Saturday, December 6, 2014

[Short Story] The Kind Death

As you may or may not know, Death is not bound to one incarnation.
No, the orchestrator of life, the book keeper of passing, the severer or strings… It’s a job that more than one soul has had the honor, or burden, to enforce.

And as we are infinitely unique, it was only a matter of time when the cloak of Fate’s Enforcer fell on the shoulders of a more… compassionate soul.
There was a time when Death seemingly had patience for the hopes and dreams of one who was soon to be deceased. First acting from the shadows so the good souls could achieve their dream, to appearing in front of them without shame or bravado.

But none more exemplary was the day this Death decided a simple farmer was to be granted a final wish.

“Oh, my good sir, all I could want for was some help to bring home these crops of mine. With it, we could last through this Winter, and my son will be of age next year to do this work as I have taught him over the years. Surely he could provide for my family in the wake of my passing.”

Of course, Death was sympathetic. But having no slaves nor servants, there was none to command to help this poor farmer. And when Death touched a crop, it would die instantly. That is how the powers function.

The farmer had an idea. “What if you would turn yourself human, just for a little while? Maybe my crops won’t die at your touch, and you can help me yourself?”

Amazed by this ingenuity, the Reaper of Souls turned itself into a mere man. Moderately strong, fit, maybe even good-looking. A young man fit enough to work the field for an entire day and barely feel tired.

And so, together, they worked the field. Death could barely remember the days of being made of flesh, being forced to do manual labor. It was hard, but refreshing.

Before long, the sun was setting, and the last bale of hay was to be brought to the barn. “Two more left, let’s carry these together.” the farmer happily said. The Reaper felt good about itself. That such a hard working man could want for something so simple.

Truly a man like this was the reason why a sympathetic Death was justified.

Huffing and puffing was heard aloud when the two moved the last hay bales. The farmer had arrived first, and had already started to speak “I am quite thankful for your help. I know t’was an unusual request, but with this done, I feel…”
The last hay bale was placed down.

Death turned around, but before doing so, a sharp pain was felt from behind.
Prongs would emerge from the abdomen, and an alarming feeling that arrived only too late.

“I am sorry, dear Death, but I can not just simply leave my Family behind. And neither am I ready to leave this life behind.”

Death had been tricked. Fooled into a weaker state of being. The farmer used the embedded pitchfork to turn the weakened body around, and looked Death in the eyes. Farmer’s knife in hand, he spoke the final words.

“I hope you may find it in your heart to forgive me, but I’d rather have you die in my stead.”

A final plunge heralded the end of the kind Death.
Who became the next Death, and how, was a mystery.

But what is known, is that after that fateful day…
One of the fiercest plagues would haunt humankind.
The Black Death had emerged to hold civilization in it’s vicious grip.

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