Time Draws Close (Memoires of a Dead Man)


For eight years now I walked this earth by means not my own.  With my last few days as human as possible I write for you how this came to be:

I had a normal life, ha normal that's old now, a mother, a father, a sister, and a brother.  My childhood was plain.  Youth now that's where it got interesting, I was a bit of a daredevil with anything I could get my hands on, whether or not I could handle it.  That's probably where my trouble started.

After I finished high school my life style didn't change, I just got more bold.  The stunt shows had nothing on me.

One day I awoke and knew I had to turn my life around.  A simple task, find a job, get a car, clean my apartment.  

Simplicity was the key word, unfortunately for the walk to the temp agency ended all that for me.  A black sedan sped down the road.  I remember seeing it, then nothing, until waking in an office full of bright light.  Sitting at the desk was a man who couldn't have been much older than me but has this sense of him that said he was in charge.  He stood slowly and had on a black suit and tie, in his right hand he held a silver pocket watch.

While tapping the watches glass face he smirked and spoke, “You're early.  You spend your whole life being late, but you are early to see me.”

“Sir, I'm sorry, would you like me to come back later?”

“No, no that is impossible.  Victor do you know where you are?”

“At my job interview, right?”

“Sadly, no, I am sorry to say but you will not be making that on time.  On the bright side you wouldn't have gotten it anyway.

“You knocked on my door many times, but now you just let yourself in.”

His smugness left me too shocked to figure out how he knew my name.  I could only mutter lightly, “Who are you, where am I?”

“My friend, you are early by a few years.  As far as who I am, I have been called many names of the years:  Grim, Night Watcher, The End.  I personally always liked the sound of Death, though short, it is sweet and to the point.  And as for where you are, that is my office.  Death is now a business, it is hard making sure people expire when they are supposed to, you for instance came early.  Back in the day one quick swipe of the scythe and the dead was done, now it is all paperwork.  Cracks do form from time to time and you seem to have fallen in one.”

“I'm dead?”

“Simply, yes, there is no room for you yet though and you cannot stay in my office.  Whatever am I going to do with you?”

“Maybe send me back?”

“Always bold, but that cannot be done, you died last month.  Funeral, buried, all over, all sad.  Now if you still wanted a job I may be able to set something up.”

“What would this job be?”

“Like I said, Death is a business now.  With everyone dying at once I have poor souls like you do it for me.”

“So I would be a grim reaper?”

“To an extant, yes.  Unfortunately I have no openings right now and won't for a few more years.”

“What am I to do then?”

“Well I guess I could send you back to earth for eight more years, you won't be you, and can't tell anyone about this.”

“Sounds fair to me.”

“Whoever you become will not be you, but will not die until the eight years are up.”

“So I will be immortal for that time?”

“Yes, but you can still fell pain and be wounded badly.”

“Eight years of my life in exchange for a lifetime working for you?”

“Yes, I will send you back now, when you see me again your time is up.”

“Thank you-“ with that it all went black again.

When I saw light again, I rose in a hospital bed and felt normal.  As I looked around, I saw a woman sitting in a chair crying.  I heard a loud crash and saw a nurse staring at me.

“Kevin, I told them you weren't going to die.  Lay back down, you need the rest,” were the first words I heard from a large man in the corner.

“What happened?” I asked trying to act natural.

“Don't talk, just rest, that was a close one, I thought we lost for you for good that time, better be more careful next time you go swim-“

”Bob, now he won't be doing anything like that again, it's a miracle this time, next time we may not be so lucky.”

After their flight calmed a bit, I asked for a mirror.  

“Of course honey,” the lady handed me a compact.  I still looked the same to me.

“Could I maybe see a picture of myself, a current one?”

“Yes, anything for my sweet wonderful son,” so she is my mother, Bob must be my father.

When I looked at the wallet picture, I saw the face of a boy not a day more than 16.  This was me, a scruffy teenager again.

The doctors forced me to stay under observation a few more days.  In that time I learned my new mother's name was Claire and I had a sister Diana.  I knew what I had to do once I was out, I had to get out and run from Death.  Live my new life to the fullest.

The day the let me out, I just started running and running.  Once I was a few towns over, I even started going by my real name again, Victor Shepherd.  No matter what I had to out run Death.

A few times I ran into some ‘employees of Death, most had gotten their jobs like me, by falling between the cracks.  Some helped me run, but others tried to slow me.  The ones in my way were a real pain.  On my travels I learned how to battle the already dead and immortal.  My teacher was a monk in the mountains by the name of Josef, and he taught me a lot.

During that eight years each step I took I heard ticking, the unrelenting ticking of a pocket watch.  After eight years now the ticking is almost unbearable.  On the other side of the world in a large marketplace in India I took a corner and saw Death leaning on a wall with the same smirk as always.  “Early again I see, used your time well I hope?  I am happy I made sure there was a job opening.  Well you got nine days left, use the time well, I will see you then, have fun.”

With the blink of the eye he was gone again.  Nine days left, I tell you my story as it may not happen to you.

Just two days left now.  The ticking is deafening it’s so loud.  I have seen what I will become and regret accepting this offer.

I can fight and risk losing is all, or do nothing and serve Death for an eternity.  Forty-eight hours left to decide.  If I fight and lose the past eight years were nothing, if I win they were the best ever.

If Bob and Claire read this, it was not their boy Kevin who ran out on them those many years ago and he did drown in the pool that day.  I am sorry for your lose, I hope you have known this since the day I woke in his body.  I am Victor Shepherd, a man about to die to live forever.

How to kill the one who kills?  There is no way, I should be thankful for these past years, but I can't.

I will accept my fate.  He is here now.  Still taping that damned watch.  With my last minutes I say goodbye and good night.

Be sure to watch over your shoulder for me.

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