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Death’s Time

Death's Time

Another cool webcomic posted by iHoHoJoe, originally seen on Reddit.

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  1. I had been expecting Death for quite some time now. In fact, laying there in my wreck of a body, I was very much ready for them whenever they decided to pay a visit. I had seen many people here in the hospital who had already gone onward, wherever that actually was for them. You could say that Death was a regular visitor there, and sometimes even a welcome guest.

    Oh, certainly, there were those who still had months or years left (as far as any of us know anyway) who would shut the door against Death if they could, who scream or cry or proclaim in hushed voices things like “so sad”, “such a tragedy”, “too soon”. Death always comes on time, no matter what we may think.

    So, I was not sad or frightened or angry when the tall figure stepped through my hospital door. I knew immediately that none of my family, gathered around me for that final wait, were able to see the elegant woman dressed all in black. Her face was lined with age, and her eyes shone white, as pale as a full moon. Her black hair fell in waves and curls around her shoulders. ‘That must be what people think is a hood’ I thought vaguely.

    She stood beside me and studied me for a long moment. Something in her gaze told me that she wasn’t really seeing my body, but instead the essence of who I am, my soul as some would call it. Then she smiled, surprisingly warm and friendly, “You’re so young yet, that ought to be interesting.”

    If I’d had the strength, I would have started. I stared at her in confusion.

    “Ah, sorry about that. One moment,” she said. She then raised one hand, which held a pen. She made a sort of check-mark motion in the air and suddenly everything shifted.

    I took in a gasp of air, all the dullness and distant pain vanished. I began to drift upward away from the bed. Instinctively, I waved my arms and kicked my legs, seeking stability. Then it hit me: I could actually *move* my arms and legs. I froze in astonishment and realized that the woman was laughing pleasantly.

    “I’ll never figure out why we always do that,” she said. Then she reached out, took my hand in her thin, bony on, and pulled me upright until I was standing in front of her.

    “We?” My first word in weeks left my lips and I immediately felt like an idiot.

    She nodded however, and said, “Yes. I was human once, like yourself. Like all the people I guide. Like Death before me.”

    “Before…you?” What am I a parrot?

    “Yes, child. You think one person does this job for all eternity?! Whoo! I’ve only been doing this for three hundred years and I’m ready to call it quits. That’s why I’m here. The folks upstairs decided you’d make a perfect successor for me,” she replied brightly.

    “Wait…what?! I…how?! You…you can’t just show up and tell me I’m…what…your apprentice or something?!”

    She laughed again, actually bending over a little and wiping her eyes, “Oh! You’ve got some fire in you! That’s good. You’ll need it. No, you’re not an apprentice. You’ll be starting almost immediately. Don’t worry, you’ll get a guide and it’s really not a hard job. Oh, you will need to choose to your scythe.”

    “Is…is that pen your scythe? I always thought it was like, you know, an actual scythe,” I said, still completely confused but beginning to recover. It didn’t seem as though I had much choice in things here.

    She waved her hand, “Oh, those old things? That was Marty’s choice and the old fart just kept hanging around so people picked up on it. That crazy man was in the business for almost a thousand years! I guess enough people had those near Death experiences that word got around. Of course, you’d think in three hundred years…oh, never mind. What would you like?”

    I shook my head, trying to think. I’d never considered anything like this, and my mind was all muddled anyhow. “Uh…can I change it later?”

    She nodded, “Yeah, but it’s better to just choose now. The paperwork is beastly.”

    I chewed my lip, thoughtfully. Then something popped into my head and I grinned, “What about a baseball bat?!”

    Death burst out laughing again, “Oh my goodness! You’re a riot, kid! Fine, sure. Here.” She held out her pen, and as she dropped it into my hang it shifted into a classic wooden bat.

    “Cool,” I said, gripping the handle and inspecting it.

    “Yeah, just don’t hit me with it,” she said. “Speaking of which, it’s time for your first assignment.”

    “Already?” I looked back for the first time and saw that my family hadn’t moved. “Hey, don’t they know I’m…?”

    “Oh, you’re not dead yet. Well, your body isn’t. The spirit usually goes on ahead by a bit. Saves all that sad goodbye business. You can go around and tell them if you like, but I’m afraid they probably won’t hear you unless they’re particularly sensitive.”

    I nodded and said, “It’s alright. I actually said goodbye a couple of days ago. I’ll miss them.”

    Death patted my shoulder, “Of course you will. But, hey, you’ve got something to keep you busy while you wait on them to catch up.”

    I looked back at her, then down at my bat…er, scythe. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. So, what’s this first assignment?”

    “You get to take me on into the afterlife,” she replied.

    I looked at her in surprise, “Oh! So…how do I do that exactly?”

    “Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it,” she said, holding out her hand. I accepted it and followed her out of the hospital room and into a new life…or Death.