Updated: Dec 26, 2020
by guest blogger, Spyder Collins
Death stalks me. Not as my Reaper, though. She seems to want something else. What, I have yet to understand. It is dispiriting, however, that she does not wish to aid me in ending my miserable existence. To snuff my life and carry me to whichever Deity she pleases. Death is with me, seemingly every eve, and I imagine she is watching me as I sleep.
She looks sad; her orbital eyes filled with despair. Her brow furrowed with concern. Long black tresses that hang from beneath her black cloak frame her eyes. Her cheeks, nose, and mouth are skeletal, but her eyes remain much as I might imagine they were in life. Those abysmal eyes held vigor and color at one time. I was sure of this. Now, they are as dead as she. There is nothing else to her. The cloak hid everything, long sleeves that concealed her hands. She hovers above the ground like a wraith without a scythe, and nothing more to her than her soulless eyes. What could death want with me?
I sit in a dark room without a light bulb in the overhead and no lamps. Only the moonlight that filters in through the drapes. Enough light to see most of the room. It is empty, a spare bedroom in my home. No reason to furnish it. I never have guests, nor do I want any. Because of its emptiness, this room brings me comfort each evening. The darkness is like a blanket that covers my insecurities and hides my fears.
This room is my killing room. It holds a razor, a full bottle of sleeping pills, a noose, and a loaded revolver. I sit in this room each night before I retire. I contemplate ending it all. I turn off everything, television, music, my phone, all of it. It is just me and the darkness. It feels so interesting, sitting as I do. The moonlight pushes shadows of trees up the walls. They look like specters watching me, as if I am in an operating theater. Both the doctor and the patient. The tools spread out on the floor waiting for me, the doctor, with me, the patient.
Death is also there, as she has for more nights than I can remember. She huddles in the corner each night. She blends well in the shadows, but her abysmal eyes are brighter and I can see her staring at me. Her eyes are filled with sorrow and it weighs heavily on me. I am teeming with curiosity and committed to approach her, should I gather the nerve.
But for now, I leave her be.
Each night, when I leave my killing room and go upstairs to bed, she follows me. Another night of failure. My pre-bed routine flashes by like an old rerun on television. I lay in bed and she hovers over me. She’s so close I can smell the tang of death on her. It’s not becoming, so most nights I roll over onto my side. If I pretend to sleep, sometimes she will lay behind me and pull me close. It comforts me and leaves me hopeful, yet each morning, I wake.
One evening in my killing room, I thought to speak to Death, to gather why she followed me but never completed her duties of Reaper. She was sulking in her dark corner, but as always, I could see her as if she stood in the light. “I can see you, Death,” I whispered.
This night I chose the revolver. I hold it in my hand and each time I pointed it at myself I could see the sorrow in her eyes deepen. I lowered the revolver, “Why don’t you take me?” I asked.
Death remained where she was.
Impatience grew in me. I held the revolver to my head. I don't know what passion struck me at that moment, where the rage came from, or why this evening I gathered the courage to confront her, but I demanded, “What do you want? Why do you just watch me and never take me?”
She moved away from the corner. Her eyes welled, her tears twinkled beneath the moonlight like radiant gems. She reached out to me, her hand grabbing for the revolver desperately. Her swatting wasted, she simply passed through my hand and the revolver. I could feel her pain. Her deep heartache. It caught in my throat as I held back my own tears.
I lowered the revolver and set it on the floor. “You are Death, are you not?”
Her eyes softened and the tension in her body eased. “Yes, I am Death.”
“Then why have you not taken me?”
“I - ” she began, before lowering her head and hiding her eyes beneath her cloak.
Her essence shivered in the moonlight. Like it caused a chill or she was afraid of something, somehow. “Why do you shake?”
Death looked at me. Her eyes clouded, seeming to smile at me. “Do you care?” she asked in a hopeful voice.
“Of course I do.”
Her eyes lifted, and I saw they were opaque. “I am purity in darkness. All light frightens me.”
“Then why do you stand in it?”
She lowered her head. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself anymore.”
At that moment, I felt for death. A spark of concern for her well-being. I stood and death recoiled. “Come here and talk with me,” I said as I moved into the dark corner of the room.
If Death could smile, I do tell you she did at that moment. Her eyes lit like small candles, she moved quickly into the darkness and reached out for me. Her skeletal hand passed through my face. “Thank you.”
I sat in the darkness with Death. She seemed more comfortable and her eyes remained lit. “Now, why won’t you take me?” I asked once more.
“I am waiting, hoping.”
“For?” I asked.
“You don’t know?” Her eyes dimmed.
The tears returned and Death lowered her head. “You already tried, that is why I am here.”
“I don’t understand.”
She pointed to the revolver. I got up and moved into the moonlight and Death started to follow. “I promise,” I said as I held up a hand. I didn’t want her in the light, it was cruel.
I looked at the revolver curiously and then back towards Death in the shadows.
“Look closer,” she said.
Opening the cylinder, I noticed an empty space. It made no sense. I always keep six shots in it, even though I knew I only needed one. “I don’t understand.” I moved back out of the moonlight. “Am I already dead?
Death tried again to caress my face. The motion led me to follow. It was then I realized half my face was missing. I could feel my jawbone, the teeth loosely hanging from what gum I had left. My cheek was a gaping crater and as I felt my fingers slip in, I felt ill.
I slumped to the ground and Death lowered herself next to me. “If I am not dead then-- ?”
She turned, lowering her head. “You are dead, as you wished.”
“Is this Hell?”
Her body shook lightly, and I could hear her sniffling. “Are you crying?” I moved to her. I tried to console her, but my arm passed through her.
Turning her face towards me, I could see the joy in her eyes. Her skeletal mouth almost formed a smile. “Do you feel that?” I passed my hand through her.
“As you feel me,” she replied.
Death passed her hand through me. As her skeletal fingers moved through me, I could feel a glint of happiness deep within the sorrow. A dim light of hope floating atop a turbulent sea. There was so much pain in her, but tucked away was happiness, perhaps memories of a time gone by.
“But if I am dead, then why am I still in my house?”
“Because I have not taken you to your eternity.”
I felt a touch of betrayal. It was her place and all this time she let me wander into this killing room. “Why, why do you let me feel as I do, suffer as I do?”
Death lowered the hood of her cloak. Her dark tresses fell over her shoulders like black smoke. Her eyes deepened their hue. I felt a spark of trepidation rise. Have I upset death to the point of winning her ire? Or was she ready to send me on my way? Her eyes looked like endless holes and from them what I can only describe as slender fingers pushed out. Then they vanished in front of a brewing firestorm.
Flames poured from her eyes and I jumped back as she stepped towards me. I felt heat and pain-stricken screams, ungodly wails of agony. She kept moving forward and I back, until my back met the wall. Death and her hellhole eyes pouring fire and pain, a gushing firehose.
“Stop,” I finally yelled.
Beneath the screams, the searing heat, and the cries of the damned, I heard Death. “This is what you want. For me to lead you to your eternity.”
“No,” I cried, sliding down the wall to my backside.
Death stopped and reached for me. I could feel her concern, her eagerness, and her sorrow. “You see, you will go to Hell. You took your life, and God is not forgiving.”
I wept, and as I did, Death tried to hold me. It was comforting, her concern. She kept me here, but why? I looked at Death. She replaced her hood and her raven locks slipped back into place. Her eyes dimmed.
“Why are you doing this?”
She placed her hands on me, stopping at my heart. The warmth from those stark-skeletal hands sent beats of chill through me. I had never felt such such a thing. Her hands built comfort in me. Belonging and a yearning to be … alive.
Then Death explained, “I love you.”
Death was in love with me, how could this be? She brought me here, though. Not to Hell as she was to do - without judgement. Could it be that somehow I won over her love and to protect me, she has returned me to my home? Her once sorrowful eyes filled with light, brighter than I have ever seen them. Even beneath the glow of the moonlight.
“I love you, too.” The words spilled from my mouth so eagerly, so freely at first, I thought this must be a trick. Some hex conjured from black magic. But the longer I stood before her, the more I began to understand, I did love her. She made me feel like never before. My dead heart filled with a warmth I hadn't felt otherwise.
I reached for her as she moved away, just from my reach. But I could still feel a pull from her. Electric current tickling the tips of my fingers. “Welcome home,” she said before she vanished like mist beneath a rising sun.
Time is meaningless here. The moonlight no longer filters through the drapes and tools of my death are no longer in my room. I no longer call it my killing room, it is simply home. I can roam the rest of my house as a specter, but this room is where I spend most of my time with Death.
She still makes her rounds, visiting the living and leading them to their eternity, without judgment. I often wonder, why me. Don’t misunderstand, I am thankful. But as I sit by myself in the dark, I ponder this eternity and wonder if she will always return to me. Sometimes it feels like an eternity before she returns and I am curious if there are others she loves.
How can I ask Death such a question?
I don’t know if I ever could.