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DEATH and the child

Story has elements of su**ide and contents that are not friendly for all viewers. Discretion is advised.

By Matt KerrPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
1
(Candle in a dark room)

The child was sitting on the floor waiting when he arrived. Children were often very patient when it came to next steps. Above the boy, swinging lazily on the rope, was his body.

Devoid of soul, the body swung silently in the darkened room that would soon be filled with crying parents and saddened police officers. The child was young, maybe fifteen or sixteen, too young to face the sadness that he had in life. It was often hard to understand how such a young soul could be burdened with such regret and depression at such a young age.

The boy was sitting, cross-legged, staring at the body as it swung back and forth, as if memorized by it. Perhaps it seemed easier to understand what happened when watching from an outside perspective. A moment seems so large when you are in it, and yet after the fact...

Death entered the room without speaking, and knelt beside the boy. They watched the body swing in silence. Death waited for the child to speak, having been through similar situations enough times to learn they needed to go at their own pace.

"I... I want to take it back," the child spoke to the floor. If Death's appearance frightened the child, or if it was guilt, Death could not say. "I shouldn't have... I mean, I didn't mean... Can I take it back?"

Death wondered what the boy saw when he looked up into Death's face, he probably feared and despised the visage in front of him. It was always the children that were hardest to take to the next stage. He wanted desperately to just this once let the child stay, if only he could.

"There is nothing that I can do," Death said with steadied voice. He slowly put a hand on the boys shoulder and gave him a squeeze of comfort. "I'm~" and Death caught himself in the words. There was no point in apologizing, it made it harder to let go. There was no escaping death, and Death could not be sorry or weak. Death was a part of life. Apologizing would make a sould feel as though it was something that could be avoided or prolonged. Death was inevitable and inescapable. Death was imminent.

"~aware of how much this may hurt..." Death finished, startled by how coldly his voice sounded to himself. "But it is time for you to move on."

The child began to cry, a little. Not so much as others.

Death did not rush the boy, although he was very busy and could already feel the pull of other souls that needed to be approached. Death knew that sometimes a child needed to cry before they could move on.

"Will it hurt?" The boy asked with tears streaming down his cheeks.

"Will what hurt?" Asked Death. He knew what the boy was asking, of course. He wanted to give the child a moment to collect himself and stand. He also found that giving a child a question could distract them from their tears.

"What comes next, will it hurt?" The child stood and wiped the tears from his eyes. Death stood to his full height next to the boy.

"Not one bit," Death said, and he would have smiled if he were able. The boy nodded and took one last long look at his body. The child took a deep breath, puffed out his chest and turned to face Death.

"Okay.... I'm ready."

Death reached out his hand for the child to take. He could hear the sound in the distance of a front door being opened and voices echoing through a silent house. People were returning home. He knew that if the boy saw his parents his confidence would drain, and the next part would be so much tougher.

Death stayed calm and acted fast.

"You know you are very strong. I will show you the way."

Short Story
1

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