• Death Lives Here: Chapter One: On A Mission

    Ten years prior to the death of Eric Webb...

    Death didn't quite understand it. Do people live to die? Why do people live? What is the purpose of life?

    Of course, it is ridiculous to think that Death could understand the meaning of life. He could not fathom it. This because his job is to take away life, not to give it. But Death was stubborn, and determined to find out.

    Death often had such inquiries. They never had any real reason for forming in Death's mind, but once they were there, he needed to find the answers. His determination led him on short lived adventures, however they never got him anywhere. Eventually he lost interest.

    Death's office was a mess. The big, black books of people's lives were scattered around, covering practically everything. He had been reading them for weeks, looking at what various people had done with their lives. Some created war and hatred, while others created peace and dedicated their lives to charity work. This, however, did not help him. Death was quickly becoming frustrated.

    He didn't know what to search next, his ebony bone fingers strumming his black, wooden desk. He sat there, just thinking. Why do people live? How could Death possibly understand this concept?

    Then, Death had an epiphany.

    He would live life.

    Wait. Death? Living life? It seems a bit contradictory, no? Won't people stop dying if Death isn't around? Not necessarily.

    You see, Death is an icon, of sorts. He doesn't have to show up to everyone's death for them to die. He just has to be Death. So leaving his post to "live" will have no effect on the natural order.

    However, Death ran into another dilemma. Where on Earth would he go? There were so many places to go. Tibet, Ecuador, Belize, the USA, and countless others. How could he possibly decide where to go? He decided to use process of elimination to decide on his destination.

    He hated the city, for one. Too much death and crime. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. It would be like work. Death didn't want that. He rather liked the country though. That is, whenever his work took him that way. It was peaceful, and everyone treated each other with kindness. Luckily, Death knew of a small, English town.

    His eye sockets scanned over the room, finally falling on his scythe. He wondered whether or not he should take it with him. Being in the country would allow him to say he was a farmer and needed it for the harvest. It seemed simple enough.

    Death spent the next few days making sure every last detail that might give him away was worked out. When he was finally ready for departure, he took one last glance at his office. Most of the books had been cleaned up and put back in their proper places, revealing the carpet. A skull and cross bones was right in the center. Death stared at it for a moment, and left his office, leaving only black smoke behind.


    There are many things people do not know about Death. The most important is that Death can change his appearance in front living humans. To them, he would appear as a middle aged man who looks like he hasn't had much to eat in a long time.

    But, he could do nothing about the black smoke, so he reappeared in an alley behind a tiny shop.

    It was a cloudy day, and a cool breeze that Death could not feel wafted throughout the town. Death's skeleton clanked loosely as he walked toward the street. He looked up and down the street.

    There were a few people milling about on the dirt road, some going into tiny shops that looked like they needed a new coat of paint. The town looked peaceful and sleepy, just what Death had been looking for.

    He emerged from the alley, trying to appear nonchalant as the humans down the street. He stopped to look at them for a moment, trying to copy their movements in order to look as human as possible.

    He heard a bell ring from the shop behind him. He turned curiously, only to see a young blonde woman struggling with packages of food. He slightly recognized her as Danielle Webb, but he couldn't be completely sure. Nevertheless, she looked like she needed help.

    Death remembered those who had dedicated their lives to helping others. Perhaps he should give it a shot. Would it give him a fulfilled feeling?

    "Ma'am, it looks as though you could use some assistance."

    Mind you, Death was not doing this out of the goodness of his heart. He has no goodness in his heart. In fact, he doesn't have a heart. Which is one of the main reasons he's dead.

    The woman stared at the thin figure in front of her.

    "Um, yes, please."

    Death took a couple of her bags, and just stood before her. She stared at him awkwardly. She looked very familiar.

    "Oh, yes, sorry. My house is up the hill," she explained, pointing eastward.

    Death recognized it, but said nothing and followed the woman down the dirt path. He wondered if he should make an attempt at conversation. It seemed like the human thing to do. He didn't really know what to talk about. The weather? He couldn't feel it, so it was no use. Lucky for him, she started conversation.

    "I've never seen you around town before," she pointed out in a heavy English accent, "Are you new here?"

    "Yes. I am looking for a job and a place to stay here." His voice was flat and had no traces of real emotion. It seemed as though he was uninterested in the conversation.

    "Are you a farmer?" she asked, indicating the scythe that he had hung her bags on.

    "In some respects," he replied.

    The woman nodded slowly, probably taking in what he said. It seemed improbable that he was a farmer. He was so skinny, and all the manual labor would be sure to build up some muscles.

    "What did you say your name was?"

    "I didn't."

    "Right... So, what is it?"

    Death pondered this for a moment. He hadn't thought of a name. "George," was his reply.

    The woman raised an eyebrow at the fact he had to think of his own name. "George what?"

    Again Death had to think about his next reply. "d'Eath. George d'Eath."

    The woman tilted her head slightly. “Is that French?”


    “Well, George, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Danielle Webb.”

    George (Death) realized that was why she looked so familiar, and that his suspicions about her identity were correct. Ten years ago, he had taken her husband, and even earlier than that, her best friend and father. The poor girl had lost a lot of people in her lifetime. Very important people too.

    They walked in silence up the steep hill, with silence that was a little uncomfortable for the female party. George didn’t care.

    He took this opportunity to look at the scenery. Other times that he had been there, it was strictly for work and he didn’t take time to look around. Halfway up the hill, you could see the entire town, a small cluster of buildings that lay in front of a river. There were rocky mountains surrounding the town, putting it at the bottom of a valley. There were roads going out of the town, not cutting it off from all civilization. The scenery would have been breath taking, but Death had no breath for it to take.

    The arrived at the front door of Mrs. Webb’s home. It was all too familiar to Death. He had been there before. Mr. Knight and Mr. Webb and both died in the very same house. It must be painful for Mrs. Webb to live there. However, Death didn’t know about pain. It only added to the number of human concepts he didn’t understand.

    Mrs. Webb opened the front door, which had rusty hinges. It squeaked a little as it slid open. She went in, and motioned for him to follow. George strode in, only to come into a house that looked like it had recently been the scene of a crime.

    “I apologize for the mess. I’ve been so busy lately,” she said with a nervous laugh, “I really need to find a house keeper. And someone to look after my kids and mother.”

    George wasn’t really paying attention, just staring at the mess around him. It was like slobs lived there, although Mrs. Webb hardly looked the type. There was paper lying around, a trash can knocked over. There was broken glass one the floor, and the windows were so dirty George could barely see out of them. She was still talking, unaware that George wasn’t listening to her. She led him into the kitchen, where an elderly woman was sitting on a chair in front of the table.

    “Hey mom,” she said.

    “No thank you, I’m fine,” the elderly woman said. George figured her hearing wasn’t too good.

    He set down the bags he was carrying on the table in front of the old woman. She was most likely the late Mr. Knight’s wife. Mrs. Webb began putting away food from the ones that she had carried.

    "You said you needed a job, right?" she asked.

    "Yes?" George replied.

    "Would you be interested in... erm.... being a nanny? You'd get room and board... and all that."

    George just stared at her for a moment. She seemed to have realized being a nanny wasn't a "man's" work. He shrugged, figuring that it would be a start in finding out what humans do with their lives. "I guess so."

    "Excellent!" she said, looking relieved.