After lunch, we set back to it. The work was interesting, and required enough attention to detail and knowing the moment when to cut, that the rest of the day went by quickly. About an hour after I would have normally left my desk at the insurance company, Dee told me we’d resume work tomorrow, and I could go home now. I knew that people were prone to die at any time, and not just within the confines of my semi-nine to five shift, and so I knew Dee was picking up a lot of the slack of the night time hours while I took my time in adjusting to what was going to be my new work schedule for a very long time. Dee would just have to let me make it up to him when I was as seasoned in the art of expiration as he was.
I stood at the corner bus stop and waited for the bus, but it was only once I’d paid my fare and was moving away from the stop, that I realized I could have used my new form of flying transportation to get home. Oh well. I’d already paid the fare, and I’m sure I’d have plenty of time to utilize this newfound power if my car failed to turn over again tomorrow morning.
I was seated in the very back of the bus, and it was stuffed with office workers, students, and women and men on their way to second shift or from the day jobs they’d been momentarily liberated from. I was watching them look out the windows, lose themselves in their smart phone screens and laptops, or silently flick through paperback books designed to travel well on public transport. It was the most relaxing part of the day actually. I had no hurry to be home, and riding the bus made me feel more connected to the humanity I was sure I was a part of (but was no longer) just earlier this week.
As the reaper in training, would I really be coming for all of them eventually? If I had thought it was hard meeting people and making friends before, I suppose the efforts were going to be even more strained with the thought of how and when I was going to cut each of their chords lingering in the back of my mind as we exchanged pleasantries. Watching them now, I could feel all of their life force energies steadily dripping from them, and it was so blatantly visible now to me that I was surprised I didn’t see a puddle under each of them from the steady loss of life that they were spending just by existing. Furthermore, it was now obvious to me in a way that wasn’t before that some of them had small tears in their pipes and the life force they held was coming out in more than a slow drip.
A man came down the aisle, bumping me slightly as he sat down beside me and startling me out of my reverie of thoughts. I moved slightly down the seat to give him more room, and briefly made eye contact with him. As I did, I felt that strong internal shove again, and found that I was face to face with Azazal again.
“We haven’t been properly introduced,” he said, pushing me again with his too dark eyes, and extending his hand toward me, although it was gloved this time.
I tentatively touched his fingers as I met the hand as far from my body as I could for the handshake. And why was I shaking his hand? Well, even if he was a demon, I could still be polite.
“I’m sure Dee has filled your head with some kind of story concerning today’s events and our coincidental meet-up we had at the basketball game,” Azazal said, and his voice came out in thick drops of syllables, like thick honey that was turning to lumps of sugar from being left stationary for too long. It was impossible to detect what tone he was attempting; sarcastic or menacing, who knew?
“He told me that you’re a demon and you were there to eat that boy’s life so that he was left with no alternative than to forever be resigned to nothingness and an in-between of life and death,” I said, astonished at my eloquence and irritated that I was beginning to take on Dee’s superfluous way of speech.
“Well, that’s simplifying the issue a bit much, I think,” Azazel said. “Did you ever consider what kind of life these humans were living before we came upon them? There’s 14 billion people on the planet currently. Does every single one of them deserve to hit the circuit another couple of times? What about those who have cycled hundreds of times? What is yet another cycle going to give them except for another chance to become a rapist, a murderer, a thief, and the like? By taking these ‘bad seeds’ out of the picture, aren’t I doing everyone a big favor?”
As most bad guys do, Azazal had a really good point there.