the short story project


Symoneticious Schams

The Story of Death on Earth

You may not know this story, few do, but it is important. It is vital. It is the story of Death on earth.

I’m not going to say ‘one day’ because it was not a day. We do not count the time by days, if we did there would never be enough numbers. We keep track by the stars in the sky, the grass on the ground, or the minnows that swim through the universe. We keep track by the things we create, every last heart beating and more! Every last soul, because everything has a soul and everything has meaning. So instead, I am going to say ‘one moment.’ One moment before the next and after the last, a single moment in time and space, that was when this all started.

Before now Life and Death had lived in harmony, never existing without the other. But Life always had the upper hand, because people loved Life and hated Death. Death was angry and wanted to destroy Life, and Life being threatened, bargained with the higher powers to send Death to earth to show him the consequences of his ways. Death way outraged when he was told what was ahead of him, and tried to get out of it anyway possible. So Life made a deal with him: that if Death could find the meaning of the universe, he could return to his rest. After some time of denying what was in store, Death agreed to the deal and was sent to earth.

Death arrived in a large forest in the early seventeenth century, but Death knew nothing about time and how it passes, so this information meant nothing. Just after arriving, Death was meet with a small mortal child, who was lost far away from her home. She begged death to help her but he was anxious to start on his quest and had no time for a silly mortal, so he left her alone. He walked and as the sun started to set, he came upon a small town. Death did not need to eat or sleep, but as he continued through the town a heavy rain began to beat down on his head, he took shelter in a tidy barn next to a farm-house. He sat in the barn through the night as the storm raged on. He was so focused in thinking about his deal with Life that he only knew the storm had stopped when a shrill voice came through the walls of the barn, many more voices joined and Death rushed outside to see who had disturbed his thoughts. When outside Death was met with a horrid scene. The family that lived in the farm house had all gathered around a body, the body of the mortal child Death had paid no mind to the night before. “My sweet Abigail! My little Abigail, gone!” The voices cried. A crowd had  

started to come forth, and Death fearing of being noticed, fled the scene. He walked out of the town and back into the forest.

Death walked for centuries, trying his best to avoid any civilization, but that was getting more difficult as the time went by, because there seemed to be wars being fought and new towns everywhere. He continued to walk until he was met with a large sea, in which he began to swim, Death did not have mortal limitations so he swam the whole ocean only stopping at small islands to think every once in awhile. When Death finally saw land again he stepped out of the water from his age’s long swim and into a hot rural landscape. Death was conscious of the small amount of trees to be able to take cover in to avoid any wandering eye. He began his journey on the new land, he had only tread so far when he saw a mortal boy appear from out of his line of vision. The boy spotted Death and came running over, Death had no means to retreat from the mortal boy and so he stood there watching the boy as he ran closer. “Hello, sir! My name is Richard. May I ask what you are doing out here?”  The boy hollered when he was close enough. Death thought for a moment and then told the boy that he was a traveler, searching foreign lands. The boy’s face lit up “Would you be so kind as to let me travel with you? I could show you the ropes around here” he asked “You see, I was thrown out of my home when I hurt my new sister. By accident of course! I never meant to hurt her!” He added quickly. Death was about to turn the boy’s offer down, but then remembered the mortal girl he encountered so long ago. He told the boy that he could travel with him if he never asked Death a single question. The boy looked curious, but agreed, so Death and the boy started off on their long journey together.

As they trekked, the boy started to get sick. He wanted to tell Death that he needed food and rest, but Death had forbid him to talk, so the boy suffered in silence. After quite some time the boy fell very ill and could not continue on. Death had not an idea of what to do, for he did not understand sickness. Death had become fond of the boy and so he was met with a choice, did he leave the boy and continue his quest or did he stay with him until the boy’s time was up? Death decided to remain besides the boy as his health declined. When the boy finally died, Death sat and watched over the boy’s body trying to understand the fragile entity of the mortals. He sat while a thousand moons passed overhead, he sat until a flood came and washed away the boy’s remains, and only then, did he carry on.

Death stumbled on in his journey, not caring if he is seen. He walked straight through towns and cities, and soon rumors started to spread about the stranger roaming the world. The tale traveled through all countries and cultures, different to everyone who shared it, but also the same underlying anticipation to see the strange man. Every so often the stories would die down, but then someone would catch a glimpse of Death and the people’s excitement would resurrect. Death had gone around the world many times, and seen many things. But then he did something no one, not even Life, would have expected, he started to learn. To understand how mortals worked, and to use this knowledge in his journey. He would swiftly follow the white-tailed deer and lurk in the caves with beautiful drawings on the walls, studying everything he came across.

It had been ages since Death first arrived on earth, so long that everything was steadily creeping towards the end. Death did not know about the finale coming, just one moment everything was gone, and only the nothing remained. Death existed only in his own mind as he sat in the darkness where the universe used to lay. He had eternity to sit and think before he called out into the nothingness. He told his story to the empty void, he told it about the places he had seen and people he had met. He told it about how he had finally found the secret to the universe, and how learned the conscience of his ways. Little did he know that life had been listening and decided that their deal was done, and Death was pulled back into his everlasting rest. As he drifted through the nothingness, he realized that death only lasts so long.


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