Death is an old friend of mine.

I first met him when I was a mere child of seven years. I had come home one day to find my beloved Labrador gone.

My parents buried him in the backyard, under the big apple tree. For three days and four nights I wouldn’t leave his grave. For three days and four nights I wouldn’t stop crying. Then, finally, an imposing figure loomed over me.Needless to say, I screamed. The figure looked shocked. Frightened, almost. It rushed forward, stammering.

“I-I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you!”

And it disappeared.

Ten years later, my father passed away in a car accident. He was driving home and didn’t brake fast enough. Or more like, he couldn’t brake. Someone had rendered them useless.

The following week, there was another death in similar fashion. The victim was one of my father’s co-workers. It turns out he and my father had been working together to extort money from one of their company’s CEOs.

The day after the second accident, Death appeared before me once again. I lashed out at him in tears.

“Why did you take him away? He was my father, you bloody bastard!”

He merely stood there, silently stroking my hair as I sobbed into his pitch-black robes. As time passed by, my sobs grew quieter and quieter. He swept me up and carried me to bed, pulling the covers over my body. Before I fell into the clutches of sweet sleep, I felt his hands wipe away my tears.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

His voice was strained, as if he was trying to hold back tears himself. “I couldn’t help your father. He angered Him. I’m sorry.”

Perhaps my dear Lord Death is just as human as I am.

I was nearing the end of my seventh year in university when I was attacked on my way home. My attacker grabbed me from behind, throwing me to the side, behind a group of trees. Taking out a knife, he held it to my throat, slipping his free hand under my blouse—

BANG!

A spray of blood covered my body. I stared in shock as a police officer crouched, still holding his revolver towards us. To my right, I saw a flicker of movement. There he stood, black robes and all. A relieved expression on his face.

“Thank you,” I mouthed, still shaking from fear.

He nodded, giving me a weak smile before disappearing into the night.

I am now thirty-seven years old. I am dying of cancer. I’m unable to get out of my hospital bed. Unable to even sit up.

He visits me almost every day now, the expression his face showing more and more worry each time.

“One day I’ll be coming here to end your life,” he says, frantic. “One day I’ll be coming here to kill you.”

“It’s okay,” I reply. “I’m not scared.

“You’ve been with me all my life. I want you to be with me when it ends.”