“Now, I’ve been working as a psychopomp for 70 years,” Obol says. “I’ve seen the reaping of souls go from putting coins on closed eyes to cryogenic suspension in a generation.”

Responding to a field call, Dr, Obol is on his hands and knees, pulling the soul out of a stubborn cow with a set of old-fashioned reaping chains. “The thing I like about this job is that it keeps me busy, it keeps me on my toes, and I never know what’s going to happen,” he says.

“This cow, for instance, it’s her time. But she’s stubborn, won’t give up the ghost. Some psychopomps might give up at that, go in for an expensive wasting illness or even a chess game. But not me, I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty.”

The community has come to appreciate Dr. Obol’s unique manner. “Those other reapers, they’re all menacing and silent, dark figures cloaked in the raiment of the grave,” said a local farmer. “Dr. Obol’s different. He cares. Why, he chatted with my aunt even as he collected the should from her body and bore it to the hereafter.”

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