Here’s a story I had previously written, which I just realized was already the perfect length for #300WordThursday.

scales

Contrary to popular belief, the Angel of Death’s appointment book is written mostly in pencil. Few human beings have their times fixed at the moment of birth. Were it not so, the Grim Reaper’s work would be far simpler than it is.

Were it not so, what reason would there be for anyone to face a final confrontation with the dark-cloaked figure who is tasked with leading them to their final rest? If they had no choice, Death could come always like a thief in the night, snatching their souls with his bony fingers while staying deaf to their protests.

But instead, Death faces the eternal burden of balancing the scales of life on the Earth and in the Beyond. His thankless task is to judge the fate of every individual who steps to the edge of the void and now struggles to remain in a world of light.

Every moment is a choice from among possible futures. Arguments and counterarguments are presented through countless millions of dreams and regrets, and the Angel of Death pours over them all. He beholds the suffocating child’s desire to begin, for at least one moment, to comprehend the world around her before she must leave it. He weighs it against the elderly man’s hard won appreciation for life and his earnest need to embrace his wife just one more time.

He hears the pleas of those who planned their futures step by step and realized too late that they hadn’t lived while there was time. And he hears them mirrored in the self-recriminations of those who lived too much, too soon, and found themselves suddenly teetering on the brink of the grave.

And frequently unable to reconcile it all, Death closes his eyes, swings his scythe, and resolves to let fall what may.

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One thought on “The Burden of Death

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