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The Man Who fell in Love with Death MAG
His eyes open in shock.
He sits up in the bed, confused.
His wrists are bound to the sides of the bed, the rough leather grating against his pale arms.
Where is he? He was in the hospital. But now he’s … nowhere. All that’s left is him in the bed. He’s enveloped in darkness, but somehow he can still see. It huddles close to him, whispering in his ear. The darkness is so inviting.
“I know. I, too, felt the pull once,” a mysterious voice calls out. The man’s head whips around. His mouth unhinges with a primal scream. Standing there, in a hood of dark is a creature. Its scythe drags besides him, scraping against the floor. Sparks fly from the contact, casting shadows on its robe. Nothing is visible beneath the hood, there is only a deep darkness.
It crawls over the man’s skin, sending shivers down his spine. His body vibrates in fear. Who is this? What’s happening?
“Your time has come,” the thing shrouded in black says.
“I’m … dying?” the man asks. Disbelief crosses his face.
“Take my hand, I’ll lead you to a safe place.” The thing doesn’t answer his question. It extends a hand, the bony structure from under its sleeve. Paler than the ice blessing the poles of this Earth, the hand twitches with anticipation. The man looks down. The leather guards have evaporated, leaving his arms free. He hesitates for a moment before taking the bony hand. It’s cold, the freezing temperature of snow. Anticipation gnaws at his stomach.
“What made you give everything up so fast?” the thing asks.
“I lived an okay life. I mean, I had a few friends. Some family. For the most part, I was alone, unwanted. I should just end it, right? Move onto something better.” He shrugs. The empty hood turns in his direction.
“You’re … endearing,” it says dryly. The man only smiles and gives a small squeeze to its hand. Warmth seeps into its body, surprising it. It engulfs his hand, like the nearness of a crackling fire The warmth is whisked away like breeze snuffing out the fire. The man lies on the ground, sweat coating his brow.
“Ah, it seems they want you back. It’s not your time yet, young one. Enjoy what you have left.” It walks away, leaving the man
on the floor. The man shuts his eyes tightly.
The man woke up.
It watched as his family hugged him.
It turned away.
The man lived on. Taking its advice, he enjoyed his days. He moved on with life, but something wasn’t the same. It kept haunting his reality. A shadow flying across the room, frost in the middle of the summer, a reflection in the mirror of a figure wrapped in darkness. It never left him alone. The man came to find shelter in its presence.
He presses a hand against the mirror, hoping to connect. His reflection shifts, warping into an image of it. The dark hood is stark against the bright daylight. Its hand comes up to meet his; the man feels the cold leaking through the thin glass. He gives it a smile, a dimple indenting his cheek.
“I miss you,” he sighs. He walks away from the mirror, leaving it alone, stuck behind barriers. It cries out for him to return, to bring the warmth that only he can give. Its heart slowly wilts like a plant burned in the sunlight.
It misses his eyes. The color like the tumultuous ocean, waves crashing into a small boat, rain streaming from the clouded sky. It misses the euphoria whenever it looks in his eyes. It wasn’t supposed to have feelings.
He distracts himself with nights of bars and card games, drunken nights spent entertaining himself. The musk of his misdeeds trails behind him like a stray cat. His eyes, covered in a net of red veins, are sunken in. Dark circles haunt his skin. His conscious and revolve are chipping, slowly fading away.
It presses its hands against reality, trying to desperately break through the barrier. An unstoppable force repels him. Not yet, the force says. Only when you’re needed. It presses the skeletal hand, a gap forming in his soul. The inky darkness that consumes it gradually melts away, leaving an empty husk which only craves one thing.
He stares into the mirror. Is that really it? A haunted creature stares back, his eyes wet with unfallen tears. It doesn’t appear. Only his sullen eyes flash in the mirror. The man sighs in disappointment before turning away. He shrugs on his coat quickly before exiting his apartment.
His breath appears in the fog, a sharp exhale. The bridge is illuminated at night. The headlights of cars are a sharp contrast to the cover of night. The man gives one last smile of peace. He’s finally realized what he needs to do. He can’t keep on living in a world torn apart. He steps onto the bar. The ocean waits eagerly under him, churning in anticipation. The man gives a last look to the busy world. He’ll miss it. He bends his knees and …
The man stares into the awaiting darkness.
“Where are you?” he cries. A figure emerges, exactly as he remembered it.
“What have you done?!” it roars. Its hand shoots out. It grips the man’s arms tightly. His skin prickles in response.
“I can’t live without you. I realized that. I haven’t been able to eat or sleep. It sounds kind of ironic, but you’re killing me. I need you.” He removes its hand from his arm carefully.
“No, you don’t. Hear the beeping?” A low beeping sound repeats over and over. “They’re trying to bring you back. That’s your heart monitor.” The man reaches for its hand, grasping it close. The gesture tempts it to give in.
“Then let them fail. Love me enough to keep me with you,” the man says desperately. “I’m begging you.”
“I love you enough to let you keep on living,” it replies. With one wave of its cloak, the man goes sprawling backwards.
The man woke up.
It left him with a final whisper.
“You deserve the world, but I can’t give it to you.”