Part One: Death

Ivan Taylor was not a morning person. He didn’t have much to say about the afternoon or evening, either. To him, the only morning worth being awake was one you stayed up rather than woke up for. Everyone exists at different times of day – his happened to be from about five o’clock in the evening on.

He often did his best thinking while walking around the city streets in the middle of the night. It wasn’t a bad city, but he made sure to never wander aimlessly. Still, he enjoyed the in-between walks the most, something about, if not the silence, then the relatively dull snoring of the city.

Thoughts raced through his mind this particular night, thoughts about a television show he was writing with a good friend of his, Mark. Mark and he were polar opposites, but because of their different approaches, they often pulled stories together no single person could have imagined. Of course, being polar opposites that they were, Mark only existed in the mornings and afternoons. Both of them lived their lives relatively separately, but met up in the early mornings and late evenings, the only times where they co-existed. This was where they planned and wrote.

Ivan was in the midst of having an idea, that annoying limbo of writers when they know there’s something there, but they can’t quite see it yet. He tried to grab at it, sneak up on it, analyze it in its frustratingly gaseous form, but nothing. Then, halfway across a street, it struck him, and so did a speeding car that had forgotten to put its lights on.


“Ow,” he said.

He was on a sidewalk now, looking at his body to ensure nothing was broken. Miraculously, nothing seemed to be – in fact, nothing hurt at all.

“Aw, shit,” Ivan sighed, pounding a fist on the sidewalk. “I’m dead, ain’t I?”

“Good guess,” said a female voice off to his right. As Ivan turned to see who was speaking, he noticed a dead man’s body in the middle of the street. He didn’t even have to ask.

The girl who spoke leaned against a building, her thumbs flying as she text messaged on her phone.

Ivan shrugged and raised his eyebrows. “Okay, now what?”

The girl closed her phone and put it in her pocket, then turned to face Ivan. She was young, beautiful, but had an air about her that suggested you didn’t want to get too close. Despite everything, she seemed terribly common, not angelic or demonic or anything extra-worldly.

“I’m your Death,” she said. “I’ve come to take you to the next world. C’mon, stand up, this is boring me.”

My death?” Ivan asked. “You mean there’s different deaths for different people?”

The girl sighed and spoke quickly: “Every person has their own Death, based on what they thought Death was while they were still alive. Oh my God. Textbook stuff. C’mon, Taylor, let’s go already, my feet are killing me.”

“You’re a pretty boring Death,” Ivan said bluntly, getting to his feet. While he stayed anchored to the ground, gravity didn’t feel like it was moving against him anymore. The world around him seemed fake now, like a painting, a representation of what it once was.

“Well, death wasn’t all that exciting to you, whadda ya want?” the girl explained, leading Ivan down the sidewalk. “Oh, you’re complaining about me being boring, but in life, you used me.”

Ivan shrugged and smiled. “Sorry, miss, but death is the prostitute of a lot of writers, early on.” The world seemed to be falling away now, as though it were cracking, ripping, melting at every step.

“Yeah, well, anyway. You’re taking this well. We get told a lot of people might spaz out over being dead.”

“Well, it’s really screwing up my plans for tomorrow, but I guess there’s no sense in worrying about what can’t be changed, is there?” Ivan laughed weakly.

“Eh, you’re probably still in denial. You didn’t even ask who I was or where you’re going.”

“Afterlife, I assume?” He decided that if there was any time to ask those questions that had plagued his soul in life, now was it. “Will there be hot chocolate in Heaven? I can’t imagine Heaven without hot chocolate.”

“You’re a writer. You’re not going to Heaven,” the girl laughed.

“Where, then?”

“Just the opposite, Taylor.”

The last of the world drifted away. Ivan felt himself drop. There was a lot of noise, a lot of croaking, and a splash. There was no hot chocolate.

This story is continued on