Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Boy Who Glimpsed Death

There was a man who lived all alone, except for his son of whom he had custody.


One night after tucking his son into bed, he went into the kitchen for a cup of tea. On his way in the man slipped and hit his temple against the sharp corner of the counter. The boy heard the noise and rushed as fast as his seven year old legs could carry him to the kitchen.


Standing in the doorway he saw his father face down on the floor in a small puddle of blood. He could see his father's unblinking eyes staring at the tile. But the most curious thing about this scene that momentarily stayed his grief, was the kneeling woman bent over his father's body. She was slowly breathing in a light amber glow that radiated from the dead man's face.


"Please don't hurt my Dad!" He squeaked.


The woman gasped then choked in her surprise. The golden smoke spewed from her mouth with each cough, reabsorbing into the body on the ground. Then the woman, who was none other than Death of course, snapped Its head up, eyes flashing briefly with anger. When Death saw the boy Its eyes widened. Lips that were stuck in mid-snarl softened into a small, sad frown.


"Oh. It usually is the innocent that stumble upon such things." Death whispered to the trembling child, "Hurt? Oh no. There is no existential pain for your father, child. Not any longer."


Death bent Its head back down to continue Its work but was interrupted yet again when the boy took a few stumbled steps forward.


"Please! I'll be all alone." Tears streamed down his cheeks now, his tone was pleading.


Death sighed and rocked back on Its heels, resting forearms against knees, "Ah, yes, loneliness. I do know about loneliness."


It stood up and walked over to the boy. Death picked him up and held him at arms length, surveying, then brought the child close and rested Its head on his. Shushing him all the way, Death carried the boy back up the stairs and entered the first bedroom It came to. It sat on the large bed with him. Death looked down upon him and the small boy looked up at It, staring without fear into sharp, glinting teeth that peeked out past parted lips and eyes all black.


"Your kind seems to live in a delusion that there is anytime where you are alone. You are never alone. When you grieve and are suffering, your Creator is with you. When you war with each other, or even walk to whichever knowledgeable place you attend, my Kindred are among you. And at the very end of your existence, I am with you. When you take your last glimpse of this world and begin to fall into darkness, it is I who will catch you. There is nowhere you can go on this world, or any other, where you are ever truly alone." Death cupped his face with Its thin hands. Pointed nails on the end of long fingers soothingly scratched the child's scalp. "Do you understand?"


With a shuddering sigh the boy nodded his head. Death tucked him into bed and, with a slight hesitation, gave him a small, quick peck on his forehead. Afterwards It stood at Its full height with arms crossed.


"You are a very young soul. Small." Death noted, "Do you not have any other caretaker?"
"Can you call my aunt?"
"Call?"


The boy pointed to the telephone on the nightstand.


"Do you know how to use this yourself?"


He nodded and Death moved the phone onto his lap, handing him the receiver and pressing the numbers as he dictated them to It, before going back downstairs for good.


*****


Death is not always so bad.


Obviously this is set in modern times unlike Death And The Butcher. I'm not sure how modern as I didn't have any type of time frame in my mind this time around, just generally modern. And obviously I am trying to keep in the writing style of some sort of fairy tale or myth.


I kind of view this version of Death as a bit more feral and archaic, or at least isolated, than the other angels.


I still don't know where I'm going with these stories, but they're fun.

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