Death

death snow

 

He appeared like an ink stain on a white page landscape. Snow swirled around him, tangling wet flakes in his black hooded cloak. As his thoughts gathered and settled he wondered why he had come here. The woods were barren. The remains of white tree trunks poked out like broken bones and everything was covered with thick snow as if it always had been and would be.

Nothing could affect him, though the frozen wasteland was going to try its hardest. Just floating above the snow drifts, he moved across them without his skeleton feet touching anything. The wickedly curved scythe rested in his arms, the folds of the cloak wrapped lovingly around the ancient wooden handle.

He could see nothing, nor hear or sense anything. He had been expecting to find a log cabin or a car accident with the occupant(s) newly dead and awaiting his escort. Coming to a stop a few minutes later, he realized the hopelessness of the situation. He let his feet rest on icy raise and sent out his soul sensors. Though he couldn’t smell it, he’d often been told that it was an enriched bouquet of rotting flowers-especially roses and lavender- with a touch of smoke and fresh rain.

This description was beyond him and he’d long grown uninterested of humans trying to explain it. He’d grown bored of the endless chatter too. Once, and he could still remember it, humans had feared him. They would bow, cry and beg before him. Some would study him in awe and even try to worship him as God or the Devil. Of course most of them still behaved like that now, but more and more he was seeing souls standing up to him. It felt like humanity was slowly deigning him and he wondered if his existence was numbered, like so many of the supernatural and magical creatures.

The sensors came back and announced that there was nothing. His jaw frowned under the concealing hood. Why come here? Floating again, he drifted off amongst the trees, his cloak billowing out and forming a black cloud in the air. He came to a clearing and beside from its square shape, there was nothing distinctive about it. Flying up, he surveyed the area with his empty eye sockets, but really seeing with enchanted sight.

There were still no dwellings, souls or even signs of humankind. Turning this way and that, he began to wonder where he was. The difficulty happened to be that he had stopped paying attention to the locations he arrived in and collected souls from. He got dragged about like a magnet chasing after metal shards far too much now and he didn’t care what the angels said about trying to help him. He was Death and it was his job to guide the souls where it was decreed.

Touching back down, he cast one last look around the place and then prepared to leave. A soft shuffling or sniffle noise caught his ear. He turned, believing at last he had found the soul. Automatically lowering the scythe into a defensive stand, he faced the noise. A small, white rabbit stared up at him. The pink nose and whiskers twitching, the long ears pricked up.

Death swung the scythe back into position. He didn’t guide the souls of animals as they were already attuned to the Heavens. This rabbit wasn’t dead or dying anyway. It seemed just to be curious about the stranger in its homeland. They regarded each other for some time and then the rabbit, perhaps satisfied, hopped off.

Puzzled, he turned away and left, sensing newly created souls tugging at him.