magnadeus

“Wh-who the hell are you?”

“The name’s Lance. I’m here because-”

“Are you Death? Are you- are you God, or something?”

“No, sir, I am Lance. I’m here to guide you.”

“Oh, you want to take me to the underworld, huh?”

Lance wished that, for once, people would greet death like they did in the movies. A polite “am I dead,” or something. Instead, he always got sweating, stammering wrecks. He paused, making something resembling eye contact with his client. His name was Daniel Nguyen, and as Lance looked him over, he didn’t quite see the trim, debonair go-getter that the photos on file led him to expect. Daniel was still glaring, with an expression equal measures horrified and frustrated.

“I can’t just take you wherever. I have to guide you.”

“What the fuck does that mean? Where are you guiding me?”

“I can’t tell you that either, I don’t have the clearance for it. Just stay-”

“Can’t you take me back? I can’t just die now! I have so much left to do!”

“There’s nothing I can do about it.”

“Bullshit, you’re a-”

“I just work here, sir. As much as I would love to, I cannot bring you back to life. What I can do is take you somewhere that isn’t here.” Lance motioned to the surrounding abyss, Daniel’s eyes following suit as if something was actually around. The realization soon set in that this wouldn’t be the case. Daniel’s arms slumped, almost performatively.

“How did… how did this all happen?” He was now looking down, the void staring back.

“It was a car accident. 7 P.M.”

“Yeah, I know that.” Daniel’s eyes met Lance’s… visage, offering no visible empathy (or visible anything). “That’s not what I meant,” he puled. “Why? Why did this have to happen to me?”

“It happens to everyone sooner or later. You just got unlucky.”

“Unlucky??”

“Well… where is it, then? Where’s the door, stairway, highway or whatever?” Lance knew that he was asking out of confusion rather than an acceptance of his fate, but it was a start. He turned around and felt for a wall, and then for a series of buttons. His sleeve glid left to right before settling. A faint click rang out, and Daniel lurched with an exaggerated gasp.

As the floor moved up, several doors came into view. Daniel couldn’t quite steady himself, watching the doors scroll down with no frame of reference. His eyes darted around, the same slabs of beige-painted wood greeting his every glance. The array of doors stretched infinitely downwards, and as the repetitive motion of the grid settled into the background, eventually he lost track of how far up he had gone.