This story is by Audrey Mullen and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
I see men and women who think their lives are so much more important than others. They live completely oblivious about life and death, and how close it is. They have lives planned out, working till they die. So many people think nothing can go wrong, that nothing can mess with them, but no one is safe from my touch. Working without mercy or conscience I reap the souls of the living. The rich and poor will all end the same; a rotting corpse in the dirt. I am the shadows, something to be feared by humans and animals alike. I follow the next person that has been chosen to die. I have power, but I have no one for myself. I see love all around, but never able to touch it, nor understand it. Humans cannot see me, and if no one can see me, how can I be loved? I’ve read stories of people falling in love with a beast, and finding their true love, but I know there is no man in my future. I am death; I don’t get the same ending as everyone else. I was made to be alone.
As I walk through the busy streets, my long silver dress flows in the soft breeze. My pale skin almost shines in the bright sunshine. I can feel the sun on my skin, but never truly warming me. I watch the people around me as I head for the next soul. This one is unique, beautiful and strong. I have tried to make her mine before, but something wills her to stay and continue to live. I’ve never had a soul refuse me, never fight against my powers. There seems to be a light around her, even when I am near. She evades me and the darkness that surrounds me. Not being able to take one of my souls is curious. Her will to live is much stronger than most.
Heading out of the woman’s house the light follows her, but not quite touching. She looks to be in pain, grimacing with each step, and holding her rounded stomach. She is being carried to a car, becoming pale the more she moves. The light that is following begins to wrap around the middle of her body. They get into the car, driving much faster than the other vehicles, and head in the direction of the hospital. Upon arrival, many of the people there are all dressed in the same clothes. Hearing screams of pain they rush to the door to find where it is coming from. The golden light around her becomes brighter.
Several hours after the woman arrives she fall asleep, but I can still see the pain on her face. I am still unable to take her soul; something is keeping her here. While trying to fix the woman’s rounded stomach, they become red with her blood. I do not understand what they are trying to do. Are they trying to save her, or seeing how she works on the inside?
Although time is irrelevant to me, I have been here for many hours. The light now faded to the size and brightness of only one small candle. The humans say there is hope for her, but I don’t understand, she is almost mine, how is there hope? Several moments later I understand what they meant. They pulled out a small baby girl only slightly bigger than the man’s hand. The baby doesn’t move until the light that was once around the woman moves to the baby, giving her life. The woman’s soul will become mine as soon as the light leaves her.
Leaving the hospital and heading to my duties of collecting souls, I see a man staring at me. He is tall with shaggy blond hair and piercing green eyes; defining muscles ripple down his arms and chest. He has a golden glow around him, just like the one around the baby girl. As I walk closer to him, I can see his eyes are in fact blue and not green. Does he see me? As I get closer he turns and walks away. All the dead or dying plants behind him spring back to life. He looks back only once, smirking? when he sees me following him. The man then walks into a small shack that only has one room with many small holes in the roof. As I stop in the doorway, I see a woman and two small boys. Unknown the smaller boy has died the mother and son are asleep on the ground. As the man places his hand on the small child’s head. He then opens his eyes and goes to his mother’s side, looking as though nothing had been wrong. I don’t understand how this is possible, he was one of my souls, but now he has a long fulfilling life ahead of him. I look at the man only to find him already gazing and smiling at me. He walks out the of the tiny shack and waits for me to follow him. The tall man that is giving life to my souls turns, looks at me, and smiles. I try to smile back at him, but many questions are going through my mind. I ask, “Who are you?” He replies, “My dear, you are death, do you not know who gives all creatures life?” He smiles at me. I had never given it much thought, I only knew death and darkness, not how the life it took had begun. I smile back at him. “You are life!”