The Deal-Part !

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I.
I guess one can assume that I led a normal life. For I am Thomas Faire, and this is my story about a malevolent catastrophe that destroyed my life and forced me to destroy my wife’s life. For time comparison the date now is June 6, 2009; my date of birth is August 12, 1323. One might be shocked at this, but here I will catalog my story and the night that ruined my future.
We travel to Avignon, France in 1348, I was twenty five at the time. As all French men I wanted to travel and eventually open a shop in humble Avignon , even though The Hundred Years War declined the use of social needs for the average person. In addition to constant war, as one may know, the black death ravaged most of southern France during this time; it penetrated our streets, homes, and villages. It was as Death himself was choosing us for our divine judgment, but in spite of this chaos, I decided to open an apothecary beside one of many Romanesque style buildings with there spiral minaret, gothic essence, and stained glass. My store was miniscule compared to their immense grandeur. I never imagined that the plague could snake into my life as it did. Once however, the plague waltzed into Avignon and out of my curiosity I became a makeshift healer. Day in and day out I waited for my patients until a local, Mr. Moreau, walked into my own cathedral. “Thomas?” I was alerted by the eerie sickly voice. “Yes?” I answered quickly. “ I come on the orders of the pope himself”, Mr. Moreau said mirroring the eerie sound heard earlier. “ Ah yes, you are one of his most beloved prophets, correct?”, I said out of my own urge to strike up a conversation. “ Priest, you mean”, he said in retaliation. “O yes, forgive my impudence Father but what has brought you into my home?” I asked to cover up my own stupidity. “ I seek respite from my illness. I hear that your potions help with Death’s hand,” he said eagerly. “ None of my clients live past a week monsieur. My hands have more blood on them than the soldiers that fight for us.” Obviously the priest was reconsidering his idea, but he pressed on for an agreement.
“ Monsieur, take this; it’s the most potent of my herbs,” I said with hesitation. “ But how will this help?”, the priest asked with anxiety.
“ The chemicals will reduce the buboes and fever, but in turn its not a miracle cure so it will not stop the vomiting.” “ Thank you The Lord has gifted us with your presence. The Clergy will always be in your debt, if this works that is.” “ And what if this doesn’t work?”, I asked against my will not to ask for the revelation. “ If the medicine was tainted by your own hand monsieur, you will suffer more than a thousand tormented nations for all eternity.” “ Eternity is a long time Father”, I interrupted . We both laughed and he ended with,“ Merci beaucoup my son, may The Lord bless you for all your days.” He walked out the tall oak doorway toward the church. How wrong he was, after that day my life ended when my wife inhaled the air of death.


“Don’t leave me,” my wife said mustering up her energy to reach for me. Her golden eyes looked into the depths of my soul.“ Madeline, my love, I will return with supplies and hopefully a cure,” I said, trying to avoid the glare of her eyes. “ No Tom, the end is nigh and spiraling in. If there is a cure it is our love for each other, for it will persevere through all,” she said with a slight enthusiasm. When those words entered my heart all of our moments together danced out in front of me with complex motions, with its humble beginnings in England . It was her idea to move to France, my birthplace, to begin with. Although I asked her to stay in her homeland she was determined to see the country of love. She wasn’t repelled by the war nor the plague, she was driven by a dream and in the end the dream is what was killing her. Damn that woman for her determination! Even though I loved her so for that reason. “ My love I will not leave you,” I said with all my love in my voice. At that moment I reached down to kiss her and caress her soft lips , as it was the last time in my life I would ever have that moment. “ I would do anything for you Madeline Faire, anything. Just do not leave me! Laugh at the shadow of Death and light it with your heart!”, I said trying to give my wife the strength to live on and to quell my own tears. “ If tonight is the last time I will see you my love, just remember that I will wait for you in Heaven and I will always love you”, she said as she slipped into a catatonic state. I tasted salt yet again as I said, “I would do anything for you, even give my life in place of yours. Just don’t leave me, don’t leave..” As I said this a heavy wind swept through the city and my service bell rang at that exact moment. “ Qui est-ece?” I said in my best French which roughly translated into “Who is it?” “ Monsieur Raven”, a shadowy voice leapt out. “ Excuze-moi, a vou Monsieur Faire?” “ Oui”, I answered in response to quickly return to my unconscious wife. As I headed back to the counter a fairly tall man was standing there bearing a cane with a red diamond handle, black outfit made out of the finest wools and silks fit for royalty , black shined boots, a miniscule black beard, and eyes so dark that they acted if they would suck all light out of the world itself. “ Pouvez-vous m’aider s’il vou plait?”, he said faintly. “ Oui,” I answered again with more worry for my wife. Persistent to tend to Madeline I asked out of curiosity, “ Parlez-vous anglais?” “ Yes Mr. Faire I do speak English,” he said in quick recurrence to my question.
“Good , now what do you want ?” I answered abruptly. “ Now that isn’t a way to treat a guest now is it?” he said as he paced around the room . “ Is your wife ill Tom?” Startled I asked, “ How did you know?” I turned to him with a bewildered look on my face. “ I am a man of many talents my friend, but back to business I might have a cure for your Madeline.” , he said while the black eyes scanned the room. The speak of hope alerted my ears and mind. “Speak of this cure!” I exclaimed. “ You see, Mr. Fair, I am a very busy man, but I mean with half of Europe’s population dead I stay busy these days .


“Who are you?”, I asked inching ever so closer to what I believed to be a cure.” “ Ha. Ha. Mr. Faire I will leave that to you .” “ What do you mean?” I asked. “ Lets just say I am The River Styx, The River Acheron, and Charon himself. Also, I do not like my name to share the stature of blasphemy.” “ You don’t mean?” I asked with shock on my face. “ Say it Faire, Say it” ,he said with a sinister smile on his face. “ You are Death?” I asked while laughing at the thought that this man could be the omnipresent force that takes us to the afterlife. “ What did you expect? A hooded skeleton carrying a heavy scythe?” he said angrily as the store shook with a dark presence. “ Anyhow back to business,” he said putting both hands on his cane, “ Do you remember Friar Moreau?” I suddenly remembered the decrepit priest weeks earlier. “ Yes, why do you speak of him?” “ He and his clergy are dead. I took them to their designated eternal homes last week,” he said looking into my soul with his doll eyes. Suddenly I remembered the priest’s warning and staggered back. “ I spared one though on the promise that I will find an apprentice here to help with my ‘work’.” I looked at him knowing that he wanted me to realize the deal, “ If I accept this, what will I receive and what will I have to confess?” “ Good question my friend. In return for your eternal servitude to me .” I interrupted with, “ I already have a master Mr. Raven” He chuckled and said, “ You have so much to learn young one. Who do you think sent me? I just cannot take in apprentices off the street; they must be selected by a higher power.” He looked at the blood diamond in his scepter and said, “ Now, if I may continue, In return for your services your Madeline will be cured of the plague.” My heart was attentive now to the sound of hope for my love. I realized then a hole in the perfect deal and said, “and the latter end?” “ Yes the worse end I’m afraid is that you will never die nor will you grow old. You will become my messenger and my apprentice. You may live separate from me, but you will leave this plane of reality when your ’task’ beckons you to do so. Do you understand?” I devoured the fact that my beloved would be cured, so I reluctantly said, “ Yes I understand and I accept.” He smiled showing a disturbing warm smile and he said, “ Good, your wife is cured of her ailments , but I only have two commandments for you to follow; You do not determine the fate of the dead you merely ferry them to the hereafter, and although you may use your ’talents’ for everyday use, you must not be detected.” “ I understand Master”, I said but then I realized the bittersweet moment of the deal, I will have to depart from the one I love the most. It’s ironic isn’t it? I try so hard to save the woman I love but now I am farther away from her than ever. “ Thomas go and be with Madeline, for love has much more power than I can ever give you, but it is short lived my friend.” I rushed to my love, but as I flew up the stairs I heard death one last time say, “ My disciple, the true question for you is this, Will you become death the destroyer of worlds? Take that how you choose.” I thought of what Death said and asked him , “What does that have to do with me? You are already the destroyer of worlds, and entire civilizations for that manner.” He laughed once more and said, “Do not worry my son, in time you will understand the true meaning of your destiny.” I thought that he might be bluffing but then just as mysteriously as he appeared, he vanished. I rushed up the stairs to my love, and just as Death promised she was cured. She looked up at me in disarray and said, “ Thomas I had the queerest dream; you and Death itself were consulting my fate.” I looked away from her eyes with shame, but I noticed a small square note in my pocket. I dreaded it contents ,but reluctantly I read it while looking at my dear Madeline. What it bequeathed was the only thing that could crush my one and only heart. The note read,



To my apprentice,



Your first client will be one of anguish and grief. This is your first test to prove your worth. The hurt that comes from this will be healed in time a hundred fold my apprentice. She is listed below
As I read the rest of the letter my eyes scrolled down into the name on the list. I leaned against the wall as if gasping for oxygen and my eyes wept at the name. The name read Madeline Angelica Faire.
How could life be so ironic? I gave my soul to save her and now I am the one to take her to the afterlife! She looked into what was left of my soul one more time with those golden brown eyes and said, “ Thomas what ails you? I am well and you have one more day to love me on this earth, why do you weep?” Our eyes interlocked and then we embraced, but in the middle of the darkness I awoke to the cries of the dead across the street. I sat awake thinking what to do about my delimma. I then took a piece of parchment and wrote nothing more than a simple I love you. I laid the note on the table beside my wife. I kissed her forhead softly, knowing I could not take her soul to the afterlife. She was my only love, my only kiss, and my only dear friend. I took nothing into the darkness with me when I fled. I looked back one more time at the flickering candle casting its aura over my sweet love, a picture I could never forget. I ran away into the night, leaving my past behind me and becoming The Herald of Death.





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