The summer sun beat down on Death, scorching his pale skin. The black asphalt on which he lay had grown tacky in the heat and clung to him. He clung back.
Though it was against every rule, he lay exposed. Not invisible, not hiding in the shadows, not lurking in the corner of your eye. Instead, he was a pale-skinned figure dressed in black, sprawled on the blacktop for all the world to see.
When the team came to practice, they found him. Groaning. Calling out. And shivering.
“He’s ill,” someone said.
“Call an ambulance,” said another.
They took him away.
Soon there was panic.
“But he’s breathing.”
“No heartbeat, no pulse—and feel his skin.”
Death had never felt so cold.
“Obviously he isn’t dead—keep him warm, we’ll try to figure out what’s wrong.”
“Keep him warm? It’s a hundred degrees outside!”
Death groaned. Then he sat up, gasping. “Where is she?” he cried, “I can’t see her.”
“It’s ok,” a nurse comforted him, “You’re all right.”
Eyes wide, Death stared at her. “You—you can—what--” he spluttered. Then he looked down at himself, his usual black clothing gone, replaced with a hospital gown. He struggled for a moment, trying to make sense of what was around him. It occurred to him that he was not in his world. He fell back against the pillows.
“What am I going to do?” he asked himself.
“What is it? What’s wrong, hun’?”
Death stared at the sweet-faced woman standing beside his bed, knowing that in four years she would be dead. And he knew that he would be the only one with her. He wondered if she would recognize him then.
“Nothing,” said Death, “I’m fine. Will I be out of here soon?”
“I’m sure you will,” she smiled, but there was worry in her eyes.
Death closed his own eyes. He shouldn’t be there, he knew it. There was work to be done. It would be a simple thing to turn invisible when no one was watching, slip away. But he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to move.
“Where is she? I lost her—I’m so lost. Where? Where?”
Death’s eyes snapped open. The kindly nurse was standing beside him again, and moonlight was pouring in through the window.
“I’m sorry to wake you,” she said softly, “But you were crying out, and you sounded so upset. What is it? What happened?”
“You said you’d lost her.”
“I did?” Death sat up quickly, “Uh—it’s nothing. Must have been the dream I was having.”
“Alright,” the nurse didn’t look convinced, but she left him alone.
Lost…. Death squeezed his eyes shut. He had lost her. She had died, and he hadn’t been there for her. And now she was gone.
Shivering, Death laid back in the hospital bed. He felt so cold… he couldn’t do this anymore. But how do you quit being Death?
Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: "Death had never felt so cold." courtesy of Creative Teen Writers.