scratched his beard. The longer it got the more it itched. It was all this cold, dry air—

  That’s it, he thought. People complained about how long winter lasted. He could do something about that.

  He paid a visit to Gaia but she wasn’t at home. Probably out fixing the latest tree blight. No matter. Chronos couldn’t see any flaw to his plan that would upset Mother Nature.

  First, he sped up the earth’s orbit. Then he removed the month of February. Pleased with his solution, Chronos wasn’t prepared for the complaints that poured in.

  Gaia pounded on his door, then blew in before he’d had a chance to answer it.

  “You’ve disrupted the growing season.”

  Chronos took a step backward. If she started a tornado right now, he’d lose all the knickknacks off his shelves.

  “I only wanted to ease the suffering that a long winter brings.”

  “Did you think about the Southern Hemisphere? You shortened their summer.”

  “Oh. That hadn’t occurred to me.” Before he could say more the doorbell rang. Eros stood on the doorstep, his bow pulled taut and an arrow aimed at Chronos’ head.

  “You’ve removed the month of love, you blasted timepiece! How am I supposed to match people without Valentine’s Day? What will this do to the flower and chocolate industries? You bloody well better change it back before I skewer you.”

  Death and War popped in together. War had his sword drawn but Death eased it aside.

  “I’m afraid you’ve made a mess of things, old friend. War will have to intensify his efforts and I will no doubt be working overtime to keep up.”

  “I understand.” Chronos raised his hands to forestall any more accusations. “I’ve changed it back.”

  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and left him at once. The sudden silence gnawed at him.

  “I’m bored,” he said to the empty room. Maybe he’d go visit Nyx after all.

  Sore Loser

  Chronos stumbled into his house after a long visit with Nyx and collapsed on the sofa. Perhaps he should stop time for a week or two and get some sleep. Death sauntered in from the kitchen just then, a bowl of peanuts balanced in one skeletal hand.

  “You look like hell, old man.”

  Opening one eye, Chronos found Death peering at him closely.

  “You have a peanut stuck…” Chronos motioned a finger to his nose, trying to stifle a laugh. Death dug the nut out of his nasal cavity with as much dignity as he could muster before chuckling himself.

  “Wouldn’t do to make a collection with a peanut stuffed up my nose. It could hurt my credibility.”

  “With your cowl up they probably wouldn’t notice anyway.”

  Death studied the sand in the hourglass on the table.

  “My collection is right outside Lucien’s, but I’ve got some time yet. Do you want to play a couple of racks?”

  “Why do you want to play pool with Evil?”

  Death shrugged. “Why not? I’m neutral. Besides, he’s got the best joint in town. I hear Clotho drops in there from time to time.”

  That got Chronos’ attention. “The Fates hang out in a pool hall?”

  “Only the youngest one. She still likes to party.”

  “You go on without me,” Chronos said. He gave in to a huge yawn and sank deeper into the sofa. “Turn the hourglass over for me on your way out, will you?”

  Death shook his skull in amusement as Chronos started to snore. He set the bowl of peanuts down on the table, in case his friend woke up hungry, and faded out.

  “Thanatos, it’s good of you to stop by,” Lucien called out as Death materialized next to the bar. “Join me in a game?”

  The bar patrons shrank back as Death ambled over to the table. Most people saw him as a nice-looking young man, if they saw him at all. Only those whose time has come would see the skeletal visage. Of course, all in here were doomed so they saw him for who he was.

  “What brings you here?” Lucien waved his cigar in the air, its smoke twirling around the woman standing next to him and intoxicating her with its unique aroma.

  “I’ve got a pickup later on.”

  “Not in here I trust.” Lucien smiled but his eyes narrowed and sparked with glints of red.

  The floor next to Death opened, swallowing the person standing beside him in a belch of flames. He ignored the theatrics.

  “No. It’s outside.”

  Lucien relaxed his stance and called for the bartender to bring over a bowl of peanuts.

  “How about a game?”

  The shriek of locked brakes and rend of metal came halfway through the second game.

  “That’s my appointment.” Death turned to go just as a car burst through the wall, lodging itself amongst the scattered bricks. Lucien chomped down on his cigar and grinned.

  “He’s inside my establishment. That makes him mine.”

  “A soul in the hand, Lucien…” Death pointed to the customers starting to scramble over the car hood on their way out.

  “All right!”

  He chuckled as Lucien’s fists balled in impotent fury. He really was a sore loser. Concentrating on Chronos, Death sent out the call that he was needed right away.

  Chronos appeared, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

  “This better be life or death—” One look around convinced him. He shifted his hourglass to the side and time stopped for the mortals.

  “Thanks for coming so quickly, old friend.”

  “You’re lucky I heard you—”

  Motion in the corner yanked both Chronos’ and Death’s attention. The bartender still moved as if nothing was amiss. Lucien followed their stares.

  “He’s not mortal, but demon.” When they turned a questioning glance at him, Evil shrugged. “It’s hard to find good help these days. Besides, he makes a damn
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