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The streets of London are miserable places. In the day, swarmed by suit-clad parasites: lawyers with receding hair and a gut full of money. Bankers that drip grease down Armani on their lunchbreak, kicking tramps and stray children as they shovel down their last burger.
At night, although emptier, streets are littered with louts and louses that leave trails of smashed green glass and half-empty cans of Special Brew in their wake. Groups of girls fall out of clubs, their dresses stained with vomit; cheap eyeliner lost from their eyes but painting their orange cheeks. No thought for their own safety.
That particular night, or early morning really, a sodden mid-January Tuesday, those who still paraded around the eastern boroughs of the city swore that the streets had managed to become even more depressing than usual. If only for a fleeting moment. Co-workers and tired relatives would ignore their later recounts of that time, putting their descriptions of a sudden melancholy freeze, and ‘phantom’ criticisms of their lime green eyeshadow, down to drunken ramblings and an educated hindsight. Lime green eyeshadow after-all, is not a look on anyone.
One man, an undergrown, under-nourished creature by the name of Todd, or T-Dazzle as he’s known online, theatrically recounted the ‘swooping chill of death’ that passed over him as he went to retrieve some late-night Doritos from a 24-hour. His mother looked at him and wondered where she’d gone wrong.
But for once in his short, miserable life, Todd was actually correct about something.
It was the swooping chill of Death. Death the person that is. Off for an early morning stroll, on the way to pick up his 3:42. His great, looming figure was near invisible to the human eye, unless of course, you were on the verge of death yourself. However, he still liked to have some fun messing with the individuals he crossed, making them relive their worst memories and all that.
It was the little things.
Death glided down the soggy pathways: holding up his dark, silken cloak in a delicate fashion, like a lady would a skirt, to stop it dragging through the puddles of dirty water and impromptu servings of sick that cluttered the ground. Once again, he cursed the impracticality of the outfit for his job. The three-thousand-year-old cloth was oversized, and an absolute devil to clean.
He strolled past a number of muggings, drug deals, and a few randy couples getting their fill – unaware of the local voyeur perched in the bushes. He spared them barely a glance as he walked by, instead nodding his hood and shuffling his Yeezys to the sound of eighties love ballads, coming from a pastel pink Walkman he’d procured sometime in the nineties.
Death stopped for a few seconds at an instrumental break, to take a peek at an armed robbery going down at an all-hours convenience store. He pondered whether to stroll in there and break it up; reap a few extra souls to make his daily quota. He decided to leave it for a bit, and perhaps come back for Mr Gregory later. He had appointments to make.
Twirling his scythe like a gothic baton and shanking a stray cat, Death finally made it to the house of his 3:42, six minutes early. He sat outside on the garden wall and observed the bloody mess of his scythe, before sighing and jiggling it along the front lawn to wipe the bits of cat off his blade.
He couldn’t go into a job looking unprofessional, after all.