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Mr Forbes The Notebook

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium
The first in a series of four short stories featuring the enigmatic and irresistible Mr Forbes.
Cover by Booksie's own master image-provider, Markie Bee. https://www.booksie.com/users/markie-bee-223538

Submitted: October 07, 2018

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Submitted: October 07, 2018

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Mr Forbes 1. The Notebook.

Mr Forbes did not sleep – ever; but sometimes he would attempt to rest his sight, to clear his mind. It would make a welcome break before he next consulted his notebook, for one thing was certain, Mr Forbes was never, ever short of work.

His image had become stale; too many people had started trying to flee at his approach and it had become tiring giving chase and catching up with them, for none ever escaped. No, Grimonious Forbes had decided it was time for a change and had given himself a whole new look.

Gone was the long black hooded cloak, all ragged and tatty, to be replaced by a suit, one aptly solemn, of course. The scythe had also been replaced, Grimonimous feeling that a cane was more in keeping with his new updated image. No ordinary cane was this though; no, this innocent looking thing was very capable of swiftly dealing out a lot of damage. Finally, his new look was finished by a black top hat that was placed carefully on his bony head.

There were so many people, newly dead, to be escorted that he could no longer manage alone. Only those judged to be particularly important would find their names in his book. Those who had appeared to be ‘good’ but were really so very ‘evil’. Yes, those duplicitous souls were singled out for his own personal attention. Those who made no pretence of their wickedness, and there were thousands of them coming to the ends of their lives every week, were escorted by his underlings.

At last, opening his already unclosed eyes, Grimonimous studied the names and locations of his clients. Distance and time meant nothing to him for he would just appear at the right place in a moment. Once the souls were bound to him, they would be dragged along invisibly behind him, their number increasing with every stop.

Sometimes of course they were not so happy to be going along for the journey. A single tap from his cane, Grimonimous had found, was enough to ensure their compliance. Failing that, a flick of his bony fingers would send them forward to wait alone in terror.

Nobody ever got to see his face, or the front of him at all. He refused to lower himself to wearing a mask to cover his sharp cheekbones and non-existent nostrils, his super-massive black hole eyes. Instead he made his front facade invisible. No one would ever see him coming. The back of a man, imposing in his slow and steady funereal walk is all that his gathering, or anyone else ever got to see.

Letting his bones creak and groan, he got himself dressed up and ready. Only when he was sure that his rear view was impeccable would he again pick up his notebook and place his first left finger on top of his chosen name.

Right outside a closed door inside an imposing but rather neglected dwelling, did he find himself. He rapped his cane sharply on the door and could feel the soul resisting. It did, after all, have a good idea where it was heading, knowing the life that had been led was so very far from being exemplary. Let it struggle away; it would be dragged along behind him regardless.

Grimonimous Forbes had to admit that he rather enjoyed his job. Even more so since he had got himself a new look. Sometimes he would even find a skip in his step, a swing with his cane. It was so much easier now that he did not have to worry about tripping on his cloak or getting his scythe embedded in a near-by tree.

No, he thought, life, or rather death, was pretty good these days. Fourteen more souls to be collected and bound, then it would be on to the next stage.


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