In some cases, being able to die may actually be a good thing.
|A Story about Eternal Life
Once the world was full of light--it wasn't intrusive, just a bright, white light. It was during a time when the Earth was just beginning to cry, and saw no need to close her eyes. Darkness and shade sleep and dreams did not exist. It was a world where everything and everyone lived forever--and their surroundings were beautiful, the world bathed in an almost magical glow.
Nothing would ever die, because of that bright light.
Soon the world was full of old people and young people and the middle-aged alike. Everyone fought for food and space. But most of all, they wanted a way to escape the light. To them the light was sadistic, oppressive, and evil. It beat down upon their burnt faces, their skin prickled with sweat and discomfort. They needed to hide from the light.
In an attempt to shield themselves from the light, people stacked the old ones (still alive) together to make boxes. Inside those people-houses they learned that there could be some way to escape the light, although the sweat of the old ones permeated their nostrils—and so crude shade was born. Life continued until a lone woman who couldn’t take it anymore decided to travel as far as possible--to the most secluded mountains. She never looked back. Deep in the heart of the loneliest mountains, she met the essence of nothingness. The human personification of nothingness, the Void, and she had the Void’s children.
Three out of the four children had gifts. One had the power of darkness, another the power of silence and the third the power of sleep. The last child had nothing at all, a perfectly normal child.
The children helped their mother. They all lived separately, as was proper for the children of the Void. The only time the children were together was when they visited their mother.
The eldest was the Child of Darkness. He made the light disappear from their region of the mountain, but their mother could still hear.
Second was the Child of Silence. He shut out the sounds of despair and suffering she had heard her whole life, but it was not enough, their mother cried.
The third was the Child of Sleep. He touched her face and granted her wish--to escape the world--but their mother was haunted by her memories of the world she wished so badly to leave behind.
But these were the only gifts that the Void had given them, the three children sighed. Nothing more, and nothing less. The fourth child, who had no power of his own, started to wonder.
"How could I help you, mother?" He was the one who visited her the most; he was the one that loved her best. His thoughts wandered as he was seated on a small corner of his mother's bed. Just then, a small seed started to germinate in the rich soil of his mind.
After many hours, the normal child was satisfied with his plan, and was determined to put it to action as soon as possible.
One day, the normal child visited the second-eldest brother, who lived in the mountains of the north. He asked to be taught the gift of silence. The second eldest child looked at his youngest brother and asked,
The youngest child replied, "Brother, I ask to be taught so that I could help mother in your place. The noise must bother you so."
"It does. The sounds of the world down below…my ears have bled…very well."
After he was taught, the normal child locked his brother in a cave and silenced his screaming and thought,
"Goodbye, my brother."
Then the child went down from the mountains, down to the world that his mother left, and saw all that was there. Unblemished beauty eaten, the cattle bellowed, bite-marks upon their bodies. They nursed their calves in vain. It was a sad sight, the normal child felt, to see a calf suckle from blood-stained milk.
The entire place reeked with people, plants and animals. Some were ill, some had grown apathetic to their situation, and all were suffering. The flowers that strived to bloom did not wither, the fruit continued to ripen on the bough until it was plucked or another ripening fruit pushed it away and onto the ground, but mostly it fell onto an unsuspecting person, who would shout.
Raising his small hand, the child silenced the world's complaints, the cries, the screaming and walks back up the mountain. He sensed their confusion, gripping their throats. They must have wondered where their voices went. They resorted to grabbing pieces of wood and drew on the soil, the sand, even on the trees themselves to communicate. But still the light burned their pink, moist eyes. The child saw a bunch of people hunched down, scribbling on the ground.
He stood there, and never noticed when an angel swooped down and drew her sword. “You must be killed! Abomination!” It was against the Natural Order of things, the angel explained to the child. Even the Void’s children had to abide by the Rules.
But the boy shook his head. Until he helped mother, the Rules didn’t matter. The boy waved his arm and the angel lost her voice; he remained undetected. He escaped towards the mountains facing the south, and asked the Child of Darkness to teach him.
The Child of Darkness was a grumpy boy and hated the light, hissing as the youngest brother entered. He grabbed his gray cloak (for it was the same color as his heart) and sealed up the entrance to his mountain. The Child of Darkness looked at the normal child’s palms. Fragments of light stuck fast, and the normal child glowed. "Quickly, before you spread the light! What do you want?"
The youngest child replied, "Brother, I ask to be taught so that I could help mother in your place. The light has pierced through your gray cloak."
"Since our mother can no longer see it is of no consequence to me to teach you. Fine. Take my place."
When the normal child was taught the power of darkness, the child slit his brother’s throat. Before his brother awoke (because of course, nothing would ever die) he dragged his brother far from his home and threw the gray cloak over his brother’s body. He never noticed that his fingers had dyed his brother’s blood black, and this gave the darkness its’ terrible shade.
"No more. No more. Dear brother, you’ve travelled far enough. No more. No more."
He left his brother’s body covered in the newly-dyed, black cloak and journeyed down, back to the world. Bent down, he grasped the soil with his fingertips and the people were astonished. There were black shapes on the ground, on the sand that looked like them—but were not them. Shadows were born, and the shadows leapt and mixed with the sky, until the brightness of the light grew dull and dreary. Tears slid down their eyes. Finally, the world had less light. Without this distraction the people fought amongst themselves for remaining space, for many women still had children.
Once more the angel was a solemn witness. Her skin crawled when she saw what he had done—shadowed all that was bright! How could they appreciate the loveliness of what the Natural Order had made? Her sword barely grazed his black tunic – the child had covered himself in darkness and slipped away.
Once more the child journeyed to the secluded mountains in the West and gently stirred the Child of Sleep from his slumber.
"Nnnh? C-c-can't yyooouuu seeee I'm...I was...slee...sleeping...? Wwwhhhyyy waaaake meee uppp? Mmmoorpheooouus and I had a greaaat dream...What do you want...?" He hugged an old stuffed bear as he slowly got up from bed.
The youngest child replied, "Brother, I ask to be taught so that I could help mother in your place. Being stirred from sleep…"
The Child of Sleep interrupted the normal child with a great yawn. "Aaaaaaaa...all right. I shall...teach...y...you..."
Once taught the child touched his brother and kept the Child of Sleep in eternal slumber. When he tried to take the old stuffed bear Morpheus, the third brother's grip was too strong and the bear ripped apart, and golden dust scattered upon the normal child’s black tunic.
A third time the boy travelled down the mountain and yawned; the world covered in sleep. The golden dust on his clothes scattered and dreams were born.
"Mother...was this what you wanted?"
But deep inside him knew that his mother craved for something bigger, something that none of his brothers had.
Despite his uneasy heart, the boy relaxed for a fraction of a second and the angel struck and slashed his arm so that he would not forget all that he had committed against the Natural Order of things. The arm recoiled and brushed against the angel's face and down went her form onto the ground, fast asleep. The child took his chance and travelled up the mountain once more, but back home to see his father, the Void. The Void knew what his son had done.
The Void stretched out a transparent hand and touched the boy’s head. The three gifts—darkness, silence and sleep—combined into one. This was the boy’s own gift -- the power to extinguish life. The boy called it Death and thanked his father. After much time he finally had a name, and a gift that was all his own. A smile graced his face and his demeanor changed as he visited his mother, who moaned, tossed and turned. He grasped his mother’s hand until she had calmed down, kissed her cheek and gave her the sweet release she had always wanted.
Confident with this final power, the child faced the angel with all his gifts, bested the angel and chained her to his own life--and she became his undead servant. She rose, the sword replaced with a scythe and her white dress tattered and torn, colored with the child's own fingers.
She and the Child of Death journeyed until they reached the world, where every living thing slept. The Child grasped his undead servant's scythe and together they swung--the scythe whistled and the tip landed gently on the ground.
Each living creature had died. Together, the undead servant and the boy travelled and granted the world death.