A hood covered his face. The tails of his black trenchcoat gently kissed the ground. In his right hand he clutched a walking stick, taller than he, a shiny metal shank attached to the tip.
“Hi there, uhhh, Mr Death, or do you prefer just Death?” said Ben.
“Mr Death”, said Mr Death.
Ben’s first encounter with Mr Death was a fortunate one. Ben had sought out Mr Death, not the other way around. Ben had questions. He knew it risky to seek him out, but he simply had to know. He needed answers. If he waited for Mr Death to come to him, by then it would be too late.
“I know this is a little weird, I mean, most people probably don’t seek out your company, you know. But, I’m a little confused at the moment. I’d like to ask you some questions if that’s okay”, Ben said.
“Sure”, said Mr Death.
“Thanks, great, thank you. Well, you see, Mr Death, I’ve got this friend. Well, not really a friend. But he’s been hanging around a lot. He’s a real downer, and he won’t leave me alone. I know this has nothing to do with you, but just hear me out.”, Ben said.
“I’m listening”, said Mr Death.
“Well, this friend is…” said Ben.
He paused and looked at the ground.
“Actually fuck him”, he said, “I don’t know why I’m telling you that… What I want to ask you is this… I know someday you’re going to visit me, so the thing I’m wondering is… why should I keep hanging around this friend, if you’re just going to visit me someday anyway?”
“That’s a good question”, said Mr Death.
Mr Death stood stiff and tall, gripping his death stick in his right hand.
“But, that’s not my business”, said Mr Death.
“Right, of course”, Ben said realising the inherent stupidity of his line of questioning, “but, what if… what if… if I change something, if I do something new…like quit my job… what if… I mean, I’m scared…I don’t want to fuck up.”
Mr Death bent forward and looked down on Ben, so close Ben caught a glimpse of his skeletal face. He had no breath and his eyes were hollow and black, as if Ben were looking into two bottomless wells.
“Listen to me when I say this”, said Mr Death, “you sought me out. Not me you…”
Mr Death lent even closer, towering over Ben.
“But trust me, one day I will. We will meet again. And when we do, you know what that will mean…. What you do between now, and our meeting then, is your business. I deal in death kid. Life is for the living.”
And with that, Mr Death was gone.