“Let’s go.” A little voice broke the silence.
Frank opened his eyes. A fair haired little girl looked down at him, blank and bored.
“What- Who are you?”
“You’re dead, I’m here to take you. Can we go?”
“Where is there?”
“How should I know?” The bored little face began to turn sour.
“Are you…death?” Frank asked hesitantly.
“Sure, if you get out of the tub I’ll be Mary Poppins but I’ll still be Mary Poppins with other things to do.” DEATH snapped. Frank could see it was doing no-one any good to stay in the tub. He pulled himself out of the bloody water and quickly reached for a towel.
“You don’t need that.” DEATH said. Frank wrapped it around his waist anyways.
“It’s just…” He motioned to her whole figure.
“What?” DEATH looked down. “Do I have something on my shirt?”
“No.” Frank struggled “You’re a child.”
DEATH rolled her eyes. “Let’s go.” She turned and walked straight through the wall next to her. Frank followed, into darkness then, light. There was nothing but, well, nothing. A white expanse beyond what the eye can measure. DEATH walked purposefully ahead of him.
“Yeah?” DEATH said, without turning.
“Do you take everyone who dies?”
“I sure hope so.” DEATH replied.
“Can you tell me where I am going?”
“I told you, I don’t know.”
“Well, if you don’t who does?” Frank asked, frustrated. DEATH stopped and turned to him.
“Can you please appreciate how many times I have been asked those same damn questions. Oh, so many. So, so, so many. I’m sick and tired of it. For once I’d appreciate if someone would ask something new I’ve heard them all, trust me and I have answers to none of them. So please, just walk.” DEATH was red in the face by the time she finished. She turned and stormed off ahead. Frank jogged up next to her.
“What is the average number of pickles you can fit in a pickle jar?” Frank looked down at her with an eyebrow raised. He went on.
“How many smoked ham bones can a three-hundred-pound man eat before he dies?”
“What are you doing?” DEATH muttered.
“You said you’ve heard every question. So, how many three legged dogs does it take to catch a five legged rabbit?” Frank was smirking at her.
“You think you are the first clever jackass to die. Yes, nothing new.” She said, staring straight on.
Frank thought for a moment, then said “How many jumping-joes can a fish-bunny gobble up before flip-sliding through a loop-di-loop?”
DEATH stared up at him. Frank was openly smiling now.
“You realize that I exist outside of time. Therefore, anything that you can possibly ask me you’ve already asked me and so, I’ve already heard it all.”
“Well, That’s no fair.” Frank said.
“Life isn’t fair. Neither is death. Now, please walk.”
“One more question.” Frank’s smile slipped from his face.
“Did you take my wife and son too?” Frank stopped.
DEATH didn’t respond.
Frank stopped walking. “I’m not moving another inch until you answer my question.”
DEATH paused and turned.
“You realize there is no turning in any direction. Standing there like a child isn’t doing anything for you.”
Frank scowled at her. “Did you take my son here too?” He said firmly.
DEATH shook her head, annoyed. She sighed. “Frank what do you do?’
“I was a cop.”
“Well, that’s no good. Let’s say you were a teacher. You know what a teacher is right?”
Frank scowled. “Yes.”
“Perfect. Now, would you remember every student you’ve ever had? Wait! Better yet! Imagine you’ve been a teacher for millions of years and thousands of versions of you all sharing the same headspace have been teaching all those billions of students for every moment of your existence. Got that image good and tight?”
Frank tried. “I think so.” He managed.
“Wrong. You can’t, you can’t possibly have that image because it is beyond your comprehension. But! Cut that image in half, then half again, then half until your brain reaches the limits of its powers of calculation and even then! Even then, try to remember one of those little students.” DEATH finished, breathless.
“Now, can we walk.”
Frank thought about staying there. Standing in the white nothing until someone with better manners came along. But then, as though she read his thoughts, DEATH turned.
“I’m it.” She said flatly, then walked on.
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