The Day Death Cried

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story for writing practice. In this story, you are given the chance to see death from a different perspective.

Submitted: August 19, 2019

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Submitted: August 19, 2019

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A sharp clink rang through the hollow bathroom as she set down her empty glass, probably a little bit harder than she had intended. The pills went down smooth, one after the other. This time, she thought, maybe she’d get to feel the sweet euphoria of sleep that was so unappreciated by those who had not truly experienced its absence. She stared at her ghost in the mirror.

Death roamed the earth since almost the dawn of man. Almost. His earliest memories were not of the veil between this world and the next, but rather of playing alone by a shallow river. Alone and bare. That was the first day he remembered pain. The pain of fangs striking his soft and pudgy flesh. The night of burning skin and rivers of sweat pouring from his little body. He would have been lost that day, had he not been so close to the river. He remembered staring at his ghost in the water’s reflection.

Her makeup smeared as she felt her mind drift farther and farther away from her, before being snapped back to her body like a rubber band. A rubber that lost its elasticity with every pull. Her lipstick had missed its mark in several places, and her eyeshadow was anything but even, but she had decided, maybe a bit too late, that she would look pretty tonight. For once in her life she was going to give a damn. Even at this, she failed.

Death was always alone, even as he grew from a small, pudgy boy into a lean man. He hunted and fought the wild with an anger from his childhood that had never left his heart. He knew not how to craft, and fought with stone, fist, and claw. By the time he had made it to manhood, he had too many scars to name. He spent his life trying to conquer his lonely world. To conquer a loneliness he couldn’t have known existed, for how can you know isolation if you have never known company? Even at this, he failed.

She struggled to keep her eyes open as she perfected her corpse. At one point she had knocked the glass off the counter and shattered it upon her dirty linoleum floor, but she never noticed. Even as her feet bled, she never noticed. She was already gone; she just hadn’t caught up with herself yet.

Death died alone during a storm, clutching at his bleeding stomach in a darkness that was only broken by an occasional divine flash. He awoke devoid of flesh in a milky twilight. He arose from his pale body, still trapped under the same storm that swept his lifeforce away. The world looked the same, but nothing was the same. It was all… quiet. Even as the storm raged it was quiet. He remembered screaming as his corpse rotted away before him, trying to stop the inevitable flow of time. But he was already gone; he just hadn’t understood it yet.

She roamed her empty halls.

He roamed the empty world.

She tried to grab a bottle of wine, but her fingers seemed to slip right through as the vague ringing of the shattering glass wormed through her ear.

He tried to grab anything he could. He connected to a few… but his fingers slipped right through most. He reached out to a feeding rabbit who went limp after his touch. It rotted away.

After what seemed like eons, she managed to open the door to her patio, relishing what she could still feel of the slightly crisp and somber evening air. She found a soft chair and sat alone, watching the world pass her by slower and slower.

He traveled for eons, finding cracks of light and pits of darkness. It took time, but his anger and fear had finally followed his flesh and melted away. His bones were shrouded in a black cloak. Though just rags at first, it grew with his understanding of the world’s ebbs and flow. It was then he met his first other.

His first other was an old man squatting bare in a shallow cave. His skin was both dark and pale while a river of red flowed from a laceration on his leg. Death felt something he would not be able to define for many centuries. Empathy. The man in front of him was dying, only the second to do so. As his eyes rolled back and his soul began to rise from his body, Death held out a welcoming hand. Although at the time he couldn’t understand why, Death did not want the man to be alone.

Together they walked, neither knowing how to speak to the other. They walked until a fissure of white light wrapped itself around the dead man, pulling him in a warm embrace. The light faded out as the world returned to its tranquil twilight, and death was once again left alone. Alone with a purpose.

The traffic horns faded away. The streetlights paled and flickered from existence. The cold of the air that numbed her flesh faded away. She could feel that she was gone, but not… gone. She felt the pain in her chest roar anew as she sat up from her chair. The lights were now a dim twilight, and she could only imagine the sound of the cars she saw roaming the street, blurring together as if they didn’t know what place in time they should be in.

She felt a clear influx of all of her failures slam against her head, haunting her just as much as they ever had, perhaps even more so now. It took her quite a long time to notice the black robed hand that was extended before her, but Death was patient.

When she finally looked up with surprise, she saw him there, hand extended and boney face exposed under rolling waves of liquid black robes. The expression on his face showed a sympathy she had not seen so genuinely in her life. Smokey streams fell from his sockets as she grasped his hand and found herself wrapped in a truly loving, if not rigid, embrace. His robes warmed her like blankets in the snow. Though he could not speak, she could feel his heart, and he could feel hers. The message was clear.

You are not alone.

Death has always cried for us.


© Copyright 2020 Austin Stephens. All rights reserved.

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