A Day With Death This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 27, 2010
Fwooosh. The doors to the Metro slid open, like the futuristic doors in the Science Fiction novels I wrote, and I wandered into the Metro car, plunking down on the first open seat. A few other people sat around me, reading books or papers, others absorbed by their phones and laptops, no one trying to socialize, for socializing didn’t happen here, not in D.C. The doors slid shut with a quiet swoosh, the Metro began to move, and I leaned my head back, readying for the long ride home.

“Excuse me, sir?” A gentle voice shook me from my readying meditation and I peered up at a heavily robed man, “May I sit here?”

“Sure,” I replied, hesitantly, for it wasn’t often others sat with you on the Metro, especially me.

“How’s the weather?” He asked suddenly, turning to me.

I hesitated before answering, “Bloody cold. As always… Its D.C., you get use to it eventually.”

“Ah. Yes. Cold… I hear you are a writer Joshua,” He ventured on, ignoring my prior statement “and you are one of those new age writers, I hear, the ones against a character extremum vitae spiritum edere* or giving up the ghost as it is known in your tongue, right?”

Warning sirens blared in my mind. This man knew whom I was, that I was a writer, and that I was in the Anti-Death Writers Guild. I spun around and stared at him, studying him from head to toe. A faded black robe masqueraded his body, not revealing a single glimpse of skin, and a massive cowl concealed his face in unnatural darkness. Black leather gloves hugged tightly to his bony hands, revealing the exact shape and contour of the man’s thin hands. Last of all, upon his feet, he wore black silken slippers, the tips of which I barely glanced when his robe swayed in an imaginary breeze.

“Who are you?” I demanded, fearfully.

“That is a very complicated question… but in short. I’m Death. The Grim Reaper. Destroying Angel. Dark Angel. Judgment. All of these are my names, as known by mortals, but my real name is Plagam Extremam Infligere**, and I am here because of your ridiculous notion to eliminate Me from your books.” He stated, mater-of-factly.

Air stopped flowing to my lungs while my mouth opened and closed like a miniature golf course obstacle. When I finally caught my breath, my mind had already concocted a scientific reason this could be happening, drugs. The only problem with the theorem being that I had never taken drugs in my life, but my mind persisted that there was no other explanation.

“Happens to them all! You should have seen Kennedy’s face when I showed up; he looked like someone had shot him through the head or something… Oh, wait, they did!” He burst into psychopathic fits of laughter.

“Oh… No!” I jerked out of my stupefied state, “I’m going to die?”

“No. Well not just you, everyone else will die too....” He responded, as if it were all an amusing game.

“No. I. Wait. Stop. Um.” I stammered, “Why?”

“Joshua, because the works men do in life are only menial tasks until they die, and then they become immortal legends. Why else would you die, other than to seal your mortal testament with your blood?” He leaned closer, his breath was the rank stench of decaying flesh, “Don’t you feel it; your impending death?”

I leapt up, Death no longer sitting beside me, but now everyone on the Metro was staring at me, like I deserved to be in an asylum.

“Sorry…. Rocks in my shoes,” I hastily lied, pretending to shake rocks out of my shoes.

I sat back down, waiting for my heart to stop racing, and pondered on the odd nightmare I had just experienced. Unfortunately I didn’t get long to contemplate for a deafening Screeeeeech! interrupted my thoughts. Tearing paper creates a unique sound, and that day I learned so did tearing metal. It reminded me of a million cats being grated by cheese graters all at once and then their cries of pain being amplified over massive speakers. Like a soda can, the front of the Metro car folded in upon itself. Time froze for a moment, everyone’s faces reflecting absolute shock and horror, and then time accelerated again. I was thrown about like a rag doll, my leg impacting one of the upright metal bars, by the doors of the Metro, instantly pulverizing my Femur, Tibia and Fibula, but the horrifying ride wasn’t over. The whiplash of the crash flung me back along with all the other passengers, half of them already dead or fatally wounded, where I slammed into yet another chunk of metal, this one dangling from the ceiling, probably a cross beam or a strip of the roof itself. A deafening crack over powered my hearing and pain quickly followed. My limbs fell limp and I struggled to comprehend what had just happened, when the rebound struck, and my luck ran out. I flew through the wreckage of the Metro car, blood and metal blurring together into a shining tunnel of metallic scarlet, I marveled at its sickening beauty, before I jerked to a final halt.

I sighed in relief, groaned, and panicked as I grasped the bloody metal bar protruding from my chest.

“You see it now? How much better death is?” A familiar voice addressed me, “Who would ever have even thought about Joshua A. Azimov on this day, December 12th, or even cared?”

Realization slapped me, her sting worse then the pain of the fatal crash, “No one.”

“Exactly! Now everyone will remember Joshua, the man that died in the freak Metro accident, the small time author, the legend, won’t they?” His voice cheerfully faded away, until I was left alone, for a final time.

“Yes,” I gasped, shuddered and extremum vitae spiritum edere.

“Tonight on the news we will be reviewing the tragic deaths of Joshua A. Azimov, writer extrodinare, Carla Sandburg, poet, Harmen Bassie….”

“He was a great friend. A great mate, if you know what I mean {long sob} and I didn’t realize I would miss him till he was gone…”

“Joshua A. Azimov’s first written Novel, The Inner Sanctum, has just sold over 4 million copies today and all revenue is going directly to his family. Rest In Peace, Josh.”

I peered over at Death, without his robe he was a handsome man with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and peachy skin, and I smiled.

“You were right Death… They didn’t fully appreciate me, until I was gone.”

*- Latin for Giving up the Ghost

** - Latin for Violent Murder

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