A Friendship With Death

August 2, 2011
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I waited outside, watching quietly, breathing in the refreshing air. I had the perfect view, but I did not want to be there. Who would? There was nothing here that I would wish upon their souls but it was out of my hands. I was merely the deliverer.

Watching, waiting, I saw the boys. All four of them, young and full of life, waiting their turn to greet me. the youngest, deep brown hair that flopped in the wind, looked into the sky; he watched me with all the curiosity of his infant age. I would not meet him soon.

The oldest, a bright young girl, held the water hose in to the sky. She let the misty water land on the two middle children. They were a curious case, the middle children. I had seen them a few times in my past. They both were different in sex and height but similar inside. The youngest girl ran in the rain her sister created, blond curls sticking to her face. The eldest boy slipped in the water, crying his little eyes out.

I slipped away into the darkness, knowing I would see them soon.

And I did see them, all four of them. Each aged twelve years since I last spotted them. The eldest girl, frazzled and on edge. The middle boy frightened by the dim light. The middle girl was bloated with confidence. And at last I saw the infant child. He was shaggy and pimply now.

All of them stood in an alley, making a deal beyond their own knowledge. Their fates were sealed and prepared for me.

It was not long after that I was called to the very tree I perched in many years ago. The middle boy sat in his room. A tiny white bottle sat in his hands. Curiosity enveloped me. I entered the room and watched inquisitively as the boy put three pearly pills in his folded tongue. He lay on his bed facing the roof. I leaned against the wall, waiting quietly.

I was interrupted by the sound of footsteps. A round woman walked into the room. Her eyes widened— as everyone’s did. Her cried boomed as she carried her son in her arms. She begged, she cried, she denied but I still took her son in my cloak and floated away.

Three days later, I was called to the same tree. I peered into the window, wondering why I was back. The middle girl sat in her vanity mirror. Her blond curls were perfectly shaped and her eyes lined. I watched quietly from the tree. She was still puffed up with confidence.

I watched as she pulled out a small gun. I reached toward her, trying to make her feel me, to reconsider. But her stubbornness persisted and I took her with me. I did not wait to see the reaction of the plump woman.

Once again, I was called to the same tree on the third day. I did not have to enter the house or wait long. The eldest girl sat next to me on the familiar oak. Tears streamed down her face. She tied a scarf around her neck and jumped. Her body twitched and choked before her final breath was released. I took her under my arm and disappeared before her mother could come.

I waited on the third day. I waited the entire day but was not sent until midnight to the old oak tree. I sat quietly, watching the infant in his room. He was a knife in his hands. I watched, waiting, but there was something different about the young boy.

He looked out his window to the oak tree. It was as if twelve years did not pass between us. He still looked with curious eyes. I waved my skeletal fingers, wondering if he could see through my cloak. The young boy waved back, surprised to see me real.

He threw the knife under his bed and shut off his light.

I did not greet the young man until he was old and grey. I had seen him before. He grew throughout his life. Every so often he would take out his knife and wait for me outside his window. He would speak to me about his life. I visited him last when I took his mother.

In our last meeting, I took him with me. he greeted me as a friend as we drifted away into his rest.

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