Of Desk Lamps and Humanity

Death watches.

This is something that not many people realize, for reasons not entirely clear to him. After all, how else do people think he always manages to get there just in time for the end of each life? It takes careful observation (and an admittedly skilled sense of timing) that can only be achieved by him, because he is Death, and this is how it should be.

But then, the human thought process has never made much sense to Death. None at all, really, and that seems to be a problem, because he has found (to his own surprise, if he were capable of it), that humanity is rubbing off on him whether he understands it or not.

Death is curious. And so, he decides to indulge in another human tendency: experimentation.

Thus, Archa is created.

Archa is a world in micro, and because Death likes to think that he might somehow have a sense of humor, it is contained in a glass cube about the size of a paper weight. There are exactly thirty-three inhabitants (eleven adult males, eleven adult females, five each of male and female children, and one cat), divided between three tiny little towns that hang suspended in the middle of the space.

For expediency's sake, Death designs each Archan to accept this state of affairs unquestioningly. He also adds hanging staircases that connect each village, and for some reason this pleases him.

He begins to suspect that he might have a sense of aesthetics.

Yet he is also practical, and so Death designs his small world experiment to be self-sustaining. Then he realizes that any world that mirrors the one humans live in must be kept intact by something outside itself, and so he creates in Archa the need for light.

He finds that micro humans that take energy from the sun are much more easy to manage than the real things, that require food and liquids and rest.

It only then occurs to Death that in order to keep this tiny world alive (and he suddenly finds that he does indeed wish for these tiny oblivious inhabitants to survive, which is incredibly paradoxal), he will need a source of light.

So, in a fit of what a human might have called whimsy, Death creates a desk lamp, and places Archa under it. He once again feels an odd kind of pleasure (is this satisfaction?) at the colors that emerge as the light refracts through the glass, causing a rainbow on all six sides.

He then thinks that perhaps, it would be pleasant to spend long hours in thought over this tiny world of his own making, and suddenly decides to do something completely irrational and unnecessary, even though it suddenly feels as if it is the only right thing to do.

In the nothingness of his non-world, Death creates a desk.

With careful motions, he places the desk lamp and the tiny glass world of Archa on its gleaming wood surface.

In the long hours of non-time he exists in, Death rests his head in his hand, and watches. Perhaps, he thinks, this is something of what it means to be human.

He is more right than he knows.


Author's Note: Originally, this wasn't supposed to be a Terry Pratchett rip-off (I mean...fanfiction tribute) at all, but it just worked out that way. I tend to avoid book-based fanfics, but this was too fun to pass up. I love Death, and Pratchett's sense of humor just kind of came out on this one. Feel free to drop me a line and tell me how I did!