The light faded and John Smith could see again. It had been so loud and bright, but now all seemed well. John was a man of money, but one who came from humble beginnings. He loved his wife, scarlet, and he loved his children Joshua and Nancy. Whenever possible John would donate some of his fortune to a charity he though deserved it that day. He was loved by all in his community.
The last thing John Smith remembered was leaving his mansion in his brand new car to go help inner-city children to read.
No, that was wrong. He remembered something after that. The last thing he remembered was the eighteen wheeler roaring into the side of his car. Then darkness, then a brilliant light, it was all becoming confusing. If he had been in a car accident then he should have awoken in a hospital, not a woodland cabin. It was becoming even more odd, the cabin was something out of a fairytale. The side paneling was baby blue and the roof a candy apple red. He could swear the window seal were painted like candy canes, if they weren't candy canes. The grass was too soft, to perfect, and the trees looked like they were drawn by a child.
Suddenly the door of the cabin opened and a tall figure emerged. John Smith fell back as he watched the black hooded man step towards him, scythe in hand. It was death. This implied he had died. John was not a fan of the direction his life had taken him in.
Death stepped toward John and extended a hand to him. As he looked up at the face of Death he was surprised. He was not horrific or a skeleton, simply a man, about mid thirties, light brown hair like his own. He was a nice looking guy (aside from being Death).
"He-hey John Smith!" Death announced in a voice that did not seem to suit Death in John's opinion, it was to kind. "So let's cut to the chase," he continued "you're dead! Ha ha, it sucks I shouldn't be laughing. See thing is I get lonely so anyone I get to meet is always a treat."
Death smiled. John remained silent. Scared, confused, already somewhat annoyed. Though in his mind he had the right to be annoyed, he was the dead one after all. After a few moments following Death helping him to his feet John spoke. "So... I'm really dead? No going back?"
The smile left Death's face. "I'm sorry, no. You're done on Earth, now time to chose, Heaven or Hell! What will it be, harp music or fire forever?" There was an awkward amount of silence once again following his question, so Death spoke again. "Okay okay enough kidding, no Heaven or Hell... well there might be I only know what goes on in this world, and the only thing in this world is me and the dead people who pass through. So I've heard every theory about everything!"
John Smith nodded wide eyed.
In the several hours that passed Death brought John into the cabin and sat him down, answered all his questions and explained how all of everything was going to work from now on. John had gone from terrified to enraged to depressed very quickly and now had moved on to denial. Death found it odd to have a person argue with him about the rules of being dead. John didn't just hate the rules; he hated the concept of being dead. Death did not mind though, he had been along forever since forever, so conversation, even yelling or arguing was nice for a change. Soon it would get old, but Death had plenty of time.
John finally resorted to threatening Death, though a death threat to Death seemed redundant. All he wanted was to go home to his wife and children. Though as time passed it seemed evident that was not going to happen.
After a very long while, John simply sat in silence. Thinking his life over. Death had gone into his small kitchen for something John did not pay any mind too. He would never get to see or hold Scarlet again. He could cry if he hadn't already for several hours. Suddenly Death stood next to him, holding two mugs of coffee. He handed one to John and he thanked him for it.
"So John," Death started "I want you to know that in this place, you can have anything, for example this coffee, it will be the greatest coffee ever. No kidding, it will be at the perfect temperature and made exactly as you like it."
John took a sip, Death was right. "You're right, that's pretty good coffee."
"No, it's the best coffee. I've been around for a while; I've tried all the coffee's, no joke. This is the best coffee!"
John nodded, raised his eye brows as he took another sit and leaned back in his chair. "So death, what now?"
"What do you mean John?"
"I mean where do I go from here?" John took another sip. "Do I get to go back and haunt my family?"
"I don't know..." This response took John by surprise. "See that door behind you? Everyone who has ever been through here goes through that door, I have no idea what's on the other side. Some believe Heaven, some think reincarnation, and some believe you will go into an urn as a nice small amount of ash! All seem bleak to me. Though I only know what goes on in my little world. The concept of life seems bleak to me!"
John nodded, fair enough point he thought. "Is there any other option?"
"Yes!" Death said excitedly, slamming his mug into the table. "You could stay here, with me!" A wide and almost scary smile formed across his face. "I need a friend, I've been alone for so long..." he said and trailed off.
"Well you seem like a decent guy, why has no one stayed?"
"Because I need someone to help me with my work as well, and no one wants to get their hands dirty!"
Again John found himself nodding. "You mean, collect souls?"
Death looked up quickly, "What? No! Who said I do that? Is that what people think I do? Oh man... no wonder why everyone is so quick to get out'a here. No no I need to file my paper work." Death gestured to a large book falling apart and over flooding with pages atop his refrigerator. I keep tabs on everyone who dies, when they die, last words, all that! Don't ask me who needs the records 'cause I don't know and I don't ask... if you want the job, I could set you up with an office!" Death said with a half cocked smile.
"Why would I stay and file reports on dead people?"
Death's eyes shifted back and forth, thinking. "If you work for me, I could put in a letter or recommendation for you in your dead file. Maybe whoever is in charge of that will read it and send you back to your wife. We could get you on Lifetime! Millionaire wakes up from yearlong comma to give even more back to community! What do you say?"
As he spoke Death had leaned in over the table becoming closer and closer to John. He thought about it, Death clearly needed a friend, and someone to remodel his home. And as far as he could tell this was the only way to get back to scarlet. John nodded to himself.
Quickly Death shook his hand and jumped up from the table. "Wonderful you start tomorrow, lots to do and I need to make you that office."
John sighed, rolled his eyes and took another sip of his coffee, which arguably was the greatest coffee he had ever tasted.