Today, my boss, Thanatos, told me to go to Indiana. He told me that I have an appointment with a man named Daniel Parker. Or perhaps more accurately, Daniel Parker has an appointment with me. I was confused as to why I was going to Indiana, because Daniel lives in New York.
I flew to Indiana anyway because my boss assured me Daniel would be there for our appointment. When I arrived to the designated meeting place, I looked around. I was standing at the edge of an open lot of grass. Around me, there was nothing but endless fields of corn. Through the fields ran a long straight strip of highway going off into the horizon in both directions. An occasional car sped by. The sun was straight overhead, shining bright and hot. Next to the lot I was standing in was a small country gas station. Why did my boss send me here to the middle of nowhere?
Suddenly, I sensed Daniel’s presence not far from me. There he was in his car racing down the freeway and I watched as he pulled into the gas station. I approached his car just as he was getting out to pump gas. Daniel suddenly became aware of my presence behind him and spun around, his hand still on the gas pump.
“Who-Who are you,” he stammered.
“I’m Death. Your time has come.” I replied flatly.
“How-How did you find me? I raced all the way from New York to escape you! You weren’t supposed to find me here!.
“But why did you run?” I asked.
“I saw in a dream last night that I was going to die today, so I fled as far away from home as I could so you couldn’t find me and I wouldn’t have to die,” Daniel explained, panic rising in his voice.
“There is no escaping death. Death will always find you no matter where you run to.”
With that, a ball of light came up from his throat and I took Daniel’s soul back to my boss Thanatos, god of death.
Lonely. That’s what my job is like every day. Very, very lonely. I don’t think I’m supposed to feel that. I don’t think I’m supposed to feel anything, but how could I not. Everyone fears me, runs from me, tries to trick me. I have never felt wanted or loved. And sometimes the souls I have to take are that of children or babies or mothers.
My boss next sent me to a nice mansion in Beverly Hills, California that belonged to Samuel Green. It was one in the morning; not a soul was awake at this hour. I walked into the cold room in the heart of Samuel’s mansion. Samuel was asleep in his bed. As I approached his bedside, he sat up.
“Good morning,” I said.
“Who are you? Why are you in my house?” he demanded.
“I’m Death. Your time has come.” I replied.
“No, it hasn’t! I’m only 42. What do you want? I’ll give you anything! Money! A new car! Anything! You name it, you can have it! Just don’t make me die!” he replied frantically.
“I don’t want anything. I don’t need wealth. You can’t bargain for more time.”
“One thousand dollars?” he offered.
“No,” I said firmly.
“One million?” he bid.
I sighed. People always try to bribe me for more time. I tapped Samuel’s chest and a ball of light came up from his gullet. I took Samuel’s soul and carried it back to Thanatos.
It’s hard being death. People want to escape death, as Samuel Green and Daniel Parker tried to. People try to bargain for more time. No one has ever embraced death. No one has ever appreciated what I do or been happy to see me.
What people don’t understand is that it is death, the finiteness of life that makes it precious. Life becomes meaningless and valueless if people live forever. People don’t realize they are only a small part of the fabric of humanity and that with their death comes new life. People need to die to make room for others as their ancestors made room for them
I was summoned to a hospital in Orlando, Florida where an old woman named Gloria Stewart was residing. This was definitely not my first visit to a hospital. I’ve been to every hospital in the world, walked down every hallway, been in every room. I even recognize many of the people who work there, although they never see me come and go.
Gloria suffered from many ailments including renal failure, cardiovascular cancer, and had a stroke. Several times already, the doctors have brought Gloria back from the dead. I stood in the doorway of Gloria’s hospital room. A second later the heart monitor beeped frantically as the screen’s wave flatlined. Several doctors and nurses injected her with medicines and pumped her heart until the heart rate monitor showed a weak but steady pulse. I felt Gloria’s soul in my fingertips, then felt it slip away. This had happened on her previous brushes with Death, with me, but I knew this time would be her last.
I approached Gloria’s bed. She had her eyes closed, but was still breathing. She feebly opened her eyes and grasped my hand. “Why won’t they just let me die?” she whispered.
I was shocked. No one had ever wanted to die before. Every soul I have taken has tried to escape me, tried to flee, tried to trick and deceive me into not taking their souls. But this was the first time someone had ever wanted to die.
“Why do you want to die? ” I asked.
“I’ve lived a full and happy life. I went to a great college, married the man of my dreams, have three very successful children, did everything I could to help the community. I’ve lived a good life but I’m now old and it tires me just to live. I’ve lived my life to the fullest. I am satisfied with the life I had and the things I did. There is nothing more for me to do and I am ready to die.” Gloria explained.
I smiled. This was the first time I felt appreciated, wanted, or loved. Everyone always fears me, but I see that people can actually embrace or be ready for death. I guess it depends on the way someone has lived. If they lived a wholesome life, gave more than they took, had meaningful relationships, and had an attitude of thankfulness and satisfaction with their life, then they could be ready to go on to the next phase of their existence.
As gently as I could, I took the ball of light that escaped the old woman’s lips and carried her soul back to my boss. In the distance, I heard the loud beep of the heart monitor and the rush of doctors and nurses. I looked down at Gloria’s soul in my arms and smiled. This time they weren’t getting her back. This time, she’d finally get her wish of moving on.
I contentedly carried Gloria’s soul up to Thanatos. I felt more alive than ever, or at least as alive as Death can be. My work is important, even if it is not always appreciated. I am the one that doesn’t bring an end to their lives, I bring the meaning to their lives, even if they don’t always realize it. I felt new again, happy to do my job, happy with who I was.