My Job Is to Watch People Die

📅 Published on October 31, 2020

“My Job Is to Watch People Die”

Written by Richard Saxon
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.82/10. From 11 votes.
Please wait...

Once your time on this Earth ends, Death will greet you like an old friend. Whether you embrace it with fear, hatred, or acceptance, is a question that cannot be answered before you stand at its door.

I can’t tell you what comes next, nor can I offer you comforting thought about an eternal afterlife. All I can promise you is that when it happens, you won’t be alone.

Up until Thursday, the 6th of December, 2007, I had never considered myself anything out of the ordinary. As a teacher at the local high-school, the best I could hope for was to aid in building our future. Though not an easy job, it was one I loved.

Then, on the evening of the sixth, as I returned home after grading a bunch of unsatisfying essays, I received a text message from a hidden number. It contained nothing more than a time, a place, and a vaguely familiar, yet generic name.

“Friday 5:34 AM, Locke Road 4. Juliet Florence.”

Any logical person would have arrived at the conclusion that the message had reached the wrong recipient. Yet, as soon as I lifted the phone and read the message, a shiver shot down my spine, and something within me felt compelled beyond any reasonable explanation, to go check it out.

The road itself was an hour’s drive out of town, situated in a desolate area, only occupied by abandoned farms and barren fields. It would have been the perfect place to lure someone out, and kill them without anyone ever knowing. Despite this horrific fact, I wasn’t worried. All I felt was compassion for whoever else would be there, without understanding why.

I couldn’t accurately explain the immense feeling of purpose that had arisen within me. It was an odd mixture of unrelenting fear, sadness, and pity. It felt as if my entire life had led to that very moment, and then nothing mattered more than being at that location, at that time.

Friday morning arrived, and I’d been lying in bed without a minute of sleep, in anticipation of what would happen. As 4 AM rolled around, I attempted to sneak my way out of bed, careful to not wake my sleeping wife, Anna.

Of course, it was a futile attempt, with Anna being the lightest sleeper on the planet, able to sense my thoughts, and waking up because she claimed they were too loud.

“Alex, what’s wrong?” she asked without even opening her eyes.

“Nothing’s wrong, I just need to catch up on some papers,” I lied. “But… why would you think something’s wrong?”

“You had a worried breath,” she mumbled, already drifting back to sleep.

I let a brief smile slip, and kissed her on the forehead.

“Everything is great, Anna.  I’ll see you after work, alright?”

She mumbled something incoherent in response, and I left the house.

Secrets had never been an aspect of our five-year-long marriage, but on that particular day, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her the truth.

On the hour-long drive over to Locke Road, a thousand questions flew through my mind. Who had sent the message? Why did Juliet Florence sound so familiar, and what compelled me enough to risk following the instructions, or lack thereof, from such a cryptic message?

It was a dark journey through the barely illuminated skies of dawn. Though the sun still hadn’t peeked up from the horizon, it still gave the sky a deep-blue hue.

Once I got close to my destination, I noticed something down the road. It was a car that had flipped over, crushed under its own force as it had crashed into the ditch. I stopped my car and quickly approach the wreck, already preparing to dial 911.

“Help!” a weak voice called from the car.

In the driver’s seat, pinned between the dashboard, steering wheel, and seat, sat a woman with a large piece of metal protruding through her chest. The debris had lodged itself into the seat, making it impossible to get loose, but even removing it would almost certainly have killed her, as it was the only thing keeping her from bleeding out.

With shaking hands, I called for an ambulance. We were practically in the middle of nowhere, meaning it would take the ambulance almost half an hour just to arrive. Which would be more time than the poor woman had left.

“It hurts so much,” she cried weakly.

A feeling of helplessness washed over me, as the fact of her imminent death became abundantly clear. I could do nothing but keep her company as the life drained from her body.

“I didn’t think it would be like this,” she said. “I’m so scared.”

“You’ll be alright, help is on the way,” I lied.

She reached out, trying to remove the piece of metal lodged into her chest, worsening the bleeding.

“You have to lie still!”

Despite my order, she kept trying to move, mumbling incoherently to herself. I decided my best bet would be to keep her mind occupied on simple questions, keeping her mind working as we waited for help that couldn’t possibly get there in time.

“What’s your name?”

“Juliet. What – what’s yours?”

“I’m Alex. What were you doing all the way out here?”

“Alex? Oh no, I’m sorry,” she said senselessly, barely audible, before she started to lose consciousness.

“No, no, Juliet, stay awake!”

I said it loud and with purpose, awakening her for just a moment. During the last few seconds of her life, she just stared into my eyes and whispered for the second time: “I’m sorry.”

Then she stopped breathing, and I could do nothing save wait for the ambulance to arrive. I felt numb, empty after having so futilely witnessed someone’s life end suddenly, and unexpectedly.

The emergency services came to the scene, and took her lifeless body away, while the police asked me a couple of questions to clarify what had happened. She’d seemed so familiar, and she responded so oddly when I told her my name, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I returned home without going to work. Anna had the day off, and immediately noticed something was off about me. I broke down and told her about the accident. I told her I’d watched that poor woman die, confused and afraid, and that I could do nothing to help. What I didn’t tell her, was that a text-message had told me to be there, not because she wouldn’t believe me, but because something deep within me prevented me from uttering the words.

She embraced me, and tried to comfort me by saying that I did my best to help her, that at least she didn’t die alone. It was a minor detail, but had I not been there, she might just have faded away, rotting for days before anyone else passed down that desolate road.

That should have been the end of it. Weeks passed, and I slowly got over the trauma. Then, as I headed to work one cold morning in January of 2008, I received another message. It contained a time, a place, and a name: Jeremy Brooks.

This time, the address was a local motel, only five minutes away. I wasted no time, and called an ambulance, and got in my car to drive there myself.

Being far closer than the hospital, I arrived before the ambulance. I rushed inside the apartment complex and barged in through the unlocked door. There, on the couch, sat a man I presumed to be Jeremy; Pale as a sheet, and bleeding profusely from large gashes on each of his forearms.

It was apparent that he’d slit his own wrists, and had simply sat himself down as he awaited his rapidly approaching end. He looked up at me with a fearful expression on his face.

“Who are you?” he said as he fell over, too weak from blood loss to keep himself upright.

I grabbed a T-shirt off the floor and wrapped it as tightly around his arm as I could. Even with three layers, it hardly seemed to stop bleeding.

“Come on, don’t do this. Stay with me!” I said as I looked for something better to wrap around his wound.

Despite my best efforts, there was little I could do for him. Jeremy tried to sit up, but in his weakened state, he just kept slumping over.

Then, a light lit up in his eyes, as he was hit with the realization that he wanted to keep living. A wish that came to him all too late.

“Please, help me,” he said. “I don’t want to die.”

Whatever trouble had led him to this stage, whatever had convinced him it would be better to leave Earth behind, he was wrong, and he knew it.

But I couldn’t help, and by the time the ambulance arrived, I’d watched yet another person’s soul fade away.

* * * * * *

Over the next month, I’d receive another seven messages. All with the signature time, place, and name. Seven people destined to die, alone and in pain.

I tried everything I could think of to prevent their deaths. I called the police, but they could do little without any evidence that something horrible was about to happen. Next, I attempted to reach out to the dying people, but to no avail. Not a single person accepted that I could provide them with future insight.

By the time they had died, and the eighth number arrived, I had long since decided to just ignore them. Why expose myself to the harsh reality of death, if I could do nothing to help? Of course, that just happened to be the one time Anna was looking over some photos she’d taken of us together. The message interrupted her session, and she immediately started questioning me. Oddly enough, I’d shut off notifications, yet the message came to taunt me at the most inopportune time.

“What’s this?” she asked.

I quickly snatched the phone out of her hand, but the damage was already done.

“What was that message?” she repeated sternly.

“It’s nothing, honestly. It’s just something from work,” I lied poorly.

“Alex, don’t bullshit me. You’ve been acting weird for weeks.”

It was true, my random disappearances, my denial that anything had been wrong. I couldn’t hide it any longer.

“I – I don’t –”  The words got stuck in my throat.

A thousand thoughts ran through my mind. I knew how suspicious it all seemed. I expected accusations of cheating, a hidden drug addiction, or worse, but instead of questioning me further, she just took my hand, and said: “Look, whatever is going on, that you’re too afraid to tell me, we’ll get through it together.”

While we stood there, with tears welling up in my eyes, someone knocked on the door.

It was the police.

“Alex Moore?” one of the officers half-asked, half-stated.

“We’re here regarding the death of Juliet Florence, and we need to ask you some questions.”

I followed them without hesitation. Telling my wife to call our lawyer, but even with his help, no one could explain why I’d been at the scene of the death of not only Juliet, but seven other people.

They questioned me for hours, and I could provide few answers. Thought it was an extremely bizarre situation, most evidence pointed towards the fact that I’d been helping the victims, and not killing them. In the end, they let me go, but the investigation was pending, and at any moment, they could’ve come for me.

Once I returned back home, I’d already missed the death of the eighth victim, whoever he was, he had died during my interrogation. I broke down and told my wife everything. If the investigation ended up with evidence going wrongfully against me, I needed her to know the truth.

We sat down, and I told her my story. I went over each and every death I’d witnessed, and expressed the absolute hopelessness that lingered over me for each and every day. It was an unbelievable story, but she didn’t stop once to question the validity of what I said. She just listened.

When I finished talking, once all the facts were laid out on the table, she looked at me, her eyes glistening from tears forming in her eyes.

“Alex, I’m so sorry,” she said.

That was it, no accusations, no follow up questions regarding the validity of my story, just pure compassion. We kept talking throughout the night, where we would go from there, and how I’d dealt with watching all these people die.

Then, as if a light bulb had been ignited between us, Anna came up with an idea.

“What if you’re not supposed to save them?”

I looked over at her, expectantly awaiting the next part of her suggestion.

“What do you mean, why else would I be sent their way just moments before their deaths?”

“What if you’re just supposed to be there, by their side? Maybe all you’re meant to do is give them some comforting words as they pass. I mean, you’ve tried everything possible to save them, but in the end, wouldn’t they just have died alone, if you weren’t there?”

I let her words sink in for a moment. It was an almost ludicrous idea, yet it gave me the most profound moment of peace. More bliss and hope than I’d felt in the past two months. She was right, there was no logic behind that feeling, but I knew it had to be true.

So, I patiently waited for the next message, and it wouldn’t be long before it arrived. As it so happened, it would be my next-door neighbor. An elderly woman whose name I barely knew, but who I know had become a widow last year, after her husband lost a long-winded battle with cancer.

I walked over to her small house, next to mine, and knocked on the door, fully aware that she’d be dead within the next couple of hours. She was a lonely woman, eager just to have someone to talk to, and I regretted not spending more time with her before. She’d always been friendly to me, offering cake when she baked, asking about my work as I passed by in the mornings, but I’d always been too busy to appreciate it.

I made no attempt at warning her about her ultimate fate, instead, we just talked. She told me stories about her husband, and I just listened intently to each word she spoke. She smiled as the memories flowed back, ones of a life well spent, a happy one.

As her time grew closer, she started feeling tired. I offered to make her some tea, and by the time I came back, she’d fallen asleep, never to wake up again. On her face, I could see an expression of peace, and I knew she hadn’t been afraid. She’d been ready, and I hoped whatever afterlife existed, would reunite her with her husband.

From then, my curse became more of an ally. It was a job I had to do, to watch people in their last moments, and comfort them as they left our world. I did my due diligence and alerted the authorities after each event, but it was nothing more than an anonymous tip, enough to lead them to the scene, but not enough to add suspicion.

I simply held their hands, or gave them a few words of comfort. I tried getting close to them before their last hour, be it just to strike up a friendly conversation, or to buy them a drink at the local pub, and most left with a look of acceptance, as if they trusted my assurances that everything would be fine.

Years went by, a whole decade of helping people pass peacefully to the other side. The power I’d called a curse so long ago, had become a welcome gift.

Then, in the late days of last year, as Christmas rolled around once again, Anna and I were wrapping presents for the holiday festivities, and family dinners. I’d gone almost a month without receiving another name, but that would end quickly, when I received another message that shattered my life with these simple words:

“Saturday, December 7th. 11:43 PM. Anna Moore.”

I froze in place and just stared at the name highlighted on my phone. Anna quickly noticed my absence from wrapping, and jolted me back to attention.

“You got another name?” she asked.

I nodded, not needing to speak another word for her to understand. The look of horror on my face said it all.

“Oh… how long do I have?” she simply asked, her normally cheerful voice turned dull and empty.

“We need to go to the hospital,” I demanded, knowing fully well that preventing the deaths was an impossible feat.

“Alex, don’t,” she said before I cut her off.

“We can stop this. It doesn’t have to happen!”

We argued for a bit, and she seemed oddly calm throughout the discussion. In the end, she agreed to get a checkup, if only to calm me down.

Of course, with a woman that appeared perfectly healthy, without as much as a cough, the doctors could only run her through the basic tests. To look for anything substantial was a futile task, as most tests would take weeks to return, which was time we didn’t have. In the end, we were sent home without a single answer.

“What if we leave? What if we just get out of town for a few days?” I suggested.

“Has any of the hundred people survived?” she asked.

She already knew the answer; I didn’t have to say it out loud.

Without a place listed in the message, it became apparent that she’d meet her fate wherever she was. So, we decided to make the best of what little time we had left.

In the following days, Anna stayed brave, putting up a beautiful facade of acceptance and joy. We reminisced about times long since passed, looked over photos and held each other for hours. At night, I could hear her cry in the living room, terrified not of what was to come, but of what she’d leave behind. I did my best to comfort her, but there was something hidden under the layers of love, and support… resentment.

“I wish you had never told me,” she said. “You should have just let me meet my death, ignorant like everyone else.”

She was right. I’d taken away one of the most beautiful things about life: its uncertainty. The idea of our temporary, fleeting presence here on Earth, the fact that any moment might be our last. The thing that makes us so tragically wonderful, and I’d taken it away.

Despite that, she never stopped loving me, and on her final day, she made me promise to never give up. There would be people that needed me after her demise. They would be alone at the final step in their life, and I couldn’t let them down.

Once her time came, it was nearing midnight. We’d both agreed not to mention her rapidly approaching death. She asked if we could go outside, to just look at the night sky one last time, to kiss under the moonlight, like we did on our first date.

But it wasn’t meant to be… No sooner had she stood up than she collapsed to the floor with no warning.

According to the doctors, my wife had suffered from a deep vein thrombosis. Basically, a clot had formed in her leg, to subsequently break off, traveling all the way up to her lungs, where it caused a pulmonary embolism… It killed her within seconds.

* * * * * *

The love of my life had died, yet the names never stopped coming. I was depressed, broken, and without the will to follow orders. I wanted to ignore the names, but I’d made a promise to keep going.

For the next two months, I chased down dying names as I got them. Five victims that didn’t have to suffer alone. I approached them, made them feel comfortable, and held their hand as they passed, but each name crossed off my list took away chunks of my own soul. Without Anna to support me, I had no energy to keep going. I just had to wait until whoever ruled my life, finally released me from my curse.

So I did, up until last night, when I received another message, one that differed from the rest. This time, there were no names, no places, nor a time. I was faced with nothing more than an innocuous question.

“Are you done?”

My mind raced. It was such a simple yet overwhelming question. What would happen if I said yes? Would I finally be free?

I thought long and hard, before deciding that I’d fulfilled my duty, that my time had come to let go, and let life happen the way it was meant to.

“Yes,” I typed into the phone.

Within a second, I got a response: “Who will be next?”

Then it clicked, as if the past decade of my life suddenly made sense, or at least partially. Juliet, my first ‘job,’ had not only been a random death. She’d chosen me as a successor, plunging me into a life she herself had lived.

Why she’d chosen me, remained a mystery. Maybe we knew each other long ago, met once and the name stuck, or maybe she picked me from a dusty phone book in her attic.

But, just like her, I’d been faced with the same dilemma…

I thought about the implications of choosing another person to suffer the same fate as myself, but before I could consider a name, another message popped up.

“Sunday: 8:49 PM, Hollow Street 7, Alex Moore.”

By quitting my job, I’ve effectively ended my own life. It’s not a fate I’m trying to escape, and I’ve already come to terms that I don’t have much time left. Though I still have a few days to sort out my business, there’s still one question that remains…

…Who’s next?

Rating: 9.82/10. From 11 votes.
Please wait...

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Richard Saxon
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Richard Saxon

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

More Stories from Author Richard Saxon:

Related Stories:

No posts found.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Blood Note
Average Rating:

Blood Note

Average Rating:


Can’t Stop the Signal
Average Rating:

Can’t Stop the Signal

Recommended Reading:

Pages of Dust: Volume 4
Boy in the Box
Wicked William: My Ouija, My Friend (Wicked WIliam Book 1)
Knifepoint Horror: The Transcripts, Volume 4

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

i was almost in tears and it was butiful and amazing

Rayne Nelson
Rayne Nelson
2 years ago

I liked this, it wasn’t anything with monsters or evil spirits for once, it was a beautiful piece of literature 🙂

Skip to content