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Here is a little whimsy ... enjoy!
Sweet ambrosia! That was my first thought when I saw her that very first time. Not that I knew what ambrosia was. She sat softly weeping over her soon to be departed father. The sun shone in from the setting sun, giving a golden glow to her already golden brown curls. Even there in the hospital her scent was noticeable; citrus touched with coconut. So angelic!
He did not die that night as doctors came in and hooked him up to life support. That really puts me off schedule when doctors do that, but this time I did not mind. It meant I could return to look at her again. On my third visit, her father was released as the life support was removed. Ensnaring his evenly grey spirit in my gloved fingers, I folded it compactly to place within my satchel. All the while gazing upon her down cast head. Her slim shoulders shook with grief. Then she looked up and appeared to take note of my presence.
"Is death painful?"
"Do you see me?" I asked.
"Well of course I see you. I do not make it a habit to speak to thin air."
Her caustic nature caught me off guard, as it did not fit with my imagined angelic thoughts of her. Too I sorrowed, for only those close to death can see me.
"Death itself is not painful, but the moments before can be quite torturous depending on your method of departure."
She laughed! I did not know how to take her, but her laugh was so delightful I could not help but want to hear it again.
She was contemplating suicide, as nothing was at all wrong with her health. I convinced her to delay her actions if she would allow me to visit her. Often. Laughing in delight she exclaimed, "Sure it's perfect, I have a date with Death!"
Indeed, we did begin dating and it has now been nine months since we began our relationship. She is still suicidal, which causes me to hasten to her side at inopportune times, and yet I cannot fault her- for it keeps us close. I am searching the archives to find out if the ambrosia of the gods is real, giving it to her would be my greatest pleasure. To live for centuries with her by my side without the fear of losing her, ah to dream!
Tonight I meet with her again. My patience with my work is thinning, yet I have one final assignment for the day.
Mounting my pale horse I make my way to the home of a woman in need of meeting her destiny. Not all cases need personal attention, fortunately. Were that the case I’d beg the powers that be for assistants. So I'm it, Death. The Grim Reaper, also known as Azriel. I've only been doing this for a year. The previous guy retired and chose me, Draper, seemingly at random.
As my horse takes me up the steep mountain path, my mind wanders back to my own meeting of destiny. Life had been at a standstill. Getting fired had been the last of my troubles. A broken engagement and the death of my parents meant I saw no more reasons to stay. With no one to turn to, feeling lost and dejected I made a decision. At my height of despair, Azriel walked in to collect my soul, taking a pocket watch out from an inner pocket of his black robe, he clicked it and nodded with a satisfied bob of his head.
I had just slit my wrist and knew surely I was not yet dead. The blood welled up and then froze, like a still life; neither pain nor relief flooded my senses. Curiosity and even puzzlement filled me, as the specter pushed his hood back and the death mask, dissipated. Before me, stood a young man- younger than myself.
“This is death?” I asked.
The near specter shrugged, and replied, “Not quite. I am Azriel, the Grim Reaper personified. I have put time on hold.”
“Why? I have no wish to remain here!”
“I understand. Once, I was in your place. I’ve been monitoring you and feel I have found the right man.”
“The right man for what?” I felt a tingle run up my spine as I envisioned tortures and more.
As it was, Azriel tired of being Death and wished to retire. He proposed trading places, explaining it was possible since he had swapped out with his predecessor when he was trying to commit suicide long centuries past.
Reaching my destination. The home sat precariously on the side of the mountain, a young mother was alone with her child, depression filled her soul. With no means of support, her husband having been drafted, with no response until this day. He would not be returning. A mother of a newborn, too weak to go down the mountain to see a village doctor, and too poor to pay for the services anyway. Out of food, and with the ground still frozen- there was no hope of finding any.
A year ago I had a hard time taking lives so sadly wasted. Now I have gained an understanding and calmly enter, only to see she has a laser weapon (left behind by her husband), her child already vaporized. Being an infant it in no way needs to be attended by Death. I watch as the mother sobs and prays for forgiveness while unseen by her eyes the infant’s spirit ascends to heaven. Then turning the gun to her own pale face, her sad visage disappeared leaving her body and spirit. The wispy gossamer essence is easily snared by Death’s clawed grasp.
Because she was neither pure, nor easily condemnable, her spirit hung in the balance, these are they whom Death must collect. Folding her spirit like a package I place it in my pouch, and with a sigh of relief, my shift is over.
Thankful that I am not charged with judgment I deposit the collected souls and make my way to my well appointed apartment. Yes, being the Grim Reaper is grim. But it has its perks.