2004-10-24 | 9:43 p.m.
-----Chester stared at the knife as it shook in his hand. He wasn't sure what he was doing was the right thing anymore, but he couldn't think of anything else to do. Looking at the knife, thinking about what was about to happen, wasn't helping though. He placed the knife against his wrist....
-----"You're doing it wrong, you know," a voice interrupted him.
-----Startled, Chester started to spin around, and nicked himself on the wrist. Hissing, he grabbed his wrist and looked to see where the voice came from.
-----Standing in his room, next to his bed was a girl he'd never seen before, holding a pad of gauze out to him. He stared at her, mouth hanging open, bleeding wrist forgotten. She had shoulder length brown hair, pretty green eyes, and was wearing a tight, red, long-sleeved shirt and jeans. After a few seconds she waved the gauze in front of his face, "This is for you. You might want to put it on your wrist."
-----Chester looked down at his bleeding wrist, then snatched the gauze from her hand and put it over his wound. "Who the hell are you? What are you doing here?" he demanded.
-----"I'm Death," she smiled while saying, "But you can call me Emily."
-----"Emily. It's my real name."
-----"No, no, you said you were death. What the hell's that supposed to mean," he demanded.
------"Oh, well Death is more a title than a name. Anyway, people get all scared and antsy when I walk up and say, 'Hi, I'm Death.' I've never had anyone yell and run screaming when I introduced myself as Emily."
-----Chester just stared at this girl who couldn't be more than a year or two older than he was, at most she was 18. She just stood there, smiling. "You're insane," he decided, "How the hell did you get in my house?"
-----Emily frowned. "I'm not crazy. A little silly sometimes, but that's just being playful."
-----"Uh-huh," said Chester, reaching back and picking his knife up. "Look, I'm sure you've very busy, Death, so I'll not hold you up."
-----"And just what do you plan to do with that knife?"
-----"Nothing. It's not safe to leave it on the bed, is all."
-----"You don't believe I'm Death, do you?"
-----"Of course I do."
-----"Don't interrupt me, and don't lie. Want me to prove it to you?" Emily reached for the knife. Chester tried to pull back, but was too slow. She had both hands wrapped around his hand, holding the knife, and with a tug she forced him to shove it into her stomach. Chester stared in horror as she pushed it in all the way to the hilt. Gasping, he let go of the knife.
-----"Holy shit! What the fuck is wrong with you!? You just...."
-----Emily pulled the knife out with her left hand, and lifted her shirt some with the right. Chester's words died as he looked at her stomach. She was an innie, but otherwise her stomach was perfectly smooth. Specifically, it lacked a hole where a knife had just been shoved into it.
-----"So," Emily grinned, "is that sufficient proof, or do you need more?"
-----"How did you do that?" Chester whispered.
-----Emily sighed. "I can't decide whether you're stubborn or obtuse. I told you, I'm Death. Look, will this help?" With that the room seemed to grow darker. Chester blinked, confused, but when his eyes opened, Emily was no longer standing there, at least, it didn't look like Emily. What stood there was the same height, but it was dressed in a hooded black cloak, all it's features hidden in shadow, except it's hands. They were the pure white bones of a skeleton, and one of them was still holding the knife. The other skeletal hand reached out for Chester, and he shrank back. A dry, whispery voice, only vaguely reminiscent of Emily's boomed forth from deep inside the hood, "DO YOU STILL DOUBT ME?"
-----"No, no, I believe you, I'm sorry!"
-----"GOOD," boomed the voice. The figure stood there, unmoving for a few seconds, then finally that distrubing voice issued forth again. "UMMM..., COULD YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES? I'D RATHER YOU WEREN'T WATCHING WHEN I CHANGE BACK."
-----Chester shut his eyes tight without a word. Only a few seconds later Emily was saying, "You can open them now."
-----Chester opened one eye slowly, then, when everything appeared normal, opened them both all the way. He studied Emily intently for a while, looking for any sign of a black cloak, or anything else unusual, such as an unpleasant lack of skin and organs. She seemed perfectly normal, or as normal as any girl ever was.
------"Okay, you're Death, and yes, you're a lot less scary like this. But I still don't understand why you're here?"
-----Emily shrugged, and set the knife down out of the way on a desk. "You were about to kill yourself, and you were about to do it wrong, at that."
-----"What do you mean?"
-----"When you cut your wrist, you want to cut it down the wrist, not across," and she demonstrated with her fingers. "You were doing it wrong."
-----Chester blinked. "You're telling me that you, death, came to make sure I killed myself correctly!? I don't know if that's cool or just fucked up."
-----"No, no, I came to stop you from killing yourself, but if you decide to do it anyway, you should at least do it right. The way you were doing it, it takes a long, long time, and it hurts a lot more."
-----Chester frowned in thought. "But, if you're death...wouldn't you want me to kill myself?"
-----"Not particularly," Emily said, as she began to nose around his room, and look through the papers on his desk.
-----"I don't get it then. How can you just stand around and talk like this. Don't you have to be there whenever someone dies?"
-----"What? No, no. I'm Death, yes, but I'm not DEATH. DEATH is a Power, it's already everywhere. I'm it's Incarnation. Death. It's just an office."
-----"Ummmm...., so you're just, a grim reaper. It's like a job, right?"
-----"Yes, it is just a job. But I'm the Grim Reaper. Each Power only gets one Incarnation. For DEATH I'm it."
-----"...so what do you do?"
-----"Honestly, not much. Most things manage to die just fine on their own. They don't need any help from me. I hold the Office of Death, I wield the power of Death, and I can speak with DEATH. But DEATH is very...the other Powers have plans, goals, ideals and such. Their Incarnations are fairly active. DEATH doesn't want anything, it just waits and...exists.
-----"So I don't do much. DEATH doesn't kill people, or worry much about their lives. I only really have to show up for special occasions, or important people. When someone summons death, they get me, not the Power itself. For one thing, almost no one but a Power's Incarnation can speak with a Power itself, and even if they could, most wouldn't want to speak to the real DEATH. I serve as intermediary, as DEATH's representative, especially at Incarnational meetings."
-----"So you're like...death's...promoter?"
-----Emily looked at from the papers she was reading and frowned at him, "I prefer the term 'ambassador'. But yes, I am DEATH's body, I am DEATH's voice, I interact with the people of the universe in ways that it cannot."
-----"Ummm...okay, but there are still a few things I don't understand."
-----"Apparently I'm answering questions today, so ask," she said, her voice coming muffled from his closet.
-----"Okay, first, how do you say Death like that? I mean, when you say it, it sounds so different."
-----Emily giggled. "Would you believe it's one of the powers of the Office? I can do it with other Power's, too. LOVE, SERENITY, EVIL."
-----"That seems kind of silly, but okay. Well then...look, could you please quit messing with my stuff."
-----"Sorry, sorry," Emily replied. She came out of his closet and sat on his bed. She looked around for a bit, then picked up his Gameboy Advance SP, turned it on, loaded his save, and started playing.
-----"Ummmm...," Chester began, distracted by her odd behaviour, "uh...no, the other question was, why were you trying to stop me from killing myself. I mean, won't Death be mad?"
-----"Stop saying it like that. You can't do it right. And no. I am Death, I hold the office. That means Death is my domain, my responsibility, and I can do whatever I want with it. It's left to my discretion. No one else has the right to tell me how or when to perform my responsibilities, and nobody has the right to interfere with me where death is concerned. Yes, theoretically speaking, I sort of have to answer to DEATH, but the Power/Incarnation relationship doesn't work like that. DEATH isn't my boss, or anything like that. It's more like my...charge, I guess. My responsibility."
-----She turned the game off, and set it back where she'd found it, then crossed her legs indian style, planted her elbows on her knees, sat her head in her hands, and smiled at him. "So I decided I was going to stop you from killing yourself. It was my decision to make, and no one has the right to question it. Well, except you."
-----"So, you just go around saving people at random," Chester demanded angrily, "Why don't you just stop people from dying?"
-----Emily sat up, and frowned. "I could do that, just end death across the board. I tried that once, but DEATH spoke to me then. It showed me what ending death meant. I heard the screams of all those whose time it was, but who couldn't die, I felt their pain, felt them wishing for death...so that didn't work.
-----"Then I tried doing it personally. Not just stopping death, but saving all the people who were going to die. ...Do you know how many people there are in the universe? Just the intelligent ones, this is not including animals or anything like that? Too many, far too many. As Death I have the power to be wherever and whenever I'm needed, but...there are just too many people. I could have saved them all, but it would have driven me crazy to do it, it very nearly did. Succumbing to insanity is one way for an Incarnation to lose their position. We have too much power and too much responsibility to be allowed to descend into madness."
-----"So why did you decide you had the right to fuck with my life? Huh?"
-----"I can't save everybody Chester, but I can save some people. Some people deserve to die, some people need to die, for some people it is just their time. Some die before their time though. For those, I try to save them. I can't always do it, there are limits to what I can do that doesn't directly involve them dying, but I still try. For instance, I can try to talk you out of killing yourself, but I don't have the power to force you to live, not without making it impossible for you to die. If I did that, you could cut yourself all day, and you'd never die, but you'd still feel the pain."
-----"I still don't see why you had to interfere. It's none of your business what I do."
-----Emily sighed. "You're right, it isn't, but...." Emily looked him directly in the eye, and began to roll up her sleeves. There were faded scars across both her wrists, and two large, white ones, straight down each wrist, as if they'd been slashed wide, and then healed over.
-----"Thrity years ago, I committed suicide. I was 18 years old, and I'd been playing at it for a long time. I cut across my wrists a couple of times, but then, at first I wasn't really trying to kill myself. Most attempts at suicide really are just a cry for help, as cliche as it sounds.
-----"But after a while, I realized that no one was listening. I could cry as lound as I wanted for help, could cut and tear myself up, and no one ever seemed to notice. I realize now I was just being a silly little girl. No one ever noticed cause I hid it, pretended I was just fine. But I didn't want to believe that, so I blamed their inability to see through my tricks on their apathy towards me, real or imagined."
-----Chester's anger faded as he could see how upset she was. This story obviously troubled her, and he wanted to stop her, to tell her it was okay, that he didn't really need to hear it, but her eyes still held his, and he couldn't speak.
-----"I slit my wrists. I had researched it, prepared everyting, even written a letter, sort of a will, to be found with my dead body. I wedged a knife in a block of wood, then ran each wrist down it. It hurt, but I didn't care. I wanted to die, or I thought I did. I sat in my room, and bled to death, and by the time I realized I wasn't ready to die yet, it was too late."
-----And dammit, she was crying. He wasn't good at dealing with girls, especially crying girls. What was he supposed to do, hold her? What if she got mad? And she was Death, how was he supposed to cheer her up?
-----"I don't know why he was there. He called himself Anselon, it meant Death in his native language. He had these large, gorgeous, dark blue wings, and this big nose. He looked like a bird would look if it were human, you know? I thought he was an angel. By that point, I'd lost so much blood that even if he'd taken me to a hospital, I'd have died before they could seal the wound. Even a magical healer wouldn't have been enough. So he did the only thing he could do. He gave me his office."
-----Emily had stopped crying. It was very quiet now. Maybe she was done, maybe the story was over, but Chester had no idea what to say, where to go from here.
-----"There are a lot of ways to become an Incarnation. It's pretty different for every office. For instance, to become Death, you have to kill the previous Death. That's rare though, it's pretty hard to do. But any Incarnation can voluntarily step down at any time. That's what Anselon did for me. He'd only been death for about 150 years, when your average Incarnation holds their office for at least a thousand. He gave up his office cause he didn't want to see me die so young.
-----"That's why I stopped you. I didn't want you to make the same mistake I did. I was stupid, I admit it, but I've learned a lot in 30 years. I know I can't save everybody..., I might not even be able to save you. But now you have a second chance, a time to reconsider. No one's going to save you and make you immortal, like Anselon did with me. I still want to live, Chester, and if I give up my office, I go back to the situation I was in before I gained it, about two seconds from bleeding to death. So you'll be getting no miracles from me.
-----"All I'm saying is, give it some more thought. Whatever it is, is it really worth killing yourself over? And if you decide it is, well, at least you know the right way to do it now. If I can't save your life, at least I can save you some pain."
-----The room was very quiet, and neither of them spoke, or looked at each other. They sat like that in uncomfortable silence for several minutes. Finally Chester found his voice.
-----"Look, I suppose I appreciate your concern, but you don't know me, don't know anything about me, or my situation. It's my decision, and I'll make it however I choose. I'll give it some more thought, if it'll make you happy, but I'm not promising anything."
-----Emily sighed and stood up. "You're right, I'm sorry. I'll go now, just.... I have the power to be wherever and whenever I'm needed, Chester. Whatever decision you make, just know I'll be there for you, okay."
-----Chester nodded, but before he could say anything, the girl was gone.

-----The room was dim. At least, Chester thought it was dim, it might have just been his eyes. He hadn't bothered wearing his glasses in days. He was too tired to get out of bed, anyway, even if the nurses would let him. He was 82 years old, and he could tell, he was dying. He was rather getting tired of waiting for it, actually.
-----The door was opening, and Chester squinted, at the nurse. No, it wasn't a nurse, she was wearing a blue dress, long sleeves. He knew her. In a way, she was who he'd been waiting for.
-----"What took you so long?" he wheezed demandingly.
-----"What are you talking about? I'm early. You're not supposed to die for another minute and a half."
-----Chester wheezed, then coughed violently. When he'd caught his breath, "That long, eh?"
-----Emily took one of his gnarled and wrinkled hands in both of her and stroked it gently. "I thought you didn't kill people," Chester's voice came from behind her, over her shoulder.
-----"So I took you a little early. You were in pain." She stood up and looked back at Chester. He looke ddifferent than he had the first time they'd met, more mature. He apparently still saw himself as he'd been in his early 30's, and that's the way he looked now.
-----"Come on Chester, I'll take you where you need to be."
-----Emily took his and, but he pulled back. "I want to stay with you."
-----"You can't...."
-----"I'm dead now, Emily. I was never very religious, I don't really want to know what the afterlife is like. I have nothing to hold me here, no ties to hold me anywhere."
-----"Your wife...."
-----"Will never know. I'm not particularly interested in seeing her either. Come on, it must be lonely being Death. You still have the same eyes you did 70 years ago. You need a friend."
-----"I have friends," she said defensively.
-----"A traveling companion then. Come on. You told me yourself you're bored, death doesn't have much for you to do. I'm real entertaining, I became an actor you know. Plus I'm sure a ghost will make it easier to convince potential suicides to live out their lives."
-----Emily sighed, then kicked him, real hard, in the shin. Chester yelped, and hopped on the other leg. "Ow! How the hell did you do that! I thought I was dead."
-----"You are. And I'm Death." She smiled at him, then turned away. "Well, come on if you're coming. I'm sure I can find something for you to do."

2004-10-24 - Can't think of a title.
2004-10-22 - Job well done.
2004-10-09 - British Rap.
2004-08-29 - Envy
2004-08-25 - Understanding

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