He pleaded. It was all he could think of doing.

"No, you don't understand!" He began to cry, the big aching sobs he remembered from his childhood. He thought about wiping his tears, but decided against it. Perhaps they would win him some points with this man. No, not a man, something so much more than that; Death. He was talking to Death. "Its not my time."

Death sighed, an ageless sigh which seemed to creak with eternity. "Is that really all you can come up with? Do you have any idea how old that excuse was when I first heard it in English?" His eyes stared out at him from deep, dark sockets. His face, though that of a human, was far too close to a skull for Liam's liking. "Its too cliché. I was hoping to hear something better."

Liam looked down and watched his corpse lying, impossibly, at his feet. He felt like it should have repulsed him. Or made him long to be back inside it, but he didn't feel anything like that. It was just there, like it was no more than a can on pavement. It was completely divorced from him.

He was much more concerned about his wife. She sat there, cradling the head in her arms as a small crowd walled her in. Her beautiful black hair curled down into her already red, agitated eyes. "Liam!" She yelled, her fingers digging deep into his body's arm, as the blood began to pool around her knees. "No, please! Please, Liam! Liam!"

"I would hug her now." Death lent on his cane, looking around at the scene as though it were something trivial. "It will be the last chance you ever get."

Liam looked at him, terrified. "What about the afterlife? She'll be there right?"

Death looked him straight in the eye. A moment past where nothing could be heard. Finally, he said. "Yes, she'll be there."

"Then why is this my last chan-"

Death gestured towards Sarah, "please. You don't have much time."

With great reluctance, Liam crouched down behind his wife and gently placed his arms around her. He felt the roughness of her shirt, the smooth skin of her neck, the warmth spreading out from her. But he could not feel her and she gave no sign of noticing his presence.

He tried to place his hand on the back of her head, to perform some last act of reassurance, but it passed right through her. "Its ok." He said, barely keeping his voice from cracking. "It's all going to be alright."

Death's eyes stared sleepily onto the scene. "Before we go, is there anything you wish to ask me?" Liam looked up, tears in his eyes. "I always make it my duty to answer one question for each person I reap. And, more importantly, to answer it truthfully. I give them that much."

Liam couldn't think of anything for a moment, he was entirely preoccupied with Sarah, with trying to get her to notice him. But nothing would work. His hands would just pass right through her without her ever knowing. "Will she be ok?"

Death looked down upon her, a practiced condescension plastering his face. "She's alive, isn't she?"

"That's not an answer." Liam felt like the world was shattering. He couldn't see this as his death. It felt more like being ripped away from his wife. He'd always imagined death to be the end.

Death took a step forward and offered Liam his hand. "And unfortunately, its the only answer I can give. The future has never been written in stone."

There was a moment where the universe was filled with a brilliant white light which pervaded every part of Liam's being, and then there was nothing.