The accident happened in an instant. There we were driving down the road, then all of a sudden we weren’t. I got the worst of it, the truck hit the my side head on. There was never any pain, I was just suddenly here, floating above the wreckage, watching the paramedics try to save us.
He cleared his throat behind me to get my attention. I turned, taking in the black robes, the scythe. He was everything I had been led to believe he was. If Death was here, I probably had no chance, it was over. Screw that! I’m not ready to go yet!
“Come with me, your time is up,” Death told me, his voice raspy.
“No. I’m not ready.”
I tensed, waiting to feel the scythe against my throat, or for him to demand I come. Nothing happened. He just stood there in front of me, fiddling with his scythe. “Uhm, please come with me?” Death sounded a lot less raspy now, almost squeaky.
My eyes went wide, this was Death? “What? No demands, no offer to play a game for my life?”
“Just, if you would come with me Steven, this doesn’t have to be difficult.” His voice had regained some of the authority, but not nearly enough.
“No. I’m not going with you. I need to stay here, I have a family!”
Death exhaled sharply. “Look, you need to come with me. Everyone has a family, this is your time, let’s go.”
I raised an eyebrow at him, emboldened by his tone. “Make me.”
He raised his hand up to his forehead and sighed loudly. “Come on, give me a break. It’s my first day.”
“First day? You’re Death!”
“What you think there’s only one Reaper? For all of humanity? Hell, there are 3 just for pandas and they’re nearly extinct!”
I sat back in the air. “Huh, you’re telling me you weren’t always a reaper?”
He groaned and clutched his scythe with both hands. “Listen, we’re not talking about this. This isn’t about me, or even you. This is business. You’re dead, I gotta take you to the afterlife.”
I leaned back in the air, making myself comfortable. “The afterlife eh? What’s it like?”
The Reaper slammed the end of his scythe on the platform of air we stood on. It made a soft sound, as if he had slammed it into a pillow. I swear I saw a red glow under the hood as he realized how weak that sounded. “You will come with me now. Please, just let me do my job.”
A darkness crept over us, across the entire road though the paramedics didn’t seem to notice. I felt a chill rising from my very core. This new figure strode out of a fold in the air and joined us. He was dressed in a sharp suit, perfectly tailored for his aging body. His hair was tufts of white and his skin wrinkled and marked by his many years. There was a power in his eyes though, he may be old, but he was nothing to be underestimated.
I watched as the Reaper cowered away from the new figure. The man strode over to him and ripped the scythe from his hands. “We will discuss this later.”
The Reaper was suddenly pulled back by some invisible force and disappeared into a swirling black abyss that then swallowed itself. I tried to swallow but found myself petrified. “Come here, stand before me.”
Without hesitation I moved in front of him, unable to look him in the eyes. He looked me over dismissively and turned around. He beckoned me to follow him, and I did.