Death

They told me, not to be lazy, they told me, not to be slothful, they told me, you will be punished, they told me, you will always regret, they told me, to renounce your sloth, they told me, not to do this, they told me, not to do that. So I disobeyed.

And now look at me, long black coat, black pants, black military boots, black mask, black hair, black gauntlets, black breast plate. The Black Mask, tinted lenses and black cloth covering my mouth and nose, Black, all you see when you look at me, when you can look at me, and by then it is too late.

I am the collector, as they call me, not those who told me what to do, but those who would never tell anyone what to do, those who couldn't, those who aren't there, those who cannot be seen, the Immortals, they are those that will not die, and they are those that cannot die, and they are the ones who recovered.

And I am among them, I am among those that could not be snared, I am among those that continue past their time, past their children's time, past their grandchildren's time, so I now live, if you could call it that, among those that refuse to die.

I am one of the Immortals, I am the collector, known to those who cannot stay as Death, I am the death of all those who walk the earth, and all those who soar the skies, the death of all, or at least the death of all mortality.

You will not find me, not in a story, not in a myth, not in a legend, not in the holy book, not in the unholy books, not in any religious text, not in a whisper, but you will know me, when I come knocking, and you will fear me in your time, when I come for you, and you cannot know when I will arrive.

I am death, I stalk the shadows, I stalk the night, and I stalk the sunshine, and among the graves of those long passed, though the minds of those still to come, and between those who will never know how to fear Death.

Only those who will never fear the dark know how to appreciate the absence of light.

But maybe you know me, you might even know me as the Gatekeeper.

I put on the mask, the lenses immediately take effect, I see them, see them all, floating around, all stuck in their own private world, a world created by their own mind, a world that we put them in, their own personal heaven or hell.

I take a step, and I am immediately at my destination, the bedroom of a young man who is about to die. I know this because I will kill him, I will kill him in a way that cannot be denied, there will be no respiration for this man, and I will leave his bits in front of a morgue with a list of the things he has done.

If you have ever heard of any kind of unsolved hideously violent mass murdering streak, I am probably responsible, I have done everything from the systematic dissection of a human while they were still alive, also known as a vivisection, to tying people up and hanging them upside down from the hour hand of Big Ben.

But it is getting harder, people aren't as amusing as they used to be, to many drugs, too many computer games, it doesn't have the same effect on people when you cut up their family member in front of them, of appear out of the shadows inside their bedroom.

The man's name is David, I don't really care about the last name, even if I will write it on his list, I advance on him, materializing behind him out of the shadows in his mirror, the glint of the tinted lenses reflecting into his sight, he spins and I swing a blade at him, missing on purpose. I say miss, I got three of his fingers. He screams and collapses, I swing again, getting one finger on his other hand, he screams again and tries to crawl backwards.

"Not as fun when it happens to you?" I ask in a voice that would turn the blood of the most seasoned soldiers cold, a voice that stopped the heart of John Curtin, and inspired the suicide of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun.

His only response is to scream, and try to move further away, another slash, and his left arm is disconnected, he thrashes on the ground, trying to scramble away with only one arm.

"Why?" he manages to get out around the pain. "Why are you doing this to me?"

"Why would you do those things to all those women?"

"What… What women?" the sad little man is still trying to lie.

"You cannot lie to me, I know what you did, but not why you did it, I might spare you if you tell me."

"Ok, Ok, I'll tell you, just leave me alone," He winces, and starts his story. "They were all whores, maybe they didn't ask for money, but they were whores, sluts, hags, they were evil women, they slept with anyone who would have them, and even though they didn't charge they were still whores," he spits and collapses onto the ground.

"Wrong answer," I comment, swinging the blade again, taking off the other arm, he no longer has any energy to scream, he starts to cry, sobbing pitifully. I almost take pity on him.

The only thing that stops me from putting him out of his misery is a memory of having to collect the souls of the women that he killed, I slice across his chest, drawing a thin line of blood, he thrashes again, another two swings and he no longer has position of any of his limbs.

"You know, don't you, that there is absolutely no way you will ever get into heaven don't you, you know that there is no way in hell."

He spits again, this time it is all blood, and somehow manages to muster enough strength to speak. "I may not get into heaven by your standards, but you will not get into heaven by any standards."

I smile to myself; he doesn't even know who I am yet, in any form. I pull off the mask, and let him see into my eyes, eyes cold enough to still a volcano, eyes dead enough to make the cremated look lively, eyes angry enough to make a hungry bear run for its life, eyes that could only belong to a man who has been alive to long that he has lost track of his own fifty-times-great grandchildren.

"You see now David," I say as his eyes widen in shock. "I am the Gatekeeper, my opinion is the only one that matters if you want to get into heaven," and with this parting comment, I cut off his head.

I collect all the body parts, clean all the blood, remove any signs of a scuffle, I put all the body parts in a bag, and tie the bag, attaching a list of all the bad things he had done, and then, then I collect his soul, I grip it and feel it squirm, like you will feel a fish squirm if you pluck it out of the water.

As I grip the soul of David the ripper, a copycat of a man long dead, the soul stops squirming and gradually turns red, red for the colour of flame, the colour of hell, the colour of a failed life, and I release this soul into the air and retrieve my mask, wondering why I even bother giving people a heaven or hell. As I wonder, I wander off to all the other new souls, giving them an afterlife that only they could have predicted.