A Gift for Life and Death (pt9)

She smiled, nonetheless, glad to see him. “I was wondering where you were.”

A woman stabbed her friend. A bird found an entire nest of insects. A car accident happened when the man, slumped over in the driver seat, veered off into the incoming lane.

He might have been trying to overdo it a little, to make up for his absence. She might have teased him for it at another time, but as Death’s simple presence did it’s work Life could finally think clearly again.

“Where I have been? All over.” His grin was near frozen at the moment, but she could tell he was actually amused, if not also annoyed. She never understood the whys of him sometime, but knew she had much more awareness of him than he ever had of her. It explained some of his questions to her. “The real question, my lady, is why you’ve been so aimless? It’s so obvious.”

Tact had never been one of Death’s strong suits. “It is good to see you too,” Life said, as honest as she ever was. “I feel as though it has been so long since we have inhabited the same place. I can see your work wherever I go-”

“I see more of your work, I think.”

“-but I don’t feel it the same as seeing you.”

A Gift for Life and Death (pt8)

The reason her mind was distracted upon this wasn’t solely because of Forgiveness’ absence. Life was so focused on that, because it was one of the few things she could focus on, as flowers sprang forth and nectar became sweeter and mushrooms sprouted and the branches reached higher…

Death had either been lack in his duties or had found himself busy elsewhere. This city was almost too full of life. Too many things growing, too many lives forming. This should not have been the case. Life should have moved on in order to counter this, though her own absence would not have done enough to balance the excess here. Her garden of this land needed some weeding.

But there was a little too much now and Life was distracted. Life had no idea how bad it might become. It was like this and she was always unable to see it if she missed the first signs. Which she had. Because she was thinking of how nice it was to be so surrounded.

Then the wasp larvae hatched. They ate the spider, paralyzed as the creature had been, nourishing their new life. A dog was hit by a car. A man finally succumbed to his prolonged illness, thanking Death with his last breath.

“Hey there, beautiful.”

Life tore her attention away from the wasps and looked upon Death. He had no eyes that she could see, only black holes that claimed everything they lay upon. He always looked hungry to her eyes, though that was only to be expected. Occasionally she thought he was less so, but that was always when he was distracted enough not to be looking at her.

They were always keen upon the other’s presence – it was rare for one to surprise the other. Life had been very lost in her own mind to have left him come so close without realizing.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt7)

At a certain point, there was nothing more to come of standing here.

Life hadn’t been certain that it would work, but had remained nonetheless. The grass overgrew, the buds bloomed almost too quickly, the creatures came forth from their slumber to browse. This was one of the places Forgiveness liked to come. Life hadn’t meant to bring so much here, as she had, but she had thought staying here might mean the return of her angel.

As her angel had not returned, Life should have moved on. However, her mind was absent.

She distracted herself in her sowing. Gravitating to the hatching spiders, who swarmed from the sac. Ever present, Life was, even to the cat who was delivering away from the park, on the other side of the city. The recovering human in the hospital, whose body now teamed with the energy it needed in order to eventually walk on their own. This usually took Life’s full attention, unless someone could see her form and address her personally, which no one was. No one saw Life, she wasn’t like her counterpart. She simply was always there.

For being there, she knew her angel must be somewhere. Still that is where her mind dwelt, away from her tasks at hand. More growth, another birth, more health. Her angel usually didn’t spend so much time away from her without checking in. She had no say over where Forgiveness went, she had never claimed to nor did she want such a thing. Forgiveness simply had always told her where they were going. She didn’t know why.

Yet they hadn’t done so this time. They had told her they had something important to do and they would return when they were done. She believed this. Then they had left and Life had not seen them sense. Her angel must have still been busy, with whatever it was that was so important to them. The seed of curiosity had eventually diminished, leaving her with the blossom of loneliness she had never felt before. She was Life. She was connected to all living things. She was never alone.

Despite the fact none of them saw her. None of them knew about her, only what she gave them. Something she had given up true mastery of long before.

Not that anyone needed to know that.

Champion of the Gods (pt2)

Just in case they needed further proof, she picked up her sword and broke it in half with her own two hands. The sword was nothing special, the most recent in a very long line of tools that she had borne. Shu-fang didn’t need anything special. The symbolism might be enough though. She hoped so. It would make up the fact that gripping the blade as she had cut into her hands, causing her to bleed.

It meant little to her. Her hands would heal. It didn’t matter what happened to her injuries. Here now, gone later. None of it would kill her.

Nothing could kill her. It was how Shu-fang had lived for thousands of years. Being immortal, being invulnerable.

Shu-fang wiped off her hands, picked up her small bag and left this apartment for good. Someone wouldn’t be happy with the state of how she left it.

She left enough funds behind that hopefully no one would mind.

The world outside went on as it had been before her decision had been made. The sun was bright, people were in a festive mood, and the vibration of the world continued. Shu-fang fit into the crowd easily. No one recognized her as anything different, which meant she could follow the flow and make her way out. Perhaps it would be enough to distract any eyes that were on her now. She bought some festival chains on her way through, placing them about her shoulders. From above, from below, she would seem even more like those around her.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt6)

When the angel had bundled up once more, the hound continued on the path the angel wished they would take. This went on for hours, perhaps not in a straight line. Then again, the angel was merely guessing where it might be that this phoenix dwelt. Pup knew his master would know, but considering the point of this venture telling Pup’s master seemed besides the point.

There were more creatures like that first one, that did not fear DEATH or things associated to him. Such as his hound, who usually got the same reaction as his master, no matter how different he might actually be. Such as the fact Forgiveness could ride on his back. Even if Pup’s master was large enough to fit the angel on his back, that would not be possible.

Nothing living could touch the hound’s master and remain that way.

Forgiveness thought they were getting close when Pup could scent more curious creatures on the way. Whether they were here to play (as none of them had been) or here to act in the same manner as the others, he did not know, but Pup was inclined to believe the former no matter how many times the latter had actually been the case. His tail began to wave, left and right and left again. Forgiveness had a few words, patting the back of his head and taking slightly to the air above him.

Then it came. The loud whistle which echoed in the hound’s existence. His form went taught, head turning back in the direction the sound had come.

His master beckoned.

The angel could have come with, knowing what would happen next. The hound had no choice in responding to his master’s call. The hound saw no problem with this. Neither did the angel. Most of all, that was what his master expected.

Forgiveness did not hold onto him and Pup left them behind to trail off in a completely different direction to where his master waited for him. He would return to the angel later. After all, Forgiveness was their friend. Maybe they would have found the phoenix by the time the hound returned.

Pup returned to DEATH.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt5)

The insect crashed against the jungle arbour, causing the thick wood to moan in response.

The angel said something, but now Pup was annoyed. The beast skittered around the tree it had crashed into and darted toward the hound again, as if it could possibly do something to DEATH’S HOUND.

Pup batted it aside again, then promptly took the angel by the fabric at the scruff of their neck and bounded out of there. It was long gone, after a few strides. Pup let Forgiveness go, their hair completely windswept around their face, the air pressing against their face leaving it slightly pale, despite the moist heat the both of them had been in.

At least, that was how people described that sensation. The hound wasn’t phased.

The angel settled back on the hound’s back, rubbing their hands together. Throwing his head back over his shoulder, the hound tried to lick Forgiveness despite a lack of a tongue. It made them smile nonetheless, patting the end of his nose.

Champion of the Gods (pt1)

“I am retiring.”

The room was completely empty, but for Shu-fang. She still put forth those words without hesitation, loud enough for every corner to capture her words. Because there might be someone listening. Shu-fang had long since been used to anyone being able to hear her.

Today though, she did not want to be misconstrued. The seemingly young woman rolled back her sleeves, tying them out of the way. She had bought a large paintbrush for this occasion, with candy apple red paint. Viewing the white walls of her canvas, Shu-fang dipped her brush into the canister, then drew it back out to write it on the wall.

Shu-fang covered the walls with her message. It was a simple one. I’m done. I’m retired. Don’t come for me. She wrote it in her mother tongues – it had been so long she did not remember which was actually her first language, but she was native enough in many of them it didn’t matter. She added in languages that she did not use as often, but was close to fluent enough in to write it casually as well. She found her tape recorder, her computer, her phone, and recorded the message on all of those as well.

There were many different ways to say it, but Shu-fang kept it simple. She would no longer do the gods’ will.