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It was another day, and Death looked around the nursing home. There were numerous occupants taking their next to last breath. Death was glad he didn’t have to breath it seemed like such an onerous task. He felt sorry for those for whom pneumonia was the cause to take away their lives but everyone had an appointed day and who was he to argue about it.
It never ceased to amaze him that souls were surprised when it all happened. Admittedly he wasn’t the most welcoming sight in the hereafter, but everyone has a job was how he’d argued it.
On busy days, he left the souls floating around above their bodies as he went around and assessed each soul for its likely destination. Which wasn’t all that hard he had to admit. It was either an upward journey or a downward one.
The two angels, who represented their respective destinations were always hovering around waiting for Death to finish with the souls before giving them either a helping hand on the upward journey or a push towards the down elevator.
The Angels were known to argue from time to time over his determinations but his word was final, and when disputes arose he would point to his job description outlining the fact that his word could not be disputed and that he had determined correctly.
The old man in room 222 had passed away, alone and in the spirit of a man who had lived his life alienating as many people as he could. There was no one there to hold his hand as was the case so often and Death always though it was a quaint custom as if the dead or near dead actually gave a rat’s arse when Death stared them in the eye.
The old lady in Room 343 had passed from the mortal world and into his with a tribe of teary people gathered round her bed. They clearly mourned her death and Death couldn’t help but find a smile in the old lady’s first words to him, “Get me out of here.”
Often in the background, he’d hear the two angels, Wayne and Greg, discussing the preferred destination of the respective souls. Death paid them no heed for he had learned over eternity that they were greedy entities who didn’t really care what happened even though he knew they’d argue the opposite.
He’d learned that the middle ground between the up and down needed to be used as if he wasn’t careful he’d find the angels pushing and shoving a soul between them as neither thought the soul belonged to them.
To save himself grief he’d listen for a moment or two then with a flick of his fingers send the often-bewildered soul into the glass room where they got to see below as well as up top.
He often didn’t have time to meditate nor consider their objections and arguments as some days he was run off his feet, well if he had feet he was sure he’d be run off them. It was exhausting when there was a natural disaster in one part of the world, and in another, some lunatic had blown him or herself up.
It came as such a disappointment to them to discover there was no heaven as they imagined it just a lot of dissatisfaction over the promises made.
Death had long thought of humans as such a fickle lot.
If they only realised the man upstairs was a nice man but one not to be trifled with and the man downstairs was also a nice man and one who loved a good trifle.
Checking his list, he moved on to the next room. A Mrs Wallace he noticed. This Mrs Wallace had a red heart against her name. Not many souls possessed a red heart. When he saw her, he knew why immediately.