Life and Death (Excerpt from a novel I might never write)

I am inevitable. They tell others this all the time. I have no soul, they cry. I’m heartless, they yell. Then they beg for me to undo what has already been done. To give back to them what I cannot. Will not.

I am usually hated for this. That’s quite fine. I’ve grown accustomed to it. No longer do I take it to heart. I used to. I used to spread my anger through the fingers of drought. Show my displeasure by plagues. But that was when I was younger and more foolish. When I so easily tired of ignorance and lacked the patience to understand that humankind does not always see why it must be so.

Take. This is all I do and it will never be any different. No, it cannot be.

Otherwise, the hands of humanity would twist in chaos. Moments would become meaningless.

I am death.

I take because it is a cycle. It is the way life must carry on and disappear into the dirt before becoming renewed once more.

Never have I not taken a soul when it is their time.

Not until today.

I stared into the dark eyes of my counterpart, my sole friend in this realm. The breeze traveled through her colorless tresses, tangling the strands in knots. Her pale skin almost translucent.

Together we stood undetected in a park bench, watching a passersby run in circles and another walk her dog. They paid us no mind. Us, the odd couple. One draped in a black coat, skin as dark as coal and paper white eyes, while the other was pale as snow, lacking any color yet her irises were as dark as night. Most people would stare– if they could see us.

“Lucien, please. The girl we speak of– do not take her,” Zora pleaded. “It is not yet her time. I feel it.”

I sighed. “Zora, you of all people should know that I cannot. Her name burns in my mind and it will not leave until her soul has been taken.”

She grasped my hand then. Tiny fingers clasping around mine. “No, you don’t understand. It would be wrong to take her. I cannot explain it, Lucien but I feel this deep in my soul.”

I looked away at her and scoffed. “What soul?”

She gasped, letting go of my hand. I knew I had hurt her. She hated being reminded that we had no souls– no ticket into another realm. We were stuck here in a constant cycle.

Turning back to her, I caged her heart shaped face in the large expanse of my palms. “You are Life. You give time to mankind. And I am Death. I take them once their years have been filled. These beings are merely visitors of this realm. We know this. You know this. Why fight what has been since the dawn of creation? Of the centuries we’ve been here, when we were first assigned this task you’ve never once protested my duty. Why now, Zora? Why her?”

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