I am the cause of people’s woes and occasionally I am their saviour too. I am feared unanimously by the impotent humans. I presume that now you must have ‘labelled’ me as the psychopathic killer. However, I am your escape. I am Death.
I live alone in my abode. I am lonely there. All those days and nights, I spend in solitude, in my dim room only illuminated by a candle. I had books that would take me on mysterious journeys on earth and beyond, books that have made me love; however it’s only an illusion. It is not real. My solitary life, with no contact with any other being, is driving me insane!
I have never been ‘Alive’ before. Life, as it is for humans, has always been a mystery for me. Whenever I come to earth to take custody of the soul that enters into the world of the dead; I see the humans’ eyes leaking. I see them shaking the body of the soul vigorously. I see misery, anguish and sorrow. As far as I understand this complex subject of life and death, with my scanty and insufficient knowledge about it, I conclude that dying in one life is rebirth in another. However, these stubborn, slow-witted souls don’t seem to grasp the concept until it’s too late for them and their slow-wit turns to no-wit!
My thirst for knowledge about Life-the human was like a desert thirsty for water. My inquisitiveness for this mystery was too compelling to be left unveiled. I decided to quench my thirst. I decided to take a sojourn to earth.
The sun’s birth in the dusky sky was a little delayed today. The humans below would have been wondering why suddenly their natural alarm clock-the sun, chose to rise at twelve in the noon. It caused a great uproar worldwide! People were perplexed by the unnatural, inexplicable, alien activity. It’s because I was visiting the earthlings that day, not just for my regular visit to pick up a soul but for a purpose so strong, I shone like black diamonds across the sky.
I set foot on earth as a dull, dreary, dismal shadow, of a joyous, jovial, jolly little boy of six. The little boy had a broad smile on his face, like that of the Cheshire Cat. His eyes sparkled with a blend of mischief and exuberance. His face had a tinge of pink childhood glow. But my face was black.
The sun stared at the earth without pause from the sapphire-like clear sky. The heat of the sun radiated back from the tar road my little friend was walking on, radiated back the heat of the sun creating an atmosphere of an oven. He felt the intense heat, I felt nothing.
The little boy ran to a group of boys huddled around a small, wooden table near the side of the playground. The same grin spread across his face, his thirty-two teeth peering out of his mouth intently. My face was blank. I did not feel the anything.
One of the boys materialized a ball. The boys screamed in delight! They were all exceedingly ecstatic seeing the ball. The goals were set. The teams were decided. An air of excitement had taken over the children. The children ran after the ball with enthusiasm. I ran too, with the little boy. The children played under the burning ball of fire until its anger was subdued and it turned a soft pink. The children were tired, yet their happiness had not been washed away by their exhaustion. I felt nothing- I did not feel their joy, I did not feel their exhaustion.
After the boys had had one evening’s share of strenuous activity, they walked back to their homes where their families awaited them.
As my new little friend walked home, his perpetual smile still remained. I did not understand the reason for his smile. I did not understand emotion.
The little boy was home. The pink sky had turned an inky blue. I couldn’t stay any longer for today. I had to go. As a shadow I cannot stay on this wonderful planet at night. Seven o’ clock was the limit. I had to go. I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”
I was gone.
I was back at the ‘Death Den’. It had been a day on earth, among humans. I did not understand them. I believe that is why I do not understand the feeling to be alive. I know humans are more content living amongst the alive rather than the dead. However I still did not understand why. I had seen him feel tired, joyous and exhausted, though I had not felt it with him.
Suddenly I heard my door creek open. Nobody ever visits me. Occasionally, my Master does, however it is never for any good! My heart was pounding in my throat! All of a sudden my palms became moist due to excessive perspiration. I thought I knew the reason for his visit….
“Death!” boomed the grating voice of my master “What folly is this?”
I kept quiet. My head bowed in submission.
“Why do I hear that you have been traversing through Earth I the disguise of shadow and not doing your duties of transporting souls to hell, when I had firmly told you not to?”
I did not answer.
“Am I inaudible Death?”
“Then answer me u fool!”
“It won’t happen again Master,” I said in a meek voice.
It better not…” My master said sternly “You are to stay here for three years not to show your face to the world outside! Your duties shall temporarily be taken over by another soul.”
“Am I clear?”
My master piercing grey eyes did not leave my face, as if deciphering if my face showed any signs of me falling back on my promise. He thought I would stay and not go to Earth. He was wrong…
Today is the dawn of a new day. A day not significant to most, but to me It is the day of my escape. My Master had placed two robust security guards at the door of my room. He had placed such a device that would allow me teleport. My Master in authority is superior that me, yet I supersede him in shrewd wit.
You must be thinking I would have devised a complicated strategy for my heroic escape. I unfortunately have to crush your hopes as with my Master, you don’t have to formulate any strategy.
There was a window in my room big enough for me to squirm through it. I did so. Now out of the reach of the device that hindered by teleportation, I did teleport back to earth.
This time around I was the shadow of a young girl.
I was in her room. It was an array of all the shades of purple. The satin curtains tinted the harsh sunlight. The pillows were placed on the soft bed. The room had an air of and artist.
This petite girl with freckled cheeks and frazzled auburn hair that complemented her pale skin, was standing in front of the mirror, the streaks of summer sun falling gently on her face from the unlatched window. I, her shadow was behind her.
I was a Saturday afternoon. From my meagre gathering of human life a girl her age is not home on a summer weekend, that too in her night suit! I knew something was not right. While I was trying to balance this imbalanced equation of this mystery, the girl collapsed crying. I thought humans only cried when I took a soul with me. I had not taken her soul, why was she crying?
“I cannot do this anymore!” she sobbed, “It’s too difficult!”
“I am a misfit!”
“Nobody wants to be around me”
“What have I done God?”
“Is it my fault that you gave me the love for learning and left the others without it?’
She did not say a word more but her soft sobs said it all. She was a misfit in the eyes of the world. She had a love for learning, while the other girls her age were more interested in “Teens’ Weekly”.
Life in my eyes had been a rosy walk through a park. Yet I forgot that every rose has its thorns. Life too has its thorns. I feel it too.
I had never known till today that I am alive in my very own way. My Alive is just different.
I felt remorse just as the girl did. I felt a sense of victory when I escaped my entrapment. I had felt it, but not understood it. I felt lonely as well. I just did not think of that to be a part of feeling alive. I do feel emotions. I just never believed it. The girl and boy I met taught me that life is not only ecstasy it is also remorse. I am alive, in the most ‘human’ way I ever could be.
My revelation was ended when I began fading away into the earth. I was not aware of what was happening! It was a complete blur! I was being sucked into the earth’s core!
In a matter of minutes I was in a dim, candle-lit chamber. My master sat there in front of me, his face red with anger! I gulped down my heart back to its place from my throat. I felt like a mouse in front of a ravenous lion!
“You have gone back on your promise as I thought you would.” My master raged.
“It is time you shall be punished for your sin!”
“I sentence you to imprisonment in the fields of Apostle! Where you shall perish for your sins!” My Master’s words fumed with wrath, “I do not want to set eyes on your wretched face!”
Before I could plead for forgiveness, his final order was delivered, “Be gone!”
I vanished into thin air and reappeared in hell. I write to the world from there. I am still lonely and still ‘alive’.
© Asavari Singh