I could swear I feel him slink into the room. He’s quick. If I weren’t so focused on this little space I’ve been trapped in for what feels like a day and a half, I might have missed it. This room has been so confining. So, well, bright actually. A nice shade of baby blue, with a floral design accenting the corners and a fancy vase on a shelf on the wall. Lighting is really uplifting. It’s the not first place I’d imagine someone would kidnap me to.
But back to the elephant in the room.
He was fast. I didn’t even see the door open, and he was already sitting in a chair across from me. It’s possible he didn’t even use it, considering the door was locked. He is dressed in a tuxedo. Very fancy, probably cost more than a year of my salary. His head is bald and his eyes were dark and piercing. The goatee is a little off putting and…
Wait. Never mind. He doesn’t have a goatee. I don’t know why I thought he did.
His demeanor is relaxed. The air around us exudes some calm that I couldn’t place my finger on. It reminded me of an absolute stillness. His eyes seem to look through me with a kind gentleness. Definitely not what I expect from a kidnapper.
He has one leg crossed over the other. His left hand on the arm rest of the fancy chair. His right hand curled up next to his face like he was playing with a coin or something.
I finally can’t take it anymore and decide to find out what the hell was going on. He beat me to it.
“Mr. Rodriguez. I’m sure you’re curious as to what is going on.”
“You could say that.”
“Now, before you start on some anger driven rant, let me ask you: What do you remember before waking up here?”
The question throws me a little. Of course I knew I…
Wait… I was- I was in bed. Wasn’t I? No. I was at work. Done with work. Driving home? As I kept trying to remember, more parts of my past flowed into my memory.
“Don’t strain your brain on it, Mr. Rodriguez. The moments before are bound to be a little fuzzy,” he cautioned.
“…Moments before what?”
He chuckles. It’s actually kind of comforting, if you can say that about a laugh from a psycho.
“Why, don’t you understand who I am?”
My confused look must have given away my answer. He stands up, straightens his jacket and looks me right in the eye. He extends his hand to me and says,
“Mr. Rodriguez, I am Death. How nice to make your acquaintance.”
I squint one eye, trying to figure out if this guy is crazy or playing a joke.
“You’re death? Like in a metaphorical way?”
He chuckles and I start to get creeped out. Well, I suppose I’ve been weirded out by all of this.
“If we could skip the incredulous denial? I am on a tight schedule. You’re dead. I’m here to escort you to your after life.”
He disappears in an instant from in front of me.
What the hell? I look around the room but he’s nowhere to be seen. Gone from right in front of me.
“No, I can’t be dead. He can’t be Death. This is some sick joke.”
“This is not a sick joke,” he says right into my ear.
“AHHH! Geez! Don’t do that!” I jump forward turning to face him. How did he get behind me like that?
“Showing people aspects of my inhuman abilities tends to help convince them of their current predicament.”
I stay silent as I try to piece this together. He smiles and takes a few steps around the room. Am I dead? Am I in a room with…
I’m in a room with Death. Death is here. With me. I’m… I’m dead.
“Keep focusing, Mr. Rodriguez. You’ll remember what happened.”
His voice is so calming. Is that why he-
I died. How? I-Where was I? I remember my wife’s delicious breakfast that morning. I remember driving to work, drawing up a new building design, the terrible joke Johnson made.
But then I drove home.
…I didn’t make it home. Oh god…
“Yes. Keep thinking. It will be painful, but also helpful.”
I was sitting at a red light. Thinking about that annoying PTA meeting I had to attend this weekend. The light changed… I started forward and then…
“A semi sideswiped you. You were dead nearly instantly.”
“Stop reading my goddamn mind!” I grab my head as I keep trying to remember it happening, but I can’t move it forward. My memory ends there.
“I’m sure you’re upset-“
“UPSET?! I’m dead! I have to go back!”
He smiles. I am really hating that.
“You fail to understand the situation. You are dead. You can’t change that. You need to accept it and move on.”
“Like hell I do. Don’t I get some chance to win my soul back or something? Like a chess game? Something like that?”
He sighs and slides his arm through the air. A table appears where there wasn’t one before.
“If you would like, I can summon a variety of games to play. They’re good for passing the time, but none can undo what has happened to you. Your spirit or soul or mind, whatever you wish to call it, is completely separated from your body. There is no way to return to it.”
I shake my head.
“It can’t be all that difficult to-”
“Not to mention your body was mangled beyond recognition in the accident.”
…Okay, not the answer I was hoping for.
“But what about my family? My wife? My daughters?”
“They are still alive.”
“I mean, what are they going to do for money? How are they going to deal with my death?”
“That is none of my concern.”
“But it’s my concern!”
He sighs and snaps his fingers. I find myself at home, the lights are on. I can’t believe it. Was it that easy? It can’t be. Has to be some kind of ‘Ghost of Christmas’ deal.
I walk up to the front door and knock. My hand hits the wood and lets out a resounding thud. I hear someone walking up the entrance hall. What’s going on? Why can I touch things? Am I alive again?
The door opens and standing there is my little girl, Alex. Her long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. She had just started middle school and I was taken away from her.
She looks confused.
She looks around the entrance, but not at me. Then, she closes the door and walks away. I can hear her yell something, but it’s too mumbled to make out. What in the hell just happened?