Now You Find Out
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+IT IS TIME+

Death stood at the foot of the Foundation. In truth, they need not come in person for Death was as the atoms themselves. Universal and fundamentally running without observation or intervention. Shepherding a soul was broadly for symbolism, maintaining the human concept of a psychopomp. Otherwise, people tended to be surprised when Death materialised at their door. Besides, these Foundation sorts were always dealing with memetics and such, meaning Death couldn't help but see the soon-to-be-deceased in person. They drew an hourglass from themselves and lifted it to their eye-sockets. Its contents, fine grains of time, had almost all fallen.

+IT IS TIME,+ Said Death.


Anthony took a deep breath and approached the Containment chamber doors. It was dimly illuminated by candlelight, highlighting the whips of fragrant incenses curling around the room. Behind him were a set of guards who sternly took another step closer behind Anthony.

"Get in there," Said the tallest.

The guard directed Anthony forward with the barrel of their pistol. Anthony was still hesitant but managed the remaining forward steps into the Containment Chamber. Anthony took another shaky step deeper into the chamber, partially considering a bullet tearing through his flesh as rather inviting. Anthony was new here but already had heard the stories of the Foundation’s regard for criminals. The chamber doors hissed as they sealed shut. He focused what thoughts he could towards the chamber itself. It was perfectly square, containing a bed, a podium and a collection of various religious artifacts strewn across the room. He counted them as he fiddled mousily with his fingers. Crosses, golden arrows, loral crowns, strange pentagons, ankh and more that Anthony failed to recognise.

Taking another tentative step forward, the hairs on the back of his neck rose. Anthony turned carefully back towards the door he had entered. He swallowed, quite unsure as to how to respond, at the sight of a figure ordained in ornate garbs. The Clergyman, whose face was obscured by a marble mask reminiscent of both Roman and Buddist stylings tugged nervously at their velvet shawl. It was muttering indistinguishable verses through chattering teeth.

“My boy,” It breathed. “Do you doubt your place here?”

Anthony frowned, shaking his head with foggy disapproval. In their actions, the Clergyman was mime-like. It shifted in place as if it were carefully avoiding small objects Anthony couldn't perceive. It tilted their head side to side then warmly motioned Anthony to come forward.

“I see the mark of the orange uniform. Sinned perhaps? Yes…I see it now.”

As Anthony was respectfully rooted in place, the Clergyman drifted forwards.

“The hell…” Antony finally managed.

“You know of Hell, obviously that is true. You are the Damned-Class, ‘tis true…‘tis true.”

Anthony found his feet and stumbled backwards as the Clergyman abruptly sped towards him with their hands outstretched.

“Get the hell away from me!” Said Anthony, failing to find his footing.

Sympathetically shaking their head, the Clergyman latched tightly onto Anthony, then after a pause, embraced him. It stunk of wine and honey.

“It is time, Damned Class.”

Anthony squirmed in place, kicking and clawing at the Clergyman who only tighten their embrace. Digging their nails into Anthony’s forearm, the Clergyman with their free hand reached into his mouth.


Death slid down the Foundation lobby, through stretches of hallways and past rows of personnel going about their lives. Some would turn in brief confusion at the tall figure of Death, however quickly raced to dismiss what was overtly abused, even for the Foundation. Death’s bare feet clopped loudly against the vinyl floor, and those who noticed felt politely inclined to ignore it. Must be loud shoes, they told themselves, sparing glances at the figure dressed in darkness.

In this aspect, Death wore a broad hat which dramatically shadowed the details of their face. A sickle capable of cutting thought hung by their side. Death recalled the occasionally disappointed soul who expected the scythe, but unfortunately, that belonged to their middle-brother. Death stopped at the elevator, relatively unnoticed by a scientist skimming through her logbook. Death patiently waited until the elevator came. There was a large group of personnel already inside, leaving very little room for Death and the scientist. Still, she pushed inwards and cleared space for herself.

+EXCUSE ME,+ Said Death, to the row of passengers in front of him.

They glanced briefly at Death and moved to allow space.

+THANK YOU,+ Said Death, as the doors of the elevator closed.

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+THANK YOU+

An older gentleman made occasional glances towards Death, his mind attempting to discern what his eyes could not Death. He saw that Death was simply a very thin fellow, despite what his instincts told him, which became remarkably alert in Death’s presence. As the doors opened, each occupant promptly unloaded themselves. Each felt unsure why the promptness was necessary, but a chill trailing down their spines. Death politely waited for the bulk of the crowd to leave before they continued.

Death tapped the hourglass in their hand with their sickles tip. There were but a few moments left, so Death passed through a sealed door into a Containment Chamber. Inside was Anthony, his uniform, among other things, shredded to ribbons. Anthony was strung out across a large crucifix constructed out of sticks and ivy. The skin around his chest was peeled back like a sleeve so his chest could be splayed open. The hollowed-out remains of his chest contained all but his still-beating heart. Anthony's lungs were hung above him like a halo. The lungs expanded and shrank slowly.

Anthony, despite his injuries, clung to life by a tether, his heart beating tiresomely in his hollow chest. Through the lucidity, the man’s eyes raised towards Death and their eyes met. Death lifted the hourglass to their eye-sockets and watched the last grains of time fall to an end. Death, without brevity, swiped the sickle through Anthony. It did not injure the flesh but the thin thread that Anthony clung to.

“What will happen to me?” Said a faint ember, drifting from out the corpse. ”Did I do good enough?”

+NOW YOU FIND OUT,+ Death replied.

No trumpets were being played, no shadowy demons or holy hosts, nor ancestral spirits: That was the downside to being an atheist, Death supposed, leading the ember onwards into the next life.

Death turned to the Clergyman chanting proudly in the corner, thumbing the surface of an ankh. They shrugged. Death tipped their hat towards them and left.

As Death walked, they briefly reflecting on the Foundation. Truly, there had been fascinating fatalities there. The Universe was awfully large, and it was good she wasn’t getting stale. Death stopped to consider where to next and decided to let Fate throw them a bone. They reached into themselves and plucked a random hourglass. It was a ‘Martha Blackwood,’ according to the name engraved across the hourglasses base.

+AH YES,+ Death recalled.

Artist, writer and relatively minute. Death clicked their non-existent tongue, tilting their head side to side, and eventually decided to pick another. So, Death drew another hourglass. ‘Marvin Light,’ a philanthropist. Death looked at the seconds ticking away in both hourglasses, considering their next move. Then Death noticed the seconds themselves.

+CURIOUS,+ Said Death.

Each hourglass contained the exact amount of time. A wonderful coincidence.

+CURIOUS,+ Said Death.

Still, this wasn’t the first time it had happened. People die all the time, and quite often simultaneously. Still, the chance of plucking two hourglasses with identical seconds left was lovely. For good measure, Death decided to take a third hourglass. It also held an equal amount of seconds. Death’s appeasement evaporated at this, so they plucked a fourth. Eventually, Death had a dozen hourglass resting on the air before them, each containing the exact amount of time left to fall. This included plants of various demographics, a few cancer cells and even a couple of sentient objects.

+BROTHERS,+ Death said, as the world faded into the Realm of Death.

Death’s realm was lined neatly with set rows of Hourglasses, each handcrafted for every soul, cell and stone. Death searched through the aisles to see, to their stoic surprise, each hourglass identical in all but name.

+BROTHERS,+ Death cried out again.

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'Death’s realm was lined neatly with set rows of Hourglasses.'

Two further aspects of Death manifested amongst the rows of hourglasses. Each was larger and older than Death, the Small-Death. The Middle-Death, who wore black overalls and held a scythe, gazed across the rows of hourglasses and they too looked perplexed. The largest, Oldest-Death, surveyed the room with distilled interest through their a thousand eyes

-CURIOUS. HAS THE PLAN CHANGED?- Said Middle-Death, turning to Oldest-Death.

=IT SHAN'T MATTER,= Oldest-Death replied. =THIS COLLECTION IS YOUR DUTY, MIDDLE-BROTHER.=

Medium-Death nodded, for this was true, yet they remained unsatisfied. Ah well, Middle-Death supposed, Large-Death knew best. Medium Death raised their scythe and turned it over, testing its sharpness.

+BUT MY FUNCTION,+ Said Small-Death, eyeing the large set of souls to pass. +THESE NUMBERS ENCOMPASS MUCH. I WILL BE REDUNDANT+

Middle-Death looked pitifully at Small-Death before they began sharpening their scythe on a grindstone. After all, this would be a magnificent task.

-I UNDERSTAND YOUR CONCERN, SMALL-BROTHER. THE DEATH OF THE INDIVIDUAL IS OBSOLETE ON THIS WORLD, AS SOON WILL I. TAKE JOY BROTHER, FOR WE TOO WILL KNOW THE WELCOME OF THE REAPER.-

For the first and only time, Small-Death understood what it was to be human.

Middle-Death, once happy with the sharpness of his scythe, moved onwards with their larger and smaller aspects beside them. The Trio walked in silence. Small-Death counted each second ticking by. The trio then stopped by a large cavern. A man staggered outwards back into the surface. He was panic-stricken and racing forwards from the cavern behind him.

+WHAT HAPPENS NOW?+

Oldest-Death turned towards Small-Death as Middle-Death raised their scythe over the world with pride. Small-Death turned to an hourglass in their hands, waiting for the last grains of time to fall.

=NOW WE FIND OUT.=

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=NOW WE FIND OUT=

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