Death is a Fool: Hallow Pursuits

by Zeke

Dracula: Death, may I talk to you for a moment?

Death: (to himself) He's being polite. This won't end well.

(Death hovers into the throne room. Dracula gestures at the door, so Death closes it.)

Dracula: It's not urgent. But we're between Belmonts at the moment, so we have some time to spare, and there's a matter I've been meaning to discuss with you.

Death: By all means, milord. What is it?

Dracula: This.

(Dracula holds up a thick book with the title Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.)

Death: Gah! Where did you get that?

Dracula: The Library, of course. I like to stay on top of trends among the humans... to better manipulate them, you understand... so once in a while I ask the old fogey for something popular. He told me this series was hotter than Dante.

Death: But it won't be published for centuries!

Dracula: You can't seriously be objecting on those grounds. We have robots downstairs.

Death: That's different. They're steampunk.

Dracula: How about the Creature? Or the monsters with rifles? Trust me, if we start questioning the anachronisms around here, we'll never stop.

Death: (sigh) Very well. Did you read this book?

Dracula: Yes. Rather tedious, I thought. Too many children, not enough vampires. But there was one section that I found highly interesting.

Death: Er... the part where Voldemort turns out to be Harry's father?

Dracula: (smile) I think you know the part I mean.

(Death is silent.)

Dracula: "The three brothers were halfway across the river when they found their path blocked by a hooded figure. And Death spoke to --"

Death: All right, all right! Yes, I'm the Death in "Deathly Hallows". Which is the only reason it's grammatically correct, by the way.

Dracula: Verbiage isn't my prime concern here. It seems that, in order to get the best of these wizards, you pretended they had earned a gift from you, and crafted three magical objects at their request.

Death: I suppose there's no point in explaining that this book is fiction?

Dracula: Very little, for two reasons. One, there are so many creatures from fiction around here that I'm fairly sure just writing about something is enough to make it appear in my castle.

Death: I would argue that we get more urban legends and folklore than scripted works.

Dracula: Same difference. And two, this sounds like the sort of thing you would do. You like sneaky plans, and you don't like being evaded. Remember those teenagers?

Death: (smirking) I showed them their final destination.

Dracula: Right. So about these objects...

Death: Actually, I think we've had a good conversation here. We both have things we should be getting to. Let's pick this up again later when you've forgotten all about it.

(Death starts to float away. Dracula raises an eyebrow, and he sheepishly returns.)

Dracula: First, a cloak of invisibility. Didn't that seem to you like a dangerous thing to put in the hands of mortals?

Death: Of course! I wasn't that careless. Before handing it over, I cast an incantation to ensure that I could see through the cloak.

Dracula: It says here the owner used it to hide from you for his entire life.

Death: Yes, well...

Dracula: You actually phrased your incantation "see through the cloak", didn't you?

Death: Bloody literal magic...

Dracula: I take it, then, that you have no idea where the cloak is now?

Death: My current theory is that it's in Britain. There have been reports of an invisible man. Also a time machine.

Dracula: Very wells. Now, the second object you created was a stone of resurrection, and what's interesting is that I'm pretty sure I have that one.

Death: Er... what gives you that idea?

Dracula: The resurrection stone brings forth the souls of the dead whenever the user wishes. In other words, it controls them. My Crimson Stone affords me a similar power over the dead.

Death: The undead. It's not the same thing.

Dracula: Close enough to get me thinking. Power over the dead means power over you.

Death: ...

Dracula: Of course, you presented the stone to this wizard as a simple ghost summoning device, knowing he wouldn't figure out the rest.

Death: ...

Dracula: (toying with the Crimson Stone) But later on, if it happened to fall into the hands of someone with a more informed perspective on life and death... say, a master alchemist...

Death: It was the worst mistake of my LIFE!

Dracula: Aha. I thought as m--

Death: The kid just wanted to see his dead girlfriend again! It was all he cared about! He didn't think for a second about what else that rock was capable of!

Dracula: Calm d--

Death: And I was RIGHT! Having her around as a ghost wasn't what either of them wanted, and he killed himself, just as planned! Death 1, jackass wizard 0!

Dracula: Well --

Death: How was I supposed to know this whole Deathly Hallows story would spread? Suddenly everybody was seeking them out, and the stone kept changing hands! By the time I tracked it down, it was too late! I was doomed to follow every asinine whim that entered the nonexistent mind of --

(Dracula glares.)

Death: -- of my best friend, for whom I have the deepest respect.

Dracula: Uh huh. Have a drink and take some deep breaths.

(Somehow, Death does so. It calms him down.)

Dracula: Feel better?

Death: Yes. Thank you.

Dracula: Want a mop?

Death: Shut up.

Dracula: That leaves us with the third object. And frankly, this is the one I'm most concerned about.

Death: Oh, it wasn't so bad...

Dracula: You gave the final wizard a wand that guarantees victory in any battle.

Death: And he was killed for it in his sleep that very night! The fool bragged about the wand as I knew he would.

Dracula: Thus settling your grudge with him. But did it not occur to you that giving such a thing to the human race could be disastrous? Haven't you seen The Gods Must Be Crazy? One superweapon among many humans means chaos, anarchy, murder...

Death: I'm not seeing a downside here.

Dracula: I knew you'd say that. And I'm all for chaos, as you know... but this is far from the ideal method.

Death: Well, excuse me! I suppose you have a better proposal? Let me guess, it involves killing one nubile virgin at a time until the people rise up against you, then resurrecting and doing it again forever?

Dracula: That's classic! Archetypal! I've got all of Europe looking over its shoulder on dark nights! And you know what I haven't done? Put unbeatable weapons in the hands of mortals!

Death: You're making too much of this.

Dracula: No I'm not! What would we do if a Belmont got this elder wand, hmm?


Salesman: Now this, my friend, is a quality piece of magical equipment.

Simon Belmont: I've already invested in an oak stake.

Salesman: No, it's a wand. And not just any wand -- it comes with a special enchantment bestowed by Death himself. You will literally never lose with this baby.

Simon: That sounds familiar. Oh yeah -- you told me I would never lose if I bought those garlic cloves from you. The ones that turned out to just sit there.

Salesman: Well, if you were fighting a really slow-moving --

Simon: Or how about that "unbeatable" knife? The one that costs me money to use?

Salesman: Well...

Simon: I'll stick with the whip.

Salesman: I could set it on fire for you.

Simon: You could go to hell.

Death: I'm not too worried about that. Besides, the Belmonts always kill you anyway.

Dracula: It still hurts.

Death: If we're done here, milord...

Dracula: We aren't. I have two more questions. First, bad enough that you gave the humans these Hallows, but how did a detailed account of the incident end up in a best-selling book?

Death: The brothers passed their story down, I suppose.

Dracula: That was my first thought, but which one? The wand and stone users had eyes only for their own objects. And the cape user would never have blown his cover by spreading the story around.

Death: Posthumous note?

Dracula: Maybe. But I'm something of an expert on folklore, what with my rather large role in it. And I've never heard a tale at all like this one. It's as if the legend somehow skipped all the intervening centuries to resurface out of nowhere when this book came out.

Death: Perhaps you simply haven't been talking to the right --

Dracula: And then I noticed that the book is dedicated, in ink only supernatural beings can see, to "Deffy-weffy".

Death: Uh... well, you know... that could be anybody...

(A hotel room in England. A while ago, relatively speaking.)

J.K. Rowling: Oo, what happened then?

Death: Well, the first brother goes to a bar, downs a few butt-beers or whatever, and yells "Check out my killer wand!" With every thug in the joint listening!

J.K. Rowling: Ha! One of them killed him, right?

Death: Oh yeah. In fact, the killer was killed too before he'd even left the room.

J.K. Rowling: (admiring gaze) You tell the best stories, Joe.

Death: I told you, that's just what I call this human form. You can just call me Death.

J.K. Rowling: Whatever. Now what was that about... killer wands?

Dracula: STOP! Stop the story there! Geez on a stick!

Death: (wistful sigh) It was the happiest I've been in decades...

Dracula: But why? Why a children's book author of all things?

Death: That's the whole point. She's a children's book author who kills off at least one beloved character in every book. Hers is a unique and beautiful brand of sadism.

Dracula: Hmm.

Death: And those eyes...

Dracula: Enough! I have no desire for further gooey details. I'm just glad it's over. Er... it is over, right?

Death: (sigh) Yes. She left me after the final book. I think she was only using me for inspiration. Also, she's married.

Dracula: So what did you do? Kill her?

Death: Nah. It's like Hitler, someone would just take her place.

Dracula: Then did you dedicate the rest of your existence to taking vengeance upon God and all his works?

Death: No, that's your shtick.

Dracula: Damn straight. (shakes fist in a general upward direction)

Death: I simply settled for killing her good sense. Last I heard she was going around encouraging fanfic writers and turning people gay.

Dracula: That was all you killed?

Death: Unless the economy counts.

Dracula: Admirable restraint. I've always admired your discipline, my friend. I see I was wrong to worry quite so much.

Death: I'm glad we could settle --

Dracula: BUT.

Death: But?

Dracula: I said I had two questions. I may be satisfied as to your self-control, but I still have doubts about your judgment.

Death: Yes, it has been getting pretty tepid reviews.

Dracula: What?

Death: Never mind. What are these doubts of yours?

Dracula: Earlier, I pointed out that fictional creations have a habit of showing up in my castle. Especially when they have some obvious connection to me or another resident.

Death: So? That's a good thing. More meat shields to put between us and the Belmonts.

Dracula: You see, there's the error in judgment. You're not seeing the full scope of the situation.

Death: Oh? What am I missing?

Dracula: Get me a glass of wine.

(Puzzled, Death does so. As he's handing it to Dracula, the door bursts open.)

Harry Potter: Your time has come, spawn of Satan!

Ron Weasley: There he is! Death, the embodiment of... well, death!

Hermione Granger: Careful, Harry! According to my research, he spams sickles like you wouldn't believe.

Harry Potter: I'm ready, Hermione. Expelliarmus!

(The spell passes through Death and hits Dracula, knocking the wine glass out of his hand.)

Dracula: Hmm, that's a timesaver.

Death: But... huh? What are they doing here?

Dracula: I imagine they're after the maker of those Hallows that gave them so much trouble.

Harry Potter: Your words are as empty as your soul! That's not why I'm here!

Death: It's not?

Ron and Hermione: It's not?

(Harry's eyes burn with angry tears. He lowers his head so his hair half-covers his face.)

Harry Potter: Death... if it weren't for you... my parents wouldn't be dead!

Dracula: (grinning) OutSTANDing. He's even more emo than I dared hope. Have fun!

Death: But... wait! It's three on one and they're protagonists!

Dracula: Oh, you'll muddle through.

(Dracula leaves. The three wizards' wands start to glow.)

Death: When I'm done here, I am going to sickle-spam him like he won't believe.

This story was originally published on November 14, 2012.

DISCLAIMER: What is a copyright? A miserable little pile of trademarks!

All material © 2012, Colin Hayman.