It was a simple request. Just pop by his old apartment at the address given, pick up a few things, then take them back to Kinigi. Arkay was going in that direction anyway, he had a job to do on that planet. When he’d mentioned it to Iatre, he blinked at first, but something switched on in the back of his mind. Old memories. There was something back at home that Iatre wanted.
Of course Arkay wasn’t going to say no. Not to Iatre. Whether he’d actually be able to get the things he wanted back to Kinigi was another matter, but normally that wasn’t a problem.
In hindsight, maybe he should have cleaned the blood off him before knocking on the old, plastic door. There was a pane of frosted glass embedded in it, but it was also distorted, so he couldn’t see who was inside.
The door eventually opened. Arkay had somewhat expected it to open, and he knew there would be a throp- a human standing on the other side of it, but this human was incredibly large. All back and arms. Massive hands. And pretty muscular legs as well, but nowhere near as impressive as their arms.
“What are you?”
“I am… an aspect of Death.”
“A Grim Reaper, da?”
The accent was odd. At first Arkay thought it was the same as Iatre’s accent, but there was a clear difference. Iatre’s accent was harsher but cleaner, tidier, polished.
“You come for old Misha?”
“No… I am actually here to… pick up a few things. May I come in?”
Misha looked Arkay up and down. Arkay wondered if this human was considering fighting him or something. Finally, he stood to one side and let Arkay pass.
“I apologise for the inconvenience,” Arkay smiled as he looked around. Somehow, despite being from a world so far away from Arkay’s original home, there were a lot of things that seemed familiar. Parallel evolution and technology, perhaps. “I… I thought Iatre had lived alone. He asked me to collect a few items as I passed through here.”
Misha seemed curious. “Iatre. You mean Doktor.”
“We call him Iatre now.”
“Doktor is now Grim Reaper too? Is fitting. What are you looking for?”
Arkay had another quick look around and quickly realised he wouldn’t be able to find what he needed. With a sigh, he pulled out a list and handed it to Misha.
“Ah. All this. Is in box upstairs. But I have questions first. If is not problem.”
Arkay nodded. He found it almost unsettling how Misha was not at all scared. Clearly he’d seen death before, in other forms. “Sure. Fire away.”
“Is Doktor happy?
“Will I see Doktor again?”
Arkay hesitated. “Probably. When you die.”
“That is good… Follow me now.” Misha turned to the stairs and headed up, still talking. “Doktor and I, we fight many battles together. We both know end comes one day. Doktor said he saw Death. Pretty female with bust though. Not little armoured dinosaur like you. Which begs question. What did you kill today?”
“You’ll probably see it on your local news in a bit,” Arkay almost smiled. “But only you will know what really killed them.”
Misha shrugged, then opened up a cupboard. At the top was a cardboard box. He reached up, pulled it down and placed it in Arkay’s arms. As he did so, something fell out.
As the item hit the ground, it started playing music. What music, Arkay had no idea, but it was utterly hypnotising.
Suddenly, the music shut off as Misha picked up the device, his hands almost too big to handle it with ease.
“Is good songs. Not my taste. But good for work. I see why Doktor misses it… I… I miss Doktor…”
Arkay shifted the box onto his shoulder as he took the device from Misha.
“Thank you. I’ll… I’ll put a good word in with Death. Maybe I can… arrange something…”
Misha smiled weakly. “That is good. Thank you too.”
“Have a good life,” Arkay smiled back as he disappeared in a puff of black, inky smoke. “A good vok like you deserves it…”