Arriving at his apartment just as dawn broke through the horizon Thane tried to focus on nothing but the sounds of life beginning to hum in London, the sound of cars, trucks and late night partygoers brought him back to normality when his mind strayed from it. He could smell the blood on him, could feel it sticking and drying on his face and neck.
“Wow, did the not-date go that badly?” Shakespeare remarked, laughing a little at the sight of Thane. But Thane simply ignored the skull and headed straight to the bathroom.
“What happened, Thane?” Shakespeare asked as soon as he realised that the blood was not from the not-date but from a soldier who lingered to life a little too long and coughed up blood just as Thane was about to take the man’s soul.
Thane looked at himself in the mirror; one side of his face was covered with blood and flecks of deep red were splattered across his lips and neck. His eyes however, betrayed his almost calm demeanour; his eyes were swimming in panic and fear. Grabbing the soap Thane scrubbed at his face, not caring that the soap stung his eyes or that the suds tingled on his tongue, he just wanted the blood off him.
Thane had blood on him before, usually on his hands; in wars Thane expected it to happen, but for some reason this time he didn’t expect it. He could see the soldier’s eyes dulling and hear the heart beating slower but the man lingered and coughed up blood in an attempt to speak. Thane had never had a man’s blood on his face though and it scared him that a man’s life was now splattered all over his face.
Grabbing a nearby towel Thane aggressively scrubbed the water and soap from his face until he could no longer feel any of the water on him apart from his fringe. The panic subsided as he examined his now clean face in the mirror, making sure that he hadn’t missed a spot, before heading back out to the lounge room and taking out a cigarette while he laid his head back on his favourite couch.
“Thane, what happened?” Shakespeare asked again, even without a face to convey emotion Thane could tell that Shakespeare was genuinely worried.
“A soldier died in Iraq, he coughed and his blood got all over me.” Thane replied weakly, his mind felt exhausted as if he had been working on a problem that he just couldn’t figure out.
Shakespeare was silent, the skull didn’t know how to comfort the God of Death when it was clear that he obviously needed and Shakespeare knew that Thane was always too stubborn too accept anything that came out of his mouth.
“I don’t want to do this anymore Shakespeare; I’ve done this for far too long and I’m tired.” Thane admitted quietly. To Shakespeare the God of Death did look tired and weary as if he had been in battle for years without rest and quiet.
“How long have you been God of Death for, Thane?” Shakespeare asked as Thane took a drag from his vanilla cigarette and waited a few moments before Thane tapped the ash in the silver tray.
“2157 years, 10922.81277 hours and 528105.766 minutes.” Thane replied, rattling off the huge numbers as if he were reciting a grocery list.
“2157 years doesn’t seem that long of a time.” Shakespeare mused; he knew that if he were alive for that long he could write so many more plays, maybe even a biography or two.
“Believe me, it is a long time when you do the same thing over and over again. I send people who are tired of this world, who’ve lived in it for only but a split second and I wish that I could join them. I wish I was human again.”
It was then that Shakespeare saw something in the God that he hadn’t seen before, but remembering back to different times and places Shakespeare knew now that the God had been feeling like this for nearly two centuries, the sadness, exhaustion and quiet desperation to be human again had always lingered with Thane.
“What about your brothers? I’m sure they feel the same way.” Shakespeare asked he knew that Thane was always touchy whenever he mentioned Thane’s brothers but this time Thane just sat up and looked at him.
“What do you mean?” Thane asked, taking another drag from the cigarette before tapping the ash into the tray.
“Well, they were forced into it because of you, when you killed the original God of Death you had to take his place and you’re brothers were forced to become God’s as well.” Shakespeare explained nervously, he hated when Thane got angry at even the mention of this particular subject but Thane just sat on the couch looking despondently at the cigarette in front of him.
“But Antonio and Roy like being Gods, plus they don’t have the soul crushing job of actually killing people. Antonia brings people to life while Roy just puts them to sleep; I hardly think they’re going to hate being Gods if that’s all they do.”
Thane explained he did feel sorry for his brothers that they were forced into immortality because of something that Thane did when he was young, stupid and in love with the wrong person.
But he knew that they didn’t hate him now, Antonio and Roy revelled in the delights of immortality.