Deaths Game

We all owe Death a life, when he comes to claim it is of no control of ours. The shadow can take on any form and tonight, death had a very unusual disguise.  He was tired of the usual tricks, the flickering glimmer of a bullet as it tears through the dark, the sudden gasp as gravity pulls a man to the depths, yes all well and good in practice but time after time there was always one trick he used very sparingly that was sure to always keep a lasting impact and the world aware of his presence. When the tally had risen and our man leapt by consequence to the top of his list you could almost feel the maniacal laughter of the shadow in its glee, much akin to the cold breeze whipping through a dark winters night chilling all it touches. Yes tonight must be the night. Slowly the candles flicker as time passes a touch slower. In each other’s arms the troubles of the world drift away and through the intense gaze and stolen glances they come alive dancing in the light of the ball.

The couple has found something in each other’s eyes; it covers the room in a blue frost that is pierced with rays of golden brown. Dancing and swirling in the mist of the evening, the rest of the room seems silent in the presence of such a thing.

To remind his borrowers of the price they occur upon birth Death needs a show, a great production of contrast, happiness and pain to form that great symmetry of his design. The couple he has chosen has come together by chance, by the unraveling of time to cross the plains of existence they find themselves again where they once did hundreds of years ago. The man has dodged him to many times and at the chance to make a show Death chose tonight for his masquerade. What he didn’t expect, nor could have in his excitement to claim the prize, was that upon this night something else was also underway.

From the shadows of the flickering candles he brushes past them, once breathing slightly to form a chill in the air, another to add confusion. Yet they are not fazed, not to worry for Death has encountered this time after time, the happiness that is his favorite mask will be the downfall of life.

Yet as he watches in his hiding as the night darkens, and with each passing moment they draw closer to his design, he loses track of time himself in the mist and shadows. Deaths mistake was pride. No amount of time was too much for him, the closer they became the farther the reach of his grasp became. Yet in this moment, when the couple removed their masks and felt the draw from so many lives past in each other’s eyes, in peace at being he had let it go too far, his chance to strike was fading as curiosity overcame him. How could he stop something that is so strong to even effect himself, a thing in which time and distance has been unable to stop, if he struck now how much longer would he wait until they find each other again. In what manner can he choose to interrupt the fates design with his own?

A wager…yes it must be a wager, I must leave it up to chance, to the effects of the universe to decide the final mark. A coin will suffice as the instrument of destruction or of life. For on one side of the coin Death will remove the mask of life and the price will be paid, on the other shines a light that will lead to a life free of the binds of the universe and unhindered to pursue happiness without the weight of the shadow upon their heads.

For a moment he considers how uncouth the actions of using a simple coin to decide such a weighty matter seem, yet is comforted in the fact that the choices they all make, each and every day is akin to the choice of a coin, two sides, two options, yet infinite possibilities. With a light flick of his wrist the coin glitters through the air, shimmering with reflected light of beauty on one side just as the other is consumed in darkness. The couple walks towards the door unaware of what lies in the shadow and haunts each step. The warm air of the evening is churned up with a cool breeze across their smiling faces; slowly the coin begins its decent as they step onto the stone walk. The wind picks up, they laugh and smile, a car lazily cuts down an ally far too loosely to be driven by a sober man, he holds her hand as they step down from the curb, the yellow headlights pierce through the frosty mist lingering in the air, the coin comes to rests in his gloved hand…

By: T.A. Wilson

Inspired by Poe’s “Death in Disguise”


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