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Life In Death
Author's note: I had a dream about a strange man named Lucifer but went by Lucy. It just bloomed from there.
I should’ve figured it would end like this, so why does it still hurt? And those eyes, they were staring at me! White and wide. I was trembling, gasping, crying for death, but Death had a better place to be.
My hair flipped into my eye and stuck to my blood-drenched forehead. Too many people waltz every day, waltz with the devil.
This ominous night had stars watching my torture, the slight moon was laughing at me, and the clouds tried to be a heavenly mother and cover their eyes. The wind whispered hate in my blue ears.
But there was another kind of darkness, it came from my own eyes, and that’s when light faded.
My life was simple, school, family, friends, and track. That was it. That is until things seemed to suck me in, and before I knew it, I was the black hole.
It started in the middle of sophomore year, the day I met him. People called him Lucy, but no one chatted much with him. No one really knew him, his family, or where he lived. And, the way Lucy’s eyes glowed sent shivers down me.
Lucy was a mystery, the kind I wanted to solve.
Half of our classes were the same, and we had relatively close last names, so we always sat near. I remember that he used to stare at nothing, like he left the world, but then he would smile, lost in his thoughts. He would then look at me. Goosebumps rose on my arms.
Time passed and the blistering summer came. One chill night, I was hanging out with my bestie, Taylor, at a local park. We suddenly noticed Lucy’s dark figure hopping from one shadow to another.
“Why is he…?” She wanted to ask.
“I don’t know.” My adventurous side came out, I guess, along with my stupidity.
“We should follow him!” I exclaimed while flying off my too-small-for-my-butt plastic swing.
“Sure,” Taylor replied, “we have nothing better to do.” She was more of a follower.
Choices. They make up who I was then, they choose other choices, and they could’ve held me back.
The air was crisp like biting into a fresh, green apple. It flowed into our lungs effortlessly; I could’ve run forever. We stalked Lucy past apartment buildings, stores and houses. Then he stopped.
Pure minds and pure hearts are two totally different things. The mind decides what will happen, and your heart drags the consequences.
What was my decision when I saw a body on the cement and Lucy pacing around it? What was Taylor’s? Well, I can tell you, Taylor skedaddled out. Deuces. Peace. Bye. Gone.
“I’m gonna go…” She whispered and left my side. She left me there. Alone. With him.
I crept closer, dodging his sight by crouching behind a ratty dumpster. The body was twitching! I gasped. He turned to my direction and grinned.
“Stop hiding.” He said in a low, smooth voice. His breath tickled my ear. My screech pierced the night. Lucy pulled me to my feet.
His touch, it was icy. Where his hand contacted my shoulders were tingly and numb. I squirmed away from him, though he didn’t fight with me. Then I sprinted to the body.
“He’s alive!” I yelled desperate, “Quick! Call an ambulance or something!!”
Lucy seemed to glide to me. “No need.” His warm, chocolaty voice reassured. He kneeled next to the nearly-dead boy, whose eyes were rolled-up, and shut the boy’s eyelids with his fingers.
“I’ll take away his pain.” He giggled.
I blinked to bright lights. My bed sheets were flipped awkwardly over me. I twitched my fingers, they, along with all my limbs, felt like they had been asleep. I tingled.
Absent-mindedly, I checked my cell. Taylor called 24 times last night. Last night. It felt like a horrible dream that you easily forget. If all those events really did happen, who was Lucy? How did I end up here?
There was a thud on our apartment door. Tuesdays meant my parents were at work. It creaked open slowly.
“Night skies and summer lies,” Taylor quoted from some poem she read long before. “SIT.” She ordered. We crumpled to the soft carpet. “What happened last night after I left?” She whispered as though Lucy was in the other room.
Shrugging felt relieving to stretch my tingling shoulders. “I’m not sure. I left after you did.” I lied. Somehow, to me, it was wrong to tell. I mean, he only took away pain.
Summer days passed and Lucy disappeared with the green leaves. Junior year came too fast. The night of Lucy was soon forgotten in order to keep my sanity.
School, family, friends and track. That was it. But the black hole of madness was still there, dragging me in.
I was picking up groceries at a shop near my long-lived house. I held two plastic bags in the crease of one elbow. The street was animated and energetic. Pedestrians and cars buzzed by paying me no attention. The sky had not a single billow. The world seemed perfect.
The first thing I noticed while starting my journey home was screeching. It pounded at my ears; I turned towards it. My eyes widened. A bagillion-pound car hurtled at me, and all I could do was stand there.
Something hit me straight on and I swore I died then. But then I saw him as we smashed into the concrete sidewalk.
I was dazed. His glowing green eyes searched me, threw questions at me, and pleaded me without saying anything. Meanwhile a decent crowd began to form around a hero, a victim, and an unfortunate driver.
“Hey… Get up,” he muttered to me only.
“Get up!” He said more urgently and offered a hand I didn’t want.
I stared at him standing in front of me, but I just couldn’t think. To his surprise I took his hand.
“Walk with me?” Lucy asked with a sad grin. I nodded reluctantly.
Silence. We escaped the restless and nosy life left where my head smashed into the sidewalk, and stretched out legs on new streets.
“What are you?” I finally managed to spit out. My eyes were glued to my old, used-to-be-white, sneakers.
Lucy’s hands stuck in his pockets like he was fearful of showing them. “I am Death,” he explained, “it’s hard to tell you. It seems like…” His clear, velvety voice drifted off.
“Like what!? Like I won’t believe you?” I threw my arms up and faced him. I stared into the eyes of death. Death looked away.
He took a seat against an empty movie-rental store that closed a few months ago. His fingers rubbed temples. Sighing, he looked up at me.
“It seems like I’m always the one. That I’m evil. Do you know? I don’t want to do this! I didn’t choose this life! And, I don’t kill these people, they kill themselves. Do you understand?” I saw myself in his watery, lime eyes.
I stood on that empty pavement, on the same street I would lose control on. I stood there staring at Lucy. I stood there lost. When the world becomes a salad tosser, which leaf is the greenest?
My head shook slowly as if I was trying everything to deny it. Death had given me life. There was a lump in my throat. The devil could never love; he was cursed.
“Thank you.” I sniffed and ran home to suspicious parents.
I had left him there. Alone. With his head buried in his arms.
What part of fear makes humans cruel? Fear plays with our minds, rips apart the heart, but why does it make us cruel? Our fear is for our fear itself. Neglectance, cruelty, hate. Is what we burden.
My heart pounded in my throat. The bustling hallway of students pried their way past me and squeezed their way to their lockers. Junior year came too fast. He was like a magnet; I couldn’t help but to be drawn to him. He was like a black hole.
His eyes saw everything, he told me after school that day while sitting on the sidewalk outside of the main building (varsity track practice was cancelled). He saw some people’s futures, past, and ends, but he couldn’t ‘see’ anything about me.
“What abbouuuuuuuuuuutttt…. Her?” I pointed to a freshman girl running behind a group of jv track team.
He sculpted that same look, that ‘I’m in a different world’ look, then snapped out of it and gazed his greens at me. His sharp grin threw me off; he giggled. “She’ll live a long life fulfilling her dream of a computer programmer and die of cancer when she’s 74.”
“How sad.” I sighed.
“Not sad… but…” He paused to think, “death isn’t sad. Death is natural, it’s equal to birth.”
I remembered when my grandmother died, all those memories of her, all those times I could never have again. A lump busted in my throat. Her crooked smile is embedded into my mind.
I shook my head and tried to swallow away the annoying lump, “Death couldn’t be good. Haven’t you ever loved somebody? What if they died?”
A grin tugged at the corner of his pink lips, his eyes danced away from me. “Without death, you wouldn’t be alive. If we all lived eternally, there’d be no point in living, of course.”
How could I argue with someone who day so many answers? I couldn’t’ve imagined dealing with death everyday like he did.
There was a long, sticky, uncomfortable silence. It irked at me; it made me want to scream. I hated awkwardness.
“You shouldn’t be around me,” he tried to explain while messing with an itty-bitty rock on the pavement below our shoes. “it seems like everyone I’ve ever cared about, something bad has happened to them.”
Only those who care about someone immensely will push them away to save them. And that’s when I saw his sparkling eyes and sorry smile, and when I knew he loved me.
He took pain away from those clinging onto life. Lucy had the power t take any life any time, but he never did. So was it wrong? Was it wrong of him to cut the final thread?
And, he wasn’t alone. There were others out there, some were thousands of years old. He was ‘new’, only 25. They could choose their age. His ‘father’, the one who ‘changed’ him, gave him his power to keep Lucy alive. In return, his ‘father’ gave his own life.
“I was six years old,” he explained to me as we swung on the same swings Taylor and I did the night we watched him creeping.
“I received a weak heart from my parents when I was born. I couldn’t go outside and play, I didn’t even go to school. I observed everything from a small window in the front of my rugged, old house. And at night, when the air was thin and crisp, I would sneak out to see the world. My only friend was a rough, aged man named Stevie that worked night shifts at a gas station I continuously went to.
One night as my heart failed, he rushed to my aid, but help didn’t come in time. He gave me his power to save me. And, in reply, it took his life. That’s why I will never kill someone earlier than their time.”
I studied his smooth face, his eyebrows tilted down in concern, though his black, straight hair covered one of them. He chewed quietly on his nail, then glanced away and back again at me.
He went into that ‘other world’ phase, then stood abruptly. “I have to go,” he laughed a little uncomfortably, “the dead are calling.” He began to walk away.
Before he could stride three steps, I made up my mind. “Wait!” I called after him, “Can I come too?”
His fast step paused, he turned to me and nodded.
Throughout the weeks I followed him everywhere, and witnessed several calm deaths. I watched him take away each person’s pain, watched them be relieved and thankful. He had such respect for people. A question stuck to my tongue, was he really the devil?
Weeks turned to months as the months turned cold. Ice laced the streets. Snow clung the roof tops and flimsy, lifeless branches. And as the town became colder, it became a whisper. I never understood why winter made people talk lower and walk a little slower. But for one thing I knew, they still drove just as fast.
Like the fall, Lucy disappeared. Just as I fell for him. I thought he was loving, sweet, and kind, but he left me.
My feet trudged with the beat of the snow lazily drifting down. I blinked slowly, learned nothing, thought of nothing. I felt nothing. Love lockdown as Kanye would say.
Days past and Taylor watched from behind the curtains. “Life is like a play,” my theater preached, “life is a comedy, and life is a tragedy.”
Taylor waited for him to return to me, though I knew he creeped her out extremely. She waited for him to come back, but he never did. She would pat me on the back as I cried on her new shirt/sweater. But one afternoon she got fed up.
“You’re going out tonight.” She told me as she dragged me away from my home.
Her house boomed with music and laughter. Two people made-out on the front lawn. The bare, icy trees had blankets of toilet paper.
“I’m not sure about this,” I told Taylor while being heaved into the house.
“C’on! It’ll be fun, plus there’s only alcohol.” She laughed.
I strode into the house I’ve practically lived in half my life. Excited teenagers roamed around with plastic cups, they bounced to the base and chilled on the couch.
Taylor hugged or high-fived almost everyone she saw. We grabbed a drink and chatted with a small group of people. Her and my parents were gone for the weekend at some wine festival in NC, so parties went unknown, at least until something happens.
Three in the morning, it was three in the morning. Frosty wind whipped my raw cheeks. I swayed slightly home with droopy eyes. Cars murmured and hummed with deep voices in the distance. Ice clung to edges of sidewalks.
I trudged onto the road where I once left Lucy weeping in his arms. “HEY!” Taylor yelled louder than necessary and stumbled towards me. She laughed drunkenly and clung to my shoulders. She yelled things chaotically and rambled on about some sexy guy she met. Taylor continued to sloppily blubber about other things that I missed out on, and as she spasmodically talked, I glanced down the deserted road way, far down until there was no more shiny black cement, but a lone building. And there, for an instant, his glowing greens met my hazel. My breath caught in my throat, I whipped my frosty eyes, he was gone. Maybe he was never there.
I sighed, and turned away from Taylor still blabbing. Lights stabbed our backs and heated them like four thousands suns. They were like eyes, glaring at me, waiting, plotting.
And, I should’ve figured it would end like this, so why does it still hurt?
“TAYLOR!” I screamed and stretched for her to pull her away.
The road was cold, so biting that it burned! And those eyes they were staring at me! White and wide. I was trembling, gasping, crying for death, but Death had a better place to be.
My hair flipped onto my eye and stuck to my blood-drenched forehead. Too many people waltz every day, waltz with the devil.
Every part of me begged a God he didn’t believe in for death, to get it over with. This pain overwhelmed me, was in every inch of me, it wasn’t worth living.
This ominous night had stars watching my torture, the slight moon was laughing at me, and the clouds tried to be a heavenly mother and cover their eyes. The wind whispered hate in my blue ears. But there was another kind of darkness, it came from my own eyes, and that’s when light faded.
“I never thought I would do this for you,” he sobbed. His hands were soft and warm, and with them, he yanked the pain away.
With his numbing hands he cradled my shattered face. And though everything was numb, I could feel his fiery lips on mine.
A few raindrops dripped on me as he screamed angerly at the world. He was cursed. The devil could never love. Right?
There were two things he knew as he slipped a well-thought out letter into my crushed palm,
One: That this was all his fault, and,
Two: That he loved me.
I sat up with a jolt as though his burning fingers electrocuted me. Lucy crumbled to ice, and I knew exactly what he had done.
Our embrace was cold, yet heart-filled. Our last embrace, as he sucked his last breath in my arms. He faded to ashes and drifted away from me in the frozen wind!
There it was, rolling down my face as icy air gushed into my lungs. Ahead was blurred and foggy. Blue and white lights echoed in my eyes.
Death gave me life.