The Story of Death

The Story of Death

Death is a word that cuts the lips it passes upon. Whispered in the dark of the night, promising tears and fear. It is a word that means your time has come to an end. Now, you must rely on others to continue your story. Most people, if they are lucky, have only met the aftermath of death once or twice in their lives. Grandparents and distant cousins. Gone before you really got to know them. But for me, I know death like it’s my best friend.

Most stories of how people got their powers are full of grief and struggle. They are forged in the flames of challenge and fear. My story is less eventful. I was a normal kid, a normal teen. Went to college, got my degree in botany, got a job studying ecosystems. Then, in my mid-twenties, I started to notice something strange. Everything around me was starting to wilt. At first, it was small, if I stood in a certain spot for too long the grass at my feet would shrivel and die. Then the plants that I was studying at work started dying. The day I realized something was wrong with me was when I was hanging out with some friends at a park. We were just talking and I leaned against a tree. The second I touched it, it turned to ashes and collapsed at my feet.

I rushed home and tried to think. In this day and age, having powers is not the norm, but it is not unheard of. After the Great War of 3590, some people were exposed to so much pollution and radiation that they evolved. They were seen as monsters and impure. Castaway from their families, left to fend for themselves. The powers that they gained were wild and dangerous. Powers of fire and poison, of sickness and electricity.

No one in my family has ever had powers. So then how did I get what are presumably powers of death? And now what am I supposed to do with them? I can’t tell anyone because then I will probably be seen as a monster. If people were scared of powers of fire how are they going to deal with powers of death? I can’t be around any small living thing or else I could kill it. Could I try to control it? No one else has been able to control their powers.

So then how did I get what are presumably powers of death? And now what am I supposed to do with them?

For days I stayed at home, trying to be able to command my powers. I would test it on little plants. Trying to make them stay alive. I never was able to keep them alive for more than four hours. One day while I was practicing, I heard a meow coming from my back porch. I went outside and saw a mangled cat on the ground. She was badly injured and her fur was dirty. I crouched down next to her and suddenly I was able to sense what was wrong with her. It was like I could see inside her and see the broken ribs and bruised organs. I could tell that she wouldn’t survive. Her death would be slow and painful, but I knew that I could help her. I brushed my hand over her head and put her to sleep. As I blinked back tears I realized something. If I could tell what was wrong with the cat, maybe I also could help people.

I pondered about my choices for days. I could go back to school and study to become a doctor or I could stay at my house, holed up for the rest of my life, alone. The choice was clear. I went back to school and got a degree in medicine. I started a job at a hospital in the intensive care center. I tried to make a difference. I helped as many people as I could. But I was of most use to the ones I knew wouldn’t make it. Death became a daily presence in my life. We worked side-by-side, easing pain. Death was cruel, but I was kind.

I worked for years helping doctors and patients. Eventually, I passed away. At that moment, my world went black but then it went white. It became full of colors that one could only dream of. It was beautiful and from the light, a cloaked figure appeared. As it came towards me I noticed the classic scythe of death hidden in the folds of the fabric. The figure came close to me and said in a sweet, lilting voice, “You have done good in this world, even when given powers meant for evil. You are my successor and now shall carry on my job for centuries to come.” She gave me her scythe and slowly turned and walked back into the light, fading from view.

I looked down at the scythe in my hand. A weapon that always meant pain and sadness to come. I would try to use it more gently. Bring peace to people who could fight no longer. It would be difficult, but I knew I could do it. I walked into the light, head held high and ready for what awaited me. I became death, but I became the kinder side of death. I used my power to bring light rather than dark for the rest of time.