Day 87 of 100 Word Prompts: Death
“It seems a funny thing to be scared of me,” I said, tilting my head to the side as I scratched my chin in contemplation. “I’m not the cause, merely the result. Don’t you understand?”
Of course, I knew that the man shuddering before me didn’t understand. None of them ever did. It also didn’t help that time for everyone else was passing while I saw it more like one of those fancy videos on the internet of slow-motion replays. The unfortunate result of such a circumstance is that even when I speak to them, they can’t hear me. I am moving far too fast for them to comprehend.
I looked to my right, double-checking that the bus was indeed going to mow this screaming man down, and then I reached forward, grabbing his wrist as I pulled him onto the sidewalk. I watched as a wave of time pushed out from me as the world resumed its average speed around me.
“Y-you saved me,” the man said, looking up at me.
I shook my head and looked down at him from under my hood. “No, I didn’t,” I replied.
It was then that the screaming woman on the bench cut through the time dilation. The brakes of the bus reached full skid as the driver slammed on the air brakes, and the traffic behind the bus came to a rapid stop as well. The bus had reached a full stop, just after the mangled, twisted corpse of-what’s his name? Roger? Robert? Renold?-well, you get the idea.
“I’m dead?” he asked.
“You sure are, bud,” I replied, releasing his wrist. “Pretty nasty way to go if you ask me. Luckily, I was here before you.”
“What do you mean, luckily?” he asked, clambering to his feet next to me. “You mean-”
“I mean that your final memory from life would be actually be struck by a bus and all the pain that came with it,” I replied. “Sometimes, I can’t make it on time. I’ve got shit to do as well, you know?”
“Death. Nice to meet you,” I replied, extending a bony hand.
“I think I’m good,” he replied, pulling away disgusted.
“I have no idea if you’re good or not,” I replied, snapping my fingers and producing my scythe. “My job isn’t to judge, only to reap.”
“Wait, no-” he managed as my scythe sliced through him.
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way that didn’t hurt! Well, to be entirely honest, I have no idea. All I know is that they go where ever they are supposed to go when I do it. That’s literally been my job since the invention of life. I’ve reaped Presidents, Kings, and Warlords, as well as Priests, Saints, and beggars. Someday, I’ll likely reap you as well. Don’t judge me.
Anyway, more on topic. This isn’t about the bus catching the man. This is about the person that came walking by as I reaped the poor sap’s soul into the afterlife. They walked through the panicking crowd around the bus as though nothing were happening. They even glanced at the gruesome remains and clearly got a good view of the carnage, yet nothing changed on their face. That is until their eyes met mine.
“Hello, Death,” they said, pulling headphones from their ears. They wore a simple pair of jeans with a light jacket. A dark brown leather messenger bag hung across their shoulders.
“Wait,” I said backpedaling. “You can see me?”
“Yeah, so?” they said with a shrug as they slid their headphones into their messenger bag. When their hand reemerged, it held a scroll case at least a thousand years old, still sealed with wax.”I got this for you.”
“Who are you?” I asked, confused as they placed the scroll case in my hand.
“No one of consequence,” they replied with a shrug as they pulled a clipboard from the bag. “Sign here, please.”
I signed my name for the first time in the history of me. It felt exhilarating.
“What now?” I asked.
“Now I go on and continue my deliveries, and you open your mail,” they replied with a wink as they deposited the signed form into their bag and produced their headphones again.
I watched as they stepped off the curb and walked through all the stopped cars as though they had already forgotten about me. There was something else as well that I hadn’t expected. There was a pull on me, in the direction that they walked. I took a step, feeling the world shift beneath my feet and found myself hundreds of miles away, looking over my shoulder.
My scythe swept through the air before I even bothered to look to see what was happening. None of it mattered anymore. I turned as the soul was sent off and took another step back toward where I had been—this time, landing on the opposite side of the street. I spun, looking for the person frantically.
“Hey!” I called out as I ran up next to them. “I can’t not know how you can see me.”
“It’s my job,” they replied, looking up at me with an annoyed smile.
“That’s what I usually tell people before I reap them,” I said, “I haven’t had anyone other than a soul being reaped see me ever. Where are you from? Where have you been? Why haven’t I seen you before?”
“You know, I’m swamped at the moment. I’d love to talk, but I have so much more stuff to deliver. Maybe your delivery has some answers for you,” they said, taking a step and vanishing.
I stood there for a moment, ignoring the tug at me to travel East for another soul and cracked the wax on the scroll case. A large cloud of debris poofed from inside and blew away on the wind. I turned the case’s open end into my palm and felt something heavy and metallic fall into my palm. My jaw dropped as I saw what landed in my hand.
The Key of Fate!
“I can’t believe this,” I said, turning to the nearest person, who didn’t hear me and just kept walking. “This thing will let me hit a reset button on all of you! This is the greatest thing I’ve ever gotten from anyone, short of my scythe, of course. This is awesome!”