– I’ll kill you.
– Darling, I’m already dead.
– Ya well, I’ll hurt you.
Death sighed. Reaching out a skeletal hand and beckoning, it mentally prepared itself for the angry screams sure to come. And sure enough…
– NOOOOOOOooOoOooOoooooooOooOoOOoOOoOoOOoO you can’t, stop, stop, go away…
The man collapsed, cowering away as Death advanced, rather boredly.
– I…I have a family! A wife, kids.
– No you don’t.
– I have a good job!
– You were literally just fired, do you not remember?
The man sighed.
– Fine. I guess my life is just meaningless. I may as well be dead, who will miss me?
– That’s the spirit!
Death grabbed his wrist and pulled him away into the swirling abyss.
– Now, you’re atheist aren’t you?
The man stammered, gasping for breath a son the storming wind around them stung at his lungs.
– Y-yes, I am…
– Well that doesn’t narrow it down much. What do you believe awaits you after death?
– N-nothing, but I don’t want to be alone…
– Okay, so you can get off here. There are a few others like you already waiting through that light. Enjoy!
Death shoved the man away from it and he fell screaming, seeming to shrink away almost completely before disappearing through the star-like light below.
Brushing its hands off on its long robes, Death turned and zoomed away. It’a shift had ended, it was don-
A loud DING sounded from its tablet. After a moment of struggling to extract it from its many layered robe, it saw a yellow light blinking and a small note scrawled from Hermes about a suicide coming up.
– You know, a little overtime cash wouldn’t be bad…
It twisted the air around it until it was at the coordinates that’s Hermes had included in his text. Death dropped out of the sky, landing gently atop the roof of a car.
Standing maybe 20 feet in front of it was a young girl, shaking nervously at the edge of a drop down to crashing waves below.
It would only be a few seconds and it could collect his 13th spirit of the day. Oh hey, 13th! Lucky number bonus.
But as it watched, she waited. She couldn’t quite seem to bring herself to do it.
Meanwhile, Death was battling with its own internal struggles. Should it help her? It’d been warned countless times not to interfere until the person was actually deceased, but she was young, and alone, and suicides were never pleasant. It could prevent a lot of misery… oh but its lucky number bonus! No, it would follow the code.
– What are you doing?!? It screamed internally.
The girl spun around, away from the cliffs edge. She clutched her own arms as though they were the only thing keeping her on earth.
– Who are you? What do you want- woah.
The wind had blown off Death’s hood and she could see its sunken face.
Death stuck out its arm, allowing its sleeve to fall back, revealing bones bleached white.
– Hi, I’m Death. Care for a cup of tea?
She stared for a moment before nodding mutely and stepping closer to it.
– Are you… are you actually, you know, dead?
– Ah. Right, well…
They stood awkwardly, looking each other over.
– So um, is this your car?
She twitched as if a fly had touched her shoulder.
– Its my stepdads. But he won’t be needing it anymore.
– Oh no? Why not?
– He’s dead. Died just about an hour ago. I got the call when my mom found his note…
Her voice broke some. A chill went down Death’s unprotected spine, and it wasn’t from the wind and ocean spray.
– Er, what was his name? It wasn’t-
– Tim. Tim Allred.
– Dang it.
The girl moved closer.
– Did you know him?
Death pulled its robes closer around him, its tall frame shrinking away in shame. Now it remembered this cliff, but it’d seen it from the other side of the ravine. That’s where it’d picked up Tim, just a short while earlier.
– Didn’t you?
The girl was much closer now, and it could see tear streaks on her cheeks, from the cold or crying it wasn’t sure.
– Well only for a short while. He seemed…nice…
Death trailed off, the girls eyes were dark and angry, and her voice was terrible, cracked and broken.
– You took him didn’t you.
– Its my job! I mean, I didn’t kill him, that other guy did, but-
– OTHER guy?! What other guy? Are you part of a cult or something?
– NO! No, I mean the guy with the gun, the human. He shot your step dad I just cleaned up his spirit…
With every word she seemed to be getting more and more confused and upset.
In an attempt to calm her and ensure its old bones safety, it backed up and continued with its request from earlier.
– Come on now, how about we discuss it over a nice cuppa’?
She straightened up, and a cold determination set into her eyes.
And with that she turned and ran back towards the cliff. At the same moment, two more cars pulled up, one a police, one a beat-up chevy.
Officers jumped out, trying desperately to get to the girl. Two more women had gotten out of the chevy, Death guessed probably the girl’s mom and grandmother.
They ran toward her too, but it was too late. Death felt nothing as the older woman hobbled through him, falling at its feet.
Death shook its head at the scene and floated up and over the drop off, past the officers staring sadly at the waves below.
They couldn’t see it, only those close to dying could, so they caused it no trouble and showed no interest in a cloaked skeleton soaring down the rock wall.
Up came another spirit, the girls, blown up out of the water below. The spirit still had tear streaks and wind blown hair, but this time she took Deaths arm without hesitation, and it flew her up into space, and then on to her afterlife.
Well, it had gotten its lucky bonus! Thirteen spirits in twelve hours, nice.
Back at the office it logged in its hours, filed the paperwork on its spirits and said bye to Mary at the receptionist counter.
– See you tomorrow!
It waved over its shoulder and continued into the parking lot. Death could see spirits walking around it, but once again, they couldn’t see it. The Afterlife and Co. Headquarters were in the middle of London but no one except its employees knew.
And so, they alone got to experience the surreal feeling of two overlapping dimensions, watching the world around them without being disturbed by it or disrupting it at all.
Death saluted a veteran wearing an Air Force cap, then wandered through him towards his car.
Being collecter of the deceased payed surprisingly well, and as a result Death had a rather nice vehicle. Feeling cool as it drove home after a long day of work was important to it.
And tomorrow it would get to do it again, except after gathering many more souls. Competition Week at the office was starting tomorrow and whoever logged the most souls by the time it ended would get a huge cash bonus and a gift card for dinner and a movie. Death had won four times in a row and wasn’t about to break its record.
~ To Be Continued ~