This was inspired by a writing prompt from Reddit.
Death’s job had gotten quite stale the last thousand years or so. In the early days of humanity, he made it a game, taking the form of a pretty lady or a crying baby to lead someone away, into the woods or towards a desert where he would take them back to their maker. Of course, doing this for thousands of years was a little much, even for Death. He had become much more orderly, requesting an office and a staff to compile a list of those he needed to bring in that day. He had seen every way a human could be killed, and had brought all their souls back with him.
For a while his job had gotten very hectic. Radiation, famine, war, disease, all of this was making his job Hell. It wasn’t his job to ask questions, just to take souls, and he continued to do his job dutifully. Worrying about living wasn’t his problem.
“Death, I need you to come see me in my office today,” Death heard over the intercom. Great, he thought. Gabe and his damn micromanaging.
Death got up from his cushy office chair, and looked at his phone. 8:30. In other words, too early. He turned off the screen, and caught his own reflection in it. He was looking especially bony lately, it seemed to him. After examining the definition of his cheekbones for a bit, Death headed out the door to meet with Gabe up on the 6th floor.
Death came in without a knock, and eased into one of the chairs in front of Gabriel. Gabriel’s office was lavish, a perk of being the Boss’s secretary. The ceiling had been decorated by the soul of Michelangelo himself. Beautiful rugs were laid together, covering the floor. A couple of Gabriel’s greatest achievements were shown off in paintings on the walls.
“You’ve lost that spring in your step, huh Death?” Gabriel asked, smiling. Gabriel was a good looking guy, or at least this persona of him was. He usually took the form of a young man, wearing a nice, tucked in light-blue button down, and dark blue dress pants. His blonde hair was parted in the middle and tucked away behind his ears. “Well anyways, I asked you to come so we could talk about work. You know, you’ve brought in a lot of souls lately.”
“Well, yes, there’s a lot people,” was Death’ s response.
“Well, there were a lot of people,” Gabriel said. “So we need to talk about your job for a bit. You think you could, well, help people for a bit? Keep them alive instead of taking their souls?”
Death gave a tight-lipped smile that showed no friendliness. He leaned forward and looked at the things on Gabriel’s desk. A coffee mug, a telephone, a few books. No camera. He got up and looked around the room, trying to find one. Maybe even a recording device. This was a joke, and he needed to get back to work.
“I know what you’re thinking Death,” Gabriel said to him. “This isn’t something I would usually ask you, but, well, we’ve run into a problem of sorts. So, the Boss has been away for a little vacation with his son. You know him, always complaining about not seeing his dad ever. Anyways, they’ve been out of town, and I couldn’t really hold down the fort like he expected me to.” Gabriel twiddled his thumbs. He met Death’s glare for a moment, and quickly turned away. “So, I just need you to stop killing people for a bit.”
“And help them live?” Death asked. His voice was filled with surprise and annoyance. “That’s not my job Gabe. That’s like asking you to kill someone. You know you can’t do it.”
“Well, we’ve never been in this situation before. Look, you know what the boss is going to say if he gets back and finds us in this situation. He’ll kick us both out. We’ll be done for. He can make new helpers. We have to combine forces for a bit, Death.” Gabriel was pleading for his help. Death couldn’t help but let out a chuckle.
“And how would I help with this, Gabe? Everything I touch dies.”
“See, that’s how you can help.” Gabriel said. “They need food. Kill a deer or two near their camps and place them in traps for them. They need to avoid some of the more vicious animals, like bears, lions or wolves. So maybe you could bring the souls of some of those guys back to me? Just make their lives a little bit easier, you know? By killing things.”
Death sat back down at Gabriel’s desk, thinking. This didn’t seem so bad to him. Taking souls could get old after several millennia. This was very different from what he was used to. And Death felt he could use a change.
“You know what Gabe? I’ll do it. I’ll save some humans for you. But look, I want a better office, okay? I mean, it’s kind of bland in there.”
“And I need a coffee machine too alright? I get tired too, you ever think of that?”
“And some vacation days now and then. And a raise. And be generous with it, or I might start giving out hugs to some villagers.”
Gabriel shook his head, muttering “You got it, Death.”