• Keri Heath

Night Shift


Death had worked the night shift for a hundred years and was looking forward to some daylight.

He got home as the morning light spilled over the horizon and brightened the dawn into day. As soon as he got in the door, Death sank into the couch and put his feet up on the coffee table. Another long night. It always seemed to Death like there were more


people taking their next steps at night than during the day. People died while sleeping. People got shot under cover of dark. And those car accidents - they always seemed worse at night. He'd been taking souls for millennia, though wars and famines and disaster. But something about those crashes always curled his stomach.

One more night, just one, and then the nights would be the problem of the other guy, the other Death.

As Death kicked off his loafers, the big ginger cat sidled into the room and rubbed himself against the leg of the coffee table.

"How was your night, Amber?" Death asked the cat.

Amber turned her back on Death and slinked to the other side of the room.

Death shook his head and smiled. Only cats could act that way around someone like him. It was true what they sat about cats and their lives, which was probably why they didn't mind Death so much. They knew they had a few to spare.

Death got up from the couch to make himself some tea. After one hundred years, he'd gotten used to sleeping during the day. As soon as blackout curtains came on the market, he'd ordered some instantly and the difference was incredible. With the curtains, he felt so much better and refreshed as he left each evening to go round up the departed souls from the planet. But there was something about the night shift. You just couldn't get all of your sleep. Only one more night now.

Death took off the steaming kettle and poured hot water over the bag of camomile in his mug. While he waited for it to cool, he unbuttoned his collared shirt. It had been a relief when the office relaxed the dress code about a hundred a fifty years ago. No more long, hooded cloak always getting tangled or caught. No more useless scythe he had to carry around for show. Besides, there was no need to freak people out with the horror getup. After all, they were already dead. Death did like to appear in his terrifying, reaper form for people who were particularly awful in life. But he didn't always read the entire file before making a visit, so sometimes, he didn't know.

Death sipped on his tea and stared out the window as the dawn brightened into day, as the birds flitted from one branch to another and the sky brightened blue. One more night and then this would be the other guy's role. Death yawned and pulled the blackout curtains closed tight.

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