Seth Willoughby was a gardener. He was not a clever writer, nor a masterful artist, nor a deeply flawed man with a terrible secret that might very well throw off the balance of the known economy (because, as we all know, just about anything can rule the economy these days).

No, Seth Willoughby was none of these things; Seth Willoughby was a man with thick, calloused hands, arthritis in most of his joints, and a collection of comparatively useless newspapers in his desk.

And so—for obvious reasons—he was incredibly surprised when an angel came to visit him at home. It was a warm summer's day, and the conversation went as such:

"Who in God's name are you, pretty boy?" Seth said with conviction, adding a swift narrowing of his eyes as though the blonde and moderately effeminate man at the door was strapped to some form of weapon.

Seth was used to the locals dropping by and asking for a good hedge-clipping for adequate compensation; however, he had never seen this man before and was not eager to travel for the sole purpose of gardening. The prospect wasn't cheery or at all interesting.

The blonde man raised his hands slowly.
"Peace, man. I have come with relatively good news." The man said. Seth raised an eyebrow, looking over the man in the doorway. He was smiling, his unusually long hair trailing down the back of his black Inverness and his eyes a twinkling blue.

"Relatively good news…? In relation to what?"
"Well, in relation to the outrageously good news and the not-so-good good news."

"Wouldn't that be bad news?"

"Pardon?" The man asked. Seth frowned.

"Not-so-good good news," he said patiently. "Wouldn't that be bad news?"

"Well, obviously not," said the man. "It's got the word 'good' in it. It can't be bad news if it's got the word 'good' in it."

"What if it's not-at-all-good good news?" Seth said, frowning more deeply and leaning against the door.

"Well, then it's not good news at all, is it?" The man said, then smiled once more. Seth's eyebrows knit together as beats of sweat broke out on his forehead. What the hell is he playing at? Seth pondered as he continued to study the odd man.

"Say, can I come in? It's really hot out here, and I've been flying all day," said the man.

"Flying?" Asked Seth, stepping aside slowly. "In the airships? I hear they've a way to cool them now. Bloody lucky generation, you lot; cooled airships…" Seth muttered, more to himself than the man. "We're mollycoddling this generation, you know?" He added. The man smiled, walking in and sitting gratefully.

"I like that word," he said, looking around the humble cottage around him. Seth raised a brow.

"I'm sorry…?"

"Mollycoddling. It's absolutely adorable, you know that, sir?" The man said. Seth closed the door slowly, now somewhat uneasy about turning his back to the odd blonde man.

"Ah… yes…" Seth said, tenderly. "So it is…. You here for any specific reason, mister?" Seth asked slowly, no longer feeling confident that he could expect any one thing from the man. But the man—as per usual—acted amiably. He frowned at first, bringing a hand to his forehead abruptly.

"Ah, that's right! I forgot," said the man, now standing. With this, he pulled a rose from his Inverness and his face grew solemn. "I come with a message for you, Mister Willoughby."

With that, Seth's heart plummeted. He knew he was unhealthy, with his poor cirulation and occasionally crippling arthritis… but was he really on his deathbed? Suddenly, he shook his head, fighting the urge to think more superstitious thoughts. This man couldn't be Death…. He was much too amicable.

"Yes…?" Seth asked slowly, making sure his voice didn't waver as much as he feared it would. With a somber countenance, the man withdrew a letter from his pocket and opened it, looking down upon it with a buisiness-like mein.
"To a certain Seth Willoughby; I hereby demand that ye listen unto me with respect and dignity and forever follow by my heretoforth fair ruling. I demand that ye keep in good contact with me—I do expect a letter every month." The man read with poise. He then continued. "Postscript: Do not fear the Reaper. Sealed with a kiss…"

At this point, the man frowned and squinted, leaning into the page. For a good minute or so, Seth sat in gripping silence, his breath hinging on the name of the straight-forward sender. Finally, the man pulled back and snapped his fingers.

"Ah! Of course…. 'Sealed with a kiss. -Death'," he finished, then smiled and pocketed the letter again. "What manners…. Don't you agree, Mr. Willoughby?" The man asked and sat again. Without preamble, he changed the subject. "Say, do you have any hot cocoa in here, Mr. W?" Seth did not answer. He only sat, rather unsure how to react.

"You all right, there, Mr. W?" The man asked. Seth looked up slowly.

"You're saying… you're trying to tell me that Death wrote me a letter saying to write more often?" Seth asked slowly, his voice rough with cynicism.

"Well, I suppose so. I mean, I'm not exactly the messenger angel, but… you know… Michael doesn't do the whole 'postman' thing. I mean, he only delivers real messages. … Say, Mr. W? You have any hot cocoa?" The man asked again. Seth frowned.

"You're saying you're an angel?"

"Of course, Mr. W. But you know, I was wondering… you have any hot—"

"Get the hell out of my house." Seth said at last, pointing to the door.

"I—what?" The man asked, sitting up slightly.
"I said get the hell out of my house; I have better things to do than pass the breeze with a bloody lunatic." Seth said firmly, continuing to point in the direction of the door. The man seemed slighted.

"You haven't even asked my name yet…"

"What's your name, then?" Seth asked, narrowing his eyes. The man smiled.

"It's Kafziel, actually. But friends call me Kafk—"

"Get the hell out of my house, Kafziel." Seth said with conviction. Kafziel only frowned.

"That isn't very nice of you, Mr. Willoughby." Kafziel said, his face returning to the stony countenance he'd assumed while reading the letter. It sent a slight shiver through Seth's spine. However, before Seth could respond, Kafziel withdrew the letter from his pocket and handed it to Seth.

"Oh, I forgot. Here, take this; I'll check up on you for the letters, Mr. W." Kafziel said and started out the door. Suddenly, he paused. He turned slowly and handed the rose to Seth. "Here, you can have this… I'm deathly allergic to roses." Kafziel said. And with that, he left, closing the door behind him.

Seth stood in quiet bewilderment, clutching the rose as it slowly withered in his hand. Without warning, Kafziel stuck his head in through the small and cluttered cottage window. Seth jumped, dropping the rose and letting out a small noise of shock.

"Say, Mr. W? Might you give me some cocoa for the road?"