A very short story...Death gives a gift to an unwitting man...
|He stood now, at the edge of the old wood, wrapped up tight in thick wool, with the passing of day came the creeping of the cold, wicked night. There he came to beg death to take his life, cut short an eternity.
A thousand years had passed since a young man stood in bleak solitude staring through the thickening dark, ears deafened by the sharp, hollow silence. Eyes travelling ahead through the tangling mess of branches – limbs of the wood. Against the blackness something darker moved that night. It seemed as though shapeless, but made like a man, fluid as the wind as it weaves its way through the creeks and crevices of the earth. He had heard tales of those that stalked the land from dessert to ocean, endlessly searching for death, the pale figure perched astride the pinnacle of life, watching all – with poised claws. They said with crazy eyes and matted beards “If death is a man, then he can be fooled like others of his ilk...if death is a shadow then we may drown him in light, so we may never feel his icy, solemn judgement”. Death caught these wanderers before they looked upon his form, forever one step ahead, forever they would search the shady corners of humanity hoping for immortality.
It was that one night, a single droplet of water in the immeasurable ocean of time that his soul was spared. He knew now that what he had witnessed was the awakening of death himself, the calling of the grim reaper. That twisted, ancient woodland was where he had been spared fate and beheld the ageless creature, a sinister thing of trickery and malevolence. His feet had lead him forward over dry, cracking arms of oak, and hazel towards the source of his eerie vision. A clearing, seemingly carved out, as if by a horrendous physical force, yet with a natural birth; like that of fire – there was no smoke. In the gloom his could see the silhouettes of animals sprawled lifeless around him. He had arrived – the one the bears the eyes of destiny; the purveyor of all that is deceased and ever will be. Stood in a central position – a man with sunken eyes and ghostly skin; he was aware of a sickly breeze that had sprung up, tickling the leaves that still remained clasped to a changing season, a dry, rasping cacophony sounded out. His heart no longer knew how to keep time, and started convulsing as if drowning in a lack of blood. His soul was sinking into the deep. Death would not claim him though and spoke forth those haunting words “men seek to deceive me, because I am the deceiver, always they hope to cheat death. They do not know that life must have an end, and only in the corridors of the passing can they know they have been truly alive. So, ceaselessly will you live, and finally will you know what it is to stand forever against the deluge of time” his voice hissed, like air pierced from the lungs of vitality itself. So it was; that he have what no other man could ever attain, immortality.
As he thought of his unnaturally long life he wept. A millennia had come and gone, and he was alone with his back to world “Death, take my pain!” he gurgled and choked “I have no use for life, I am sore from living all these years!” However, Death would not show, for he is a creature of immense trickery and an instrument of stealthy occupation. The following hours of night-time were to seem bleaker than the space between the stars. The old wood groaned around him.