Darkness surrounded him. He looked around and saw nothing except for emptiness. Suddenly, a flash of light momentarily blinded him. When his vision finally cleared, he saw a man and two doors. The man he knew, but hadn’t seen in a long time. The doors were still a mystery. They stood, staring at each other for a long time. Neither of them wanted to be the first to speak. This went on for what seemed like an eternity, which was saying something considering who these two men were.
“Christian,” the other man asked, breaking the silence. “What an apt name for one who has been doing a lot of killing lately. I am beginning to think you’re after my job.”
“I’m not after your job, Death. I want you to do your job and kill me.”
“You know I cannot do that, Life. I was only there to get little Bethany, not you.”
“I won’t let you take her.”
“And why should I spare her?”
“Because if you come near her again, I’ll kill you.”
“A threat? You have been around the mortals too long. You are starting to act like them.” Christian rolled his eyes at Death’s attempt to insult him. “Still,” Death continued, “I will not touch the girl if she means that much to you. I think I have enough of your family here already.”
That comment had the effect that Death was hoping for, a mixture of grief and anger. He wanted to fight Life again, but it seemed that Christian had learned some restraint. “Where in the hell are we,” he asked Death.
“Hell? No, this is not Hell. You have been here before, Life. This is the In-Between. Since you do not reside here anymore, I decided to redecorate. Like the color?”
“So, this is where the judgment happens. And who gets to judge, you?”
“Yes, I am the judge. You could be one, too, but you declined that offer a long time ago. It is still open for you, if you want. I wish you would. I would really like a vacation.”
“I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to judge anyone, not after what I have done.”
“Blasphemy! It is an honor bestowed, not earned. You have every right to pass judgment on mortals, for that is why you were created. Do not try to hide behind your warped morals. If you would just come and do your job, maybe your life would not be such a burden to you.”
“Shut up! What do you know of me? If you knew anything about me, then you’d know all of the pain I constantly go through. And you are not the judge of me. I’m not a mortal.”
“I know everything you have gone through, Life. It was all by your choice. You could have come back here any time you wanted to escape from the pain, but you chose to stay. Maybe, if you would stop being so selfish, you would realize that our job is more important than your constant whining.”
That last statement knocked Christian down a notch. He looked around again. “What’s with the doors,” he asked.
“That one,” Death responded, pointing to the door behind him, “ leads to the afterlife. The other one will lead you back to your daughter’s home.”
“All I have to do is walk through that door and I’m dead?”
“Yes,” Death answered, moving out of his way.
Christian walked over to the door. When his hand touched the doorknob a powerful jolt shook his entire body and threw him backwards. As he still shook from the shock, he looked up and saw Death laughing at him. “Did you really think that it would be that easy? I am not going to let you unmake the world without making you work for it.”
Christian tried to respond, but couldn’t. His vision started becoming blurry as he continued to convulse. Slowly, he began spiraling into darkness until he was gone. Death looked down on him, shaking his head in contempt. He grabbed Christian’s arm and dragged him to the door home. Stepping through, they were back in Bethany’s bedroom. DS and Samantha had pulled her out from underneath the rubble. Samantha was cradling her daughter in her arms, while DS cleared the debris off of the bed.
The assassin saw the two men first. When he saw Christian lying there, he freaked out. He didn’t want to take on Death, who had beaten Christian, when he couldn’t best Christian. But he also couldn’t let his little girl get hurt again. Death didn’t seem to be paying any attention to him, so he decided to make his move. Suddenly, the man’s head snapped to look at DS. Looking into the man’s eyes, the assassin knew a whole new meaning of fear. “You did not really think that would work against me, did you,” Death asked mockingly.
No words would escape DS’s lips fear shook him so bad. “Do not worry, assassin. I have no more business here. Life has seen to that. I give you one warning, however. Never again try to kill this man. You are not able to, as you have already learned. Even if you could, I would not let you.”
Finally able to speak, DS asked, “Why not? What’s so important about him?”
“That is not your concern. The only thing that should concern you is that if you try to kill Life again, I will kill you. That is not a threat. It is a guarantee.”
With that, Death disappeared, leaving DS and Samantha with many questions.