Death plus Six

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I am just now reading the last volume in the Sandman series of graphic novels created by Neil Gaimin. The Sandman is Dream, one of the Endless along with his brothers and sisters – Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, Destruction and Destiny. (6, get it?)

Death is the oldest. This is perhaps a practical matter. Without Death making way for the new, where would we put all of them? Immortality may be an interesting idea, but practically speaking, except for me and you, it’s a no go. Unless, and you’ve no doubt already figured this out you smarty you, you develop space travel early on and send the Newbies, or maybe the bored Oldies, off to another planet, and then another and another – but that’s a different blog. (Oh great, another immortality post) Death is the oldest because all things, bugs, animals, people, planets, stars, galaxies and the like all end up in her arms eventually.

When Death takes you in her arms is up to Destiny. That, too, is a future blog.

What if Death gets bored? He/she/it is always busy, as most people know too well.  A million times a day she (He or it – your choice) scoops up souls on Destiny’s timetable.  In the book I’m working on,  Ancient Mariners, Death is  represented by, wait for it, a large black Albatross. I think the Death in my story decided for whatever reason, to go off book.  Maybe the bad guy was scheduled to die at a certain time – heart attack, a fall down stairs, a random bullet. But Death, to relieve the tedium of embracing the dead since Time began, (or maybe just to screw with her Endless brother, Destiny) picked my two protagonists and created a mission for them. They were trained, prepared, nudged to be at the proper place at the proper time so that the bad guy’s death was not  random. But unlike so many meaningless, stupid, untimely deaths, had some meaning for those present at the time.

Death isn’t a bad guy (person or being,  if you need to be PC.)  Though it might seem she is pursuing you, she isn’t really. She’s just making sure that when the time comes, she’s there to catch you.

IDEAS

What if Death wrote a book? What would she (see above) have to say? I read a novel a few years ago, that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of, narrated by Death as she followed a girl/woman throughout her life.  In your book, maybe there’d be a day in the life, so to speak. Maybe interesting stories of particular people and how they came to be in her arms.

What if (oh damn, here’s those immortals again) your novel followed the cat and mouse existence between an Immortal and Death. Both aware of each other, maybe they have a coffee or a drink together sometimes.  Oh the stories they could tell, the comments of the past, present and future. Maybe the Immortal sneaks in to Destiny’s den and almost sees the date of his/her death. Or maybe it’s open-ended, a mystery to all.

Many people would do anything to prolong their lives. What would you do? Make a deal, your life for someone else’s? Offer to be her apprentice, then stab her in the back? Best be careful, she’s been around a long time and knows all the tricks. If money can’t buy a longer life, what can? What does Death want to  jigger the books for you, or push you back when you fall into her arms? Maybe there are two Deaths and you could play one against the other.

What if Death fell in love?  What if without his/her knowledge Death did jigger the books? Then they met, and the object of Death’s affection fell in love, too. Then they were found out – What would they do, where could they run, who would be chasing them, besides love, what else did they have to lose?

Unless you know something I don’t, you can run, but you can’t hide. So don’t worry about it and do your best to enjoy the time you have. Then you’ll have some stories to tell.

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