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Jeff opened his eyes to find a dark, hooded figure sitting on the end of his bed.

“Who the hell are you?”

The figure turned to look at him. Beneath the hood, a bare skull grinned out. He blinked, and suddenly noticed the scythe leaning against his wardrobe.

“You’re… You’re Death?”

The figure appeared to take a deep breath, sigh heavily and nod wearily.

“Um. Are you okay?”

Death shrugged listlessly. Jeff sat up, not even noticing that his body stayed lying down, and reached out.

“Hey. If something’s bothering you, you can talk about it. I’m a good listener.”

The words seemed to echo inside his head without being spoken first. “I just feel so… I don’t know. Like my job is pointless.”

Jeff blinked again. “Pointless? Hell no!”

“But nobody is ever happy to see me. They don’t want me here.”

He scratched his head. “I suppose they wouldn’t be. But you do a valuable job. Imagine what the world would be like without you?”

Death looked at him again, or at least appeared to. Being stared at by empty sockets was slightly unnerving.

“You do a valuable job, too,” Death said. “The world will be poorer for your loss. But your time is up. Why not me?”

Jeff put his head to one side. “Well, thank you, Death,” he said. “It is nice to be appreciated. I think I know what you mean. You can’t ever take time off, right? You can’t just stop doing what you do and go and put your feet up, and it must be stressful. Do you ever get time to relax?”

Death shook his head sadly.

“Well, then. You need a holiday, that’s all.”

“But what about my work?”

Jeff smiled. “Have you ever thought about taking on an apprentice?”

© Kari Fay

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