Life and Death

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

A Story about Life and Death in the theme of the old myths.

Life and Death

Long before the great cities of humanity doted the land and the Gods watched over forces of the world, there was only the land, sea, air, and Life.  Life was a lovely matron, always young and beautiful with golden hair and greenish yellow complexion.  She is translucent like the wind. A vaporous being never tied down to any one place or another floating on and on.

One day Life got lonely.  She looked out at the barren world and wondered if she could fill it with creatures who could keep her company.Deciding to do this, she made a beautiful creature to float on the wind like her.  From her airy body sprang a beautiful butterfly.  Its colors were vibrant and plentiful and filled the air with so much joy. Its light weight carried it aloft on its wings and it began to fly beside Life.  It joyously hopped on the wind and she saw with every flap of its wings its colors seemed to multiply.  Life laughed in joy as her new friend came to her side. They both flew along exploring the world together.

Then Life felt something.  The butterfly seemed weaker and less light then before.  She saw its colors decay and its body weaken.  It was in tremendous pain and she did not know how to stop it.  She could feel all the pain it could for it sprang from her being.  She took it in her hands and comforted it.  Together they would ride out whatever had come over her friend.  When all seemed lost, the pain she felt from her friend stopped. Life was overjoyed that it was over for her friend but when she looked down at her friend she saw it limp.  She could not understand what had happened to her friend?  Why could it no longer float on the wind or show its beautiful colors.  It responded to nothing and seem to no long be there despite its body sitting on her lap.  The butterfly did not seem like it was ever coming back from what had overwhelmed it.  Life then mourned her friend and looked on to the future.

She endeavored to create something stationary this time. It must have been the separation from the land that had ended the butterfly.  The land must give her creature something to stand on and give it a foundation.  She took some of her essence and placed it on the ground.  From the ground sprang a beautiful flower. Its petals reached out towards the sun with all the colors of the rainbow.  She felt joy from this sight.  It may not float on the wind like her but it was still a beautiful creature. 

But in the end, it too wilted and decayed as time went on.Just as before when the pain became so great it all ended and there was no more flower.  This time, as Life mourned another friend, she noticed something.  The moment the flower ceased to be with her, she saw a mysterious force acted on it.  It was only the smallest glint, a speak, but what followed was nothing.  What could have done this and what did it do?

Life endeavored to understand why her creatures where decaying, so she began to create all the living things that populate the world. “Perhaps in the sea my creatures can survive”, she thought. No, they couldn’t.  “Maybe the sturdy tree could withstand the ravages of whatever was affecting them.”  No, it can’t.  “Perhaps if it could run fast it could escape its fate.”  No.

Life wept at her failure.  All her creations would decay and the pain would become overwhelming then suddenly it all would end.  So, she created a creature who could think and only think, a human.  It was told that all it could do was ponder its own fate.  Its only purpose was to find out why it was decaying and find a way to stop it. 

The human searched the world for an answer.  It searched the hills and mountains.  It went to the bottom of the ocean and searched there.  The human went everywhere and looked at everything.  When the human returned to Life, it was old and grey.  Life asked what it had found.  “Death”, was all the human could say and then it toppled over and was no more.  It journey had ended but it had found who was causing Life’s problems.  Life mourned the human and placed it in the ground so it could finally rest there.

Life had to find who ever this Death was and confront him on his actions towards her creations.  First, she had to find where Death was.  She followed the path the human searched.  She went to the peaks and valleys were the human travelled.  Towards the end of the journey just as Life was growing weary and ready to give up she stumbled on to a black cave.  It was in a rocky outcropping where no creature seemed to want to make their home.  The cave opening was 10 meters high with columns on either side.

Life tentatively entered the cave and was swallowed by darkness.  Just then a she saw a dim candlelight off in the distance and walked towards it.  She now could see that she was in a massive library.  Row after row of bookshelves filled to the brim seemed to go on forever. Life was bemused by the sight of the endless library.  “What could these books contain?”, she thought.  She went to the book numbered 1 on the first shelf on the first bookcase and opened it.  The pages contained the details of the butterfly from its creation to its untimely demise.  Life was shocked by the cold nature of the book as it documented ever detail with no regard for the creature’s time here or how it suffered.  It was only numbers, diagrams, and a indifferent notation on how it suffered.  She now knew that whoever Death was she had to stop him.

She ventured deeper and deeper into the library until she found its center.  At the center was a raised marble platform with a wooden table on it.  Strewn all across it was papers with frantic scribbling of notations and diagrams on the many creatures Life had created.  Standing at the table was a wrinkly, old man.  He was gaunt and crouched over with a curved back.  He was wearing a black rode with a hood over his head.  His skin was grey like stone and walked with a clear, painful limp.

Life called out to him, “Who are you and why do you bring pain and suffering to my creatures?”  The old man turned to look at the airy matron and winced in pain as he turned.  He seemed disgusted by what he saw and with contempt in his voice he said, “Why don’t you just leave”.  He turned his back to her and continued his work.  “You are ending my creatures lives and for what? A library!”, Life cried out.  “Do you have any compassion for them at all?”  Death keep his back to Life and continued to ignore her throughout her interrogation.  Life finally had enough with Death and screamed out at him, “You’re a Monster!”  Death suddenly turned to face Life, she could see in eyes there was an unbelievable amount of anger there.  Fuming with anger he screamed back at her, “Monster!? Look at what you have done to them!  Go and ask them what life is like for them then we’ll see who is the real monster!”  Life was socked and disgusted by what Death was saying.  There was clearly no talking to this disgusting man and she left that dark and gloomy cave for what she thought would be the last time.

Everything that Life tried had accomplished nothing.  Her creatures kept decaying and dying despite all she had tried.  One day a human noticed Life crying on a hill under a sick and dying oak tree.  Its branches were bare and its bark was a sickly pale.  Life was weeping for her dying creation unable to help it.  “Mother Life?”, the human asked.  “Why do you weep for us?”.  “I can’t stop you from dying”, she answered.  “I have failed to give you a permanent and painless life, only a temporary one.”  “But life is not the end for us, Mother Life”, the human responded with a calming voice.  “Us humans, we can write down our thoughts and they will live on well past our bodies.”  Life was confused, how did the humans learn to write?  She had never taught them that, so who else could have help the humans?  She asked the human who had taught them this.  “Why Death did?”, the human answered.  “He told us it was so we could escape our fates.”

Life was shocked, why would Death help the humans?  He caused their pain and decay and ended their lives.  She asked the human if Death gave a reason for his help.  “He said he doesn’t cause the pain and decay.  That he wants to stop it.  He said that he ends our lives so we can stop feeling all the pain.”

Could Life have been wrong?  Could Death have been trying to help her creatures?  She had to get back to the cave and find the answers. 

The library seemed to have grown since she had left.  More books on more bookshelves.  “What was Death doing?”, she thought.  When she found Death, he seemed paler and older than before.  His limb had grown worse and he now had coughing fits that never stopped.  He was crouched over his table and was out of breath.  He painfully turned his head towards Life and with a scowl on his face he cried out, “Why did you comeback?”  His voice had grown weaker but the anger was still there.  Life asked the question, “Why did you teach the humans to write?  Why help them if you will only kill them?”  Death grunted and turned back to his work.  Life needed to know so she persisted.  “Why?”, she asked.  Why? Why? Why?

Finally, in a fit of rage Death turned to face Life and with a rage filled voice he cried out, “So they could escape the fate you gave them!”  Life was through back by this, what was he talking about?  “You think you can make a permanent creature! Look at you! You’re not even permanent yourself!  So, they decay, they disappear into pain and suffering. I can’t let that happen!”  Death fell to the floor with tears in his eyes.  He was breathing heavier now and seem to become lost in his thoughts.  “I can’t let them suffer”, he said softly.  Life came to his side and placed her hand on his arm.  It was icy cold and as rough as any stone.  “I have to stop it”, he said to himself.  “If I take their pain, if I take their life, they won’t suffer.  If I just find a way to stop this, they won’t suffer.

Life could now see the love he had for the creatures.  He stop their pain the only way he could, by absorbing their being so they were no more.  She leaned in and kissed him.  Life grew paler and more solid from the kiss.  Death grew younger and softer.  From the kiss sprang a little wasp.  Its name was Love.  A fierce little creature that will protect what it has with a jealous vigor.  If stung by it you will feel its sharp pain but then numbed by it.

So that was how Life and death found each other and fell in love with each other.  Life made Death softer and more welcoming.  Death made Life more permanent and gave her purpose.  Together they look after their creature, dreaming someday to end their pain.

Submitted: April 04, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Samuel Reifel. All rights reserved.

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