Journey’s End

The open road stretched on into the setting sun. Yawning, his eyes squinting nearly shut, the driver turned his headlights on with a twist. Rolling the window down an inch, he let a blast of air strike his face.

Beside him a voice asked, “Want me to drive?”

“For the last time, I can get to the underworld myself,” came the curt reply.

“I know you can. You’re like five minutes away from falling asleep, thus taking the most direct route.”

“‘Thus,’” mocked the driver.

“You’re going to have to step on it.”

“Die Todten reiten schnell!” screamed the driver, slamming the gas pedal to the floor. The old car roared.

In the back of the car, Death stretched. “Are we there yet?” he asked.

“We just got to catch this sunset to get to tomorrow,” said the front seat passenger.

Death lay his head against the window. “I got to pee,” he informed them. “When’s the next stop?”

“Five minutes.” The driver yawned again. “Then I think I’ll switch off with one of you.”

Death looked out at the empty fields, thinking of the freshly tilled earth. Soon life would sprout again, but he’d be ready with his sickle. He looked at his two old friends, Day and Night, their ceaseless bickering reminding him of the old arguments they had at college. It all seemed moot now; nothing really mattered. Closing his eyes, he thought about what he had done.

“Man,” he heard Night whisper. Day spared a quick glance from the road at Death. “He’s asleep,” Night assured. “Do you think Life is going to be okay?”

“No,” Day followed quickly. “Life will never be the same.”

“Maybe Life shouldn’t have made her immortal?”

“Probably.”

“You think Death overreacted?”

Day didn’t answer.

“I wish Taxes were here.”

“Why?” Day asked.

“I know he’s a bore,” Night explained, “But he always makes Death—I don’t know.”

“Death’s changed a lot,” Day agreed, “But compared to Taxes, well I think I’d choose Death.”

“All I was trying to say is that when Taxes is here, Death seems so much brighter.” Night was silent a moment. “Remember when we first met Taxes and we thought it was Death dressed like a nerd?”

“Careful what you say about my little brother,” Death quipped.

“What I always wanted to know,” queried Night, “is where all that money goes.”

“Same place the damned go,” Death explained, “A big black hole out of which nothing ever returns.”

The comment silenced the three of them, and they fell into a collective brown study as they passed the horizon.

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