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(Don't) Fear the Reaper
My name is Matthew . I'm a high school student in Central NJ. This is my first submitted piece anywhere.
It was safe to say that the boy hated his life. He was miserable at home. No one really liked him at school. He had no one. So he thought to himself, mostly. He thought a lot about death and its methods. He also wondered if anyone would miss him if he killed himself. Probably not.
It was late at night when he finally resolved to end his own life. Tonight, he would go through with it. He had been planning it for weeks. It was oddly thrilling to plan your own death. He would sneak into the bathroom, pop a few of his dad’s blood thinners, and then slash his own wrists. Now it was finally time. Once he was sure that no one else was awake, he hopped out of his bed and headed for the door. When he touched the doorknob, the lights flipped on by themselves. Someone cleared their throats.
The boy spun around. Sitting on his bed was a pale man wearing a black suit. “I hope you weren’t planning on doing what I think you were doing.” The pale man said kindly. “Tonight is not a good night to kill oneself.”
The boy froze. “Who are you?” He asked suspiciously.
“You’ve been calling me every night. But you don’t recognize me?” The pale man sighed. “Death, at your service.”
“Death, as in…”The boy trailed off. “The Death?”
“Thanatos, the Grim Reaper. Yes. That Death.” The pale man rolled his eyes.
“Why are you here?” He asked.
“You’ve been begging for me, but now that I’m here, you don’t want me?” Death scoffed. “Typical human.”
“No. I mean… I always thought that suicide would be a little more do-it-yourself.” The boy shrugged. “I didn’t think you would show up.”
“None of you ever do.” Death said shortly. “But to answer your question, I kept hearing you, and finally got the time to stop by.” He made it seem casual, like dropping by for tea or something.
“Are you going to, like, reap my soul or something?” The boy asked stupidly.
“Every single time.” Death sighed again, exasperated. “No, Adrian, I’m not here to ‘reap your soul’.” He made air quotes. “And I don’t carry around that stupid bloody scythe, either.”
Adrian looked relieved. “Then why me?”
In answer, Death conjured a huge black three-ring binder from out of nowhere. It was neatly labeled ‘Human Souls, 1950 to 2150’. He flipped through it, absently humming something that sounded suspiciously like ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’. Finally, he stopped and pointed to a line. “Read the name and the dates.”
“Adrian Nathan Bennett. Born June 19, 1998. And…” He paused.
“And?” Death prodded gently.
“Died September 12, 2088,” Adrian mumbled. “Why is it past tense?”
“The books were written on the last day of history. Everything is in the past for them. But don’t you see, Adrian?” Death whispered. “It’s not your time. You literally have your whole life ahead of you.” Death said. “You have a family to raise, a wife to meet-”
“A wife?” Adrian c***ed an eyebrow.
“Husband.” Death corrected. “But even so! If you go into that bathroom, you deprive yourself of all the good, even as you prevent all the bad. And that’s why I’m here. Not to take, but to give. I give you hope, Adrian Bennett. Hope that I share, that we don’t meet until September 12, of 2088.”
“Why me?” Adrian asked. “There are people who need this more than me.”
“They will all have their hope, too.” Death promised. “But now it’s your turn. Sweet dreams.” Death moved inhumanly fast, delicately touching one cold finger to Adrian’s forehead. The boy slumped to the floor instantly. When he woke up, this would only be a dream, but not one he’d soon forget.