Fatal Friend

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Death wanders into Earth, silently observing humans out of curiosity. Writing down what was most memorable to it and what it learned of us, leaving behind a trail of death and receiving unexpected hospitality.

It has been one “year” since I decided to wander the Earth. I am the manifestation of the force of death. It is that which has an effect on all things living within the universe. It is what I am, it is what I was created to do, but I cannot say exactly why. All that lives, must die. All that exists aware of its life, will eventually perish. A force of life-ending, but Time is also on my side. Time is but another face I wear, one that fools the living into believing life is eternal, or scares them to the reality of how short it really is.

Faceless as I am now, I wander. First, I decided to show myself out of mere curiosity. I have always been here, since the first stars existed, but never have I interacted with any living being directly. Until now, that is. It began when tensions were at an all-time high in this planet, and the humans were on the brink of what they call a “world war”. Such a silly name. “World war”, so grandiose, so self-important. Part of me manifested because I wanted to see their faces react to my existence in their physical world. My face is rotted, half-skeletal and with pure white eyes. My body is practically all bones, what little skin I have is dark-gray but this was done on purpose. For some reason, the humans always utilize their own skeletal structure to represent the force of Death. I cannot understand why they do that, but I decided to at least use that disguise to let them know exactly what I am.

Black cloak and all, I wandered the crowded streets of the largest cities after descending from the sky, accompanied by large rays of light. A spectacle of an entrance to let everyone know, so it can all begin as quickly as possible. Large crowds slowly began to move away from me, as they naturally understood what I was. Some attempted to “shoot” me, with strange instruments designed to eject a projectile at quick speeds. This is the weapon humans use to efficiently end life. Quite a marvelous design. Only they could invent such a magnificent piece of technology, as not even I would have thought of that. Not that I need such a thing, of course. I decided to restrict my force in order to make things fair. The rules are as follows: I will not physically engage unless someone starts it first. By merely touching someone or making eye contact, they can die. Talking to people is one of the things I wanted to do, but I cannot directly tell them what I am. Strange as it may sound, a lot of them were very friendly to me. There was also a group that worshiped me, calling themselves the Death Cult. Silly young kids playing at being experts in the occult. The very old humans were the ones that showed courage in my presence. Often times they’d say things like “Well if it’s my time to go, then it’s my time to go, let’s get out of here then!”. I had to explain to old Beatrice during my walks that no, today was not her day. Smart old lady, never touched me or looked at me directly in the eyes. Her body was old and close to perishing, but her mind was sharp. Very impressive, saw many like her.

“Soldiers”, as they call them, often attempted to hunt me down. These “bullets”, they did nothing to me. I exist physically, but I’m only half here, after all. Even then, whatever they destroyed of me simply came back. Sometimes, when I took some empty roads on the countryside, they would use “bombs” against me. They took entire chunks of beautiful land and burned it away just to try and get rid of me. How rude. Wasteful. They grew frustrated at my semi-pacifist existence and the inability to hurt me. In the large cities, I saw the worst of what humanity had to offer. Criminals ranging from murderers and swindlers, con artists and straight up liars in suits. I observed many of them, even when they ran from me. I confess, I took their lives. There was no point to their living, no true purpose to their continued existence. It was if they mocked me by bringing death by their own hand, as if they controlled life. Foolish, insulting, arrogant. Many cheered when I did that, but others grew terrified of my presence. And so for one year I randomly appeared in different parts of the world.

I walked right into the “White House”, getting its name because it’s white, and it’s a large building that acts as a house for some kind of political leader? These names and their origins are very direct, I am not a fan of them I must say. I may have accidentally killed two, or maybe it was three of these “presidents” and their replacements when we talked. They looked right at me. I don’t know why, but most of these people tried to lie to me. Not just the leaders, but their helpers and followers, as if their lies would change my mind, as if their politics and systems meant anything. Very one-track mind, not much to their lives other than using more elaborate cons, like those used by city criminals. I also wondered why so many of these leaders and followers were needed.

Seemed to me that very few humans were worth conversing with. Eventually I did meet with Steven, a blind boy with a passion for music. He is thirteen “years” alive, and I secretly told him that he was going to have a lifespan of about ninety-five “years”, as they call them. It’s strange how they measure time. He was very happy to hear that, eerie as some may find it. I admit this young boy made me feel happy with his reaction to the news of his lifespan. His response was “Whoa, I have ALL that time to hear and play music? That’s great!”. Such a wonderful response, and a great way to see it. The end of life, you see, is not a true permanent end. But that conversation is for another time, perhaps.

In my one year of travelling, I took four million human lives. A lot of those were through physical contact. Some tried to eliminate me, others accidentally touched me and others simply told me they wanted to die, and respectfully asked if they could either touch me or look into my eyes. Those willingly seeking death often held vast amounts of sorrow in their hearts, but they were not scared of me. It takes a different kind of courage to do that, one that is only understood by me and them, no one else. Many of those explained to me their circumstances. All I could do for them is listen, and they thanked me for it. A very specific kind of sadness settled in me. How does one find peace by having Death listen? How alone were they that only Death itself was willing to listen to them? I thought about this a lot, and never came close to understanding how alone they truly are. But perhaps it’s something I will never understand, and it’s one of those deeper, more meaningful human experiences. I never told them what I was, and I never told them what comes after death.

From here, it looks like humanity is always playing with death. In some ways, they are all part of that Death Cult. They always try to worship life and death equally, but always fall into enough conflict that it changes their mind to only follow certain death. Everything they say, believe or do is often to delay their own inevitable end. Their technology, entertainment, gatherings and systems are all designed to accelerate or delay the process of death. This constant playful dance between life and death had an old word in one of their forgotten languages. “Fatalilia”.

It has, all in all, been a rather odd experience. Some towns called me one of their own, welcoming back the very force of death they all fear and calling it a “friend”. Using human measurements of time, I changed locations every hour, always to a different place. In my final moments there, I found myself returning to some of these “friends”. Old Beatrice and her family always had a smile on their faces, and careful as they were around me, they never saw me as a threat even when being Death itself. They treated me merely as just another friend. A peculiar, slightly more dangerous than normal friend. Steven eventually began to take very serious music lessons, and his parents told me all about it. I found it bizarre that by merely listening and responding with interest made the humans forget what I was.

Despite most of the species being violent and power hungry, there were always those few thousands willing to live life in peace, divorcing themselves from the struggles of power and the cycles of violence. Those that simply lived life with a “come what may” attitude, never blaming anyone else for their troubles and always uplifting their own spirits. There was something very admirable about that. Even when facing death, often times literally, they were humble and simplistic in their way of speaking. Many of their churches asked me if “God” was real. I could not answer even if I wanted to, as I do not understand the concept of their “God”. A powerful deity that created all is just not something that exists in the way that they imagine, nor is that the truth behind the universe or its forces. Still, I felt myself become more like them whenever I engaged in conversation.

My existence became “normal” to them, just an apparition that held death within it. Many thought I was there to end the world, others said I was there to punish evil. The way their minds twist and turn truth and information was fascinating. I feel as though I disturbed the balance of their usual day to day living, and greatly affected the decision making of their leaders. This was not my intention, but it will bring to them a better future, or perhaps a worse one. I cannot tell. My time here has been interesting to say the least. I did many interviews for television. Of course this was only after the first few incidents in which viewers at home died, when the crew discovered that people could die even if they see my eyes through their televisions or other devices. I did not know I could do that. Needless to say, the crews adjusted their equipment and recording angles accordingly. I was later told that thousand died, but not millions. Many humans were too scared to see me even through their devices, so they only listened to my segments instead. Clever, good for them.

For some inexplicable reason, I decided to bid farewell to my “friends”, those I came to listen to on a rather regular basis. I took precautions so I wouldn’t say things like “I’ll see you soon”. That would leave a dark tone behind, when my intentions are not to threaten.

I am not a being of good, but I am also not an agent of evil. I merely exist to end all things that are alive. A neutral force designed to balance existence in all its forms. But even then, being what I am, I hope my friends are okay, and that they take care of one another.

Submitted: June 06, 2020

© Copyright 2023 Dave Davidson. All rights reserved.

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