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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11. Nightmares and Mothers

“How do you feel about having a great new job?” Xanthus smiled, rather creepily, at the man before him. He was younger than Adam, by a few years actually, about sixteen. He was still in school but apparently he needed somewhere to work for the summer holidays to prepare him for quitting school.

                “Great!”

                “Good, now will you join me for a meal of celebration? What was your name again?”

                “Michael.”

                “Can I call you Gabby?”

                “Why?”

                “I like the name.”

                “Sure, boss.”

                “Good… can you call me sir, it makes me feel respected.” Xanthus had no idea just how childish he sounded saying that…

                “Um… okay… sir…” The new Gabby seemed confused, the poor boy didn’t know what he was letting himself into…

 

*****

 

The children grew into giants and prodded him with long sticks, jabbing him in the stomach and laughing joyfully.

                “Freak! Freak!” They taunted still poking at his naked body…

 

Another figure loomed behind them a familiar one… “Oh Xanthus what are you doing with the power I gave you? Naughty child!”

                “I’m sorry! I had to! They told me to! Stop hurting me, please!” He cried.

 

*****

 

Xanthus woke and fell off his office chair. “What’s with that dream? I have it every damn night for god’s sake.” He muttered in irritation.

                “What was that?” Xanthus jumped again, slamming his head against a table nearby.

                “Ow! Gabby! What the hell are you doing in my house?!” He shouted angrily. The sixteen year old (Michael) stood in the doorway to his small shed of a home, his short hair hanging limply on his forehead.

                “I was asked to come and fetch you from your house to bring you to work, some woman called Olivia told me she was sick of you coming in so late…” He blushed and started playing with a button on his striped shirt. It pinged off and clattered to the worn down carpet.

                Xanthus sighed and shoved the table over angrily. The new Gabby jumped nervously and stepped backwards. “Who gave that girl the right to say that to me?! My lord! What is happening with these people, they need to learn some respect!”

                “S-so what do I tell her? Are you coming or not, not meaning that rudely.” He smiled awkwardly and shuffled his feet.

                “No I am not coming in now. And neither are you! They’re going to have to manage without us today! That will teach them. I’ll get book a flight, where do you want to go?”

                “W-what? A f-flight?” Michael stuttered. “Why?”

                “I want a holiday, a good long holiday! But I’m not going to get that, so a couple of days will do, Gabby fetch me my phone!”

                “Where is it?”

                “In my pocket.”

                “The pocket on the trousers you’re wearing?”

                “Yes! Okay… maybe I should get that…” Xanthus reached into his pocket and drew out his phone. He dialled and held it to his ear. “Olivia, I need you to… Olivia?” The phone stayed silent. “Wait, what?” He looked at the clunky old thing in his hand and gasped.

                “Now that there is some skill!” He turned to see a hooded person holding Gabby in a choke hold and clutching a knife to his throat.

                Protruding from Xanthus’ phone was a short slim kitchen knife. It was a better throw than anything Death could do… It had to be her…

                “Xanthus, I hear you’ve been using your power wrongly. Stealing souls. Harbouring limbs. Terrible.”

                “Well… I… I can’t help it… I didn’t… I had to... He told me to… when I was young!”

                “Stop your stuttering!” The woman reached up and removed her hood. “Please my son, I taught you better than this.” Her familiar long black hair and white eyes. Though her teeth were normal, if not a bit pointed.

                “Mother! You can’t blame me! And put Gabby down!” Death glared at his mother in annoyance, what a time to show up…

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