A Little More Human
I walked alongside the silent waters of the Styx. The Death River – one who crosses it never does it again.
Except for me, of course. The personalization of Death should be able to cross her own creation, shouldn't she?
In the water, black like crow feathers, drifted several almost unrecognizable objects. But I knew what they were, naturally – the Hourglasses Of Life. In the literally endless length of the river, there were approximately seven billions of them floating peacefully, their sand gradually dripping down.
A glowing white light caught my eye. Oh – another one's time was up. Time to travel to the Living.
Wading through the water, I found the source of the light and I touched the shining Hourglass. Then I wrapped my dark cloak around myself, and dematerialized.
* * *
When I reappeared, light enveloped my body and my mind – my entire being. It was always like this. In the time I spent in the undefined area that was considered dark nor light, I forgot this feeling instantly. The feeling of warmth. Just like the concept of time, or space, warmth or cold didn't exist near the Styx's shores.
And as I adjusted my eyes to this newly found sensation, I took in the space I materialized into.
I was in a street. A normal street – a couple of cars were passing through, a few pedestrians walking, one dog sniffling the contents of a trash can.
No one noticed me, no one looked up as if a seemingly young girl suddenly appeared on the middle of the street in broad daylight. Because they were ignorant and didn't know where to look.
I knew where to look, however. Only meters in front of my position, I saw a middle-aged woman hurrying across the street, not even bothering to walk on the pelican crossing. Perhaps she had to catch her train, or maybe she was late for work, a meeting, a date.
At the same time, I detected a shining blue car driving through the street, not particularly fast. The chauffeur, an elderly looking businessman with gray stripes in his short hair, had one hand on the steer-wheel while the other one was holding a phone to his ear.
They both didn't pay enough attention, and they both got an invisible dose of bad luck injected. One hasty car horn sound, and then a major crash.
Now it was my turn to occur on stage. I calmly wandered towards the car wreck and bend near the driver's head. Putting my hand on his forehead, I whispered comfortingly, “It's not your time yet. But I will come for you. Eventually.”
He wouldn't remember, of course. No one ever remembered Death speaking to them. But some would have a feeling of urgency, a calling to enjoy their lives when they could. It was all I could do for them.
I lifted my hand and straightened my back, and turned to the woman, who was laying under a metal clot. Her eyes were closed, small but apparent scratches on her face leaving bloody trail on her features.
I laid my palm over her her eyes, and told her quietly, “Your luck has run out. Come with me, woman, and leave the Living. You don't belong with them anymore now.” Traditional words, but cutting every time.
While the body stayed unmoving, a phantom of the soul who had lived in this human shell rose up to stare at my strange appearance directly.
“Wh- who are you?” she asked suspiciously, narrowing her eyes. Before I could answer, her eyes had traveled to her feet, where her former body was lying down, still as a statue, only the red trails moving. “What is this? A car accident? Why am I standing up? I'm lying down!” The woman met my eyes, hers showing confusion.
It was always like this. All of them were the same. The same confusion, asking the same questions. Over and over again. And I always had to tell them.
“You're not lying down. Only your body is there, but you must come with me. You must leave the Living and join the Dead.”
“What? I'm- I'm dead? Are you sure?” When I nodded silently, she added, “And who are you? You're just a girl! Why are you telling me this?”
Always the same. I was just a girl in a dress and a cloak, seemingly human. I wasn't what they were expecting – no, they expected a monstrous being, a murderer, a Grim Reaper with a scythe.
Couldn't I be a little more normal, too? A little pretty, a little innocent? Perhaps a little human?
“I am the Death,” I told her without showing any emotion. “I'm here to lead you over the Styx and guide you to the Dead.”
I didn't see comprehension in her eyes, nor did I detect a sign of acceptance. Only panic and wariness.
“Bu- but what about my family? I want to say goodbye! My husband, he'll be sad, my children- No! I can't let them grow up without a mother! I need to-”
She had a family – like a regular human. A husband, children. People who would feel loss. And I had to be the one tearing her away from them. The undeniable villain was always me.
“I'm sorry. But the Dead and the Living cannot be blended. There is nothing I can do.”
The woman started crying. Tears dripped down her face as she sobbed in despair, and tried to reach out to nothing in particular.
And even though nothing would be able to, I wanted to console her soul. “You will meet them again, I promise you. Time passes quickly on the Other Side. They will join you eventually.”
“But I don't want to be dead! I want to be alive and see them! Is that really too much to ask?”
I stuck out my hands with the Hourglass Of Life – of her life – in resting in them. Without having to ask anything, she reached out and touched the glass with her fingertips. And then she was gone, over the Styx, to the Other Side, having taken her Hourglass with her.
I looked over scene again. Chaos had erupted everywhere, two ambulances were driving to the crash spot rapidly. A crowd had gathered around the wreck, trying to help the two people – one person and a body – out of it. More humans were exiting their houses to see what was wrong. Sounds and movements were everywhere.
I retreated to a quieter part of the street, strolling across the sidewalk. I couldn't stay long in this warm and Living world, but I could enjoy the few moments that were left.
A flashing color caught my eye. Color – I liked color. There was no color in the space that didn't exist. My eyes found a fierce red flower, blooming in a small front garden. It was really pretty, and very innocent.
Without thinking, I plucked it, snapping the thin stem. And then, too late, I realized that I had taken the life of that flower away in a moment – even though I didn't intend to, I killed creatures, be it animals or plants.
I covered the red beauty with my palm for a moment, and then put it in my hair. It would stay there until it died – maybe a while longer.
Perhaps, with this flower, I would seem a little pretty, a little innocent. A little more human.
A/N: Hiya! Yup, I've got a new short story up! Lately, I seem to write more of them than I write new chapters on my novels... *Guilty face* Sorry. Now, this is my entry for Unknown Girl's Rounds Challenge! I hope you enjoyed it :) xx Paige