Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Conversation With Death


A Conversation With Death

             He came to me on quiet feet. His hands were warm, his presence strangely comforting.
            “I thought you would be cold,” I said to him. “I thought you would be like a heavy cloak of ice. But you are so very warm. You should be cold and dark, not gilded with dusky twilight and scented with the fragrance of tranquility.”
            “There is peace here, my child,” Death said to me. “You have only to take my hand and let it be done. There will be no more suffering for you. I will ease your pain.”
            “The pain,” I said and the tears began. “If only I could feel it! But I cannot. I can only lie here in the numbness and watch the world go on around me. It is why I called for you. You alone can help me feel the pain again. And you alone can then take it away. But I was afraid. I thought you would be cold and dark and ugly. I did not expect you to be so warm and beautiful.”
            “There is beauty in the darkness,” Death said. “Nothing will ever hurt you again, my child. You will ever be safe in my arms.”
            I held Death’s hand. I looked into his dark, beautiful eyes. I saw my reflection there. Saw myself as I wished to be. Peaceful and serene. There was nothing to fear there. The dark was not a scary place. There were others there. I had fleeting glimpses of them during my brief entrance into Death’s deep, deep eyes.
            They waited for me, arms outstretched, beckoning me to come. . .come and rest with them.
            “We will care for you,” they seemed to say in unison. “You will never be alone again. You will ever be safe with us.”
            Legions of them, holding out their hands. Warm hands. Hands that would never strike out in anger. Hands that would never hurt. Hands that would love. Arms that would hold.
            I had only to lift my own hand and draw the blade and those arms would enfold me, keep me safe from all harm. I had only to draw the blade and my suffering would end.
            “I am afraid,” I said and Death smiled indulgently.
            “I know, my child,” he answered. “Everyone is. No one wants to see me when I come. They cringe away in fear because they do not understand me. It is a pitiful thing to be so misunderstood.”
            His hands lay open before me. The tiny blade gleamed, a sliver of brilliant light.
            “You have only to take it,” he said. “One swift stroke, a brief moment of pain, and then the warmth of your life flowing into me. I will take you in my arms and hold you close. I will cradle you like a babe against my breast and you will be safe. Always safe.”
            I took the blade. It glittered in my hand. I stared at it for a long, long time.
            Drawn once, across tender flesh, and then would come the pain I longed to feel. And after the pain, as my blood ran like a river into the folds of Death’s black robes, would come the peace.
            No more suffering. No more pain. No more bruises. No more threats. No more whippings. No more hateful words to pick apart my already shattered heart.
            “I do not know,” I said as I began to cry again. “I just do not know if I can do this.”
            “You can, my child.” Death reached out and caressed my cheek. Beneath the heat I felt a tiny splinter of cold. “A single stroke and your suffering ends.”
            I held the blade carefully, tested the edge, watched the blood trickle down my finger. Warm. Sticky. Bright red.
            And there was pain. Finally, there was that tiny sting of pain.
            “You see,” he said. “It is so simple.” He traced a thin fingernail across my wrist and a tiny line appeared. “Right here,” he went on, his voice low, seductively calm. “Just here, where I have made the mark. One swift stroke and it will be done.”
            The blade was poised. The line had been drawn. It glimmered, as though lit from within. My heart beat fast and wild. My blood was so close to the surface now. It throbbed under my skin, its desperate pulse thudding as it waited. It called out to me, begged me to set it free, to let it find its way out of the confines of my body.
            “Free us,” my blood cried. “When we are free, you will be free.”
            The blade touched my skin, my hand shook. And it was cold. So very, very cold. Not warm, as Death’s hands had been, but cold; cold as ice from the Arctic Sea.
             I faltered. Death sighed.
            “I cannot,” I said sadly. “I cannot.”
            “Very well,” Death said, the disappoint evident in his deep, dark eyes. “Some other time.”  

Author's Note: This came out of the mind of a character I was once developing as an original character in a fan fiction for Law & Order: Criminal Intent. It was intended to be a journal entry of hers, however the story I was working on stalled on me and I never got it going. This piece remains as a stand-alone so I thought I would share it. 

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