The Domain of Death Himself

Xanthus is Death, and Death has a busy life, as you'd imagine. What with the scythe work and the whole soul collecting stuff. His days are long and kind of dull, until he meets a certain, someone.

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8. Always carry an umbrella

   A bullet streaked close to Xanthus’ knee, forcing him to step to the side. Luckily he never went anywhere unarmed. He reached back into the depths of his cloak like coat and pulled out a slightly shorter version of his scythe.

                Twirling it in the air he threw himself, at a roll, behind a flurry of bins to the left of him. But the firing had stopped as suddenly as it had started.

                “Come out Malcolmson.” A cold voice snapped.

                “I do have a name.” Xanthus called back in equally hostile tones.

                “Just get out here. Let me see your face.”

                “Unlikely.”

                “Coward.” Jareth said, as if the small insult would move Death from his shelter. “Come out and show yourself to me like a man.”

                “My, my. What do you take me for?!” Xanthus couldn’t help but smile at his joke. An exasperated sigh came from the other side of the old style metal bins.

                “Shut up and come out, or we’ll force you out!” At this the crouching man considered, whipping his scythe around in circles.

                “What’s in it for me?”

                “You don’t die.”

                “I don’t think I can anyway.”

                “Then why hide?”

                “Sunlight has never agreed with me.”

                “Just come out and I will tell you why I have arranged this. This meeting could possibly be a big business launcher for you. Also I can offer you large amounts of money for your service. You like money right? You can’t be that inhuman.” Turnbill drivelled on.

                “Too many words for me.”  Death replied, laughing coldly. People never just wanted to be friends did they? After the twenty odd years he’d been in the world no one had ever just wanted to talk to him about normal things… Anyway he didn’t appreciate the way that man was speaking to him. In the patronising voice often used with children that think they are adults.

                “What? Whatever! You lot, go get him here.” Xanthus prepared himself, but even he couldn’t beat seven overly large men. He managed to fell one or two of them, but was overcome by numbers.

                They herded towards Jareth; the pathetic expression vanished from his face.

                “That was a character change.”

                “Acting. Heard of it?” Turnbill said shortly. “Anyway, let me see your face, take of that coat, I don’t know what you could be hiding.”

                “And why, may I ask, do you assume I am wearing clothes beneath my coat.”

                “I know you are! Just do it!” Xanthus sighed and slipped his coat off, dropping it to the floor with a clunk.

                “You were right, I was hiding something… Well thought of.”

                “And the scarf.” Xanthus gently ran a hand over the scarf, and then pulled it from his face, removing the reflected glassed as he did so. He bared his teeth in a grin, watching with hidden glee as the man stared at him in shock. Death felt his long black hair tumble down over his face, giving him little cover from the blazing sun. He felt his skin begin to burn painfully under its glare.

                “Can we go somewhere shady or indoors. Anywhere, as I said the sun  has never agreed with me… Or I have an umbrella.” It was his last hope…

                “You,” Jareth pointed at a large bold man with dull eyes and a stupid expression plastered on his chubby face. “Get his umbrella.”

                “It’s in my coat.”

                The man produced it and handed it to Xanthus, who put it up gratefully.

                “Now you seem more like a man, not a cowering mouse.”

                “Wow, good insult. I did it for health reasons.”

 

Jareth nodded, but wasn’t completely listening. He was awed at the man’s eyes, the man they also called ‘Death’. It seemed to be a common nickname for the leaders in the soul harnessing companies…

                Malcolmson’s eyes were completely white, no sign of pupil, iris not even the snaking red veins that flowed through the eye. Just pure white. His hair stuck to them, but he never even twitched, anyone else would have had a swollen eye and be constantly rubbing it. But he didn’t even seem to feel it, not in any way. Another man would have looked ridiculous with such long jet black, dead straight hair, but with the two terrifying rows of shark like teeth the image was one of the complete opposite to ridiculous.

 

Xanthus watched Jareth with pleasure. The effect of his appearance did different thing to different people. This man had obviously become fascinated, wondering why, how? He was distracted and that was going to be his downfall, no matter how many thugs he carried with him.

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