The masque of red death
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At the end of the story, the crowd swarms around the unmoving figure of the Red Death at the ball, but they realize to their horror that there is no tangible body underneath the figure's mask and funeral garments. The revelers realize that the Red Death has finally caught up with them "like a thief in the night," and one by one, all of the partygoers fall, despairing and dying, to the floor. As the last of the guests dies, the ebony clock ceases to work, "and Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."