The Apprentice

by Clay Brady |

Once upon a grim day, Mister Death and his beloved were hard at work. They were collecting the immortal souls of those marked for death. With her scythe, Missus Death would slice open the mortal beings to let out their souls which Mister Death would then catch and stuff into a jar.

The two harbingers of death have taken countless souls to the netherworld ever since the dawn of time when mortals first walked upon this realm. Eons and eons have passed since there was a day or two when the two had no souls to reap.

It was not as though the coupe loved their work, they had little say in the matter. When this realm was created, they were given the job of reaping the souls of those whose time has expired by the Creator. Each day at the dinner table, Missus Death would look up from her meal and ask, “When are we ever going to get a day off?” To which mister Death would reply, “When this realm has ceased to exist, my dear.”

At their last appointment for this day, Mister Death stumbled onto an idea. The last soul for the day was that of Lucinda Smith. Just when Mister Death had finished placing the soul of Miss Smith into a Jar, he heard crying coming from the next room. He went in the room and found a toddler boy in his crib whimpering for his departed mother. There was no father around, nor other family. Nobody would miss this poor little boy, thought Mister Death.

With a swipe of his hand, Mister Death made himself visible to the teary-eyed boy. He picked the boy up and held him. “There, there now,” said Mister Death to the boy and took hold of his chubby little hand, leading him outside where Missus Death was waiting.

The sight of her husband leading the little boy out of the house puzzled Missus Death into shouting, “What are you doing?”

“I have an idea on how we can get that break we so desperately need,” replied Mister Death.

With his boney fingers, Mister Death drew a circle on the ground, and filled it with symbols of the mystic kind. Into the circle, Mister Death placed the little boy. Still holding the boy’s hand, Mister Death looked at his wife and said, “Touch his other hand with your scythe.”

Missus Death did as she was told and watched as her husband chanted words that have not been uttered in millennia. Words that were first spoken when they both first came to be.

The circle glowed blue, and then red. At first slow, then ever so faster. After a few minutes, there was a puff of smoke. From the smoke appeared the boy looking like Mister and Missus Death, all bone and no flesh.

“Meet our new apprentice,” said Mister Death, “A few more years and then we can have our day off.”

Missus Death smiled and reluctantly nodded in agreement.

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