Don’t Fear the Reaper

“Please look at me,” she pleaded. “I promise I’ll do things differently this time.”

Death looked at Lavinia and frowned. He shook his massive head and looked again toward the west. He raised his arm and pointed west. It was time to go.

“What about a last request? Don’t I get one?”

Somewhere beneath the hooded cloak, the darkness gave the expression of exasperation. He shook his head and looked west again.

“Why are you being so stubborn?” she asked. Tears were falling freely down her cheeks now. She was too young; she was only sixteen.

She looked to the west and shuddered. So this is it? This is really the end.

“I was a good person,” she began, “where am I going to go?”

Death dropped his arm and looked down at her. Had he a face, it would have been filled with sympathy. It may not have been right, but it was time. Slowly, he extended his left hand to the west and held out his right. It was a rare display, but it felt right.

Lavinia looked down at it and trembled. Hesitation overtook her for what felt like hours but was only an instant. She took his hand and swallowed.

Death gave her small mortal hand an almost imperceptible squeeze; just the barest reassurance. He led the way, and she followed.

The Fear of Falling

Jules stepped onto the platform and resisted the urge to scream. She was a long way up and the people down below were urging her to jump.

If she jumped and fell, she would surely die. But, if she didn’t jump, she would live to regret it.

JUMP! JUMP! the crowd screamed up at her.

Jules closed her eyes and willed her hands to stop shaking. She stepped up to the edge of the platform and jumped.

For too many moments, the ground rushed up at her and she kicked herself for working without a net. She always worked with a net.

Jules opened her mouth to scream, but before she could draw the breath, her partner caught her by the wrists and swung her up into the air.

She caught her swing easily and allowed herself to beam as the crowd cheered.