For those of you who are reading this now, this is complete story right here. It’s so that you don’t have to search chapter-wise.
Chapter 1 – Bored
Mrs. Hollet held on his hand as though her life depended on it. It was ironic, since he was the one who saw her take her last breath. But she was at peace. She was a 93-year old great grandma. She was glad he had waited so long to take her away. She knew she died without regrets.
Death held onto Mrs. Hollet’s hand like he held so many others over the years. To her it was something new but to him it was just another day at work. Though Mrs. Hollet couldn’t see but Death was holding a hundred more souls in his hands, each one oblivious of the other. He felt that it somehow made them feel that their death was special. Like he was specially taking them to the Other Side. It was a matter of seconds before they made it through but to them it was a long walk. He liked to take them there on his own. He looked at his recent gatherings faces. Some showed peace, some fear and some disbelief. He was always fascinated by all the feelings humans showed on their face. He never felt them (and he was glad) but he loved the idea of having millions of emotions to express. He stopped in front of a huge gate. His victims looked at him. But he always saw the same face at this point. All them asking the same question in their minds “Is this it?” Almost as if answering their question, he nodded and let the gates open. He felt the touch of hundreds of hands leaving his hand. The gate closed and Death sighed. Another round of human souls sent There.
Death looked at his list. He felt bored. He had been doing this for a very long time. So long that he had forgotten when he started or if there was even a start. There were a few moments in those million years that he felt remembering. He also remembered his mistakes. And the times he purposely killed someone just because he was bored. He never spared anyone’s life. As far as people were concerned, no one deserved to let their lives spared.
Matt Christopher Fraus. The first name on his list. Death smirked at his last name. Fraus. I wonder what his wrongdoing was. Death touched his name. Immediately Death got a flash of his whole life history. Born in St. Augustine, Atlanta, Matt was the 3rd child of Martha and Stewart Fraus. He was born on 12th December, 1988. An average child with some good grades. He went to Georgia State University to study graphic design and just passed out of college with an average grade point. He had just recently received a job offer at a famous web design company which he took promptly. His life was completely uneventful that even Death felt sorry for him.
Death browsed through his list. Lots of people, no one interesting enough to him. He sighed and made his way to Matt’s car. Death always had a way to kill people. He mainly choose car accidents because he hated cars. There was no reason, he just never liked it. He hated airplanes too but that was a lot of unnecessary lives. Death watched Matt run to his car. Probably late for work. Poor guy, the last thing on his mind will how he wasn’t in time. He should take time to see around him. Maybe then he’ll have more excitement in his life. Just at that moment, Death had an idea. And for the first time in his long, lonely life Death smiled.
Chapter 2 – Try Again
Matt rushed to his car. Holy shit! Haley is going to kill me if I miss her stupid dress thing. Why do I even have to go? Matt’s sister Haley Michelle Fraus was going to get married in 2 weeks. Her husband was a nice guy and Matt liked him but Matt didn’t like the big fuss about the marriage. He knew that even though this was his sister’s first marriage it wasn’t going to be the last. He was absolutely sure about that.
Matt got into his car and realized that he had forgotten his wallet. He thought for a second whether it was worth it. He could rather spend time in prison if were to get caught for speeding or see his sister’s killer face. He chose the former. As Matt drove through the traffic, he thought of the various things he planned to do after meeting his sister. It was after all a nice Saturday and he didn’t want to waste it. His thoughts were disturbed by the song on the radio. It was Hessian Peel by Opeth. He sang along to the song at the top of his voice. Somehow he felt happy today even though he knew that he was going to be terribly late for his sister’s dress rehearsal.
Suddenly the radio screeched. Matt tried to tune it but all the radio channels seemed scrambled. Out of the blue a voice came through the radio. It was soft, like it was whispering something. Intrigued, Matt increased the volume but somehow it was still a soft whisper.
“I think you should look at the road while driving” said someone from behind Matt
Matt jumped up at the voice. He immediately looked back and braked at the same time. What he didn’t realize that he stopped his car right in the middle of a junction. A truck coming at quite a high-speed honked and braked. Before Matt realized what would happen the truck bashed into his car. Matt’s last words were “I’m sorry”
Matt opened his eyes and looked around. “It was just a dream.” He smiled and looked out of the window. The birds were singing as usual and it a beautiful Saturday. He got out of bed and followed his usual routine. He looked at the clock. 11:10 pm. Shit! Haley’s dress thing! He quickly put on clothes and ran out of the door. He realized he forgot his wallet. He ran back inside and went to pick up his wallet.
Just as he was getting out the door, he had images of his dream just like they were real. He scrunched his eyebrows and shook his head. But something inside him told him to go back inside and spend the day in bed. He decided not to take his car and walk to the place. He was going to be late there anyway, might as well enjoy the day on the way.
As Matt walked past the music store, he heard the radio play Hessian Peel and stopped to listen to it. He liked the song and told his sister to play it at the wedding. She obviously disagreed. The theme didn’t seem appropriate for the wedding. As the song drew to its end, Matt heard a cry from the alley next to it. He ran towards it. He saw an old woman being robbed by a masked man and he had a gun in his hand. The masked man saw Matt and panicked.
“See, I just want the old lady’s money. Don’t cause any trouble and no one will get hurt.”
“I don’t want any trouble. Just let the woman go and everything will be fine. Just take this. My wallet.” Matt put his hand in his jacket to remove the wallet. The masked man immediately pointed his gun towards Matt.
“No funny business! Remove your hands from your pockets! You!” facing the woman, “Go! Get out!” The woman nodded frantically and ran as fast as she could. Matt slowly removed his hands from his pockets. The masked man took a few steps towards him. Matt put his hands up to show that he didn’t mean any harm. The masked man seemed to relax.
“You really shouldn’t meddle with out people’s business,” said a voice from behind Matt.
Matt turned around in shock. It was the same voice from his dream. The masked man panicked and accidentally pulled the trigger of the gun. Matt felt a sharp pain in his chest. His knees grew weak and he fell to the ground. The masked man freaked out, dropped the gun and fled the site. Matt looked at his chest. It was bleeding and as his vision blacked out he saw a tall man wearing a black cloak carrying a black staff of some kind. Matt couldn’t see the face well but he somehow, at the back of his head, knew who it was.
Chapter 3 – Details
Matt felt a hand touch his head. It was cold as ice but it still brought a warm feeling inside him. Am I dead? Matt didn’t want to open his eyes. He feared he wouldn’t like what he saw.
“Matt. Matt.” A voice was calling out his name. He knew the voice but he couldn’t place it. “Matt, open your eyes. You are not dead. At least not right now.” And suddenly Matt remembered the voice. It was the voice in the alley and the one in his dream. Was it a dream? Now that he thought about it, it seemed more real now than it did then.
Matt opened his eyes slowly. He was in his room but he was looking at himself. What the –. Matt looked around. Everything was just as it was like left in the morning. Am I fucking dead and looking my body?
“No, like I said, you are not dead. But technically you aren’t alive either.” Matt sprung around. What he saw scared the lights out of him. He knew who it was. It didn’t look exactly like how the books described him but there was a close resemblance. “Dark Angel,” Matt whispered, like whispering it made it seem more real.
“I like the name Death more but you can call me anything you please.”
Matt was confused. He knew he was supposed to dead because he was seeing (and talking) to Death but at the same time Death said he wasn’t dead. Does that make me a ghost or something?
“Matt, I have looked at your life. It is boring and uneventful. I bet you didn’t even have a memory flash before you as you died. I decided to give you a chance.”
“A chance? Does that mean I can live?” Matt asked. There was a slight hope in his voice.
“Not really. You get to relive the day. Try to not die or maybe create a memory. Do anything worth remembering.”
“Relive the day? What do you mean?”
“Do you have this constant habit of interrupting people? Let me finish what I have to say and then you can ask your questions. You will get to relive the day every time you die. You shall however not remember the previous time’s events but your conscience will however not follow the same routine. You will also have a span of 1 minute between each time. You can talk to me if you want, you will remember everything during this period and maybe change some events and plan your next time. Any questions?’
“So I live today again and again till I make sure I don’t die? It’s like a time loop that I’m stuck in.”
“Technically yes. But to get out of the ‘loop’ you don’t necessary need to live through the day. You can get out if you manage to do one event in your life that you will want to remember as your last memory. Oh, your 1 minute is up. Go back to your life.”
“No wait! I still have questions!” Matt yelled out but Death grew dimmer and dimmer in his vision as he felt something sucking him into nothingness.
Chapter 4 – Third Time Lucky?
Matt woke up with a strange feeling. He felt like he was supposed to remember something but he didn’t remember. He shook his head and looked at the time. 11:00am. Haley’s dress thing! Matt groaned.
“I know I’m going to be late. Might as be fashionably late.” He smiled. “The entire family was going to be there. Haley probably won’t even notice that I’m not there.”
Matt casually put his clothes on and looked outside. It was a beautiful Saturday morning. He grabbed his wallet and keys and headed to the car.
As he waited at a signal to turn green, a car came stopped next to him. The car was blasting the song Hessian Peel. He loved the song and sang along with it. He looked at the guy in the car and nodded his head, acknowledging the guy’s choice. The guy looked at him and smiled.
The light turned green and just as the guy started his car, Matt heard an explosion and saw the windows in his car break and shatter across his face. He smelt something burning and something hot. He heard a consequent explosion and before he knew what was going on, his car blew up just like the one next to his. Matt wasn’t dead yet. He could hear the screams and feel the excruciating pain in his body. Matt knew he was taking his last breathes. As everything was numbing out, Matt tried hard to remember something about himself but all he could think about was how dead he was. He closed his eyes and slowly he felt nothing.
Matt opened his eyes. He was looking at his body. Suddenly all the memories of his past deaths came to him. He looked to find Death standing next to him.
“A car bomb. You were very unlucky there.” He said.
Matt rubbed his head. “Yeah. That was weird. So does that mean that other guy died too?”
“Yes. But you don’t have to worry about it. The time has reset itself and he is…undead. But he shall die again and again in the same manner.”
“So I won’t take the car. All I have to do is mind my business and just clear my head and go to the dress rehearsal.”
“You at least got the event right this time”
“Huh?” Before Death could say anything more, Matt felt himself being pulled into the real world.
Chapter 5 – Really? Still No Luck
Matt sprang up. He realized he had slept in and he really need to get out of bed and go to Haley’s dress rehearsal. He quickly got ready, grabbed his jacket and rushed out of the house.
He decided to run to the venue instead of the taking the car. The traffic was already insane; he didn’t want to be later than what he already was. He took out his cell phone and called his sister.
“Matt! Where are you? We are going to start!” his sister Haley yelled from the other side.
“I’m sorry Haley! I’m just running a little late, literally”
“Well run faster then. You have to be here for this. It means a lot to me.”
“It’s not the wedding. You can chill”
“It’s the dress rehearsal. If this isn’t perfect, then my wedding is a disaster!”
“Melodramatic much. By the way, why is the radio playing?” Matt heard Hessian Peel playing at the background.
“What are you talking about? Whatever. I need to go now. Just get here fast.” Haley cut the phone. Matt smirked. Haley had always been the dramatic one in the family.
As Matt climbed the final steps to the wedding hall, his foot tripped. He grabbed the railing but his hand slipped and he fell backwards. Everything felt like it was in slow motion. His head hit the edge of a step. Matt felt his consciousness slipping away. He tried hard to grab onto to something but he body grew limp as he slowly descended down the stairs in a very painful manner.
When he finally hit the ground, Matt felt pain in every part of his body. He fought against his brain’s urge to completely shut down. He heard voices. He couldn’t recognize them. He wanted to focus on something either a face or a sound but everything was blurry and distant. Finally, with a last bit of strength in his body he uttered, “Not again.”
Matt knew where he was before even opening his eyes. When saw Death next to him. He was sure of it.
“I died because I fell off the stairs?” Matt yelled.
“Not exactly. You went into a coma for nearly 5 years till you finally died.”
“What? If I was in coma doesn’t that mean, I didn’t die”
“Yes, but you die eventually and you didn’t really do as I wanted. Also, I don’t think that was the ending you wanted.”
“Maybe not. But how come I don’t remember my coma time?”
“If I can create a time loop, then I can also fast forward it. I just went straight to the part where you die and brought you back here” Death replied, nonchalantly.
“Honestly, I don’t even want to go to Haley’s dress rehearsal. Whenever I try to go there, I die”
There was a moment of silence. Suddenly Matt got an idea.
“I know what I have to do! Send me back to my body.”
Matt woke up and groaned. He knew he was late for his sister’s wedding dress rehearsal. He thought about skipping it and then decided that it wasn’t a bad idea after all. He could just call her later and apologize.
Matt got out of bed and followed his usual routine. He poured cereal in a bowl and sat down in front of the TV. He flipped channels till he finally reached VH1. They were playing Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin. He relaxed himself on the couch. Nothing better than good old music and food on a lovely Saturday morning.
Matt took a spoonful of cereal, just when the next song began playing. It was Hessian Peel by Opeth. Something triggered in his body. It wasn’t because he loved the song but something inside him was telling him something was wrong. He tried to gulp his cereal in one go but unfortunately something got stuck in his throat. He began coughing badly. He got up to get a glass of water. But it made it worse. He doubled up and tried his best to cough it out. Tears began swelling in his eyes and he crawled to the kitchen to get water. Suddenly he realized he was finding it difficult to breathe. As much as he gasped for air his natural instinct tried to cough out the object stuck in his throat. He felt an intense pain in his chest. Suddenly all he could think about was oxygen and its importance. His will to do anything was somehow lost. He lay there on the ground coughing and gasping at the same time as his vision became blurry and then he felt no pain.
“No way! No fucking way!” Matt yelled.
“That was a quite unfortunate incident” Death said. Matt could almost see the smirk on Death’s face.
“You did that on purpose! That was so stupid!”
“I don’t do anything on purpose. I just let the events follow their course.”
“Yeah right. You are just fucking with me and my head. For all I know you are enjoying it.’
“I am enjoying this. This is something I haven’t done before and you are quite an interesting subject.”
“Oh so I’m a lab rat. Well fuck you! And fuck your stupid games! I’m not playing this shit anymore. Get me out of here.”
“You haven’t completely what you had to do. I am not satisfied.” Death paused. Matt wanted to yell something out but he just didn’t know what else to say to change Death’s mind. “Time’s up.”
“Fuck yo- “Matt was cut short by the pull to reality.
Chapter 6 – Is it really over?
Matt woke with a frown on his face. He was annoyed about something and he couldn’t figure out why. He looked at the time and remembered about his sister’s dress rehearsal. Screw it.
Matt got out of the bed and dragged his feet to the bathroom. He noticed a picture of his entire family on his desk. It was taken almost 5 years back, the last time the entire family got together for a vacation. He picked up the picture and tried to remember the place. Was it the Bahamas or Hawaii? He shook his head and smiled at the happy faces of his mom and dad. He suddenly missed the carefree nature he had in the photo.
Matt brushed his teeth and went straight to the drawer where he kept all his photo albums. He went through the photos and smiled at all the memories coming to him. The time he got drunk at a party back in high school and went home with some dude he met on the street. The guy turned to be one of his closest friends. There were photos of his many camping trips with his college frat buddies. He came across a photo of one of the girls he had a crush on in middle school and laughed at the stupidity of the reasons he never bothered to tell her how he felt.
Matt got up and called his mother. “Mom, this is Matt”
“Hello Matt sweetheart. Where are you? Your sister needs you.”
“Yeah about that, I’m not going today. Tell Haley I’m sorry”
“Are you Ok?”
“Yeah mom. Just not feeling up to it. Sorry.”
“It’s ok, darling. I’ll let Haley you can’t make it today.”
“Thanks mom.” Matt cut the phone and looked at all the photos in his room. He knew he was going to regret what he was going to do next. Maybe a few more minutes. He switched on his iPod and walked aimlessly in the room. He went back to the photos and browsed through more of them. He felt sad and at the same time happy remembering all the good times he had in his life.
Matt stood up and changed the song on his iPod to Hessian Peel. He felt the song was somehow perfect for what he was about to do next. He organized his room and put the photos back in the drawer. He stepped out in the balcony. The warm breeze blowing made him smile and a tear dropped from his eye. He was going to miss everything. He stepped on the balcony railing and looked at the sky. He tried to remember all the happy memories and replayed them in his head again and again. He jumped off the balcony; head first, with a smile on his face. Thank you.
Matt held Death’s cold hand has Death took him to the other side.
“I did it, didn’t I?” Matt asked, looking forward. He didn’t want to look at Death. He knew it was over but he didn’t want to face it yet.
Death remained silent. He was absorbed in his own thoughts. He looked at Matt. He got a sudden urge to turn back and let him live but he wasn’t going to break his own rules. Matt beat his game. He had not just one happy memory but a whole bunch of them. He smiled. For the first time he was taking a soul alone to the Other Side. The other souls can wait. He felt lonely all of a sudden.
“Yes, Matt.” Death whispered back. He began humming the intro to Hessian Peel. Matt smiled and hummed along as they walked toward the gate.