as I said, the personification of death interests me SO FUCKING MUCH
and this one time I wrote a little story about death’s companion.
I Am The Prologue by Hannah
You may not know me yet, but you will soon enough. Don’t worry.
I’m a prologue. I’m the appetizer. I’m the beginning of the end. I’m the last voice you’ll ever hear, and the last face you’ll ever see. But please, don’t worry. What follows me isn’t as bad as they make it out to be. There is no pain, there is no fear. There is only me and you.
My companion is the inevitable. You’ll meet him eventually. It’s okay, everyone does and usually much sooner than they expect. I make the announcement, he makes the grand entrance. We’re both just doing our jobs; it’s nothing personal, really. People always say they can feel him, that they can sense him nearby. They just catch a whiff of my perfume as I’m making my way through the room to meet my new friend. Then it’s time for my performance, though the audience is meek, the moment is grand. Just wait awhile, you’ll see.
That “white light” people claim to see and that voice telling them to “go back”, well that’s me. Those are instances where something bad happened but it is not yet the person’s time. I have to usher them back into your world for a while longer. There is just no place for them here yet, they have to wait their turn. There is an order to all the chaos that accompanies my friend, and it must be maintained. He says who comes with us and who stays with you. I turn them around and send them back, or I accompany them to the gates of the beyond, to a place I have never seen.
You could say I’m in the hospitality business. Mostly my job is comforting people. I cradle fevered brows, hold tattered bodies, and whisper into ears to be calm, not to worry, that everything is going to be all over soon and it will all be okay. I tell people what they want to hear. They see who they want to see. Some people see their loved ones. Some people see a fellow called God. Some people see an angel. I can assure you, I am no angel. I am no demon either.
I sooth them with kind words and show them beautiful previews of what’s to come. I read them lists of names of people who love them. I press soft, cold kisses on brow after brow and on the babbling lips of men and women alike. I hold them all, I comfort them the best I can. I rock the children softly, humming their favorite song. In those moments I love them. I truly do. I get a glimpse into their soul for a while. Everyone is afraid of dying alone but don’t worry, I am always there. I will be with you in your final moments. If you’re lucky, I’ll tell you your last words to say. Saints and sinners, the polished and the tarnished they all say the same things to me. They’ve all lived the same life. But human lives are contradictory, they are all the same but each is tinged with uniqueness. Before the souls are gathered up by my companion, I taste them; I feel them, hear them, and smell them. Each is tinged with a new flavor, a new note, a perfectly unique thread in the tapestry of human life and history. And I have seen each and every thread, for we pull the strings. We are weavers at a loom. And we can show you something beautiful, something that you will be a part of. You will become a masterpiece. You just have to trust us.
When my job is over, when I have to take your breath for keeps and I catch the light that leaves your eyes, I hand you over to my friend. He’s not so bad, really. I know he seems awfully daunting, but it’s just how he has to be. People are so scared of him. They call him names; The Grim Reaper, Thanatos, Yama, The Angle of Death. He is no angel, he is no harvester. He is a simple being, with a simple job. As am I. We were not chosen, we were created for this. He places souls gently into the deep and infinite pockets of his cloak for safe keeping. He walks with a purpose, but steps gently. You will never hear him coming but when you meet me, you can be sure he’s close behind. I promise it’s not as scary as people make it sound. You’ll be calm, and you will be safe. I know you don’t believe me now, but when the time comes you’ll beg me to tell you again. Everyone does. I will whisper the words into another ear, and take another thread for our tapestry.
I have walked through the plague ridden lands of Europe working over time. Following the first flea ridden rat, to the last festering victim. I mopped fevered brows and told them they’d soon be cool again. I spent time at the theater with Lincoln, and I told him that the ending of that performance would be remembered forever as I gave him back his hat. I was with the soldiers in the great wars. I was their mothers and wives, giving them one last soothing kiss to carry with them. Sometimes their companions would claw at me in fear, I know they didn’t mean too, but they’d take a little of me home. I’m only a person someone wants to know for a short while or I become a reminder. And not the good kind, like egg timers. I stick to memories, and occupy the shadows of those who take me with them. I am the anticipation of the unknown. The fear they constantly have. I don’t want to be, but that’s what I become. I apologize if I have ever occupied your loved ones thoughts. I have been there through everything. I was with Hitler in the bunker. I saw the pictures he painted in his youth as I tried to brush the soot of sin off his clothes, but it stains so easily and there was a lot. I felt bad for him, having to leave in such dirt garb. I met his cold, starved, and choked victims. I gave them a blanket and a taste of honey as I held them. I give children of famines one last sip of milk on their cracked lips as I rock them and sing to them. I feel the wind in the hair of people who take a final leap. I hold the hands of lonely, old men and women and listen to their final story, the one they have been waiting a lifetime to tell. The day to day wears on me. Loving so many people so intensely takes more than you could imagine. Wars and plagues are a busy time for us. My friend and I are as tired as the victims are, believe me. We do not get the rest that you get. We are tired; we have been doing this as long as beings with souls have been around. There are no sick days. No vacation. No place free from us. And we do not get the grand ending you get. We cannot pass through the gates. We wave goodbye from the outside, like parents on the first day of school. And then we continue on.We are like sharks, we can’t stop or we fade. And we are too important to be lost. We are needed. We are the proverbial garbage men, the cleanup crew, and the maintenance people. We keep things running. Who knows what would go amiss without us, and still the job is thankless. We are feared. We are loathed. We are only doing our job. He is indifferent about the souls we collect. They are all the same to him. My friend, his job is impersonal. My job, I learn their names, hold their hands, kiss their faces. Each person means something to me in the end. I collect the information, he carries the weight. But we both weave the tapestry.
I see a lot of things, a lot of tragic accidents, and solemn suicides. I see families, and whole ethnic groups wiped clean from the earth. And every person born on this planet, I will one day meet. You are given the gift of life, and you must give it back eventually. We are the collectors. This is our job. But this job is never about me, it never has been. It’s about you. Like your unique thread in the tapestry, you will leave a unique impression on me. Your finger prints etched into my skin, your voice recorded in my mind. I only spend moments with you. But remember for those few moments, I love you completely and fully. You will never be in the end alone, I make sure of that. It’s my job.