Whoa Death, Whoa Death, Whoa Death, won't you spare me over another year
My heart beat, ever fading. My pulse quieting. My last breath hitched in my throat and I felt its cold chill stumble through my body as it clung to the life I was leaving behind.
Well what is this I can't see, with ice cold hands taking hold of me.
Long pale fingers grasped my wrist, hauling me to my feet with insurmountable ease. It was as though I was underwater, the thick air drowning out any sounds. Boom. A heart beat rocked through this body that was now more comfortable in death then it ever had been in life; it rippled like waves through my blood before stilling again. My eyes, forced into focus, shifted to look at the owner of the long pale fingers still gripped tightly around my wrist. If my final breath hadn't already left my lungs I would have gasped.
Well I am Death, none can excel, I'll open the door to heaven or hell.
Wide blue eyes looked back at me, the ocean that seemed to be surrounding me. Porcelain white skin set on a baby doll face, a small tight mouth with thin ruby red lips, hair black as a starless night that billowed about her. There was no wind. Life slowly seeped away from me and I still couldn't bring myself to do anything but stare unashamedly at the cold hard beauty before me. She was Death. It was like I'd known her for centuries and seconds.
I'm Death I come to take your soul, leave the body and leave it cold. To draw up the flesh off of the frame, dirt and worm both have a claim.
Another boom. The vibrations of my heartbeat rippled outwards again. I had but one beat left. Death lowered my arm but kept hold. Daggers of cold shot from her fingers into my skin, racing through my flesh and settling itself into my bones. Her ice blue eyes never leaving my own I suddenly saw the finality of my situation. Before my final heartbeat sounded I tried to wrench free but to no avail, I was rooted to the spot. Her eyes never leaving mine, her hold never wavering. The chill she'd set upon me cinched itself into the very fibre of my being, it settled into the molecules that once lived and now were silent. My body was stuck and frozen, I couldn't move it; I couldn't move. I pleaded with her eyes, implored her gaze to let me go.
The young, the old, the rich or poor, all alike to me you know. No wealth, no land, no silver, no gold, nothing satisfies me but your soul.
I felt her song seep into the very depths of me. That final heartbeat sounded and I could hold my final breath no longer. Suddenly the dullness lifted and every sound was crystal clear. Death loosened her grip on my wrist and took a small step back.
"Step forward," Her tone and her words resounded in the space around us like a melody.
'I can't move...' I tried to speak but my mouth was clamped shut,
"Your body is gone, dead, leave it behind and step forward," she repeated patiently.
I tried to move. I couldn't. I was still trapped inside the shell she'd created. I tried again and again. I screamed out in my head.
"Believe," she said softly,
"Believe you are dead and believe there is no more life," she said,
"How exactly am I not supposed to believe that?!" I huffed irritably, "I just felt my last slice of life slip away from me, I know I'm dead! It doesn't stop me from being unable to move!"
"But you are talking," she chuckled quietly, taking me by surprise both with the sound of it and the realisation that she was indeed correct. “Try again, step forward,”
I looked up at her and found myself sighing even though my body was completely still. I closed my eyes and braced myself, laughing as I found myself moving through the air. I grinned at Death as I opened my eyes again and she smiled sweetly back at me. I turned briefly to see the place from which I had come, the place from which I was frozen, and I found myself frozen again. Staring back at me were the hollow and haunting eyes that were once mine, the unmoving form that I used to call my own. Death tugged me forward to look at her; I stared down at those long pale fingers wound around the bright light of my ghostly form. Death tugged me closer again and forced my eyes to find hers again.
“What happens now?” I asked weakly,
“We find out where you belong,” Death said,
“Where I belong?” I viewed her blankly,
“Did you not listen to any of my song?” She frowned,
“I was too busy dying, sorry,” I grumbled,
“Heaven or Hell,” She whispered,
“Eternal paradise or eternal damnation...great...” I shifted uncomfortably, wondering if just staying here would be better than finding out the answer to that question. “There wouldn’t happen to be a grey area at all?” I smirked,
“No,” she shook her head solemnly, “but if it’s any consolation, I wish there were,”
“Can’t you just make it so?” I asked, my brows knitting together. Surely Death was the end of it all, surely Death made the rules?
“I may ferry your souls but I did not formulate creation, I did not lay down the inner workings of the afterlife,” Death said,
“So who did?” I mused,
“You aren’t the first soul to ask that,”
“I’m guessing I won’t be the last without an answer either...”
“Very perceptive,” Death looked amused,
“So, how do we find out where I belong?” I instinctively wanted to put my hands in my pockets, forgetting that I was formless and also unclothed. It was a strange feeling, being a corporeal form and yet still being able to refer to parts of yourself as arms and legs and a head.
“Most people think judgement comes by weighing up all the good you’ve done against all the bad,” Death sighed softly,
“That’s never made sense to me,” I sighed back and wondered along beside her, feeling my arms swinging at my sides and refusing to look at their non-existence lest my mind broke and I suddenly went mad.
“It didn’t?” Death looked at me surprised,
“No,” I shook my head, “Once you’ve done the bad, no amount of good will cancel it out,”
“So how would you judge you?” Death asked curiously.
I looked up into her ice blue eyes, considering her question and holding her gaze. My eyes stayed connected to hers for what felt like eons, time never running out but fleeting none-the-less. I pondered seriously and tried to find my answer. How would I judge me? How would I assure that the evil entered Hell whilst the good entered Heaven?
“I would weigh up a person’s intentions, not their actions,” I said slowly,
“Very good,” she smiled,
“Is that what you do now? Weigh up my intentions?” I smirked,
“In a manner of sorts,” she said,
“What if I know my intentions were not always pure? What if I don’t want to be judged? What if I want to wonder this silent earth instead?” I felt the fear in my voice as I spoke, “eternal paradise sounds like a great way to go... I’m not sure the other end of that scale is worth finding out,”
“I can leave you here if it’s what your heart desires, but you should know I won’t come back,” she warned, “when the world ends, you will float forever in its debris and then in its empty space. You will be happy to watch the last moments of the world pass by, but I assure you in the grand scheme of time and all eternity, they will only feel like moments even if they last for millennia,”
“Tell me how I’ll be judged, please?” I asked hesitantly,
“You will re-live your most selfish moment and your most selfless moment, and you will know, in your heart, where you belong,” Death said.