It’s my turn as Death and I’m standing by his body.
The rules to being Death are quite simple. They have to be, otherwise the whole system breaks down. We have just one Planck time to learn the rules, grab the scythe and make the journey to the next person.
That doesn’t leave a lot of time for sub clauses and alternate options.
The chain mustn’t be broken. That’s one of the rules.
I extend an astral arm, a remnant gesture, a residual concept.
It’s surprising, the things we cling to.
“Welcome. Has it been worth it? All the money and deals and the power, especially the power, knowing it doesn’t mean a thing?”
I added the last bit out of spite. I’ll admit that. I’m one of the people who had a history with the man. Quite apart from the fact I’d died reading a copy of the paper.
I’d like to go further. To add all my anger, my preconceptions, my judgements on everything the man had ever done. I’d like to have been his judge and jury and been the sort of Death I’d expected to be rather than
the fading whiff of memory I have become.
But to do so is against the rules.
And even if it weren’t, did I change much in life? And when it’s all done (as it is now) did he?
I have no more time for questions and he has no time to waste on answers. He’s learning the rules and preparing to push away the hand that pulled him from his body.
The electron stream has slowed to a halt against his dissipated life. Retrospection is a pastime and, paradoxically, we are the future.
It’s his turn as death and he stands before someone he has never met before and asks his own question:
“Was it worth it?”