Death glanced over the mornings schedule, empty sockets peering with cold intensity over the neatly typed page. It was a typical day.
His assistant had a habit of inserting these curious puns into his work. He didn’t quite understand it, and even if he had, he had long forgotten how to laugh. He thought he had once, but it turned out that he had gum in his neck. Did it involve moving? Or was it a sitting activity? These questions irritated him, but the menial details of existence had long become blurred, turned to dust inside his bleached white skull. But, all in all, a typical day. Except something was wrong. He couldn’t quite determine what it was, but a foreign and unnerving sensation had begun to press down upon him, straining his joints beneath his sable cloak. A feeling of listlessness, a silent and creeping ennui, advancing upon him as he attempted to concentrate upon his morning tasks. Being unable to define this feeling frustrated him, but he had found it was easy to be of few words when you generally killed people with them. Suddenly it dawned on him. He was tired. The realisation was startling, as he was fairly sure that he wasn’t supposed to get tired, so he turned the sensation over gingerly in his head, examining it with the meticulous scrutiny only an eternity of collecting souls could provide. Despite this, the feeling grew. He didn’t even have a brain, and yet he was sure he had a headache. Death was immovable and unending, and did not have bad days where it would rather stay in bed. It did not have moods or inclinations. Remembering this fact compelled him to rise from his desk, and attempt to focus on the upcoming tasks of the day. Although, he could recall a day where he had lost part of his foot. It had eventually turned up underneath a filing cabinet, but if something could be qualified as a bad day, that was probably it. He reached for his scythe, the metal shining and edge grinning in the gloom of his office. Grasping it firmly, he swept out the door, cloak trailing behind him as a shadow does its master.
Arriving at his first destination, he saw that he was to collect the soul of a forty year old man, who was heading for a chest-clutching heart attack. He had arrived at a park, on a summer day one could use as a template for all days to follow. The sun shone brilliantly in an azure sky, flawless and golden. Death did not have much appreciation for good weather. To him, good weather just meant more people outside to be hit by buses and die in freak yachting accidents. Glancing around for his victim, he saw a man running laps around a calm lake, completely oblivious to all except the track presented before him. That was the first victim of the day. He certainly didn’t look prone to a massive heart attack, but cardiology was not one of his areas of interest. Besides, appearances could be deceiving. He waited for the man to complete his lap. Running was also not one of his areas of interest. All-powerful eternal being or not, no one looks dignified running in a cloak. As he waited, the vague agitation he had experienced before began to renew with increased intensity. He attempted to ignore the sensation once again, but it continued to grow, dripping onto his normally ordered thought like a faulty tap inside his head. Fatigue and routine. An eternity of dispensing his namesake had now begun to takes its toll. Now he could grasp what was wrong – he didn’t want to do this any more. With the thought crystallised, it was now impossible to placate. In the midst of this epiphany, he almost failed to notice that his victim has rounded the last bend, and was now approaching rapidly. Perhaps devoting his full attention to the business at hand would assuage the turmoil he now felt. He rose to his full height, and spoke as the rather red faced man drew near.
‘I HAVE COME …’
The man did not stop. In fact, he didn’t even slow, or show any sign of acknowledgement in the slightest, and continued on to his next lap. This was quite a blow. When gifted with extraordinary power, one likes to be treated in a manner befitting as such, not viewed with as much interest as a telephone pole. Why was he doing this? He was sure he could be doing other things, not being ignored by a mortal more concerned with lap times than an ancient apparition coming to take his life. What was barely contained now broke into full mutiny. Why should he be doing this? What was to stop him from simply returning to his realm, putting his cloak over his head, and sleeping for a thousand years? The running man approached again, significantly more flushed.
‘I HAVE COME FOR …’
Again, the man continued on, headphones on and music blaring. Utterly ignored, Death sat down. He had now arrived at a terminus, a suitable point for the end. Only this time, it would be his end. He placed his scythe upon the ground, loathe to leave it but unable to take it on the upcoming journey. Producing a bony hand from his sleeve, he raised it above his head. Soon he would have peace, and would no longer be forced into the servitude that he could not remember commencing. Surely his assistant would do a satisfactory job, although the puns would have to go. Bringing his hand down, he placed Death’s touch upon himself, and began to fade, the anguish dissolving into joyous relief, flooding over him like liquid. Now, he could rest. Before the last remnant blinked out, he remembered his skull polishing. That may have cheered him up, now that he thought about it.