Hi, I'm death. How are you today?

Ok. Here’s how it is.

I’m death.

Not the Death. A death. The Death lost interest in his work millennia ago. Decided that he preferred a more bureaucratic position, instead of a hands on one, as it were.

If we decide, you see us every day. We walk your streets, eat your food, listen to your music. Pretty much blend in. I’ve sat next to you on the bus, stood behind you in a shop. Helped you with directions when you get lost. Normally though, we just move around in the spiritual plane. Its easier, less waiting for public transport. Generally, I am a nice guy. Well, I was, until I died. I was driving my car back from work, about 3 years ago. Heavy rain, bad light, going too fast. My own fault I suppose. One minute I am looking for a C.D. the next, I am watching a paramedic trying to start my heart in the back of the ambulance. Trying being the operative word. Failing, is more accurate. I left behind family and friends. I watched them for a few days, confused as to why I was still wandering around. Then she appeared.

Penny. Rather a disarming name for a harbinger of death. She apologised profusely for being so late, she was meant to have met me the night I died, but due to her overflowing work diary, she had been held up. A train crash, a few dead, load of paperwork as befit’s a multiple collection. Still, she was relieved to have found me at last, and wanted to be off, she had a time table to keep. Death waits for no man…

Crossing is nothing like you see on the television, or on film. But then, who ever gets to speak about it afterwards? I was ready to be walked into the light, a fanfare of trumpets, an out pouring of love. Instead, she asked me if I was ready, held my hand, what felt like a cold breeze from an open refrigerator hit me in the face, and then she said that a steward would be along to answer any questions I may have. That was it. I stood in an area, a room I suppose, with other people, ghosts or spirits, call us what you want, looking as confused as me.

My name was called, and I off marched. ’Take a seat sir, fill in these forms, answer as honestly as you can, because remember, liars never prosper. Unless you were a politician…you weren’t, were you? I shook my head, and the steward left me alone to fill out forms. Forms in death, who would’ve thought? I answered everything. My whole life history was on there, and basically I just confirmed details, made some small corrections here and there. The end section, I suppose was a personality assessment. Questions about turtles on their back, fish out of water, keeping secrets from friends, have you ever done this, have you ever done that…sheesh. Give me a break. As soon as the form was completed, the steward returned, took it, and led me to another chair, surrounded by more confused people. I wondered if this would be it for me. My own personal hell, sat in waiting rooms, moved from one chair to the next, for all eternity…

I was taken to a room, and told that mine was a special case. I had two choices. One, I could fully cross over. I hadn’t led too bad a life, and nobody would begrudge me if I chose to cross over into peaceful bliss. Or. Two, I could accept a job. Always curious, I ask about the job. They want me to be death. Not the Death, just one of his staff. A collector of the recently deceased. The personality quiz I had filled in had shown that I would do well in that line of work, so they were asking me to help out. Seems death had a backlog, and would I be willing to chip in…

That was 3 years ago. I said yes, because, hey, I would be death. Imagine my disappointment when I didn’t get a scythe, or long black cloak. Instead, I was told that I would inhabit both the material and spiritual plane simultaneously. That while I got used to everything, I would have a guide, or mentor. Penny.

It was strange how easy I found the job. She said I was a natural. Every morning, as death, you open your diary, and it will tell you who is going to die that day, where and when. If all goes to plan, you are there at the moment of death. Penny specialised in accidents, so for the next 3 years, we travelled the country, getting to the scene of a crash, or some sort of accident, either just before or just after the event itself. I personally preferred to get there afterwards. Watching as someone dies still affects me. I would rather turn up, and help the confused recently dead…

We are early. That or the bus is late. It must be the bus. We wouldn’t have got the times wrong again. Not after the last time. Hurry up wait, that’s all we can do.

The End

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