Father never allows me to cut with his scythe.
Despite the blisters on his weathered hands and his old, aching body, ‘no’ is always the answer.
Today, as he stops to rest his tired limbs, I ask him once more.
He runs his thumb over the sharp, shiny blade, strokes his grey beard and announces:
‘Son, the time has come.’
He leans forward, hooks the scythe around my neck and pulls me towards his heaving chest.
‘Time,’ he continues, ‘cannot be stopped. There are no rules that allow for ‘Dead Time’. My work has to last longer than any life time.’
My throat has started to leak bright droplets of blood onto the metal.
‘In this world,’ he says, seemingly unaware of my discomfort, ‘time is not inherited from Father to Son.’
I give him my best, puzzled look. One that doesn’t require too much head movement.
As he speaks these words, he expertly flicks his wrists.
Father Time holds his son’s face close to his mouth, sucks in the boy’s last shallow breath and then lowers him to the ground.
With youthful energy, he grabs his hour glass, turns it over, rests his scythe on his shoulder and strides away.
Time moves on.
Originally published: Bag of Bones