A/N: I really should stop writing these an hour before I’m supposed to post them… Anyway, everybody says that it is impossible to change Death’s mind, but is it really? Please like or comment… or both. Both is good.
Georgiana Evans had been born in 1913 and had grown up in Britain during the war. Since then she had travelled the world, buried two husbands, moved to the states, become a more than locally known photographer, as well as a mother, a grandmother and a great grandmother.
She was now over a hundred years old, and though her mind was as sharp as ever, her body wasn’t keeping up with it. The doctors had told her that she had a year left, tops. Georgiana, however, had stopped listening to what the doctors told her. This was her third promise of Death, and Death had yet to deliver. During her lifetime Georgiana had not only had a hip replaced, she had also gone through two heart surgeries, and had a breast as well as a lung removed on two different occasions.
Though she’d been told her time was up, Georgiana wasn’t ready to die, so she had simply decided not to. She knew her family expected her to do so soon, but there was simply so much she hadn’t done yet. Georgiana Evans wanted to live forever, and damn it if she wasn’t going to!
She felt him before she saw him. It was the middle of the night, and Georgiana had been slumbering in her favourite chair. A dangerous past time when you have passed eighty. Almost as dangerous as falling asleep in one’s bed. Not that Georgiana had meant to fall asleep. She awoke to a cold room despite the roaring fire, and Georgiana’s stiff fingers tightened their grip on the blanket around her. Disregarding the cold there was nothing to give away his presence, but Georgiana could feel him in the shadows of the room, in the suddenly less lively flowers, in the different pattern of the flames in the fireplace. Death had arrived.
He came forth with the slow, halted movements of someone who had all the time in the world. Death was in no rush. He would always get you in the end.
He was dressed in the traditional black cloak, but the large scythe was nowhere in sight. Instead he was holding a roll of parchment in his thin hand. A hand, which seemed as if it could disintegrate into dust at every given moment.
“Georgiana Evans,” he said with a voice there was like sandpaper and fluttering dove wings. “It’s time.”
Georgiana took a deep breath. She had expected a visit from him for a long time now, and had long ago decided what to say.
“No, thank you,” she told him. “I thank you for the offer, though.”
Death stopped. Then it tilted its head slightly to the side, and if Georgiana didn’t know any better she would say that the chilly atmosphere surrounding his cloaked figure suddenly seemed a bit more… cheery. Amused, almost.
Death spoke again.
“Do you think that you are the only one who does not greet me with open arms and heart? Do you think that you are the only one, who has ever refused me?”
“No. But I do think that other people have successfully evaded you. That I have before. It is not even unusual. Every day someone is brought back to life after a heart attack.”
“They merely postponed the inevitable.”
“I’m not asking for a free card. Just an… extension, really. Please.” Somehow she got the impression that Death was smiling underneath the hood.
“And why should I grant you this extension?”
“I don’t suppose that ‘I’m asking nicely’ is reason enough?”
“It is not. Do you have some reason for me to let you stay behind? A cure to bring forth, a mission to complete, a story to tell?”
“I have my story.”
“Everyone has their own story. But very few people gets time when theirs has run out.”
“I still have things I wish to do.”
“I’ve used my time wisely.”
“That you have.”
“So you must know that any time that you give me is not going to go to waste. I’ll treasure it.”
“Most people do when first they come to the realization that theirs is running out.”
“I have places to be. New things to try.”
Death laughed, and Georgiana struggled not to cover her ears. His laughter sounded like rust, and the northern wind, and swords meeting in a fight for life.
“Please,” she asked. “It would mean nothing to you, yet everything to me.”
Death’s laughter died out. “That is true. But I have thousands of people asking me the very same question every day. I cannot give extensions to all. Not merely because I like you.”
“You like me?”
“I like everyone who lives rather than merely stays alive. I like everyone who meets me with their head held high and with steel in their eyes. Yes, Georgiana Evans. I like you.”
“What about a deal then?” she tried, hoping he couldn’t hear the desperation in her voice.
“You are trying to buy time? Very well. What have you to offer?”
“The next time you come for me I shall go with you voluntarily.”
Death hesitated and Georgiana forced herself not to look away. She wasn’t ready to die. Even if it did mean to stare down Death himself. Finally he spoke.
“And how long an extension do you ask for?”
Death laughed again. “Greedy little human. You have already passed a hundred.”
“Nine years then.”
Death was silent.
“Nine years is hardly even a heartbeat for you,” Georgiana reminded him. “It’s just a moment passed by. A blink of an eye.”
Death didn’t answer.
Georgiana sighed. She was well aware that she had very little to bargain with. “How long an extension will you give me?” she asked, hoping the answer wouldn’t be none.
Georgiana gaped. That was more than she had asked for. “Really?!”
“Yes. And exchange you shall come with me voluntarily when the fifteen years has run out.”
“Of course,” she agreed readily. How much she could do in fifteen years!
She expected Death to leave her then, but he stayed and he looked at her. He wasn’t waiting for her to show him to the door, was he? Or was he planning on staying by her side until her fifteen years ran out? Behind Georgiana the clock struck two.
“It is time,” Death told her, and she could almost hear compassion in his voice.
“What? No! You promised me fifteen years.”
“And you got fifteen years. You got fifteen years during our last conversation when your heart gave out.”
“They started it up again!”
“They were only able to because I allowed them to. I came for you and you begged for an extension. I granted you fifteen years in exchange for the same promise you have just given me. But now those fifteen years are up and you have not yet withhold your part of the bargain.”
“I can’t remember any such deal.”
“No one remembers dealing with Death except after they have gone with me. You made a promise, and I was generous. I gave you fifteen more years to live through, and you have used them well. But now it is time to pay your due.”
A fragile hand was reached out, and Georgiana stared at it in disbelief. She made no move to take it.
But evidently she had made a deal, and she knew that Death didn’t lie. Death was many things. Death ripped families apart, Death stole lovers away. But Death was never deceitful. She had made a deal, and she found herself unable to figure a way out of it without going back on her words.
And Georgiana Evans never went back on her words.
She sighed and took the offered hand. “Very well,” she agreed, and didn’t struggle when Death pulled her to her feet, leaving her body behind in the chair. Suddenly her joints no longer hurt, and as Georgiana looked down at the hand that held Death’s, it was the smooth hand of a young girl.
She looked up at Death, and thought she saw a glimpse of black eyes hidden away in the shadow of the hood.
“Come,” he told her. “I promise you, Little Refuser of Death. You shall have new adventures to experience. They will just not be here.”
And in a blink of an eye Death and Georgiana was gone, leaving behind only an empty shell of an old woman, sitting in her favourite chair with a peaceful expression on her wrinkled face.