Gathered around a table with water in the center, the Gods all watched as the world blossomed.
With golden chalices filled with mead and small plates of finger food in front of them, they each chatted about what would happen next. What was expected, and what could be expected. But never the unexpected.
The only one who was not partaking in the festivities was Death.
He sat back in his chair, his mead not drank and food untouched. He lost the ability to crave such things long ago.
He was the one that wanted the unexpected. He preferred it.
The unforeseen chaos was his favorite part of creating a new world.
It was also Erebys’, God of the Underworld, favorite part. The more chaos the more souls would enter his domain. He was quite greedy like that.
“So fragile,” Erebys murmured from his place across the table from Death. “They will die easily. Won’t they, Death?” His black and gold eyes met Death’s black and blue swirling ones.
He responded with silence, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.
“Should be easy for you to collect. And if it is difficult, my daughter will be able to do it.” A small smirk crossed Erebys’ features.
Even though Death had his position assigned to him long ago, the Underworld God still taunted him about replacing him one day. Jokes at first but now becoming a promise.
“... Child... Cannot handle souls.”
Erebys laughed, clearly amused by Death’s retort.
“The child is not even born yet! Still in her Giant of a mother’s womb. But she will be ready, someday, Death. So, be careful. Your days are numbered.” The God drank deeply from his chalice, then watched it refill and tossed it back again.
“Death...” One of the higher Gods drawled out, taking his attention away from Erebys. “As the world flourishes, the humans will need you. You need to guide them to their afterlife like you have done with the Giants, Titans and other creatures in the past. The only difference is they will need reassurance and a friendly approach as most of them are skittish. They will likely resist you as they are much more emotional than what you are used to dealing with. Be kind to them, I have a good feeling about this new race.”
Death grabbed his chalice and swirled the liquid inside it. “Emotions... how tedious.” He drawled out.
“Yes, yes I know. But all the Gods have agreed to this, even if you never gave us your opinion until now.”
“Do not care...your decision in the end.”
A fertility Goddess leaned forward, her gaze on the scrying water. “Look! They have discovered fire. How adorable,” she cooed.
Several of the Gods chuckled while Death simply watched the humans try to grab at the flames, only to end up burning their flesh.
Then it was repeated by another that had watched the whole thing but learned nothing.
Death pinched the bridge of his nose. ’Idiots.’
“For this, you will be rewarded,” The higher God continued. “I will personally see to it.”
“No... no need.” Death stood and began to walk away, already feeling the pull of a death. “...It is reward enough to get to watch this world burn and suffer within reach.”
It was a bitter, frigid, teeth-chattering cold night. It was the type of cold that every time you breathed, your mouth ached and the air you sucked in practically became ice. The type where even your eyelashes had a dusting of ice on them.
Death vaguely felt it. He was the cold.
That’s how it had been for the past several billion years. Even if he was in a hot environment, nothing could warm him up.
Not that he cared.
It came with the territory as Death.
He walked across the snow covered ground, hands in his suit pockets in a relaxed state.
Once he was in front of the frozen couple, he stared at them.
It was not uncommon for him to see a couple hugging each other for warmth, but something about their hug seemed awkward. Their arms were around each other, but their bodies were not touching. He has watched humans interact since the start of their time, and very rarely has he seen such an awkward embrace.
Shrugging, he reached over to touch their foreheads.
A little coo came from the couple’s arms.
Death paused, not expecting the sound.
He looked closer at the couple’s chest. There was a thick blanket in between them, wrapping something.
Death frowned as he slowly unwrapped the top of the blanket.
Large, brown eyes stared back at him.
It was a baby, no older than a few months. Its cheeks were pink, but it was nowhere near death. The parents must have made sure she was bundled up.
It cooed again, struggling a little bit.
Death furrowed his eyebrows, unsure of what to do. If he just left it there, he would be back to collect its soul, which was not too big of a deal, but he just wanted to do it in one trip.
A small giggle escaped the little baby’s lips. It was still staring at Death.
It seemed to be willing him to pick it up.
Without thinking, Death gingerly put his hands on the blanket. He did not want to touch it; its life force would leave the body and into him if he did.
He studied the baby more. It was a little girl. She seemed to be bald with a light dusting of blonde hairs. The eyes she kept watching him with were large like a doe, and the brown held speckles of a lighter brown, nearly gold.
Sighing, Death decided to just end her suffering now, taking pity on the little thing.
Bringing up a slender finger, he touched her forehead.
She did not close her eyes, nor breathe her last breath. Her soul did not come through where he touched her.
Instead, she moved her head in frustration, obviously not liking where his finger was.
‘…She is not affected by my touch at all.’
She let out a little squeal, making Death come out of his stupor. Shaking his head, he tightened the blanket around her. Holding her with one arm, he touched the couple’s foreheads.
Their souls left their bodies through the spot where he touched them. He inhaled them like a long drag from a cigarette.
His eyes rolled to the back of his head, savoring their flavor.
Once he was done, he looked down at the little girl again. Her eyelids were dropping, as if she felt safe enough to sleep.
Death clicked his tongue in thought.
He knew where he could take her.
They popped up in front of a beautiful, Victorian house.
It was substantially warmer there than it was in Alaska. Even though it was night, the air was still thick with humidity.
Death could not feel it. He was still ice cold, practically steaming from the vast contrast.
The baby seemed to prefer the cold, turning her body towards Death’s chest.
Walking up the step of the house, Death looked around.
The porch extended the entire front. There was a wooden swing on one side in front of a window. A large curtain covered it, but a warm glow from the inside covered the swing.
The other side held flowers surrounding the other curtain covered window.
The house was painted a warm yellow. The entire house gave off a hospitable feeling, making Death feel like what he was about to do, was the right thing. For both sides of the party.
Once in front of the door, he gently set the baby down. She squealed in anger.
Death ignored her outburst, raising to his full height to knock on the door.
After knocking three times, he disappeared, only to reappear behind a weeping willow tree in the front yard.
He watched as the door opened, revealing a middle-aged woman. She looked around before looking down. Her eyes widened at the sight, instantly yelling for her husband.
She scooped up the baby, looking around furiously at any sign of who could have dropped her at their front door.
The baby started to coo and giggle at the woman.
Death breathed out a sigh of relief. He paused at his action. Death did not need to breath, nor was he ever relieved of something concerning him. For that matter, he was never concerned with anything.
Pushing the thoughts aside, he continued to watch the couple.
They both were looking at her with smiles on their faces, adoration in their eyes.
He knew he chose correctly.
The couple were having trouble conceiving. Each time they conceived, she either miscarried or had a stillbirth.
Death was too familiar with the couple.
Looking around one more time, the couple brought the little girl inside.
Straightening himself up, and satisfied at how things turned out, he snapped his fingers and was brought to his next destination.