Life & Death’s Bittersweet Heaven- Short Story
I sat down next to her. Her skin purple and radiant. Her hair shimmering of a thousand stars. She used to have the most amazing smile, that if I had a beating heart, im sure she would stop it. She used to be bubbly, and super happy. The world her canvas and she filled it full of color. Her eyes were full of wonder and eager to have her creations dance under the sun and moon.
Now though? Now, I look at her melancholy face. Her vibrant blue tears falling down her cheeks. No, I see how dull her colors have become. Almost as if I touched her and brought her to the other side. It seems as though life has become ill. I know what I must do, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it or if it’s even possible. Can she even come to the other side or is life stuck here? Forever in limbo?
“are you okay?” I know it is a stupid question but it must be asked anyway. I needed to hear her happy voice which I knew I was not going to receive.
“oh…hello…death.” she whispered her voice shaking.
Her body trembling. “im okay.” she looked at me with a half-hearted smile that looked like it hurt her to do. It pained me to see her like this. So lost. So broken. She’s never been like this. She always so strong and full of hope. “don’t do that.” I said woefully. “do what?” her fake grin still placed on her face.
“don’t hide from me. You know I can feel your emotions and thoughts. Even without my powers, I know you, and can tell when your not feeling yourself.” and her smile faded instantly and was replaced with such heavy sorrow. “life…whats wrong?” I tried to place my hand on hers like always when comforting her with a lost soul, but this time she flinched from it and moved her hand away. “ah…I see.” no point in beating around the bush I suppose.
“you’re afraid of death. ”
“I feel like it’s time…and…I don’t know if I can go.” she looked around the dead earth. No life could be found. Humanity had destroyed itself, and all creations that lived with them. Everything precious life had made, was gone and because of the wars, the nukes, the bombs, the radiations, life can never recreate ever again. I looked back over at her and payed closer attention to the details. Life was indeed sick and it was indeed time for her to go.
“life…I don’t even know if I can.” I admitted with dread in my voice. A silence fell over us both as we listened to the emptiness of the earth echo in pain. “you must…” she said at last. “but before you do..may we stay here a moment more?” how could I say no to her? When she’s trying to be so brave. I can see her fear and sense her terror at the thought of the afterlife. “of course, whatever you need.” I never thought it would be like this. Life has never been afraid of me. She always welcomed me with that warm happy smile. ‘Come to take care of one of my creations?’ she would ask and I would nod. ‘ I know they’ll be well-loved in your realm.’ and she’ll happily watch me take a soul from her world.
Never once did she fear me but now? All that’s changed.
She rested her body on the destroyed earth and had her head resting in my lap. “you’ve fought so hard. Done so much, and this is the end?” a twinge of anger in my voice. “there’s nothing else I can do death..” she started to sob. I didn’t even care that she started to soak my robes. “ I can’t even grow a flower.” she pleaded. “It’s all…gone. The oceans are so polluted they’re not blue anymore. The skies will never shine the sun again, The smog is so thick and the soil will never be clean again.” I ran my fingers through her hair as carefully as I could. Knowing that one wrong move and I might have life’s soul in my hands. “shhh life…rest easy now.” I soothed. As she focused on calming down I searched the earth one last time, making sure there was absolutely nothing else. I searched, even looking for the tiniest bug but there was nothing. She was right. All I saw was pain and destruction.
The earth and life, scarred forever.
She raised up her head and struggled to get up. “life?” I asked getting up off the ground too. “just one more look around. Then I’ll be ready.” she murmured. “ I want to be sure..there’s nothing.” my ash heart was stricken with pain. Seeing her trying to not give up was agony to watch. “life…It’s okay. You don’t have to fight so strongly anymore.” I whispered. She went to walk forward but her legs gave out and I caught her before she fell and eased her back onto the ground. Her upper body resting in my arms.
“no..” she whispered. “ I have to be sure. You know I can’t stay here…I can-” My brushed her face with my fingers and she didn’t flinch from it this time. I feel she has finally accepted what has to happen. “life..you’ve checked and so have I. There’s nothing out there, not anymore.” she took my boney fingers into her soft velvet hands and placed them up to her face. She looked at me in the most devastating way and her next words were the heaviest words I wished I’d never have to hear.
I turned my face away from her. Not wanting to see that look anymore. “I don’t know if I can.” she raised her body to where she was sitting in my lap and rested her head on my shoulders. “I know that whatever happens, you’ll be by my side. “ without hesitation I replied. “Forever and always.” she then smiled a genuine smile. “I love you death.” and I smiled back solemnly. “ I love you too Life.” she placed her lips on me and I wrapped my hands through her hair, pulling her body closer to mine. Allowing my powers to reach inside her and pull out her soul. I searched her entire being but…. there was no soul. I pulled away from her lips. “it didn’t work” she smiled half-heartedly. “no…It didn’t”. So This was it. There was no death for life. Here she and I will remain like this.
Frozen in time forever.
“death” she murmured. “go…” and I looked at her puzzled. Her face more serious now. “there’s nothing left for you here. Go to your land and spend time with my creations. Love them as I did.” and I threw her into a hug. Squeezing tightly. “no…I will remain by your side forever. I won’t leave you. You are the reason I am here.” she pulled out of the hug.
“but…what about-” I cut her off. “I won’t leave you.” and then an idea popped into my head. “Can you stand?” and she nodded slowly. Unsure if she actually could. So instead I picked her up and cradled her in my arms. “ I have an idea.” I allowed my darkness to flow from me, I knew what I wanted to do would take so much energy from me but for her, it was worth it. It wasn’t until life started coughing that I realized my darkness would make her condition worse. I used my power to pull up a stone chair.
The same chair I would sit in; In my realm.
“Stay here,” I told her and she nodded. Still puzzled by what I was planning. I conjured my syth, raised it high in the air, and with all my might, with all my power I slammed it into the dead earth bringing my realm here.
My powers consumed the forgotten soil and from it, the souls of life’s creations once again walked around. Hollow ghosted trees grew and ghosted animals roamed about. The grass, the flowers, and even a creek flowed past. I heard life gasp and turned to look at her shocked face. I then realized this is probably not what she needed to see. “im sorry…I know there’s no colors. They’re all white, everything in my realm loses its color…” I looked at the ground afraid to see her eyes. In my peripheral vision, a stag walked past me, and I enjoyed its beauty, but it’s not life’s colors. Her creations I adore. cherishing every little thing that enters my realm.
I even love life herself.
I feel a hand slip into mine and it jerked my attention back to her. Her vibrant colors returning. Her smile now becoming happy once more. True happiness. “I have given you so many gifts, you have taken such good care of them, but this, this one gift you’ve given me, is more than I could have ever hoped for.” she reached out and petted the stag who was just as happy to see her. “is this what you see? All the time?” she asked quietly. “yes” I lowered my head down and stared at the ground.
“it’s beautiful!” she whispered.
Now that caught me by surprise. “but it’s not-” she cut me off. “no, it’s not my colors…buts it’s yours! “ she beamed happily and my body sparked with delight. “you saw my beauty every day, and now? I get to see yours.”
I pulled her into my arms yet again and held her body closely. “ this will be ours. We will roam the lands with my realms creations now. This is ours forever.” and with that, we roamed the earth hand in hand. It may never have its color again, but this was our earth now, no violence, no more death, no more pain. A perfect, beautiful, forever peaceful earth.