I had the girl's soul sorted out by the time we reached the end of town, and it was Hell for her as well. The Deathwatch was blinking slowly; two hours to go until the next client had to picked up.
"Now where does a fellow get some blood around here?"
It was a city I wasn't familiar with and I was getting thirsty. A button on the dash, in the shape of an airplane, was blinking. Naturally I hit it. The car sprouted wings in an instant and we were airborne. Normally I would say something like 'I've to get me one of these,' but the problem was that I had one. I was Death!
After climbing into the clouds the terrain seemed to shift abruptly and I looked to see grass not too far down. Now I knew we hadn't gone back to earth. What was going on?
Before I actually had a chance to ask the question the plane changed. The wings withdrew and the body of the plane shrunk to that of a pale colored horse. Suddenly I was holding onto the saddle's horn for dear life. I wouldn't die, but a fall from this height would still hurt.
The horse landed and I hadn't fallen off. Life was good. I jumped down before the bloody thing had another chance to take off, and stood there staring at it.
"What are you?" I demanded.
The horse nickered at me. If I didn't know any better I would have sworn it was laughing. Its big head gestured behind me and I turned.
A large black mansion was off about a hundred or so feet. It wasn't hard to see in the dark. I'm surprised I hadn't seen it before we landed, but I was busy trying not to fall off a flying horse at the time. I turned back at the horse and gave it a dirty look then headed to the mansion.
The doorbell bonged loud and resolutely. Moments later the door opened and an English styled butler stood at the entrance.
"Good evening, sir." He stepped aside and ushered me in. "May I take your cloak, sir?"
I looked him up and down. "You, bloody well, may not. I'm Death and I have come to do business ... I think."
The butler eyed me strangely. "Of course you are Death, sir. This is the Deathmansion, your home in Purgatory."
I looked around. "Oh, um ... right, then."
I shrugged off the cloak and he took it, along with the gloves. I kept the boots. Never was one for walking around barefoot.
"May I prepare and aperitif or a restoration spell for you, sir."
"A cuppa blood would do right nicely."
I could get used to this. I liked being waited on hand and foot.
"If you would like to make yourself comfortable in the sitting room sir I will return presently."
He bowed slightly and made off for parts of the mansion unknown.
I found the sitting room in due course and the telly as well. The remote was on the side table by a recliner. I sat and turned it on. Maybe I could find a decent show and pass out for the rest of the night.
The news came on.
"There was a change of office today in Purgatory. Death is dead, long live Death! In other news Death accosted a strip club patron and tried feebly to save one of his clients. I sure hope he doesn't continue this embarrassing behavior for long."
I flicked the T.V. off and tossed the remote to the side table. The butler returned with a tall mug.
"Your ... blood, sir."
I took the mug and upended it. After a moment and a few swigs I stopped, astonished. "That's human blood!"
The butler nodded. "Not quite, sir. The concoction is synthetic, however the taste should be similar."
It had been a while since I had tasted human blood and actually remembered it. I felt the effects coursing through my body, refreshing me.
"You also have a visitor, sir. Lachesis is in the foyer."
I raised the mug. "Step to it then."
The butler left and returned moments later with the chit from earlier.
I sat the now empty mug on the side table.
"You here to mess with my life a little more, eh?"
She shook her head. "I can no longer interfere with your office without your consent."
"How's that?" I asked.
She spread her hands. "In your home and in your current office you cannot be balked. Each of the Incarnations is a power unto themselves."
"So I can do what I want then?" I surmised.
She nodded, "In as much as it affects the final tally on your soul. Mistakes or misdeeds count as evil on your soul and when you leave the office your final destination will be chosen as Hell."
She paused for the drama.
"However, if you perform the duties of your office adequately. The balance will tilt toward heaven."
There was that.
I looked down at my watch. The red blinking had increased but was still slow. I had almost an hour and a half until I had to be somewhere.
"No rest for the wicked, then?"
She smiled. "You can, of course pause the countdown for recreation and sleep. But do not tarry needlessly."
Something came back to me. "The guy that ... killed himself."
"You killed him."
"Fine, whatever. He said there was a war with Satan."
She cringed. "Do not say his name unless you want his watchful eye upon you."
Her hands parted as she looked down between her fingers. There was a dark strand of thread poised from finger to finger.
"We are safe from intrusion. Your mansion gives you a certain leeway, but do not abuse its protection at your own peril."
I leaned back in the recliner. "Fine ... the war?" I prompted.
"My skein has become tangled a short way into the future, and you seemed to be the only one that can undo the damage."
I laughed and stood up. "You messed with my life to help you with your sewing!"
Something happen just then that made me swallow. She changed. Her pale red hair had gone ghostly white and her white skin all dark. She aged tens of years and turned African-American right before my eyes.
"Now see here you stubborn, stupid, vampire. The skein is the tapestry of life and every thread represents a single life." She produced a grey colored thread from between her fingers. "This is yours. See how things can change with a little manipulation?"
She kinked up one side and my left leg lifted against my will. She produced a pair of very large scissors. "I am Atropos. Cutter of the threads of life! Do not balk me! Or would you perhaps like me to practice my art on you."
She held the blades of the scissors open over my thread. So I did the only thing I could think of. I grabbed my mug and slung it at her.
I couldn't really do anything else with my leg stuck up in the air as it was.
The butler appeared instantly. "Sir!"
The mug had bounced off of some invisible shield and never came close to Atropos.
I turned to the butler. "I need a weapon! Now!"
He seemed startled. "Your scythe sir, just summon it."
Before the words formed on my lips it appeared in my hands. A long crooked staff with a wicked curved blade extending at one end. Two handles allowed me its use.
The angry black woman disappeared and was replaced with a smiling young Asian girl that couldn't be more than twenty years old.
"As you see, Thanatos. Incarnations cannot interfere with one another for long."