[Short Story] Death and the Hourglass

No. Death thought. It couldn't be.
Death reached below the grand wooden table, hastily pulling out the dust-covered hourglass. Questions flooded its mind. How? When? Who?
Carefully, Death set the hourglass sideways on its table, like the way it found it, the only one among the seven billion or so hourglasses in Death's office in such position. Death sank slowly into its black leather chair, its hollow eye sockets fixed on the hourglass.
No one escapes Death. That was what everyone said. Looking at the construct on the table, someone just did. Not knowing when or why bothered Death greatly.
When each human is born, an hourglass appears in Death's office. While each hourglass looked the same, the amount of sand inside them was not. The amount of sand signaled the lifespan of the owner. When the sand stops flowing, Death is summoned. The hourglass disappears once Death finishes its job.
Since time immemorial, Death has done its job without lapses. It does not question why. Death has always accepted its role. Looking at the stopped sand caused Death to question for the first time.
Who is this human who escaped death?
How did the hourglass end up at the bottom of the table?
What should Death do?
Death considered its options. It could report the lapse to its master. After all, Death is only a servant of a higher being. At least, that was what Death remembered. The memory was vague and hazy. It has been doing its job for eons alone without the need to contact the master. Never had there been any mistakes or incidents worth mentioning. The sideways hourglass was first.
Death shook its head. It cast a look at the door at the end of its office, rising thousands of meters above. The door to its master. Death could not recall the last time the door was used. Death preferred for things to stay that way. Death wanted to go back to its routine.
A bony hand reached from the flowing black robe, the white fingers wrapped themselves around the hourglass. Death let out a sigh, muttered an apology in its mind for the human who was about to lose his/her immortality, and flipped the hourglass upright.
The sand did not fall. They stayed in their position.
What?
Death was annoyed. It took the hourglass with both its hands and shook it. It turned the hourglass upside down several times. Still, the sand did not flow, while the sand in billions of others continued to fall.
Who is this human entitled to immortality?
Death let out a frustrated grunt. It wanted to throw the hourglass at the wall. How can Death be defied? It decided that it needed to seek out its master. Death grabbed the defective hourglass and started the long march towards the giant door. It needed an answer.
Just when it was about to leave its desk, however, a voice shook Death's office. Death recognised it instantly. The voice of the master.
DON'T BOTHER. The voice commanded.
THE HOURGLASS IS YOURS.

Popular Posts