A vision flashed before my eyes as I awoke.
Two humanoids of indeterminate species stood together with their miniature offspring held between them. The child was dead, and they were holding the body to the sky while screaming into the void of space. A shifting, formless gas escaped the body and floated toward me at a rapid pace.
The vision rushed back to me and I saw my surroundings. A different planet, a different time-stream, and dimensional reality. Still, I’d managed to do my job somehow, even on the cusp of wakefulness.
Being a god of the dead was not an easy job. The previous day I’d spent much time around my fellow gods, discussing our predicament, our duties, our plans for organizing and for the future.
A person becomes a god of the dead on accident. It is necessary, of course, to be dead. Many of us were long dead before the job overcame them, and it shows in the decayed or mummified appearance of their bodies. I was not quite so lucky to have had that tiny piece of infinite rest before being called for duty.
No one, not even us, knew exactly how we were called to the position. There seemed little rhyme nor reason to it; many gods were murderers in their previous lives but still more were healers and kind-hearted altruists. When a god ended their tenure seemed equally random. The oldest claimed to have lived for eight millennia in his original time-stream. I had a friend who’d become a god of the dead just a year before his eventual second death.
The only true similarity was how each of us did our job. Whether intentionally or no, we witnessed the deaths in our respective time-streams and corners of that universe. The number of gods of the dead in each universe was variable and changing, as was the size of the universe we took care of. Mine had so many, I watched over twenty inhabited planets. A friend of mine had a jurisdiction with over three hundred. She got very little sleep. The deaths would come to us in the flash of a vision at the moment life left the body of the deceased. We would see the soul, essence, energy, chi flow out of the body through its fingertips, and it would rush toward us as the vision receded. Where that entity went? Who knew.
I cracked my knuckles and got up, ready for the day. We were supposed to create a charter. Instead, we met our maker.