"Stay near me, Yanny," I said, trying my hardest to keep my voice calm. The soft echoes rebounded around the massive cavern.
My scythe was poised for battle, gleaming with the blood of the demons felled. "We're almost at the gates."
Yanny nodded. The journey had been taxing for her; mentally, she was not a very strong girl. "Please," she said weakly, almost whispering, "protect me."
On cue, a massive red scorpion sprung up, stinger slamming straight into where Yanny would have been, had I not shoved her out of the way. "Run!" I shouted at her, and engaged the demon.
My scythe flashed as it spun through the air, hissing wherever it found a chink in the beast's armour. From the corner of my eye, I saw Yanny running blindly away from us.
The Gates were a few hundred metres away, a welcome conclusion at the end of a thirty-day odyssey.
I slashed off a pincer, ignoring the shriek of the monster, and raced towards Yanny.
"We're almost there!" she screamed, half-crying, half-laughing. Most of them end up like this at the end, torn between accepting their fate and fighting for their destiny.
I had always admired this about mortals - with a life so short, they could only fight for their destiny. Us, we've seen fates longer than time, endings where beginnings have yet to start.
There was no destiny for us.
We were twenty seconds from the gate now. Fifteen. Te-
A huge pressure slammed into me from behind and I was pinned against the wall of the cavern. Grimacing, I grabbed on to a rock, trying to resist the pull of the scorpion.
"Help me!" I cried to Yanny, who had frozen from the shock. My scythe, which had fallen by her feet, captured every bit of fear in her eyes. "Cut off its pincer!"
The scorpion was now positioned to sting. Murder was evident in its eyes; with a stinger that size, it didn't even need poison. I might be Death, but wounds were still wounds.
Yanny took one last look at me, then said the one thing that always haunted me no matter how many times I heard it.
"I'm sorry. Thank you."
She turned and ran towards the pearly white Gates, towards the urgently beckoning winged angel that stood there.
The pressure around my midsection released as she made it through, never even turning around to look at the one being who had protected her throughout the journey.
I picked up my scythe and sighed, watching as the Gates chained themselves shut and slowly bled to red. I recognized the screams of Yanny.
I recognized the screams of all the other people who had abandoned me to the scorpion, who had already regrown its lost limbs and was happily escorting me back to the entrance.
When a happy ending is in sight, few would risk themselves to save another.
*Selfish. Selfish, the whole lot of you.*