Death's Mercy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
We all know Death as a scary and evil being with no mercy. In my mind he is nothing like that. This is the story when Death shows mercy.

A murderer lives in exile, outside of the city. He is rejected and nobody likes him. And his time has come. Death arrives and is going to take him away, but the murderer still wants to live. Death gives him three tests to find out does he deserve to live.

Submitted: October 13, 2013

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Submitted: October 13, 2013

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Death's Mercy

 

That night he dreamed again. It was not a happy dream. It was that same nightmare. He held a dagger in his right hand and a bottle of ale in the left. He walked to the house and opened the door. "You're home already?" he heard a woman's voice. "Yeah", he said silently and then took a sip of the ale. He dropped the bottle and it broke into tiny splinters. The woman ran to him. She looked so worried, that made him so angry. The woman saw the dagger in his hand. "What are you going to do with that?" she said and took a few steps back. "Don't you know", answered and squeezed the daggers handle harder, so hard that it hurt him. "You bitch!" He took a hard hold of her hand and pulled the dagger back and... He woke up.

The man just sat on his bed for a moment. He was covered in cold sweat and he was feeling ill. His breath was heavy and his mind was blank. After sitting there a long moment his mind started functioning the way it should again, and he said: "She was asking for it..." Then he stood up and walked to his wardrobe. He took out his usual clothes, leather shirt and trousers, and he put them on. He looked at each corner of the room. He felt lonely, for the first time of is exile. He had lived outside the city for 10 years already. He left right after his wife died. He was the one blamed. He had denied, but every single one knew. He tried to kill his feelings, a trick he had taught himself after his wifes death. 

In the end of the day, he was cutting down trees in the royal forest. It was a crime, but he didn't care about the law, the King is a miserable person. He needed some wood to heat up his house and that wretched man would not stand on his way. He was walking home with a big bag of wood and it was getting dark. He was grumpy. He had found almost no good wood at all, only one nice tree to chop down, without being noticed. It was already pretty dark and he could see only few feet forward, from where he was standing. 

"What a miserable day..." he thought by himself and he was feeling more tired on every step. He walked on the road right next to the forest. All of a sudden he heard a crunch in the forest. He stopped and turned his head to that direction. He just stood there listening, and waiting. "Probably nothing", he thought and moved on. As he walked, he took a look behind and saw a little glimpse of a silhouette in the woods. It was a silhouette of a tall man, dressed in some sort of cloak. At least that's what the man thought it was. "Who is it?" he yelled into the dark. But the silhouette was already gone. "Don't play games with me!" he screamed and started walking away. 

"I don't play games", a dark, creepy voice whispered into the man's ear. The man fell down to the ground. He dropped the bag and all the wood scattered all around the road. "Don't be afraid of me", the voice said. "I'm just doing my job." The man stood up and started running along the road. He didn't care for the wood, he'd live in a cold house, if he only gets away from that... thing. "Don't run away from me", the voice whispered and the man stumbled and fell down. As he lift his head he saw two legs of a skelton standing right in front of him. He was shaking, all the way from his toes to the tip of his longest hair. He stood up and he saw a skeleton who was dressed in a black long cloak right in front of him. He was holding an old scythe. The man just kept staring at the scythe, and the fingers of bone holding it. He couldn't speak. Not a word. "I'm sorry", Death said and paused for a moment. "It's your time.

"No!" the man yelled and tried to turn away, but Death grabbed his hand and he couldn't get away. "Let me go!" the man screamed and hit Death's hand few times. The grip was firm and he wasn't able to get away. "Don't try to run", Death said and pulled the man closer to him. "But I don't want to die!" the man yelled straight at Death's face. "I'm sorry", Death whispered and somehow his skull looked sad. "No! I'll do anything! Anything" the man screamed. "Anything?" Death asked and eased his firm grip a little. "Yes! Anything!" the man said and smiled a little. He had fought so hard to stay alive for too long, so he had chosen to survive, no matter what. "I'll grant before you three tests", Death said, and his voice sounded to be cheering up a little. "If you pass them all, you will be allowed to live."

Death vanished into the shadows and the man was left alone. Was he going mad, had he finally lost his mind? Death? No way, he doesn't even exist. He decided not to believe all that and started walking onwards. He forgot the wood. After walking a while he noticed something weird. He was sure he had come the right way, but he had no idea where he was. He kept walking, until the road ended. There was a huge wall of bushes in front of him. Right in front of him stood a great gate. "This is your first test", he heard the voice say. "So you're real", he said and closed his eyes. "Yes I am", the voice answered. Death appeared from the shadows. He was standing rigth next to the gate. The man lifted his head and opened his eyes. "You must walk through the maze and face what's inside", Death said. "Okay", the man answered and walked to the great wooden gate. He opened the gate and walked inside.

Bushed on the left, and bushes on the right. All the man could see was dark green and filled with dead roses and other dead flowers. The way was open straight forward, and not only a little, it was open through the whole maze. "This doesn't make any sense Death!" he yelled to the air. "It's too easy!" There was no answer and then he started walking. There were open turns on the sides of the path. At first those little paths were empty, all of them. But then the man heard a child cry. He ran to the turn where he had heard that cry. There was a little boy, all alone in there. The man walked up to him. "What are you doing here?" he asked, but the little kid didn't answer. "Johnny!" yelled a man somewhere close. The child ran away. The man ran after the kid and saw the kid facing a big, hairy man with an axe. Death appeared next to the man. "Don't interrupt, or you'll fail the test", Death said and pointed at the big man. "Now I found you Johnny!" The man said angrily. He grinned and lifted the axe high into the air. The child didn't move an inch. The other man wanted to interrupt and he was gonna yell, put Death laid his finger on his lips. "If you interrupt, I'll take you away." The man watched the big man hit the child multiple times. A tear streamed down his face and fell to the ground. Finally it ended. The child rested in a pool of blood. The big man walked away. "Move on", Death said. 

He started moving on. He saw another opening in the path, on his right hand side. In there was a bed, and on the bed was lying an old woman. He walked up to her and she looked very ill. She was dying, and he knew it. "End her life", Death whispered into his ear. The old lady woke up, she took fright as he saw the man. Death put a dagger into the man's hand. He lifted the dagger. "Please don't kill me!" the old woman cried. "I still want to live!" The man's hand was shaking and he was about to drop the dagger, but suddenly Death squeezed the man's fist and the dagger stayed in the man's hand. "End her", Death whispered. The man cut the woman's throat. "I'm sorry", he said. She lied dead. and the dagger disappeared and so did Death. 

He went back to the mainpath. He walked to the door ignoring all the other people dying, crying, killing and suffering in the other paths. He walked to the gate in the end and opened it. He was out, and day had come. Death was out there waiting for him. "You have passed the first test", he said quietly. "The second test awaits you", he continued and pointed into a great house on his right. Well, it wasn't just a house, it was the royal castle. But it looked empty. "Enter the castle, walk into the throne room and I will tell you more there", Death told him and he started moving towards the house without saying a word to Death who just vanished once again.

The man made his way to the castle's gate. It was open and he could just walk in. The whole castle was empty. Not a single soul had entered the chambers. The man walked in the empty chambers. It was clean everywhere, everything had been put into the place where it belongs to. And not a single locked door. He made his way to the throne room's door. He opened the door. The room empty, except for the throne. Death stood right next to the throne and on the throne sat a young teenaged boy. The boy's head hanged low towards the ground and his well-treated hair was hanging low as well. "He's the prince", the man said to Death who then nodded. "Do I have to kill him?" the man asked from Death. "No", Death answered. "You've always said that the king was a miserable man", Death continued staring into the man's eyes. It felt like he would have looked straight into his soul. Well, maybe Death was. "Yes", the man said. He was frightened. Suddenly he heard that the young prince was crying. "Johnny", the prince was able to spit out from between the tears. The man looked at him. Wasn't Johnny the name of the boy who... Yes, it was, and he remembered it. He noticed that the prince was holding a paper. It was a picture of a little boy, named Johnny. "Why'd you have to do it daddy?" the prince asked from the air. 

The man fell down to the ground as he realised. The hairy man was the king, and Johnny was his younger son! "Why are you amazed", Death said. "Aren't you and the king the same?" The man stood up and he felt anger growing inside him. "No! I would never kill my own son!" He yelled at Death, who didn't react at all. "How was your wife different then?" Death said and was able to achieve a reaction he was waiting for. The man backed off. "I..." he tried to say. "I didn't do it." Death looked into his soul again. "Don't lie to me", Death said and that gave the man the biggest chills he had ever had. A tear dropped to the ground. It was the man's. First time ever he regretted what he did. But, then he killed his feelings. He felt nothing. "You passed the test", Death said and his voice sounded much more darker and angrier. 

The castle disappered around the man and he fell. He fell for a long time, but he didn't hit the ground. Suddenly he started slowing down. Then he stopped. He was right next to his home and he fell to the grass gently. Death was there. "It is time for your final test."

The man stood up. "What do I have to do?" he asked. But Death didn't answer. The man suddenly felt something cold in his hands. He was bearing a dagger and a bottle of ale. Tears came to his eyes. "Enter the house", Death said. "Repeat your deed. Kill her."

The man was standing inside his old house. "You're home already?" the man heard a woman's voice. He didn't want to do it... he didn't want to answer. "Yeah", he whispered. It wasn't him, it was Death. Death was talking with his voice. He couldn't talk by himself. Death made him take sip from the bottle. No, he decided that this will not happen. He fought it, he fought Death. He dropped the bottle. It broke into tiny splinters. The woman ran to him and she looked even more worried now than ten years ago. "What are you going to do with that?" she asked when she saw the dagger. She backed off a little. "Don't you know", Death whispered with the man's lips. The man fought back with all his might! "No!" he screamed and slashed the dagger towards Death. The house disappeared from around him and he was on the road where he met Death in the first place. He was alone. Was it all just a dream?  "You have passed all the three test", Death said. "You're allowed to live." The man didn't understand. He had failed the test. He didn't kill her. "But I failed", he said. "No you didn't", Death answered. "You could have been allowed to live on the first test." Death walked away and disappeared slowly. 

He was alive, but he wasn't happy. He still had done it, and he can't change the past. But he lived his life until the end of him days. When his time then came, after fourteen years, he left with Death kindly.

The end


© Copyright 2020 Jolle. All rights reserved.

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