The hospital monitors and machines beeped and whirred in the night. Samuel labored through his breathing, each deep breath longer than the last. He was alone in a hospital room waiting for the end to come. A tear rolled from the corner of his tired bloodshot eye. He didn’t want this to be the way he went.
“But it is the way you’re going,” said the Grim Reaper, sitting in the uncomfortable bedside chair.
Samuel turned his old neck to face the shrouded figure in the chair. Samuel blinked twice to clear the tears from his eyes.
“Yes, it’s me. I am here for you,” said the Grim Reaper.
Samuel rolled his head back on his pillow and stared up at the acoustic tile ceiling of the hospital room. The heart monitor started beeping a little faster and louder.
“Oof, that’s enough of that noise hm,” said the Grim Reaper. It reached a bony finger to the heart monitor and turned it to silent, “The noise associated with me these days it just terrible. Passing used to be so much quieter. Perhaps a more civilized time.”
The Grim Reaper stood from the chair and leaned his bony skull over Samuel’s face. There were no eyes, no tongue, no lips, just a skull, but the Reaper was terribly articulate. Samuel looked back into the emptiness of the Grim Reapers faceless face.
“You may speak now if you like,” said the Grim Reaper as he took the oxygen mask off Samuel’s mouth.
“I’m not ready for this,” said Samuel, “I didn’t do anything. There’s nothing of me left to be remembered. I didn’t do anything worthwhile. I never made a difference. When I go, that’s it. No one will ever know I was ever here.”
Samuel turned away from the face of death and cried into the foam of the hospital pillow.
“There, there Samuel,” said The Reaper, “it’s too late for tears now. It’s simply too late. I wish I could help, but that’s not why I’m here.”
The Reaper’s boney hand caressed the withered gray hair from Samuel’s forehead.
“I’ll never know if I’m to be remembered in my own time. I am sad that I won’t know what happens after I’m gone. Will they remember me? Will I be just a ghostly photograph in some forgotten box in some forgotten garage sale,” asked Samuel.
“I can’t answer that for you Samuel. That’s not my purpose,” said the Reaper, “but I can ask if you remembered those that I’ve taken before you? If so, then they were never really forgotten.”
“I remember my mother, my father, and my friends from the war that you took so violently. I remember them,” said Samuel, “but they’re all gone and I’m the only one left. No children, no living relatives, no one even to come to my funeral. I’m not worth remembering.”
The Grim Reaper took Samuel’s hand and held it to Samuel’s chest. Samuel felt the weak beat of his old heart slowing.
“Will they be there? On the other side? My family? My Friends,” asked Samuel.
“I don’t know,” said the Grim Reaper, “I don’t get to go in there.”
“Is there ever any knowing, any real knowing,” asked Samuel.
The room got a little colder and Samuel could see his breath.
“I mean, remember that show, Quantum Leap and the main character could only time travel through his own lifetime. Like if he was born in the 1960’s he could only travel as far back as the 1960’s and only into a future that he had been a part of. He could only see the events of his own timeline through the experiences of other people. I feel like that. I feel like I’ve only seen life through my own lifetime and am being robbed of seeing it any further. At least Sam had Al who would tell him how things worked out after he leapt onto the next life,” said Samuel.
“I didn’t watch that show,” said the Grim Reaper.
“Oh, well it was pretty good,” said Samuel, “I’m sure it’s on Netflix or something. You could catch up on it in your free time.”
“Yes, I’ll do that,” said Death.
“You’ll like it, I’m sure,” said Samuel.
The hospital room had faded and Samuel realized he was no longer in his bed. The whirring and beeping the machines had fallen away.
“You’re ready,” said The Reaper.
“I guess so,” said Samuel.
The room was swallowed in darkness and Samuel passed into the memory of someone else’s timeline.