Night shadow ~ Fantasy Short Story

She walks through the night, calm and collected. Her steps are noiseless and her figure passes by, unseen and unnoticed by the people in her path. She walks slowly, one step at a time, with a tired, yet pleased smile on her face. She did what she had to do and she was pleased. Her job was one many were not capable of doing, not even of understanding. After all, who could understand the reasons behind taking people’s lives?

She had no name and humans did not know her. She was always near them, comforting them in their last moments, but they did not know who she was. They saw her in their last moments and somehow they knew who she was and what her purpose was, but otherwise, they did not seem to even notice her as she passed them by.

She passes by people, hurrying her steps. She felt somebody was dying and needed her comfort. She could not explain it, but when somebody was in pain or taking in their last breaths, she knew. Now, with her red dress sweeping the ground, she quietly hurried towards her destination.

A few minutes later, she had arrived. The house was splendid and the room where the dying man was laying was perfect. The lights were down and the fire was burning slowly and peacefully in the fireplace. There was nobody near him, except for a black cat that was sleeping on the floor. He was wrapped in blankets and the sounds of each of his ragged and agonizing breaths broke the deafening silence that settled in the room.

She walked softly next to him and put her hand on his forehead. His eyes did not open, yet she knew he could feel her and, if he previously had any doubts about dying, he knew now that it was impossible to stop it. She caressed his forehead and this made him stop breathing so heavily. He calmed himself down, knowing he was in the presence of a goddess that would guide him in the next life, one without sadness, violence or even love.

As she was trying to comfort him in his last moments, the door began rattling. She turned her head and watched as The Reaper forced his way into the house. He was smashing on the door and the sounds of him hitting his scythe against the door were loud and filled the entire house. The man under the blankets began his agonizing breathing again, scared at what was about to happen and who was about to enter the room.

She sat down next to him with her back on the door. She went through this for so many times, it didn’t scare her anymore. The Reaper was a necessity just like she was, and his duty was to end the lives, while hers was to comfort and bring the soul into its next journey. They were both equally needed, so she could not stop him from entering. Her hand began caressing the old man again, yet he was still scared. He struggled to breathe, thinking that if only he could draw another breath, maybe he wouldn’t come in …

But he did. Once the door was smashed, he entered the room and time seemed to stop. The old man was still struggling to live, clinging on to the hope of life, while she was lying down on the bed beside him. The room began to darken and dark smoke and smog began filling the room, coming from the door. Slowly, the walls and the floors began to darken as the Reaper was slithering inside, ready to take another life.

Once the blackness filled the entire room, a dark figure stepped in. He walked slow, yet determined and it seemed as though it took forever for him to reach from the door to the bed. Once he was there, he turned his face towards her.        

She looked back at him and felt a cold, icy feeling spread inside her. He always had a hood on and she could not see his real face, but she wasn’t sure she would if she could. The darkness filling and spreading out of this creature made her scared of finding out what could really be behind that hood. After what seemed like an eternity, he moved his glance away from her and looked at the dying man. He was still drawing one breath a time.

He raised his scythe and before the blow came down, she closed her eyes. She never liked this way of ending somebody’s life. It was too brutal and it made the souls very scared of the afterlife, which meant she had to spend a lot of her time convincing them to move on and not linger in the place where they died.

As the scythe slit the man’s neck, a white light emerged from it. He stopped breathing. The light seemed to take shape beside the bed and once it stopped pouring out of the man’s neck, the body turned black, and thus, the Reaper was done. After making sure the man was dead, he began walking back, taking his darkness with him.

She smiled now. It was over. At least the man was no longer struggling to accept death. She stretched her arm and touched the trembling white light. She closed her eyes and sent images of Heaven to it and it calmed itself down upon receiving them. She pointed up and the light understood. The souls belonged in Heaven, not on Earth. As it moved towards the sky, she was smiling broadly now. One more soul went to Heaven and her duty was done here.

She stepped out of the house and began walking the streets again. Not long after, she felt another soul trapped between life and death and needing her comfort. She started walking again towards the place where the dying scream was.

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