Slow nights are rare in my line of work. For some reason, I’m always in demand after dark. Don’t know why – but it’s always been so. I knew what I was signing up for when I agreed to do the job but still, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate an off night when I get it.
Tonight was a slow night so I decided to go into the city. I was drawn to the raucous blur of humanity that jostled and shoved on the heaving pavement, the discordant buzz of so many voices in so many different languages that was like opera to me.
I felt most alive in the midst of such chaos. Which was ironic, considering who I am. Considering what I do for a living. You know me as “Death” but me, I just call myself Jeff.
As I walked down a dark alley, admiring the way the clouds shrouded the moon, I heard the siren call of a new assignment. It came in from the downtown district – another drug overdose. I sighed. This had apparently become de rigueur, at least in the youth. What a waste. There had to be more inventive ways to end a life.
As I walked towards my assignment, I crossed paths with a black cat. Cats are the only living thing that can sense my presence. Most agents don’t like them, as they prefer being anonymous and don’t welcome the attention from these furry felines, but I had no such hang-ups.
“Hey, little fella,” I called softly, and he came up immediately, nuzzling my ankle. I gave him a good scratch behind the ears and kept walking.
The ambulance beat me there. I slid up the banister into apartment 2-B, slipping past a paramedic carrying a defibrillator.
Another paramedic knelt beside a girl who lay unconscious on the kitchen floor. She was lovely, if you liked blondes. He spoke without looking up: “Another f’ing overdose.”
The paramedic with the defibrillator walked over and began working on the girl. “Poor thing,” he sighed. “She’s just a kid.”