Welcome to a brand new week and the build up to Christmas! I love it; the family, the games, the bickering, the food, the alcohol and my yearly charade rendition on Christmas Day! It’s all go! But before then, I have Fantasy week in which I hope to entice you with!
This week (Monday – Thursday) concentrates on Fantasy stories as voted by the majority that read my post. Before I start, I would like to go through the agenda for the posts in the new year. New Year’s Eve week will be disjointed but after, I’ll have a plan in place. It will go along the lines of this:
Saturday – Supplementary Saturday
Sunday – Serial Sunday
Monday – Word of the week/Song of the week
Wednesday – Prompt Wednesday
Friday – Haiku Friday
Now to the task at hand. The Fantasy story I wrote for today was unplanned. I wrote on the post last Monday the titles of the stories. They have changed. It’s a Dark Fantasy story and was a tough one to write it. To me it was distressing but I felt like I needed to get it out there.
I will give some back story. I suffer from or did suffer from Thanatophobia or Death Anxiety. Since I was around five I have been plagued by it, staring wide awake at the ceiling, crying and cursing and concerned that any moment my family would be taken from me. I have controlled it over the years but it still niggles at me. I have concealed this from my closest family as I do not wish to bog them down with such things but I am at place now I understand things. I have also used it for my own good and propelled me to achieve. This story was written with that in mind and I apologise for dark story, I promise lighter ones. (I also apologise for being verbose with my back story.)
So here it is:
The weather was harsh, the trek was long and by the time Death had reached the Tavern he was looking forward to a hot drink. The blizzard blew around the dark figure and his horse as he removed a torn piece of paper from his sheep skinned jacket. It was hard to decipher the words but he managed it.
He rode over to the desolate hitching rail, slid off and tied his horse up. Death stroked the horse’s mane as he looked back towards the route he came. The wind blew hard, whistling as it carried snow back and forth, sidewards and upwards, concealing his past.
The Tavern was a small cabin; the decking covered in snow, the curtains pulled closed, two lanterns either side of the door emitting such little light and a row of fairy lights along the guttering on the edge of the sloped roof to show the holiday spirit. Death sighed and made his way inside, the emotional strain taking its toll.
The whistling stopped as Death closed the door. He stomped his feet on to the welcome mat kicking off the snow. The Tavern was small, with a seating area to the left; two leather sofas and a chair was placed next to the burning log fire, a Christmas tree in the corner bright and decorated with perfect precision, boxed presents laid underneath. The bar on the opposite side was dimly lit and quiet. A hallway that led to the back was dark and uninviting.
Death walked over to the leather sofa, removed his sheepskin jacket, placed it over the arm and lowered the hood of his robe revealing his bald tattooed head. He sat on the sofa, leant back and closed his eyes. A short awhile later he felt a tug at his robe.
He opened his eyes and found a young girl with mousey brown hair staring at him. She was only six years old but was confident in her approach. He didn’t have to ask her name to know it. She was Daisy, the Hangrows child. It was always the children.
“You have come for my parents, haven’t you?” Daisy asked forlorn, moving around Death and sitting next to him in the sofa, kicking her legs in a nonchalant manner.
“I have seen you in my dreams. You are not a very nice man, but I understand, it’s your job.”
Daisy rested her head against Death’s arm. It was an unusual experience which made it harder for Death to accept. He had been claiming lives since the dawn of the days, but it had taken his toll. There was never any thrill in taking a life, but the more he took, more would be replaced. It was a vicious circle that the Ruler of Worlds had bestowed upon him. He understood it was necessary for life to make room for another soul but he disliked his act in the matter. He was just the pawn in the greater schemes of things.
“Could you take me instead?”
Death was taken aback by the question. It had never been posed before by a child. He could not reverse the decision that was destined and a pang hit his dark heart. Death just sat there, avoiding eye contact with the girl.
“That’s a no isn’t it? The same thing happened in my dream too. Why? Why do we die?”
Death couldn’t answer. He was forbidden to talk to anyone in relation to his business. He looked at the child and sighed. Every death was greeted with apprehension and anxiety. He had been burdened with the job of ending life and would continue on until the end.
“Daisy, here you are. I have been looking for you. It’s time for dinner,” Char Hangrow said storming in the lounge area.
Death was invisible to those who were tainted by life. She was tall and looked an older version of Daisy. Death could read her worries. She and her husband had the rest of her life planned out. Death felt sorry for the planners. It hit those the hardest. Char picked up Daisy and carried her out of the room. She looked over her mother’s shoulder at Death, blinking through the flow of tears.
Death stood, walked over to the bar and ignored the hot drinks, instead going for hard liquor. He poured himself a shot and downed it in one. Death followed it up with several more shots. The liquid warmed his body and made him giddy.
He removed a small box from his robe and placed it on the counter, teasing his finger over it and thinking of the repercussions if he failed to fulfil his duty. Thinking with his head instead of his heart, he opened it, allowing the black mists of death to form in to human shapes, swaying apparitions in the dim light and filtering through the Tavern. He washed up his glass to the sounds of screams in the background. Death stood by the box until the apparitions returned to their safe place. He returned the box back into his robe, put on his sheepskin coat, wrapped up tight and headed for the door.
“They are dead,” a young voice cried.
Death did not turn to see the girl. It would have been too heartbreaking. He did not know the outcome of her life just that they would meet again in the not so distant future, and that time, he would be coming for her.
He left and never looked back, riding his horse through the blizzard, blocking the recent events out of his mind and venturing on to the next person on his list.