The God of Death

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


Rick has a very interesting best friend. He happens to be the God of Death. They have gotten to know each other and grown close over the last two years. However, things quickly grow more
complicated when Death reveals why he first appeared to the boy.

Submitted: November 11, 2017

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Submitted: November 11, 2017

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Part 1: My Best Friend

Chapter 1

“What is it like when you die?” the teenage boy asked as he threw his backpack onto the floor.

“You don't want to know, Rick...” said the dark cloaked figure who had materialized in the corner of the room. The boy fell onto the bed lazily and sighed. Two years ago, when he was fourteen, Death began appearing to him. At first Rick thought he was going insane or something along that line. However, eventually, when Death took the soul of his father, it convinced Rick that what he was seeing was very real. Since then, they had started talking and after a while, became friends.

“Will you please just tell me? Why keep me in the dark? You know everything about me,” he pleaded looking over to the shadowy figure. The cloak Death wore emitted small amounts of smoke constantly. He could see his pale white hands and a small amount of his face, but only enough to see just below his nose.

“Well, it's sad mostly. Most people have so many regrets when they realize they are dead. I've told you before that there is a place for souls to dwell. This place is dark and dreary—it's like another world where time stands still and you wander aimlessly for the rest of your existence. You're left with nothing but your thoughts, until...”

“Until what?” asked Rick.

“A soul lives longer than the body but you, of course, lose yourself eventually, fading away into pure energy. That energy is then used to make new souls,” Death responded.

“How long does it take for you to become energy?”

“Your soul is composed of everything you experienced as a person. The longer you lived in the mortal realm, the longer you live as a spirit. The amount of time is usually cut in half. You have to lose who you are to become a new soul and that takes time.”

“I see. So a baby that dies can be given a new life almost instantly?” pondered Rick.

“Yes...”

Rick turned to face the window and thought deeply about what Death had revealed to him about the afterlife. All the theories people had come up with and reincarnation was the actual answer. He contemplated why the other world had to be so dark and thought about asking before he drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 2

Rick found himself in a strange room surrounded by black walls. He could hear several whispers originating from the only opening in the room. As he moved closer, he thought he could see various transparent figures walking aimlessly through a path between two large mountains. Everything seemed to have the color drained out of it—even the sun was a grayish sort of color. He heard someone crying in the distance and decided to move in that direction.

As he walked along the path, an older man next to him was cursing under his breath. Rick then realized that he was walking through the other world, and these were the souls of the dead. He was getting closer to where the sobbing was originating from and found himself at the edge of a dead end. After looking around in confusion, he noticed a large boulder to his left. Rick placed his hand on it as he moved around it slowly. It was so cold to the touch that it gave him goosebumps. After he made his way around the large boulder, he discovered a little girl crouching against the large rock.

“What is wrong?” Rick asked her and was met with no response. Without acknowledgment, he reached out to touch her shoulder. His hand phased right through. It was almost as if she wasn't there. Or maybe he wasn't there?

“She passed away moments ago. She was killed instantly by a drunk driver as she was walking home from school,” informed Death, who appeared behind Rick.

“So this is the other world you told me about? Am I dead?”

“No. You know me as the God of Death because that is my main purpose. However, in truth, there are only two Gods in this universe. As one of these gods, I govern all things dark. This includes nightmares, which is what this is, and I am using it as a means to show you the afterlife.”

“I want to go home.... I don't like this place,” muttered Rick as he backed away from the girl.

“You asked me what it was like when you were dead.”

“I don't care—I want to go home now,” stated Rick as he turned to face the God of Death.

“Then you must simply wake up.”

Chapter 3

As he ate his lunch in the school courtyard, Rick couldn't shake the images of the dream he had had yesterday. He could see their faces, especially the little girl's, which haunted him. He wondered when he would die, finding himself in that horrible place.

“Well, look what we have here. What's up retard Rick?” said a rough looking teenager who sat next to him on the bench.

“Don't call me that...” Rick replied as he turned his attention to the comic lying next to his lunch tray. This was Jason, a popular guy that liked to spend most of his time insulting others. Rick was trying his best to ignore him as he spouted obscene insults. He then noticed Death phase through the wall opposite of them. “Just leave me alone.”

“Don't worry about him,” Death stated. “He will never amount to anything. His first wife leaves him and it's all downhill from there. I won't go into the details. If you would like to insult him back, I'm sure you could mention his problems with flatulence, since it especially becomes a real problem in his sleep.”

“Have you ever shit yourself while you were farting in your sleep!” Rick shouted as the jock was starting to walk away. The surprised expression on his face gave away too much. The others students heard the comment, and they began to whisper and some of them even began laughing.

“You should probably run now...” informed the God of Death as Rick slung his backpack on and took off towards the hallway entrance with a chuckle. He thought about something Death had once explained a while back. Death could see anyone's future. The only time he couldn't was when he interfered and changed things. Rick was unclear about whether the God could see his future, considering he had already interfered by showing himself to the teenager.

Chapter 4

Standing outside the classroom window, Death watched as the young one slept during the lesson. He had not been able to see the boy's future since he had revealed himself. He hoped the boy would make the right decision. He was the only person Death had revealed himself to in the last 2000 years.

Turning his attention to a flock of crows flying across the courtyard, he reflected on how everything was about to change for him. He had come to know things a certain way, and he found himself sad at the thought of the familiar changing. One of the crows suddenly plummeted down from the sky, landing next to Death. The transfer of an animals soul was comparatively easier than a humans.

Death took hold of the crow's corpse and his eyes began to glow red. Now, he could see the bird's small confused soul, trapped inside the lifeless body. Quickly, he reached through the crow and tapped the panicking soul. As it emerged from the corpse and tried to take flight, it found it could only go so far. After giving up, the soul perched on Death's shoulder and with a faint whisper they phased through worlds.

The crow flew freely in the land of the dead, not knowing it would only be here for a short time. In a matter of minutes it would be cleansed and find its way into a new host. As the God of Death, he determined who died and when. So when they finally passed, he also worked as the ferryman to this world. It was a daunting task, but it always needed to be done.

“I expected to find you here,” stated a voice from behind Death. He recognized it as his counterpart, the God of life and all things light.

“What do you need?”

“I am only here to remind you that it is time...” The God of Light stated as he moved next to Death. Wearing white robes that seemed to shine even in this environment, Light was what most would consider good looking. He not only an opposing task but appearance as well. Death hid his face for a reason—the darkness had corrupted his flesh. It made his skin as pale as a corpse, and in some areas, he had patches of what appeared to be white scales. It had started as an attempt to hide his appearance from himself, but as the look became legend, he adopted it completely.

“I know it is time. I am simply reflecting on the moment.”

Chapter 5

Rick was daydreaming while admiring his sort of secret crush. He had attempted to talk to Sara the other day but had only made a fool of himself. He was even more upset about how cliché it all was. He thought, I should just go say hi... see what she is up to. After she had noticed him looking towards her, he decided to make his move.

“Hi Sara. How are you?”

“Oh, I'm fine. Just on my way to class,” she responded as they began walking down the hallway.

“I'm sorry about yesterday. I was a klutz and I guess I just wanted to say—”

“You don't have to say it. It's obvious that you like me and who knows, maybe you have a chance,” she said as she turned to enter the classroom with a smile. Rick couldn't help but smile back and watched her as she sat down at her desk.

“Shouldn't you be somewhere?” Jason remarked from behind him before putting him into a headlock and guiding him down the hall into the restroom.

Rick was hunched over on the floor holding back tears and wiping the blood from his nose. Jason had just beat the crap out of him and proceeded to make fun of the teen. He tried to get up and off the floor, but he was pushed backwards.

“This is what happens. You do it again and I will kill you. Understand?”

“Okay. Just leave me alone,” Rick pleaded as the jock walked out of the room. After standing up, he took a long look at himself in the mirror. This was definitely going to leave a mark. In the corner of the mirror, he could see Death materialize from nothing. The God approached him, grabbing hold of his chin and inspecting Rick's face.

“Nothing major. I won't be taking your soul today,” Death told him.

“You have a weird sense of humor.”

“Well you did smile when I said it. What happened?” he asked, so Rick proceeded to explain what had occurred.

“Hmm... I think I just might give him a reoccurring nightmare... something he is really afraid of. Maybe killer bunnies...”

“What!” Rick laughed, knowing the God was simply trying to cheer him up. “But really, why a nightmare?”

“It's simple really. That's an incredibly passive way of getting back at him without him ever knowing it was us.”

“I guess you shouldn't do it. He is probably just misunderstood.”

“Really?” Death's voice filled with sarcasm.

“Yeah, you're right. Probably not.”

Chapter 6

Rick leaned back against the tree watching all the people wander about in the park. Death decided after a moment to sit next to him. It looked awkward to Rick. The cloaked figure would usually always stand and his cloak formed an interesting shape as the God sat with his legs crossed. Even the look on his face made him look like he was meditating.

“The sun will be setting soon. I remember when the sun was worshiped as a God. It was a particularly interesting time for the God of Life.”

“What do you mean?” Rick asked.

“Well, as Gods he and I are exact opposites. Whether it be the moon or the sun, nightmares or dreams, death and life. Mankind has done rather interesting things worshiping the God of Life. Few think of death or negative things when thinking of God.”

“Why do you bring all of this up?” pondered the teen.

“Even though no one thinks of it there always needs to be a God of Death and I can no longer fulfill that role. There comes a time for either god to pass on his powers from one to another.” Death stated.

“What do you mean? Why would a God need to pass on his powers?”

“Nothing in this world can last forever. Everything that comes in being, must eventually go.”

“No, you don't mean you have chosen me, do you?” Risk asked with a look of surprise and confusion. Death gave no response and simply continued looking out towards the sun. Rick glanced down at his hands, which were trembling. He thought about all the things he had yet to do in life. He began to panic and moved away from the tree. “I can't be the God of Death. There is so much I still have to do.”

“I showed myself to you, I chose you, and I got to know you. This is what you are destined for Rick.”

“No! No... I can't,” Rick began backing away from Death, his thoughts racing through his mind. “Find someone else. I...I don't want this.”

Death watched the fearful Rick turn and begin walking away. Death looked at the silver ring he held in his hands. After a moment of contemplation, he looked toward the setting sun. Rick was far away now, and he knew that he wasn't coming back.

“There is no one else. There isn't enough time...”

Part 2: The Stalker

Chapter 1

Death stood alone in the world of souls. He thought about Rick and how he had been rejected by him. His mind was scattered—his thoughts random—almost as if he had no control over them. He drifted to his days in ancient Italy, during what is now called the Iron Age and the rule of the Etruscan civilization. At his home, he had seen the previous God of Death and his indistinguishable face. The God whispered in what he assumed was his original tongue as he took the soul of his beloved.

“You need to convince him. You know you don't have time...” said the God of Light as he appeared before him.

“Go away!” Death responded turning away from him.

“I can't go away. You are putting everything in jeopardy by wasting time. It has already begun, has it not?”

“No. I am fine.”

“I am going to have take your power and pass it on. We don't have time for this,” stated Light.

“No!” Death firmly protested as two mirror images of himself took hold of the God of Light. “He is the one I chose. I will not accept another.”

“I can't stand here and let this happen.”

“I understand. I will convince him. I just need more time,” he said as he stared at his own hand which now had a few small black spots. He could feel his body changing and slowly becoming deformed.

“There is no time... don't you understand? You must simply choose another.”

“No...” he whispered before he vanished.

Chapter 2

Wandering through the school's hallways, Rick felt a little guilty about yesterday's events. By turning down Death's offer, he wondered, is that really the end of it all? He stood by his decision, though and wouldn't change his choice for life instead of a world of dead. However, he pondered what Death was up to. Rick had really expected him to try harder to convince him.

“What are you so gloomy for?” asked Sara, who approached him. Rick hadn't even noticed she was around until she spoke out.

“It's hard to explain and I guarantee you you wouldn't understand.”

“Oh I see! You are playing the angsty misunderstood teen now?” she teased as he offered no response. “Oh, come on... cheer up!”

After he stopped walking and looked her in the eyes, he imagined that she could see the emotion in his own. Then, Rick gave her a hug and held on as tight as he could, almost as if this might be the last hug he would ever get.

“Where is this coming from? What's wrong, Rick?” she emphatically questioned.

Deep in Rick's gut he had a very strong feeling of dread and doom. It had been there all morning, but it had just gotten stronger a moment ago. Rick finally let her go and when his gaze drifted, he noticed Death standing in the courtyard. Death was simply staring in their direction. He then noticed the God was surrounded by dead birds of different types, mostly crows.

“I... I have to go,” Rick said as he turned and began walking at a quick pace.

“Rick! Rick wait!”

Rick walked across half of the school. When he looked back, he noticed Death following him. As Death got closer, Rick could see that there seemed to be a sort of black residue trailing the God left behind by his feet. It started as a simple footprint but then appeared to reach outward, growing. Rick quickened his pace, wondering why Death was doing this. Was he really trying to intimidate him?

Rick ran into the classroom and promptly sat at his desk. Everyone looked at him inquisitively and for a moment he didn't respond. He had to think of something to tell them and he was currently trying not to panic.

“What? I was almost late,” he proclaimed, opening his textbook and sitting there quietly until Rick felt the peering eyes lose interest. His attention was then drawn to the window where he saw Death standing, pressing his hand against the glass. Rick could see one of Death's eyes glowing red, and he swore he saw a black tear trail down Death's pale cheek. But what really drew his attention, were the patches of black hard flesh scattered across the God's hand and forearm. As soon as class is over I am out of here, Rick thought.

Walking down the hall, keeping to himself, Rick wondered what was really happening. Would the God of Death stalk him until he accepted his offer?

“Hey punk!” said Jason as he stood next to Rick.

“Not now Jason!” Rick responded as he kept walking, leaving behind a confused Jason. Rick wanted to get home, and he also hoped Death would not follow him there, even if it did seem unlikely.

Chapter 3

The teenager stayed in his room for most of the evening, contemplating the situation. He figured that the God of Death was simply trying to intimidate him into an agreement. That wasn't going to work on him. He eagerly awaited the God's next move. Rick was adamant that these scare tactics were just that and nothing more.

“Are you okay?” his mother asked as she opened the door. The light from the hall shined through into his dark room, making his mother appear as nothing more than a silhouette.

“I miss Dad. I am sure he would have known what to do...”

“I know it has been hard for you without him. He never had any question in his mind that you would turn out to be a good and honest man.”

“I am not so sure.... Have you ever been faced with a life altering situation? One where you simply don't know the outcome or consequences?

“I would like to think I have. You have to ask yourself which one of these choices is the right one for you and it is not always clear. As for consequences, no one can know what exactly what lies in store for them, especially when there is a choice involved. Listen to your heart first and then let your mind sort out your feelings after. It's really the only thing you can do,” she said and began leaving the room. “It's you life and your choice, kiddo. And remember, I am always here if you want to talk about it.”

“Thanks Mom,” he whispered as she walked down the hallway. One thing she said that really stood out to him was 'It's your life.' It got him thinking, and when all was said and done, would he even consider the God of Death as living? Wouldn't the worst thing be to give up on life?

Rick wondered why the God hadn't simply chosen someone closer to the end of their life. He imagined that they would eagerly accept the chance as living as the God of Death for over a thousand years. The teen grabbed hold of his backpack and decided to head towards the park.

Sitting under the same tree as yesterday, Rick was silently reading a comic book. It was an interesting horror story about a world filled with the undead. They roamed the streets looking their next meal with nothing but their basic instincts. He became distracted, his thoughts on his mother's words. Would she really have said all that if she knew the whole situation? Hell, would she have believed it? Alone with his thoughts, he leaned his head back against the tree and closed his eyes.

Chapter 4

Rick opened his eyes, dazed and a little bit confused. He realized that it was night and there no one was around. Standing from against the tree, he picked up his comic book. He looked towards one of the lamp posts—no illumination came from it. Rick was alone with nothing but the moonlight to guide him on an unnaturally dark night.

He reached into his pocket, pulling out his cellphone. It happened to be dead. He let out a sigh at how unfortunate this was, especially considering the God of Death could be lurking around. Rick moved along the trail at a slow pace, keeping an eye out for the God.

Much to his surprise, nothing happened on his way home from the park. Rick rested on his bed but couldn't fall asleep. He watched the stars outside his window for quite some time. He wondered what the other God was like, if maybe the other God would be watching out for him, making sure the God of Death didn't take things to far with his scare tactics. He imagined that they must have an equal amount of power and that if one of them stepped out of line, the other would take action. This thought comforted Rick, and he managed to drift off into slumber.

Death stood against the wall—invisible to mortal eyes. He had followed Rick home from the park, and even though the voices were telling him to do otherwise, the God had taken no action. He could feel the other thoughts getting stronger, their suggestions having more weight, and he feared them.

He thought about waking the boy but didn't, noticing how peaceful he looked. The God was almost spellbound by the innocence on Rick's face. It was then that he noticed he had fizzled into view, and after trying to become transparent again, realized he couldn't. He reached out to Rick as he mumbled incoherent sentences. His hands shook with fear, and he felt himself begin to cry. In frustration, he let out a muted scream, reverting to mist as he transported himself away.

Part 3: Realization

Chapter 1

Left speechless, he stared at the black footprints littering his room. Yesterday, Rick noticed that the God of Death had been leaving a residue behind, and he now saw that same black substance in his room.

Rick noticed a note next to his bed on the dresser. Once he picked it up, he saw it was signed by his mom. She informed him that he needed to clean up the mud he had dragged in. Startled, he looked at the footprints. He guessed that from a distance it could look like mud. For a moment, he thought it might have been his footprints. However, as he inspected them closer, he noticed that the substance had a texture to them. They almost appeared to be in motion.

He attempted to clean it up, but he was afraid to touch it. After putting on some rubber gloves, he touched the goo. By doing so, he knew for sure now that the substance had come from the God of Death. He wondered how long Death had waited in his room and why his mother could now see the goo as well. Death had never made himself visible in any way to anyone else.

///

As Jason walked down the school hallway, he stared down the other students. One looked back at him for too long, so he knocked his books out of his hands. Most quickly looked away, not wanting to attract his attention. He closed the locker of another student with a slam and then knocked him against the lockers to interrogate him.

“Have you seen Rick?”

“I don't know! I saw him yesterday, but I haven't seen him yet...” responded the scared teen.

“You sure about that?” Jason asked leering in closer. They nodded in response before Jason continued. “Well... the morning is just getting started. You'll find me if you see him, right?”

“Yes...yes, I will,” replied the student and Jason walked off.

Rick had walked past him the other day, and Jason felt he needed to pay him extra attention. He had always had a thing against Rick since elementary. It wasn't anything that anyone had noticed other than him. It was as simple as the two of them waiting to be picked for a game of tag. The team's were being formed and there was room for one more person. Rick and Jason were the last ones. As Rick was picked before him, he looked back at Jason and whispered sorry. As a child, Jason resented Rick for being picked instead of him. After spending the rest of that recess alone, he made a vow to himself that he would not be pitied. Instead, he would be feared.

Rick didn't know that Jason held a grudge against him, and Jason thought about keeping it that way. He took pleasure in the fact that Rick would always wonder why Jason took special interest in him.

Chapter 2

Rick looked around every corner as he walked to school, searching for the God of Death. Death had been in his room last night while he slept, watching over him for who knows how long. Rick had become very paranoid. The scare tactics were starting to get to him.

After finding the residue all around his room, he had tried to clean the footprints up with a rag. It didn't work very well, and he had to get a hold of an old scrub brush they had. It took him three hours to get all of it up. The brush had been rendered useless afterward. He was now incredibly late to school. Normally, he would have just stayed home; however, he wanted to be around others because it made him feel safer.

///

Rick knocked on the door to his third period class and waited for the teacher to respond. After he entered the room, Mr. Barrett gave him a chiding look and pointed Rick towards his seat. The other students didn't pay any attention to him, which he was thankful for since he didn't have to make an excuse this time.

Because of his paranoia, Rick continuously checked around the room. The only threat though was Jason looking at him menacingly. They stared at each other for awhile before the bully popped his knuckles. After turning away, Rick focused on the teacher showing them some algebra problems in front of the class. Rick tried to look calm and normal despite the terrible feeling he had in his gut.

Chapter 3

Death stood on the school's roof staring at the sun. So many voices were constantly straining for his attention inside his head. At times, some of them even seemed to be arguing with each other. A flock of crows flew above him with more than he could count. One of the voices suggested to him that their souls were ready to be taken.

The God was having a hard time with reality and perception. The voice inside of his mind sounded so confident and persuasive. To Death, it seemed as if the voice had a greater understanding of how the universe would turn out in the end. Death decided that this voice was right and because of this he reached out at the sky.

Soon enough green tendrils of light emerged from his fingertips and branched outward towards the sky. As they made contact with the crows, their little bodies convulsed before falling from the sky.

///

Rick shifted through the textbook as the teacher had instructed when suddenly he heard a thud and a girl's scream. He turned to look outside where the sound had originated, but he couldn't see anything because all the other students had rushed towards the window. They were all gasping and muttering sentences he couldn't understand. The teacher urged the students to sit back down as Rick stood and slowly made his way through the crowd.

After making his way through, his fear that Death was still at it was confirmed. He saw crows falling straight to the ground, and they all appeared dead. Several dozen littered the ground. The students were in complete disbelief and shock except for Jason. Jason was the only student who had remained seated, seemingly apathetic about the disturbance.

Rick was scared. It was getting worse and he didn't know what to do. He resolved to make a run for it. He had the strongest urge to hide, so he went towards one of the more infrequently used restrooms.

Chapter 4

Hiding in one of the stalls, he suddenly heard the door to the restroom open. He held his trembling hand across his mouth and tried his hardest not to breathe. He heard footsteps slowly walking across the floor. Soon enough, the door to his stall was pulled open. He hadn't locked the stall. Rick was grabbed by his shirt and yanked out of the stall.

“Who the hell are you hiding from?”asked Jason. He had apparently followed Rick. When he offered no response, it made Jason angry. “You sure weren't hiding from me. You look like you have seen a ghost!”

“Like you care. Just let me go!”

“You're right. I don't care. But do you know what I do care about? Making sure you know you can't just ignore me...” said Jason as he knocked Rick down.

“What is your problem?!”

“I was ignored once. You were picked instead of me, and I was all alone.... Do you remember that?

“I have no idea what you are talking about!” replied Rick, which made Jason even angrier. Rick groaned in pain as the bully began kicking him in the stomach. While curled up on his side, the lights in the room began to flicker. They both started looking around the room in bewilderment. Rick felt his breath quicken in pace because this could mean that Death was near.

“Oh no....” muttered Rick as an almost silent scream was heard, and it seemed to drag out forever.

“What the hell is that?” asked Jason, taking a few steps back. Jason went towards the door, but paused when he saw the black substance emerge on the wall next to it. As the stain grew in size, Rick realized that he couldn't quite stand, so he simply kicked himself back towards the wall. The stain emerged outward in a weird round tendril, reaching towards them both.

“What is that?” cried Jason as he stood frozen in place.

“The God of Death...” responded Rick. He didn't know what to do.

The black substance formed a chest. Withered arms began reaching out from the center. One of the arms held up the rest of the black substance as it continued to form an almost human form. Soon enough, at the very edge of the substances bulb there seemed to be a white face emerging from within the goo. The screaming was louder now as the goo retracted from the arms revealing the white skin. Standing in full form, the remaining substance took the form of cloth covering a pale sickly looking body.

“What is this? What do I do?” yelled Jason.

“Won't you leave him alone? No... he will never leave him alone!” declared Death with two slightly different sounding voices. His head twitched in strange patterns, as if his brain was fighting with itself. “Jason...” Death whispered. “Never will grow up... never will change. Time to go... time to give up. No future for you, I'm afraid.”

“What do you mean?” asked Jason, who now stood in a cold sweat. With this question, Death tilted his head in confusion. As he opened his fist, a single green tendril of light emerged from his palm. Jason backed away until he was against the wall.

“Death, stop it! Whatever you are doing... just stop it!” cried out Rick.

“Who are you?” questioned Death as the tendril continued to reach out towards Jason. With his response, Rick realized that this was not a scare tactic—this was real. There was something terribly wrong with the God of Death. He watched in horror as the tendril finally made contact with Jason. It covered his whole body. It was like watching a strong wind breeze through a whole tree, but you could see the wind.

“Help me!” pleaded Jason as he was lifted slightly off the ground. Rick continued to shout and scream at Death to stop. He tried to remind Death of who he was was. As he begged Death, tugging at his cloak, he looked back at Jason who seemed to be withering away. Jason looked incredibly pale and as if he was only skin and bones.

“I see... the spirits of the dead, walking around aimlessly. They all seem so sad,” said Jason. The life faded from his eyes.

“Noooooo! What have you done!?” Rick asked in disbelief and then fled from the restroom.

Chapter 5

Rick sat under the bleachers in the gym. He'd shoved his way through the crowds of students making their way to their classes. The students there for class had started making their way to the center of the large gymnasium.

Rick held onto his knees and cried. He had no idea what to do. Death, who used to be his friend, had just killed one of his fellow students. Having lost track of how long he had been under the bleachers, all he could do was mourn.

Part 4: Complete Panic

Chapter 1

Rick had been under the bleachers for an hour. He wiped away the tears from his face and continued to stare at his phone. His phone was receiving calls constantly but it was on silent. The number of the current call it displayed was unknown. Rick didn't quite feel comfortable answering considering what had happened. He wasn't sure if there would be some eerie voice on the other end telling him he was going to die or if it was simply someone he knew using a different number. If the latter was the case, he didn't know if he would be able to find his voice.

Rick then received a text message. He felt more at ease to check the message. A glimmer of panic overcame him after he opened it. It simply read, "It is time. They are ready. No future." Rick looked through the bleachers at the other students. They were all just sitting and waiting for class to end because their teacher was sick. Most of them were also glued to their phones. A girl asked aloud, "What's this joke text? Who sent it?" It occurred to Rick that not only him, but everyone had received the text.

"I got it too...weird and creepy," added another girl.

"No future..." was said in a slight whisper, barely heard. The students looked around in confusion. Rick decided it was time to for him to go and began making his way out. He was almost out the door, when there was a scream. He was afraid to move, and after what had happened to Jason, he feared the worst.

Finally, as the sound of terror, reached his ear, he managed to muster up enough courage to turn around. He saw the other students running in a panic, attempting to quickly dodge the emerging black goo. It started to erupt through the floor and ceiling of the large gymnasium. One girl was in the center of it all, covered in the substance and screaming. Rick could not believe what he was seeing. He stood frozen in horror at the sight. He wondered if the rest of the school was experiencing something similar or if the God was close by. Rick made his way towards the screaming girl in the center, as the others pushed past him. His instinct was to try and help her, but he observed that the God of Death was walking towards him. Rick noticed that half of the God's face was covered in a large rough patch of black skin.

Mustering a fair amount of courage, Rick managed to get to the terrified girl. He pulled and pulled at her arm, trying to get her to run with him, but she was stuck in place. Then Death let out an almost silent but intense scream that echoed throughout the gym. The girl turned to look at the figure's strange face, and she began shrieking yet again.

"You have to run!" screamed Rick, catching her attention. The teens began running towards the door, and as Rick looked back at the God of Death, he saw several sub-images of the same person fizzling in and out around him.

Chapter 2

Rick made it outside of the gym and into one of the hallways. The hall appeared incredibly empty; there was no one around. As the lights began to flicker, Rick and the girl, who he remembered was named Ashley, started to run for the nearest exit.

As they ran, he observed the goo, which was here and there, drenching the walls. When they made it to the exit, he was surprised to see several students gathered. They were pounding on the door in an attempt to get it open. It was sealed shut with the substance in the creases. The God then faded into existence directly behind the students

"Stop this! You're the God of Death. You can't do this!" Rick shouted towards the cloaked figure. Death began walking towards Rick. Some of the students seemed to notice the terrifying figure and screamed, deciding to scatter and run in multiple directions. This time, the God decided to focus on Rick. However, the God's look of confusion indicated that he might be trying to remember his old friend.

"What happened to you? Why did you take Jason's soul?!"

"You look familiar..." Death said, suddenly looking off to the right. A large black spot appeared on the wall. When Rick looked into the blackness, he saw what a man carving into a large clay pot. When the figure began pouring ash, he realized that the giant pot was in fact an urn. Was this a glimpse into the past? Of Death's past? Rick thought to himself. Before the image faded, Rick took notice that everything he had seen looked as if it was from ages old and everything was handmade.

"Why did I see this?" Rick asked. He turned and saw the God holding the sides of his head and crying out.

"NOOOOOO! Make it go away!" Death yelled out.

"Rick, what are you doing? Get away from there!" shouted a teacher, who came rushing toward Rick.

"No, get back! It is dangerous!" Rick yelled to the teacher, and as he did, he saw there were several other teachers leading a group of students. He guessed that they were to trying to find an exit. As the teacher was getting closer to Rick, Death screamed out, "Get away from me!"

Death reached out with his hand while screaming, and the teacher stopped in his tracks. The teacher was lifted off the ground and covered in the green energy. Soon enough, the teacher's limp body fell to the floor. Shocked by Death's actions, Rick realized that there was no reasoning with or hope for the God. When the God screamed again, he dematerialized, leaving the room. Rick noted to himself, No one in the school is safe. He thought about Sara and began running through the corridors, shouting her name.

Chapter 3

Rick was desperately attempting to find Sara, running and searching in every direction. It was the only thing on his mind as he passed a few lifeless looking teachers. A few others had run passed him earlier with a look of terror on their faces. He searched every class room he came across but couldn't find her. He thought, I mustn't give up, and let his desperation drive him.

///

Rick made his way into one of the classrooms, and was pretty much relieved when he found her. However, that feeling slipped away when he noticed the look of fear across her face. She pointed towards the corner of the room. Rick, who expected to see the God of Death, did not anticipate what he ended up seeing.

The figure walked in his direction, and Rick found himself staring into the eyes of a green ghostly-looking figure. Jason grinned back at him in his transparent form. Rick rushed to Sara's side and put his arm around her shoulder, ushering her to stand up.

"I knew he would come looking for you.... I knew it! Didn't I tell you he would come?" grinned Jason.

"How are you here? You said you saw the afterlife as I watched you dying!" shouted Rick.

"I am not sure... All I know is that when I crossed, I turned around to see the gateway was still open. So I walked back through it and found my way back into the world of the living."

"I don't know what to say.... I'm sorry, Jason. I'm sorry you died," responded Rick, hoping to keep the situation calm. He wasn't entirely sure what a spirit was capable of.

"I...WILL NOT BE PITIED. I WILL BE FEARED!!!" Jason screamed as all the desks around him were shoved aside by a seemingly invisible force.

"RUN!"

"You can't hide from me, Rick!"

With Sara alongside him, Rick ran out of the room at full force. They moved through the hall, but they were stopped in their tracks by intense pain, which caused their vision to blur. The room appeared to change. As the clarity of their vision returned, they found themselves in what seemed to be a cave. The ground beneath them shook in a slow and pulsing vibrations while they moved quietly through the area.

"Is Jason doing this?" she asked.

"No....This is something else. I am pretty sure this is the work of the God of Death."

"How the hell can you tell?"

"I have known the God of Death for the past few years. Recently, he went insane," he replied.

"What do you mean you've known him?" she asked, stopping Rick to study him.

"A few years ago, he made himself visible to me and were friends since," he informed her and he continued to make his way through the cave.

"I believe you. But if he is the God of Death, then how did he put us in this cave?"

"I imagine it's because he also happens to govern nightmares."

"Are we asleep?" she asked, looking around nervously.

"I don't know," he muttered. The quake increased in power, and chunks of rocks fell from the walls as he spoke. Sara screamed when a ghostly green arm emerged from one of the newly created crevices. As the shaking continued to wreck the walls, more ghostly appendages appeared. They began running forward in search of an exit, but as they ran, the passageway grew more narrow.

Rick held Sara's hand while they ran. Soon enough, the passage became so narrow that the emerging hands could nearly touch them. Finally, Rick saw a light at the end of the tunnel, quite narrow but possibly an exit.

"We have to cross it, there might be an exit," he said.

"No-no, I can't. They will get too close..."

"I'm sorry. We have to," he told her as he started to guide her.

She reluctantly followed and as they got closer to the exit, the hands did as well. It seemed like they would be out of the cave with just another couple of feet. It was a long shot, but Rick didn't know what else they could do. He heard a scream and turned to see that one of the arms had grabbed a hold of Sara's face. He pried and pried, trying to break her free, but the grip of the ghostly green arm was too strong.

Abruptly, Sara was pulled and tossed behind Jason, who had appeared just as the illusion faded away. Jason took hold of Rick's neck and lifted him off the ground. He struggled to free himself from the apparition's grip but failed to do so.

"I have never felt so free! I am free from the shackles of morality, and I will take my revenge on you, Rick. I will be feared, and you will be my first victim," laughed Jason. Rick began to lose consciousness. His vision darkened as the grip strengthened. He couldn't help but feel like this was the end-like he would finally die. At the hands of a dead bully, no less. Rick worried about what would happen to Sara and his mother. He hoped that they would be okay and make it through all of this.

Chapter 4

Suddenly, Rick collapsed to the floor, and Jason's grasp lost its hold. His vision returned and he looked up to see Jason screaming and holding his head. He noticed the sound of Death's now familiar screaming soon after. The God's agony seemed to affect Jason. He glanced over to see Sara looking bewildered and confused, but at least she was okay. Rick looked around to see several ghostly apparitions screaming in pain as they phased in and out of reality. Most were adults he recognized as the faculty, but there were also a few students. Rick was shocked; he couldn't believe that the God of Death had killed all these people. He wondered, what is happening now?

The building then began to tremble and to shake furiously. Rick tried to gain his footing, but the ground beneath him cracked open. A large chasm separated Rick from Sara. It seemed like a massive quake had erupted and torn through the school. Rick could now see the sky, which was now painted a dark red. The eerie light illuminated the cracked and shambled remains of the hallway. Death appeared behind Jason looking him over curiously, before turning his attention to Rick. The God's face was completely black now and hardened. His face appeared to be cracked as if he had been out in the sun for far too long.

"Don't you see? Nightmares coming into reality. The world crashing down on us..." he stated. His head twitched slightly. "Rick?! Rick help me," Death muttered, with a look of utmost fear so compelling that it frightened Rick to the bone.

Part 5: The Growing Chaos

Chapter 1

Death had started to scream again, so Rick took this opportunity to try and make his way to Sara. He looked down at the chasm that separated them. He could see no end in sight; it was as if the crack led to the very center of the earth. It was seemingly unreal. Rick took a few steps back, preparing to jump across.

After he made it across, he took a hold of Sara's hand and helped her to stand up. Rick tried to figure out  which direction to run. Death's screaming stopped. A look of horror took over Sara's face. “Rick! Look out!”

Rick was lifted into the air. He wasn't sure who had taken hold of him, only that their grip was impressive. He heard his name whispered into his ear before he was tossed across the hallway. When he landed with a loud thump, Rick realized he had been thrown quite a ways down the hall. The God of Death stood next to Sara but was facing Rick. The God appeared to be vibrating in place, leaving several afterimages of himself. As Death raised his arm and reached out to Rick, green tendrils emerged. Rick wondered if this was the end. His eyes met Sara's. 

“Make sure my mom is okay,” muttered Rick, expecting to meet his end as the tendrils grew closer.

“Noooooooo! Leave him alone!” Sara screamed. She pulled violently at Death's cloak. This drew the God's attention to Sara. The tendrils that reached for him faded away. Rick shouted angrily as the God of Death placed a hand on Sara's face. A green glow emerged from the contact. Recognizing that Death was going to kill Sara, Rick rushed to his feet and started running as fast as he could. He could hear the pounding of his own heart as he tried to make his way to Death.

“You leave her alone! Damn you!” Rick shouted as he tackled the God of Death. They landed a few feet away from the kneeling Sara. Rick quickly realized that his arm was stuck inside the black substance covering the God's chest. 

“Rick, what are you doing? Get away from him!” 

“I am trying to... I'm stuck!” Rick told her while trying to pry his arm away from Death. The substance stretched with every tug. While he continued to struggle, he noticed that Death seemed to be looking off in the distance. Death's eyes seemed to be staring into something no one else could see far away.

“From the dawn... we see the fall... and unto death we see the end of ourselves. The mold of clay cracked and worn, left to decay... as we simply fade away, forgotten by time,” said Death. Rick remembered that as a part of a conversation they once had. This was a piece of a poem that Death had shared with Rick on the subject of death and mortality. It is almost as if we are connected... that Death is able to form a coherent thought from a memory we both shared, thought Rick. He heard screaming from behind him.

“You think you're the hero... that you will escape this and have a happy ending. I will make sure that doesn't happen!” proclaimed Jason, who had grabbed a hold of Sara by her hair. Rick struggled harder and harder to remove himself from the gook, looking back at the two every once in a while.

“Jason, leave her alone! She has done nothing to you!”

“You don't get it, do you? The only reason I need is that you care for her.”

“Jason! Stop!” shouted Rick, which was then echoed by the God. Their shared emotion caused the area to shake violently, causing pieces of debris to crash to the ground and another chasm to grow, putting Jason and Sara out of reach.  Although Rick had stopped shouting, the God still echoed the emotions Rick felt. Death's scream echoed throughout the crumbling school. Jason clasped at the sides of his head. He looked to be in agonizing pain. Rick watched as the ghost of Jason faded in and out of view. Jason seemed to be running as far as he could through the cracking walls of the hallway. 

“Sara! Are you okay?” asked an exasperated Rick. He was still trapped. He looked around franticly as the school continued to shake violently even though the screaming had stopped. In a matter of seconds, the ground beneath the God and Rick seemed to crack and break apart.

“We simply fade away... forgotten by time,” stuttered the God as the ground below them fractured and slid into the gaping chasm. Time seemed to slow for Rick as he and the god fell into the unknown. He could see Sara looking over the edge shouting his name. Rick wasn't sure what was going to happen, but he had no doubt that this would be the end for him as Death's cloak wrapped around him completely, obscuring his view. It felt as if he was falling to the very center of the earth. Before long, all he experienced was the complete and unending darkness, a black truer than anything he had ever known and then knew no more.

Part 6: Inner Echo

Chapter 1

When Rick opened his eyes, he was lying on a hard black stone-like surface. Once he stood up, he struggled to see how far the hallway he was in extended. It was difficult to see very far, so the hallway might even be endless. Rick checked himself over; he didn't seem to be hurt. What happened? All I remember was falling for a long time...

"Hello..." Rick called out. He thought there would be no response, yet a few seconds later, he could hear whispering that was definitely getting louder. Rick realized that it was more like the sound was getting closer. As the sound got closer the walls began to tremble. They began to vibrate more violently with each passing second. Fear gripped Rick as he decided to run in the opposite direction. Despite running as fast as he could, the walls around him shook with continued velocity as the sound drew nearer.

"Where the hell am I?" Rick screamed as the sound echoed passed him. The intense sound hit him like a strong gust of wind, lifting him into the air. There was moment where he appeared to float in the air before suddenly falling back through the hallway. It seemed as though gravity had shifted direction. Rick was falling through the hallway vertically and as he fell, he screamed. The walls suddenly became a liquid-like substance that splashed against him and slowed his speed before he finally landed on a solid wooden surface with the black liquid substance seemingly crashing against the floor. It settled on the wood floor about two inches above his ankles.

In the distance, he saw a figure but of what he couldn't be certain. However, it was the only thing Rick saw in the seemingly endless room. He realized that with all that had happened, things worked differently here. He wondered if death was even a possibility. He walked through the water towards the figure in the distance. Rick expected almost anything to happen. He was certain that he did not die in the fall because otherwise, he would have been in the world of spirits that he was familiar with. No, this has to be something different. But what of the real world? What is happening there? Maybe the threat has already ended? Maybe what I am experiencing is what the God of Death experienced as well. It occurred to him that this place could be some sort of limbo; either way, he suspected something supernatural was involved.

Chapter 2

The figure appeared to be a statue of Death himself, and in its cupped hands, a ring floated in the air. Rick wasn't sure what to make of it, but the ring seemed of great importance. It also looked like the ring was missing an important stone in the middle. After some contemplation, he took the ring into his hand. It felt like anything he might have considered real. A wall came from nowhere and moved directly behind the statue, startling him. It was wooden as well and had a sort of painting on it of a ring being handed from a cloaked figure to what seemed to be a depiction of a younger boy. Rick assumed that he was the boy and that the ring was like the passing of the torch—the power of the God of Death transferred from the old to the new.

Rick took a few steps backwards as the statue of the God came alive and began crumbling as it moved forward. It reached out to Rick with a look of sadness across its crumbling face. It called out to Rick in a way that was almost inaudible but sad. The statue's hand broke off and so did other parts. They didn't fall to the ground; instead, they seemed to float slowly upwards. As the face broke off from the rest of the statue, it floated towards him, unlike the other pieces. Rick was not sure what to do and could only tremble with fear. The face rotated and inside its enclave, there seemed to be a mold of Rick's own face. He understood what that meant, but he did not have enough time to react before the stone face attached itself to his. A moment of sheer panic overtook Rick—he couldn't breathe or see. He dropped the ring, desperately trying to pry the mask off his face. He heard the sound the ring made as it hit the water. The sound was emphasized so greatly that it was like he could hear nothing else afterwards, and the extreme silence bothered him deeply. He couldn't quite tell what was happening. It soon felt as if he was moving in some kind of direction, he couldn't tell which though. He struggled and reached out, trying to find a solid surface to grab onto.

When Rick landed on solid ground again, the stone mask flew off of his face and onto the ground near him. Rick paused to take in several deep breaths and observed his surroundings. He was close to the edge of a cliff and the God of Death stood at its very edge. Rick attempted to call out, but he could make no sound. The God of Death was cursing out at the sky. Rick felt a sense of familiarity at those actions. This was the God cursing his fate at having become the new Death. Death had not always accepted his fate—Rick could relate. Rick had already seen a sample of the God of Death going insane. He wondered, would Death have changed so drastically if I had accepted my fate from the beginning?Would all of this insanity have become a reality?

Part 7: Memories of Death

Chapter 1

Rick watched as the God continued to scream at the sky. After he stopped screaming, Death kneeled down and slammed his fists into the ground. Rick cautiously approached the cloaked figure; he walked slowly, not wanting to startle him. When Rick moved close to Death, he turned and looked at Rick. Death had tears running down his cheeks.

"I wasn't ready to lose her..." muttered Death. He said it in a way that Rick could understand, which surprised him.

"Who did you lose?" asked Rick.

"My wife. That was the night I first saw the God of Death. He wanted to make himself known to me ,because I was his chosen replacement. I watched helplessly as he took her soul," Death said, looking back over the edge of the cliff.

"Why would he do something like that-something so cruel. I can't imagine seeing the very figure of Death taking someone I loved to the afterlife," Rick proclaimed with a hint of disgust.

"It was her time. However, it was also the lesson of loss he wanted to teach me so that when the time came, I would be able to let go of my life. After a while, I thought I was ready for this. Without my wife, I didn't care to live anymore. I imagine that was why he chose me. He knew I would feel as though I had nothing else to lose. I was wrong and soon discovered that I wasn't ready for this..."

"It's a terrible way to handle it," said Rick, sympathizing with the God.

"This feeling... I have only been Death for a hundred years and yet I feel so forgotten by time. I realize now what I left behind; I left behind the chance to be reincarnated. I visited her soul in the world of the dead. She lost who she was and her soul was reused. Now I have to live with the fact that she is truly gone while I will be a God of Death for a couple thousand years."

"I'm sorry," Rick muttered.

"When the time comes and I must choose a successor, I will do all I can to make the transfer effortless," Death proclaimed.

"You will..."

"What?" Death questioned in confusion.

"But he won't understand," Rick mumbled as he walked away from the edge of the cliff. Rick closed his eyes and held back tears.

///

When Rick opened his eyes, he was in a new location. From pictures he had seen in textbooks, it appeared to be 19th century England. After searching through the rooms of the house, he came across Death standing over a sick woman who lay in bed. A child sat in a chair near the end of the bed, looking as if he had cried himself to sleep.

"I have been doing this for some time now. I have learned the importance of my role. Without Death, the cycle of life would end. I have often pondered what would have happened had I not accepted..." Death commented as he stared at the dying woman. "I have taken thousands of souls into the world of death and from that cycle a new soul is born. Life moves ever forward."

"From the dawn, we see the fall, and unto death we see the end of ourselves. The mold of clay cracked and worn, left to decay as we simply fade away, forgotten by time," said Rick.

"Though the world around us is forever reborn, the shadow of death truly has no place, we in time will see the end of ourselves," finished Death.

Rick understood the poetry now. It all makes sense-it wasn't written of the death of mortals, but of the end of Death. The God of Death's soul is never recycled; it must decay eventfully. "The mold of clay cracked and worn, left to decay as we simply fade away, forgotten by time." When Rick declined taking over the role, Death began to decay. His body became cracked and worn with this decay. This must also be true of his mind. It's my fault...it's all my fault. Rick now knew that he was participating in memories of the God of Death. He must have been absorbed into the God when they fell into crevice.

"I have to go back-I have to fix this! But how..." Rick looked at Death as he turned to face Rick. He saw the ring around Death's finger, but it wasn't missing the stone. That ring is the key to me accepting the role. "I have to go back!"

"Then you must return the way you came," stated Death and he opened his arms. Rick understood immediately and approached him. When he placed his hand against Death's chest, it felt more like a thick liquid substance than a solid. Rick pushed his hand through. He was being absorbed again.

Chapter 2

It felt as if he was swimming. He didn't know how long he'd been in the black water substance. However, he pushed onward and tried to find his way out. After what seemed like an eternity, his eyes could make out something that seemed solid ahead. As he moved closer, he stared at what appeared to be a rather large inside of a ribcage. There was a solid black layer in front of it and Rick didn't quite know what to do. He was now close enough to touch the center of the ribcage and he did so with prudence. He didn't want to hurt the God of Death, but he needed to get back to the real world before things got worse. He started to claw quickly at the center of the ribcage. He dug as fast as he could. Finally, Rick could see a light shine through. He placed both hands in the hole and started tugging it apart as fast as he could.

///

Rick fell out of the screaming God of Death's chest. He landed on the hot asphalt of main street and coughed up a bit of the black water. He was still soaking wet and in pain, grunting with his eyes closed. After he composed himself, he stood up and turned towards the God but he saw him phase in and out of reality further and further down the street. A look of shock overwhelmed Rick's face when he examined the surroundings. There were no people, only vague green ghosts of what they used to be. There were so many ghosts wandering the streets that it was as though the entire town had passed away while he was gone. A moment of panic overtook him and he started sprinting down the street towards the school. As he ran, he saw more and more ghosts wandering aimlessly. Rick hoped beyond hope that she had somehow escaped... that she was still alive.

He ran as far as he could before he had to hunch over and gasp for air. When Rick's gaze fell on the sight in front of him, he felt as if all hope had been drained from him that instant. He felt his heart sink as Sara's ghost smiled sadly at him.

Part 8: A Soul and a Ring

Chapter 1

Rick saw Sara in the edge of his vision walking towards him. He couldn't look directly at her—it was too heartbreaking. She placed her hand on his shoulder, but Rick avoided eye contact, watching as his tears fell and collided with the cracked asphalt.

"I'm sorry Rick...I wasn't able to make it but it's not that bad. It didn't hurt."

"You're just saying that to make me feel better. This...all of this is my fault. If I had just accepted the role of the God of Death, none of this would have happened," retorted Rick as Sara kneeled down and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"I had an opportunity to move on into that other world but I waited. I wanted to see you one last time. I will need to leave soon, but you have to do the right thing Rick, and make this right. You have to or the rest of the world will suffer the same fate as this."

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"I was able to venture outside town. The sky was normal and no souls roamed. It's not the end of the world just yet. You have to make this right," she answered.

"How do you know I can?"

"Because when I ventured out of Death's reach, another God spoke to me. The God of Light said you can still accept the role and that you would know how."

"Don't worry, I will make this right. I won't let any others die because of my mistake," affirmed Rick.

"I have to go now. If I don't, then my portal will close and I will be stuck here. I love you," she admitted and turned to leave. Rick burst into tears and slammed his fists into the ground. After he finished letting out his frustration, he wiped away his tears and stood up. With his fists clinched, he walked forward to look for the God of Death.

Chapter 2

He saw several images of Death scattered across the park. All of them seemed filled with anxiety and some of them even appeared to be arguing amongst themselves. Rick approached with caution, not wanting to startle any of them. He was determined to get the ring and this was his best shot. Rick wasn't sure how to do this and so he decided to follow his instincts. As he approached one of the figures, he begin to recite the poetry the God had written.

"From the dawn, we see the fall, and unto death we see the end of ourselves," said Rick calmly catching the God's attention. Death tilted his head at him, almost as if Death was trying to understand. "The mold of clay cracked and worn, left to decay as we simply fade away, forgotten by time," continued Rick as the rest of the figures suddenly focused their attention towards him. Some of them started to walk towards where Rick was.

"Though the world around us is forever reborn," Rick stated as some of the other figures walked and merged into the form of the God standing a few feet in front of Rick. It seemed like progress, like the poem was bringing Death to a sense of calmness.

"The shadow of death truly has no place," Death muttered, seemingly coming to a conclusion and almost all of the other figures merged together. Both Rick and Death spoke the last line in unison. "We in time will see the end of ourselves."

At last, only one image of the God of Death stood before Rick. Not wanting to break the moment and startle the troubled God, Rick slowly reached out his hand. The God reached out as well but cautiously. When Rick took hold on Death's hand, there was no resistance. It seemed that the God now trusted him, if only in this moment. Rick carefully slid the ring off the cracked and worn hand.

A tear fell from Death's eyes and he smiled. The boy noticed that the God's eyes seemed familiar again instead of confused. Death lifted his hand to his face, and both of them could see that it was turning into ash, which was being whisked away by the wind, starting at the tips of his fingers.

"I'm sorry, Rick, that things turned out this way."

"It was my fault," Rick added

"You couldn't of known it would end up like this. In my attempt to be kind, I risked everything, I'm to blame. I guess this is goodbye," muttered Death. His body and cloak continued to turn to ash, particles drifting off into the wind.

"Goodbye, my friend."

"All you must do is commit your soul to the task while wearing the ring," the God informed Rick as he turned to look at the setting sun. "This is the last time I will ever see a sunset. Good luck, Rick. Farewell."

Rick placed the ring on his finger and realized that there was no gem in place. He wasn't sure how to do this. He watched as the last bit of ash twirled in the wind. Rick decided to close his eyes and spoke aloud, "I commit my soul to the role of the God of Death." When he glanced down at the ring, it now had a beautiful blue gem at its center. Then Rick's vision began to blur, and he saw nothing but pure white light.

Part 9: An Unimaginable View

Chapter 1

"Rick, welcome to the vastness of space, where we can discuss what has occurred uninterrupted," stated a figure who was dressed in a white cloak. They stood on one of Saturn's moons. Rick could see the planet to his left. The teen God of Death held his new black cloak between his hands, feeling its texture. There were many thoughts on his mind, but he recalled most of what had happened. Death's soul had begun to decay after his time had passed and with it he had grown insane, his powers not under his control.

"What can be done to fix all of this?" questioned Rick, asking about what he didn't have any idea about.

"That's a good question and one that doesn't have an easy answer. In fact, we are lucky that things haven't gotten worse. I would have intervened sooner but Death kept me preoccupied—held hostage—in his grand confusion. Death really just wanted more time to convince you of the task because he knew in his heart that you would be good at it," Light responded, walking along the moon and looking towards the sun.

"He knew I would be good at it, huh? Some job I've done so far."

"Did you know that this is simply one of seventeen universes in existence? I hear one of them has at least nine gods. God is just like that, always creating, it's what she loves to do."

"What? But Death told me that there were only two Gods in the universe?" stated a confused Rick.

"In this universe ,yes. It would have been too complicated to explain the truth. She created this universe and assigned the first God of Death and the first God of Light to govern this reality. Thus the cycle began; every few thousand years we have to assign a new soul to the task."

"You never answered my question..." said Rick.

"I'm getting to that. You must learn patience. You are going to be the God of Death for a very long time. I have been tasked by the ultimate creator of universes to tell you that you will be getting a second chance—a chance to prevent all that has occurred. You will have the memories of what originally occurred from when you declined your task, but you will have another opportunity to answer Death's question. I'm sure you will pick right this time."

"Really? No one will die because of my mistake?" asked Rick with a glimmer of hope in his eyes.

"The doorway through time is just behind you," replied Light with a smile. Rick turned around and saw an elegant door standing upright on the surface of the moon. It opened and pure white light shined through. Rick glanced back at the God of Light.

"Go on. You deserve this second chance. Sometimes things can get a little messy when it comes to dealing with Gods, but you handled it well." Light smiled at him and gestured towards the door.

Rick's senses were overwhelmed as he approached the doorway of light. When he entered, it felt as though his soul was traveling through a stream or river. It was a remarkable feeling and one that he would never forget.

Chapter 2

"Nothing in this world can last forever. Everything that comes into being, must eventually go," Death stated. They sat underneath a tree in the park. Rick realized he had traveled back to the time when Death had asked him to be his replacement. He really did have a second chance and he wasn't going to make the same mistake again.

"Rick?" Death asked. Rick had not noticed how long he had been quiet while in thought.

"I accept," answered Rick.

"There is something different about you...what happened?" inquired Death.

"I lived through all that happened because I declined to be the God of Death. It's not something I want to happen again. I was immature the first time you brought this up, thinking only of myself. You can hand me the ring whenever you're ready," Rick informed Death.

"I am glad to have been your friend." Death smiled. "I'm sorry for everything you had to go through."

"It's a nice sunset...maybe hold onto the ring for a few more minutes," said Rick. He pulled out an apple from within his backpack.

"It will be my last," responded Death. The both of them sat in silence for a while, enjoying the view and the calming breeze.

Epilogue

Rick stood outside the window, invisible to mortal view. In his first year as Death, he had learned many things, which included that he had to be in many places at once; this explained a few things. He was currently guiding souls to the afterlife all over the world. However, his heart was at this window, checking up on Sara. She was setting the table for her family's dinner. She looked like she couldn't be happier with her life. That was enough for Rick—she was alive. He knew that someday he would have to return for a sadder reason but that wouldn't be for several more decades. He left with a smile on his face. Everything had turned out alright in the end.

The End


© Copyright 2018 A.W. Richey. All rights reserved.

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