Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Night in Scotland

There is a lonely man sitting on a cliff just off the edges of civilization somewhere in the hills of Scotland. He doesn't quite remember getting there, though he knows why he came. He wears a tattered suit and his skin is as white as the foam beneath him. Really all he wanted was to be alone for once in his very, very long life but alas, he couldn't even get that. Beside him now sits a woman wearing what looks something like a funeral gown, frightening thin though it is she does not seem to be bothered by the cold. Both of them have their legs hanging out over the oblivion beneath. There is silence aside from the sea. Finally the man speaks.

"I don't know why you're here but I don't think it's for the right reasons. Of course I'm not sure I'm here for the right reasons. In fact I'm no longer sure if any of us are here for the right reasons. Maybe I'm just musin', been known to do that on occasion. It wasn't your business that started this, I just want you to know that. Certainly didn't help though, but didn't cause this. Nothing really caused this, I mean it's just time right, starts and end all things. Bit odd though isn't it, I never met him. Don't even know if he exists, only one who'd know that and doubt she's telling. Don't mean to drone on though, sure there's something you want to say. Some explanation I suppose, well I'm all ears."

The woman bit her lip and looked at the man. Her eyes were as white as the first snow yet radiated immense darkness. "What happened between us, do you know why? I suppose you must, after all you seem to know everything don't you. I know a great many things, or at least thought I did, but even still I'm not sure why it had to happen like it did. I guess he was just tired, I mean we all get tired, the days stretch on and on. Oh sorry, I didn't mean to pun. He just, he gets a bit sensitive sometimes and acts very rashly. He didn't mean anything by it. After you left we sorted some things out, I mean it'll be years before I trust or even see him again but it's all a bit better now. He won't have me killed again at least, and that's better than nothing."

"That's not why I'm here though. I've put all that behind me, and you should too. I'm here because you need somebody and you seem afraid to call her. You know she'd come and listen right? She'd protect you from whatever you're running from. Life, she would understand what you're going to more than any of us." The woman looks at the man inquisitively. "Or is it because of her, has something happened?"

"No, nothing has happened. That's the problem though, right. She's been around for ages and I haven't. No matter what I remember or what I've been through she will have always seen more and lived more. She's the progenitor right, and I'm just, I'm nothing compared to that. None of us are. I mean what do you do? Don't mean nothing by it but she is, she's on a 'nother level right. That's why I can't talk to her, I just feel like I ain't in it now. I don't know if you get what I mean, it's a bit much even for me and I been around a long time."

The woman shakes her head as she looks at the man who simply trails off and stairs out at the sea and the setting sun. "You idiot. She loves you you know. I know she loves everyone but you, she loves you the most. If you just go to her, if you talk to her she will help you. I know you didn't come out here just to think, and I can even hazard a guess as to what you're planning to do. Problem is though, you know it won't work. You seen the death of everything right. Nah, that's not right. You see the death of everything, right now, at this very moment. You can see it all come to an end, but you can't see your own. That's what's troubling you isn't it? You don't see the mantle passing and you don't know what it means."

"I got a few words for that, and though I haven't been around for that long here's what I think. You know things about everyone else right, you know the end of the fish down there and the tree up here and even this whole thing we're standing on, but you don't know shit about yourself do you? That's the way it's supposed to work I figure. For things like us, it isn't all predetermined. You explained it once though didn't you, you know the date and the time but you don't know where to be until that exact moment. You don't choose when your hourglass runs out but you do choose where and why right? Or at least the lucky ones do. That's how it works for all this real stuff, but we are different aren't we? You can't see my thread can you?"

The man called Death stared at her. "No, no I can't can I."

"It's the uncertainty then right, that's what scares you. Bit bloody ironic then isn't it, only thing that Death is afraid of is death. Same situation with the rest of us. I live through the night, the dreams and hidden desires of the world, but often I don't know what the fuck I'm doing, especially after that thing with Day. I shouldn't need to know though. I should just accept things as they happen, and try to make the world a bit of a better place. That's what I'm going to do, but what about you, I suppose that's the million dollar question."

"I could jump I suppose. Land in the water or on the rocks I don't think it would matter. That could be my end."

"You don't believe that."

"No. If I did jump I think I would just emerge somewhere else. There are a thousand people dieing right now and there will be more every second until this all comes to an end. If I were to leap I think I'd just be in Prague, or maybe Nigeria, or any other place where the dead need escorting. You know what they say, there are only two things that are certain in life, death and taxes. I'm not so sure about that second one. I help people though, not even just the dead ones either. I helped a little girl, and a broken man, and a poor old sinner. Some asked and others begged but it didn't really matter, I would have helped either way. I guess that's why I'm still here, I just wish, hmm, I don't know."

Death stood up and walked over to the nearest tree. The leaves on it had already fallen onto the ground and into the sea and it was stripped bare. There was a small hole in the bark and he reach in and brought out a shivering bird. He brought it close to his mouth and whispered something into its ear. Pulling it back he released it and it sped off away from the sea, never looking back. "Sometimes I just want to have it all done with. I mean I lived a good life, a solid two hundred years which is a bit better than most I figure. Didn't like my work for any of it, but that just comes with the territory I suppose. Problem is though I can't leave this job on some poor cunt, because I've been doing it for so long it's just part of me now. You ever wonder about the creator? The one before all? I do, every day, but 'course only one who met him was Life right, and she ain't talking, not about the big stuff."

Walking back over to the cliffside Death stretches and yawns. "It's my vigil now though. From now until then, I'll be the one to catch 'em when they fall. Don't like it, but I'm not sposed to I reckon. Well, what do you figure about all of this. Think I'll head off soon, right once the sun goes down. Got work to do right?"

Night stood up and took Death's hands. "You are a great man for taking on this task. Others of us, we were born gods. I have never known anything else but you, you have been mortal. There are tales, whispers of ways to circumvent and cheat and steal mortality, even if only for a moment. I have considered it, I have even sought it, but I will never be mortal and I acknowledge this. It is best not to tread the lines between worlds as it is only pain that lies on either side. I would die a thousand deaths to have lived the way you have. It may be of little comfort but know that all of us have hope because of you. A mortal who became a god not because he had to but because there was no one else who could."

"I have watched you, and even with the greatest burden you have born it the best. Nothing more could be asked, in that you have endured longer than any before you, but I must beg you, do not give up hope. I love you truly, more than any of the others who have taken on your task. I have no right to ask the impossible of you but I feel I must. Please exist, if only for another day, for another year. I know you see so much pain and it hurts you so but only because you are so human, so true." Night looked out over the darkening sky. "I have to go now, you do as well. Whatever you decide to do next you will be remembered. Au revoire." She kissed Death on the forehead and walked out into the night, passed the stars and moon and into the sky.

Soon the full moon had risen and cast a great reflection on the sea, illuminating the cliff in full. There was no longer a man there, only a tree which had been stripped bare, but now had a single leaf holding on to the end of its longest branch. It fluttered in the wind but it did not let go and soon it let up. Then there was only slow swooshing of the water's waves below.

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