Ever since Death started using Macs his work had been ever increasingly more precise. Now with the new databases supplied and tweaked by Steve Jobs upon his arrival Death’s demons, or as he liked to call them, the Hoodie Brigade, were able to locate the new souls, scoop them up, and have them integrated and briefed within moments of their demise. It was a wonderful system for everyone but Death. He felt cheated of the chase. The excitement of the runners when they saw him in his formal robes; tattered and torn and carrying his scythe, which was actually a prop. Since his accident at Ground Zero he had been having a problem with his right arm. So many souls to carry that day.
As Death looked out of his 14th floor window to the cubicles below he smiled. Little did anyone understand that Hell was just a way station but you still had to work: meaningless, mind numbing work in an office space no larger than a bathroom with no breaks and no chance to socialize. What bothered Death lately was when a soul was offered the chance to leave for a better place many chose to stay since even in life it was the only job they ever knew. There was something wrong with the world he thought.
“It’s time to get back in the game”, Death said to himself. “I’ve been an office manager for too long.”
Hitting the Random Soul Generator on his iPad; a personal gift from Jobs, a name instantly came up on the register. Merida the screen said. Hyatt Hotel, 1900 hours Eastern time, September 3, 2013, Atlanta, Georgia. He had 12 minutes to spare. This would be an easy snatch and return.
Death could feel the thrill again in his ice cold veins. With a thought he was at the Hyatt Hotel. Suddenly he felt disoriented. There were so many people. Where did they all come from? And there were races he had never encountered. True he also collected souls from various planets other than Earth but even these were foreign to him. Allowing himself to be seen, which never turned out well, he stopped a troll.
“Clattick na greanue,” he said in troll.
The troll looked at him with blue eyes. Trolls weren’t supposed to have blue eyes.
“Clattick na greanue,” Death said again. “Trginue na?”
“Dude I’m in a hurry,” the troll replied in English. “Nice costume by the way,” the troll said in English.
“How is it you speak English?” Death was now more confused than ever.
“Dude, get real,” the troll said. “What do you want me to speak Troll?”
Before Death could answer the troll was swallowed up in the crowd and the loudspeaker was blaring.
“Merida and Elinor time to line up,” the voice said.
“This will be easier than I thought,” Death said to himself.
When Death turned the corner there was a line of red headed young girls all carrying bows and wearing blue dresses. Interspersed through the line were some older women with long braided hair wearing a long green dress. Two young people dressed as cats pushed Death aside and continued talking about some game called thrones.
It was now one minute to seven. Death walked up to the line forgetting that everyone could still see him.
“Merida,” he called out.
“Aye,” said the last girl in the line, “I’m Merida.”
“I’m Merida,” the next girl said.
“I’m Princess Merida,” the third red headed girl replied.
As Death walked up the line each young girl decried that she was Merida.
Death was so busy with each of the Meridas that he failed to notice the line was moving. Slowing the young girls began walking up the stairs and onto the stage, Death still asking each if she were Merida.
Suddenly the line stopped and Death became aware of where he was. He quickly turned around and saw over 500 people in a large auditorium. Surprised at the crowd he disappeared and returned to his office quite shaken.
By now Death was angry. “I’ve been played for a fool,” he shouted to the empty room. “No one does that to me,” and he disappeared again back to the upper world.
This time Death was behind the curtains. There were young girls dressed in blue with long red hair everywhere. Before he could raise his scythe, even the prop one worked quite well, an older man in goggles and a top hat grabbed his arm and pulled him onto the stage.
“He’s back,” the man called out to the crowd. “Let’s have a round of applause for Death and his Deathly Hallows.”
The room exploded with applause and Death was handed a large metal sculpture.
“Please accept this and 500 Dragon bucks for the best costume disappearing act we’ve ever seen,” the older man said. “One more time for Death.”
A pretty young girl in a Chinese robe led the confused spirit off the stage. There were congratulatory comments and pats on the back and then he was alone with his trophy. Confused he again returned to his office.
Looking at the trophy he thought, ‘Merida can have another year to live. I have a trophy,’ and he put the trophy on his desk next to the skull replica of Faustus. “I’ll let the Demons collect souls from now on,” he said to the skull.