“Yes, you,” Death said. He stood in glorious nakedness, all bones and bones. The chthonic god let out a long, huge, and somehow dreadful sigh, though it was clearly one of relief. His voice chafed my mind incessantly, a clattering of bones and darkness and everything else that felt utterly helpless. Kind of like when you mum nags you.
“But… why?” I asked. “Honestly, this seems like an altogether cool opportunity, but… me?”
“Why do you lack confidence in yourself? You’ll do great!” Death beamed. It was terrifying.
I instinctually gulped.
“It’s just so sudden, you know?”
“Sudden for you. An eternity for me.”
“Eternity? Like forever?”
“Like forever, exactly,” Death said. “I don’t really feel like explaining, because I have a lot of resting to catch up on.”
As Death prepared to leave, I grabbed him by the hand.
“No, no, no. I need to know what’s going on. How to use this giant thing,” I waved the Scythe around stupidly. “And this cloak. It’s way too big!”
“You’ll grow into it, my friend,” Death said. He turned around and stared straight into the depths of my soul. “You want to know why you are chosen?”
“Yes. A frank answer, please.”
“Look. Death comes for you, and your reaction wasn’t even that you had passed. You took it in your stride.”
“I kind of had to,” I said. “I knew my life was coming to an end. No use pining about, you know? It was a pretty OK life.”
“Exactly,” Death said. “The Reaper isn’t a job for the emotionally astute. It isn’t a job for the ones who had so good a life that they could never fathom the end. It isn’t a job for the ones who had so poor a life that their only desire in life was a wish to cross the finish line. The job is for a person like you.”
Death’s hands flourished, grabbing the cloak away from me like a thief in the night. In an instant, the cloak was tied around my neck. Death was right. The ends of the cape draped dramatically, but it stopped right before it hit the ground, melting into my shadow.
“One that accepts things. A person that takes things in their stride. One that accepts it for what it is. For you are now Death, the herald of souls to the afterlife. Ever vigilant, and never taking a piss-poor excuse to cheat.”
“Hmm,” I said. “You make it sound very cool.”
“It was. But I have done it for a long time. Even I need a break,” Death hummed. “So, go on then. In the minutes we’ve spent talking, how many people do you think have died already?”
“Err… a thousand?”
“Rhetorical question. Just get to it, Death.”