Marvin stopped the car and fished his hands around for the gold coin.
A local ranger casually walked up. “Looks like you cant watch him all the time.”
Don’t get angry. It’s just bait, they will be watching.
They walk in conversation to the pier.
“I heard you’re mamma raised you better then this.”
“Of course my mamma raised us to know right from wrong and wasn’t raising a pack of heathens.”
Enough was enough. One flip for the day only. Fine.
My bothers fine, sitting in his car in his parking spot.
Death appeared. “NEXT TIME”
It was Tuesday and everyone was standing along a hill and drinking and shouting.
“I’m Impossibility. The winner gets a shiny gold coin.” The strange man introduced his new game.
The players didn’t know why wanted to play this new game. Moments before it hadn’t existed and now suddenly, a wheel of cheese at the top of the hill and the overwhelming need to get to the bottom first.
Someone rolled the cheese and their bodies moved with impossible speed rolling strait down the hill!
“Good job boy.” Said a voice as it pressed a heavy gold coin into his hand.
Death sat back in his chair. He was surrounded by time but none of it was his to spend.
The spirit of a cat he had collected earlier moved around his feet.
“PRETTY. KITTY.” Death said. “RUN ALONG. THERE WILL BE MANY ETHEREAL VERMIN TO FIND AND, WELL, FIND AGAIN.”
The spirit of the cat silently wisped out of the room.
“TRY THE BARN.”
A ghostly meow thanked him from the hallway.
Yes he thought. Plenty of time to chase the other spirits in the barn. He had unlimited time now.
But he would never actually get to catch him.
Eugene slipped. It was embarrassing really. He just knew he was going to die and because of a cat of all things. He was going to be the joke of the after life.
Time suddenly slowed down. He could see the ground. And the cat.
Death appeared. He didn’t say anything. He just stood there, looking.
“Umm. Can I help you?” Eugene asked.
“Sorry?” Asked the hooded figure.
“Are you here to kill me?”
“Am I going to die?”
“You have one hundred years to live. I am here for the cat.” Said death.
Eugene landed on the cat.
Walter felt the sensation of light play across his fingertips. It was a haven of warmth in the cold dark recesses of the endless night. He moved his arms methodically through the darkness to explore the entirety of the light, to get the shape and size of it. He let the light touch and heat every part of himself.
A wailing mechanical voice inside his head stole the moment away. “Teleoperated radiation levels reaching critical levels.”
Walter mentally silenced the warning and tried to recapture the moment. The beam of light was the size of a pebble and was invisible in the darkness until you put something in its way to illuminate. He played his hands and fingers in the light.
She had always been the one they would send to pull him back when they thought he had gone too far.
The way she said his name was more of a statement. Or was is sadness, maybe both?
“I found it.”
“They know you found it Walter, that’s not the problem, now is it?”
There was a long silence as he watched the light travel over his leg and then down to his foot. He twisted himself so that it landed on the opposite foot and traveled back up the other leg. He could feel the heat beginning to build up inside him.
“Do you ever wonder why we do this to ourselves? Why do we keep going?”
There was shouting in the background. “How many times are you going to pull this stunt? Do you think you are the only one who has ever wanted a way out, the only one who has ever wanted to give up? You are selfish. Every person who gives up means more work for the rest of us.” She was nearly belligerent and sobbing.
For just a moment, he tried to see her perspective. Depression won out in the end. “Staying alive for the sake of making it slightly less miserable for everyone else who is alive just isn’t good enough for me anymore.”
There was crying. There was shouting in the background. No one tried to change his mind, this had happened to many times before. Walter silenced another radiation warning and used his remaining time to patch the small hole in the ship’s hull. He focused on what he imagined the stars outside looked like as he closed his eyes and tried to remember being warm.