picture of a creepy carriage


The Death Coach


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It was midnight, and the streets of Cohoes grew silent as the citizens turned off their lights, one by one, and went to their well-earned resting places. The night was dark, and the wind whispered softly, touching the trees and houses and rattling a windowpane here and there.

In the house at the center of the street, a small, careworn woman sat at the bedside of her husband, who tossed and turned among the blankets. He had been bitten by a poisonous snake that afternoon, and his fever had climbed so high that he did not know who she was. The woman had sent a neighbor for the doctor, who had come immediately with some antivenom medication. The doctor had given her careful instructions for her husband's care and she had followed them to the letter, but her husband grew worse and worse as day turned into night.

The doctor had promised to come to them again when he finished his daily rounds, and the woman anxiously listened for the sound of his carriage as she applied cool cloths to her husband's forehead. His fever was still climbing, and she was afraid that his mind might be permanently damaged by the poison.

Her husband's face grew paler as he shook with cold. There was pain in the grey lines around his mouth. The pain was something new, and she did not have anything to give him to make it go away. She clutched her husband's hand tightly, praying as hard as she could that his life would be spared.

A part of her knew that her husband was slipping away. He could not have such a high fever and live. No one could. And the raking pain that struck through his body again and again was horrific. She wanted to scream out in desperation, begging him not to leave her alone, but he would not have heard her anyway.

Outside the house, the soft rumble of wheels and the clip-clop of hooves echoed through the still night. The woman tore her eyes from her husband's face and turned in relief. At last, the doctor was coming. She hurried to the window and looked outside, expecting to see the doctor's curricle pulling into the street. Instead, she saw a dark, closed coach with black, gaping holes where the windows should be. The shafts at the front of the coach were empty, yet she could hear the sounds of horses' hooves as the coach moved slowly down the street.

She drew in a deep, terrified breath. Long ago, her grandmother had told her about the dark coach that traveled the lonely streets every night, invisible to all save those who had an appointment with it's driver. It was the Death Coach.

"No," she wispered softly, and then repeated the word as loud as she could. Death would not-could not-come for her husband. Not yet. Not now. He was to young. They had their whole lives ahead of them.