The Tasting Room
by Josh Vogt
Bone fingers clinked against crystal as Death raised the goblet. He gazed through its ruby facets, eyeing the figure strapped to the chair in the otherwise empty room. Male. Chubby. Hair dripping sweat.
“Apologies for the goth look.” Death plucked at his robe. “Tradition. My employer insists.”
The man moaned, unable to speak thanks to the silver funnel shoved into his mouth, clamped in place by an iron band.
Death smiled. He always smiled. “Despite the common misconception, your life is not the sum of grains in an hourglass. You are a vintage, aged to perfection—whatever that age may be. In your case…” He checked a driver’s license conjured out of thin air. “34. 225 lbs. Organ donor. Hmm. Ironic, no?”
Bloodshot eyes widened as Death approached, bearing the drink.
“Oh, yes. It will be a familiar taste. The bitter memories. The undertones of fear and rage. The dregs from the innocent lives you trampled. And it is all you’ll have to taste for quite some time.”
The man jerked from side to side, futilely attempting to break free.
Death bent over, skull cocked to present a non-existent ear. “What’s that? You don’t wish to savor the final product? You don’t deserve this? But, my good man, you planted the seeds. You tended the vines. I…” A swirl of the glass. “I just reap the crop.”
He tilted the goblet against the funnel lip, ignoring the gargled screams.