His room was chilly, prompting the pricking of his skin as goosebumps rose—only a natural response; no matter how cold it got, although he was accustomed to the notion, his body just wouldn't adapt. Sinclaire paused in his work, his too bony fingers hovering above the keyboard, and sighed, clipped and annoyed.
"Hey." Breathed a voice beside his ear, sending chills down his spine; Sinclaire still couldn't get used to the guttural and breathy voice even though such a thing has been occurring much too frequently for his liking. "Death," Sinclaire acknowledged, sliding his green eyes to the side so as to glance at them.
Death was no scythe-weilding skeleton, but they were also no devilishly handsome figure with a broad chest; they were, instead, an unruly looking figure who had a habit of slouching over, heavy and dark eye-bags and all with dark curls framing their pale, gaunt face.
Death paused, staring at him for a bit with their black eyes, before sliding their arms around Sinclaire's shoulders, leaving his shoulders cold after Death laid hands on him as they leaned forward, uncomfortably close so as to peek at whatever Sinclaire had been working on.
The being squinted their eyes, their cogs turning in their head as they tried processing all the information on screen. Then they pouted, "What the heck is this?" They looked annoyed, irritated. "It's a minute, Death. I had a meeting this morning." Sinclaire then slid his eyes back to his screen, his fingers starting up a storm again as he continued typing up the report.
Throughout the entire time, Death stood like that, hunched over with their arms around Sinclaire, despite his unwillingness to be enveloped in cold. Death was like that, when they wanted things, they'd claim it. They'd throw a stupid scary fit if they didn't; but Sinclaire was not willing to give himself to the undead being, and Death was extremely persistent.
"Why don't you wanna go out with me?" "Because I don't, Death. It's simple." Everyday was the same; Death would pop up whenever they saw fit, be it in the bathroom when Sinclaire was showering, or when he was presenting in front of his managers, or when he was having a meeting with his colleagues or the last second before Sinclaire fell asleep—they'd rear their head and make themself known, to Sinclaire alone, of course—and try(but fail ultimately) at courting the young man.
"But I can cancel you out from my Soul Book. Then you wouldn't have to die." Sinclaire sighed again, adjusting his horn rimmed glasses before answering without looking at Death, "You can't cancel me from the Soul Book; wouldn't you be in trouble?" he responded simply. Reasoning with Death was futile, but he supposed he should humour the otherworldly being nonetheless. "I don't care," Death whined sulkily.
Sinclaire rolled his green eyes, his patience running thin with the fact he also had to supervise a project pitching, as informed by his colleague after he opened his messenger on his computer after Death voiced his lack of care. For an otherworldly being, Sinclaire mused wryly, Death sure didn't care about their job which surely was the sole and only reason of their existence.
Then, on a whim after a bout of silence—and God he shouldn't have because it truly bit him back in the ass afterwards, Sinclaire said, "If I was the last person on Earth, I'd maybe give you a chance."
There was another bout of silence, but this time round it was different. It felt deliberate, more purposeful. A sense of dwelling. Sinclaire paused. He was about to turn to Death when the cold and chilly atmosphere that signified Death's presence disappeared.
Without a word.
Death didn't even leave a dead rabbit as a gift.
The next day, Sinclaire still wasn't able to find a dead little creature around his studio apartment. There was a moment where concern surfaced in his mind but he crushed it right then; Death was no frail thing despite their gaunt, hollow features—they were perfectly capable of handling themself, even if their behaviour spoke otherwise.
Despite the reaffirmation he gave himself, there was still a lingering sense of worry in the back of his mind, silently screaming and writhing at him when he stepped out of his apartment towards his job.
Sinclaire arrived at his firm's lobby and right off the bat, things were weird—it wasn't bustling with activity, if anything there was a lack thereof; even the receptionist at the counter was of a fresh face. He pushed the matter to the back of his mind, despite the fact it was nearing 8 o'clock and it tipped him of the oddity of the situation, the click clack of his shoes as he saunters to the lift reverberating loud and clear before he took a stop in front of the lift, tapping his foot as he waited for the lift to arrive at his floor.
While he waited it was still so eerily silent. A cough penetrated the silence, and he chalked it up to the new receptionist. Sinclaire stared almost imploringly at the LED display above the lift doors; 12, 11, 10, 9, 8… His mind drifted off to land on dwelling about Death. The silence...the silence after Sinclaire had jokingly said that...said that he'd perhaps give in to Death if he were the only living person on Earth...it was uncanny.
Ding! Went the lift as the doors opened and Sinclaire straightened his back, walking into the lift as he fished out his card from his breast pocket and tapped before he selected his floor. The door closed, with no one rushing for the lift and Sinclaire deflated—he had thought that someone would at least rush in and mutter about being late, so as to ease his wave of anxiety.
No one did.
As the lift started to go up, Sinclaire, in the back of his mind and he'd deny the claim if asked, hoped Death would rear their annoying head and attempt to flatter him like they typically would when he was in the lift alone(a rare occurrence before then).
But as the lift got closer and closer to his floor, Sinclaire's hopes to see Death died down.
A sinking feeling plagued the brown haired man as he got off the lift onto his floor.
His closest colleague, who he supposed he would dare to consider more of a friend, Alice, saw him and came up to him to inform, "Sinclaire, the attendance as far as I saw on the punch cards are kinda fucked up." Alice was a bit of a brash woman with almost no filter on her words—though of course, she was well aware to put on a filter around superiors.
The man swept a glance around the floor, which made the sense of unease crawling on his spine ever more stronger. He figured around 5 or so people on the floor, and a number of them weren't even his colleagues but cleaners. Sinclaire grimaced. "I don't get what the fuck's going on here Sinclaire, but we're fucked if the higher ups catch wind of this shit attendance," She hissed under her breath, worry etched on her youthful face.
"I'll handle it if push comes to shove, okay?" He muttered to her, before heading for his cubicle.
Weeks passed by and still no sign of Death—Sinclaire tried to write that off as him being extremely busy, what with the news blaring about a disease plaguing the entirety of the West of North America; those were a lot of souls to keep track of, he told himself. What did truly concern him though was the fact that as the number of attendence started to dwindle at work, even Alice had been one of the few who started being absent beginning the new week. He was getting anxious, those who didn't come for work were either reported as missing persons or they wound up dead in some discrete area. The managers were growing desperate to keep the firm open and had high demand for new recruits but it was such a messy matter it was difficult to handle on their own.
Eventually, it came to a point in where the firm was forced to close and, Sinclaire finally put down as the rest of the remaining workers of the firm, were lost lambs without a way to keep themselves financially stable. His life took a turn from there; his growing anxiety was getting worse and he hadn't realised that Death's shenanigans were practically the only thing keeping him from being stamped with a large skull sign on the Soul Book.
Sinclaire, looking more unkempt than he was months before, looked as pale as Death as his eyes, bloodshot and wide, stuck to the screen of his telly, that presented the unnervingly peaceful corpse of the one person he was comfortable enough to think of as a friend, Alice Hemmingworth.
She looked...so peaceful. So peaceful that he'd be fooled into thinking she was very much just asleep and the peramedics at the scene were unnecessarily blowing it out of proportions by deeming her dead.
"Death?" The name, the concept or the idea—he didn't know which but it just slipped out of his mouth like how blood would dribble out if there was internal bleeding. Their name—its name gave off a more...heavier weight than he was used to. It stuck and weighed on his tongue and it pricked like needles; his eyes were getting weird, he thought cleverly, as his vision started to blur and fail him. Sinclaire's head was pounding just as it got fuzzier and the last thing he felt was cold.
Cold fingers curling around his neck.