The skeletal figure loomed over him, and the scythe was brought down.

He was well acquainted with the Reaper at this point. Their first meeting had been when he was five, when he had fallen into his uncle’s duck pond. Then there’d been the car crash, and the fire….

The blade swung down, and paused, a sliver of air between it and his skin. For a moment, the skeleton’s grin seemed to widen. Then the scythe vanished, and a bony hand helped him up.

“I do not believe,” said a voice, “that this is your time. Until we meet again.”