No one but Terry Pratchett could write an appropriate scene for his encounter with Death, but upon hearing of the death of this marvelously inventive and wise writer, my imagination immediately went there. I pictured Pratchett before a fire, with a glass of wine, looking up and seeing the cloak and hood, and the staff, and then looking down, placing the Death of Rats by his SQUEAK!
Death: TERRY PRATCHETT!
Pratchett: Yes, oh is it you, finally?
Death: (Looking at his hourglass) BUT I AM NOT LATE
Pratchett: You’ve been earlier. You’ve rather kept me waiting, anyway.
Death: ERR…DEATH OF RATS HELD ME UP
The Death of Rats: SQUEAK!
Pratchette: He would, wouldn’t he? Shorter than I’d imagined. Well, where’s Binky?
But too much would be missing. Rather, better to imagine Pratchett seeing DEATH off in the distance, and waving him down. As they moved toward each other, all of Pratchett’s unforgettable creations would have a moment of salute:
The Librarian would say “Oook!” and wave a banana.
Sam Vimes would bite on his cigar and give a curt nod.
Lady Sybil would rush toward him and give him a bone-crushing hug.
Otto would snap one last picture and then crumble into ash, until the vial of blood cracked.
C.M.O.T Dibbler would wheedle, “one more for the road, gov, sausage inna bun? Guaranteed meatlike, no bristles, half price and that’s cutting my own throat.”
Foul Ole Ron would say, “Buggrit! Millenium hand and shrimp! I told ’em!”
The Nac Mac Feegle would pause in their brawling to pay tiny but fierce respect.
Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson would offer to carry him, and then, once sure he was not needed, would — along with Detritus — fire off several flaming arrows from their Burleigh and Stronginthearm ‘Shureshott Five’ model bows.
Nobby Nobbs would check the chair to see if Pratchett had left his boots. Or a spoon. Or anything.
Sargeant Angua would put down her squeaky toy and make a rigid salute, with growl.
The Dwarves would present axes in formation, and begin a low chant.
Saccharrisa Cripslock would shove her bosomy self forward and ask, “but what are you really up, to, Pratchett?”
Adora Belle Dearheart would blow smoke in his direction.
Reg Shoe would counsel, “pay attention, it might not be over.”
Moist von Lipwig would tip each of his hats, in turn.
The Ohmnians would pass out tracts among the waiting.
The Goddess Anoia would rattle every nearby drawer.
Granny Weatherwax would lean on something and give Pratchett a knowing eye, while chomping her pipe.
Mr. Nutt and Mr. Bent would both say, “you have worth.”
The Patrician, Lord Havelock Vetinari would look up from his desk and say, gravely, “don’t let me detain you…”
Don’t let us detain you, Sir Terry. Requiescat in pace
Leah Libresco has a great idea for a way to honor Pratchett’s work, and get some books into student hands at the same time.
The reference to the lilacs and the angels goes to my very favorite of the Disc World novels, Night Watch, which is one of those magical, escapist books one reads when one is blue, or sick, or in need of a friend, or badly in need of a retreat that is not currently on the schedule.