She watched, tranquil like the wind rocking the waves upon the shore.
Screams. Memories. Recollections of those lost at sea. Lost forever, as Death is not one to tread upon the vast expanses of liquid treachery.
Fear? No. Death does not fear; It causes fear. As ever It has. There is no soul alive that does not fear its own demise. And few are the souls that view Death for what It really is: liberation.
But these souls lost at sea will never know the truth of Death. They will never see their wishes fulfilled, their semblances of life returned to the greater whole. They will never be free.
Watching, silent as the wind rocking the waves upon the shore, Death looked up towards the twilight. She took a couple of steps forward and halted cleanly at the edge of the precipice.
Down below, Death saw the windswept, corroded corpse of the Human soul standing several meters away from its former embodiment, partially submerged by the waves. The soul looked up; within moments, it had vanished.
As Death prepared to pursue the fugitive into the realm beyond, a cry aimed at Her presence disrupted Death’s focus. Slowly, She looked back at the source of the cry.
A young man stood petrified, trembling, with a bouquet of flowers held as tightly as life itself. “Don’t jump!” the man cried in tears, “Please don’t jump!”
Death stared, Her black impenetrable eyes judging the Human before Her. Images flashed, twined and superimposed, and within moments Death knew everything.
“Please, please,” the man bawled, “Please don’t jump, please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”
The young man fell to his knees and grasped his face, unkempt nails tearing at his skin.
Death contemplated the situation, and the rotting corpse below. A trivial argument was its cause: the woman had fled their coastal home in a fit of anger, the man close at her heels; here, the argument had escalated and ended in unwanted tragedy. Every day the man returned to this spot, apologies in hand, and every day he resisted the consuming urge to join his lost lover down below.
They would not be joined, however, Death knew, or the woman’s soul would be by his side. No, the woman’s soul sought something else – perhaps, someone else. One of the many lost at sea. Death would not know for sure until She caught the fugitive woman’s soul.
Death looked back at the man dying of regret. No longer a man, but a shell: a container for sorrow and despair, a hollowed husk losing grip on life with each cry.
This would not be a good death.
And Death stated, “You will not be joined.”
The man’s cries subsided, gradually, as Death’s monotone judgment struck every nerve within his mind. The words were certainty; they lingered, despite the deaf ears they had fallen upon. The heartbroken man did not wonder how he had heard the words; it took too much effort already to deny them.
The man’s face scrunched up, defiant. “Wha—You don’t know—How can you—Who do you think you are!”
Death did not reply, but stated: “The corpse below is hollow. She does not wait for you—”
“Who do you think you are, woman!” The man’s face contorted with fury as he sprang to his feet.
Death stared, impassive.
“I know she’s waiting for me! I know she loved me! … I know she still does! I’ve always been good to her! I—”
Death saw the spikes in the man’s soul; clearly he remembered the truth of his guilt.
And, as surely as he remembered, so did the tentacular twists of his soul show that he desperately sought to conceal the truth.
“Please,” the man sniffled as he took hold of his head, “Please, don’t jump…”
Death, impassive, took a step forward and stated: “She did not jump.”
The man’s sniffling subsided. Shocked, confused, he looked up with fears running through his heart and solutions passing through his mind; ways in which to deal with the black-eyed woman staring him down.
Black eyes. Chains, tying the young man to his guilt; images, memories forced upon him, of his beloved Aurelia standing at the cliff’s edge, shouting, hating him, shoving him away from her; he’d grabbed her wrists and shouted in return; and then… and then…
And then, like a feather plucked, Aurelia had been thrown to the winds.
The man collapsed to his knees, hysterical, clawing at his closed eyes. Still he saw her: his beloved Aurelia, tugging herself away from his grip, and slipping… And, at that very moment when love turns to possession, he’d let go. For, once dead, she’d always be his.
A muscle twitched in Death’s arm; Aurelia had heard. She had sensed.
She had appeared, several meters away, braving Death’s presence with an ethereal glance.
Anger. Revenge. Images flooded Death’s senses and superimposed on the man’s guilt; Aurelia, waiting by the sea for a lost lover; Aurelia, taking this man as husband to fill the void and feed her belly; conjugal violence, blame, spite; she’d ran away, hoping to catch a glimpse of her lost lover’s ship; and now, she had discovered the truth behind her husband’s guilt.
He had killed her. Desired her so ardently, that he’d done nothing to save her life. Rage twisted Aurelia’s bright soul into a monstrous thing.
One thought only emerged from the grey, tar-like entity: kill.
And Death replied, “No.”
Aurelia screeched; hatred ripped through the walls of reality. Beneath Death’s feet, rocks cracked loose.
Without a word, Death outstretched Her hand; within Her palm Blackness stirred, twisted and spread and took on the form of an inhumanely large scythe that Death held like a scepter. Immediately, Aurelia’s soul spiked and reduced in size, but not without making her discontent known. She vanished from sight.
By Death’s side, the man had fallen into a state of deep regret. He was coming to terms with himself, with his guilt, with the fact he deserved to die for killing his precious Aurelia.
Death considered the man’s plea; She was not one to kill without reason – not anymore. Mortal justice held no value in Her eyes.
However, She suspected that Aurelia’s soul would never let him rest. She would haunt him, and kill him, and cause another’s soul to wander the otherrealm until Death found the time to claim this soul.
Death looked over Her shoulder, at the darkening skies and the waves below. The waves. The sea. Another lost in such a place? Unacceptable. Beneath Death’s feet, the rocks cracked further.
She had but taken a few steps forward when the tip of the promontory collapsed, taking the man in its fall. Guilt and regret were erased as the man welcomed his deserved fate and returned to the greater whole.