I've always been fascinated by the idea that the human race (in general) feels the need to personify events that are not readily explained. Thunder? The gods are fighting. Where do frogs come from? Mud. You get the idea.
But my absolute personal favorite is the personification of death. The Grim Reaper. Death isn't non-existence, death isn't impersonal. Death is a BEING, one who may be bargained with.
Who thought that up?
That point aside, I think it's great. What if Death was a being, the end-all-be-all? Wouldn't Death get bored? It's been existing since the beginning of everything. It's seen everything. I think eventually it would want someone to know it.
So here are a couple of my takes on that particular situation.
As always, questions or comments are more that appreciated!
Death and Emily, take 1
"Go away," Emily said to Death, who sat on the bench next to her.
"Emily! I'm crushed!"
"Go away," she insisted. "They all think I'm nuts. Everybody thinks I'm nuts!"
A passing orderly watched her out of the corner of his eye. Emily smiled too broadly at him.
As she walked on she continued softly,
"You see?! Sane people don't sit on a bench and talk to the Grim Reaper. Especially right outside a therapist's office!"
"Oh yes," Death replied. "Just how did that go? I'm sorry I missed it."
"It was great. Just great," she said sarcastically. "My parents are in there right now making more appointments for me. The doctor's probably trying to convince them I need shock therapy treatments too!"
Emily saw the orderly stick his head around the corner to glance at her. He lowered her voice a bit again.
"That's it," she announced decisively. "I'm done. I'm not talking to you any more. Then maybe I can get back to a normal life, with normal friends."
She crossed her arms.
Death sighed and was silent.
They sat this way for a while. As much as Emily wanted to keep her threat, she stole a glance at him. Well, not him. The Angel of Death had explained to her once, early in their association, how Death wasn't male or female. It just existed. It just was.
But Emily had always pictured Death as male and always referred to him as him. It was easier that way.
'I don't mind," he had told her. 'Besides, it's kind of nice to have a gender.'
She glanced at him again. He sat quietly, facing straight ahead. His hood hid his face. His hands were clasped in his lap, but his cloak his them also. She had never seen his feet.
She supposed they were bone. She didn't know. That was something he hadn't told her.
Emily wondered, as she often did, why Death had chosen to visit her. And not just visit, but come frequently and become friends with her as well.
He was really nice, she had come to realize. Not morbid or gloomy or anything else she might expect the Angel of Death to be. He was pleasant and intelligent, even though he could be exasperating.
But they had, however unlikely it might be, become friends. There was no denying it. The only real problem was that he only showed himself to Emily. So as they would walk down a street together, she looked as if she was speaking to herself.
Her school friends noticed it first. When they questioned her about it she replied honestly,
"I'm talking to the Grim Reaper."
Her friend's began avoiding her after that.
Emily's parents asked her about it also, and after insisting she was having conversations with Death several more times, they brought her here, to Doctor Something-or-Other, the famed child psychiatrist.
Emily knew she wasn't crazy. Death had explained lots of things to her and they had fun together. She couldn't understand why everybody was so worried about it. It wasn't as if she was homicidal or chewing on trees or anything.
She also was practical enough to realize her life could be very rough if she didn't stop talking to Death. Even though she enjoyed his company, Emily knew it would be better if she broke everything off completely.
But she did like him and they were friends and she didn't want to hurt his feelings—
"Death—" she said suddenly.
"Emily—" he said at exactly the same time.
They both stopped.
"You go first," Death said graciously.
"No, go ahead. I insist."
"All right." He took a deep breath, which was odd, as he didn't have lungs. "Emily, I think you're right. A nice girl like you shouldn't be hanging out with the Grim Reaper. I think I should stop coming to see you."
"No!" Emily exclaimed. "I've thought about it too, Reaper. They're wrong. I know I'm not crazy, even if they think I am. And you know what? I don't care. Not at all. Don't stop coming to see me. I'd miss you."
Death couldn't smile; he had no lips. His voice, however, was happy.
"You would? That's . . . that's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me, Emily. Most people must curse me when I visit them. Of course, though, they're dead."
Emily giggled. He could always make her laugh.
Emily's parents walked out of the office with the doctor while she was still trying to recover from the snickering. Her parents both looked to the doctor with desperation and concern on their faces.
"Don't worry," the doctor told them as if Emily and Death weren't there, "after a few more therapy sessions Emily's insistence that she's conversing with the Grim Reaper will go away."
Emily glanced at Death. This time they both broke into laughter.
As her parents began to lead her down the hallways to the outside door they continued chuckling. Emily's hand found his, all dust and bone, as a final seal to their camaraderie.