The New Death

Matthew Donnellon

Photo by Fey Marin on Unsplash

I woke up to find an eight foot tall man in a rumpled suit staring down at me.

The last thing I remember was falling asleep in Algebra.

The large man bent down, grabbed me by the shoulder and lifted me to my feet.

“Sorry sir,” he said, “some find their first trip overwhelming.”

“Where am I?,” I asked.

“The nexus point between realities.”

“So not Michigan anymore?”

“Decidedly not.”

“Why am I here?”

“To see him,” the large man extended an equally impressive finger and pointed to a white haired figured sitting at a desk.

“Have you been here the whole time?” I asked.

Both men, the large one and the big one, laughed. The old man got up from desk. “Why yes, as a matter of fact I have.”

“This is Time,” the large man said.

“Is that like a nickname?”

He chuckled, “no like the primordial entity. Much like you.”


He looked at the large man, “You didn’t explain it to him on the way over?”

“He passed out,” the large man replied.

“Ahhh,” Time said, “Understandable. Mr. N get the robe would you.”

“Mr. N?” I asked.

“Stands for Necromancer. He communicates with the dead, among his other duties.”


“You’ll find out soon enough,” Time said.

“You really don’t like giving out information do you?”

“And prattle on about stuff like Knowledge does. No thank you. You’ll figure everything out in good time.”

“Was that a pun?”

He chuckled, “Yes I suppose it was.”

The large man, Mr. N presumably, came back carrying a dark robe. I slipped it on over my clothes. The sleeves were a tad long, but it fit otherwise.

“Beats the school uniform I suppose,” I said.

“Also, when you put the hood over your head it will render you invisible,” Mr. N said.

“Very good, I’m glad it fits. Though mending the robe is much easier than fixing War’s armor,” Time said.

“War?” I asked, gently rolling up the sleeves.

“One of the other horseman,” Mr. N said, “Cosmic siblings of yours.”

“Oh,” I said, “do I get to meet them?”

“They’re not exactly friendly,” Time said “you’re taking this remarkably well.”

“Anything is better than high school.”

Just then, Mr. N handed me a silver rod about the size of fountain pen.

“Thank you…I think.”

“Twist it,” the giant man said.

I did so, and after a series of whirls and clicks, the rod turned into a grey, metallic scythe. “Very cool,” was all I could muster.

“Now that that’s out of the way. We can make this official. Take this robe and become Death, Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Lord Reaper of Souls, and Final Arbiter of Fate.”

Though I expected more fanfare, those were pretty cool titles, I held the scythe in my hands “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”

“Oppenheimer?” Mr. N asked.

“The Bhagavad Gita,” I answered, “you know Oppenheimer?”

“Your predecessor was a big fan of his.”

“Now,” Time said, “there’s no time to lose, you have a busy day ahead of you,” Time said.

That through me off. “What?”

“With the titles come the responsibilities. Souls are piling up on Earth.”

Before I could say anything, Mr. N put his large hand on my shoulder.

“Do try not to pass out this time.”

I watched as time and space started to swirl and we teleported to who knows where.

I held the glowing orb in my hand. Its heat intensified the longer it sat there.

“What’s this?”

Mr. N stepped forward, “That’s her soul, my lord.”

“Her what?” I said tossing the ball into the air. The bright yellow light fell on the lifeless girl laying on the ground. “And stop calling me lord.”

“Oh no,” Mr. N said.

“Oh no what-” I started to say but I noticed the girl stirring. “She’s supposed to be dead.”

“She was. You revived her when you put her soul back.”

“I thought I could only kill people.”

“You’re the lord of Death sir. You decide who lives or dies.”

‘You really should have told me this before we left. High school at least has orientation.”

“I apologize, sir. This situation does not come up often. But, I fear this interference may have grave consequences.”

“Was that a pun?”

“I’m the necromancer, sir. I don’t joke.”

She started to stir.

“What am I supposed to do?” I asked.

“You could kill her again,” he said.

“I can’t do that.”

“She wanted to die. I believe that’s why we’re here.”

“But, I can’t do it. Just kill her. That would be terrible.”

“Might I suggest doing it before she fully wakes up. It would cruel to let her think she’s living and then send her back.”

“Back to where?”

“That’s really not important right now.”

“Ok, but you guys could really use a pamphlet or something,” I said.

“I doubt the inner workings of this business would fit on a piece of paper. But, she’s conscious now.”

I knelt to the girl. She wiped her face like she was waking from a long nap.

“Where am I?” she asked.

“You’re in your bedroom,” I said, “you just tried to end it for good.”

She looked horrified. Her last memories starting to come back.

“Oh my god. Oh my god.Oh, my…” she started to freak out.

“It’s okay. You’re okay,” I said.

She then noticed the strange boy in her room, which was weird enough, but the nine-foot-tall necromancer seemed to disturb her quite a bit.

“Who are you? What is that? Why are you wearing a robe?”

I turned to Mr. N, “I thought this made me invisible?”

“Only when you have the hood up sir.”

“This has to be the medication right? Like this is me tripping out on the pills?”

“I assure miss you’re very much alive. Thanks to my lord’s blunder.”

She looked at me, “Lord?”

I figured she was at least owed the truth, “You see I’m Death. I’m new to the job. It’s kind of a long story.”

“Not nearly long enough,” she said.

“Sir, we have more pressing concerns. I’m bound by oaths to correct this,” Mr. N said.

“What? Why didn’t you say something?”

“I told you there would be consequences.”

“That’s way too vague N. We’re going to talk about this afterward,” I said.

The giant man was no longer listening. His eyes glowed an eerie yellow and his gentle expression turned terrifying. And, he started across the room.

The girl was leaning against her bed now, “what’s happening? What’s he doing?”

“He’s going to kill you,” I said moving between her and Mr. N.

“What? What am I supposed to do?”


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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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