A Gift for Life and Death (pt16)

Forgiveness beamed at him. At Death, that was. The angel was like that, as if they were close. Metaphorically of course. Even if the angel seemed to come closer than they should. Death was very careful to make certain they retained that distance. Forgiveness didn’t seem to understand that they would very well die and belong to Death, whether he wanted it or not, if they came too close.

That wasn’t true. Death knew that Forgiveness was aware of this. Yet they always tempted fate. Death couldn’t imagine why, though he spent a great deal of mental power trying to figure it out.

“You shouldn’t be out here,” Death tried again, mollified a little when Pup returned to his side. Almost instinctively he reached out with a finger to his side to tap Pup’s rib.

“Hello,” said the angel. Happily. As they were.

“Causing more trouble, are you?”

Forgiveness tilted their head to the side, confused. Death snorted.

“I don’t know what you’re up to, angel, but you’re not fooling me.” Even if they weren’t doing it on purpose, though that seemed to be unlikely. How could the angel do as they did without realizing at least part of the effect they were having on the unchangeable around them? “Giving the gods strange thoughts. The last time I spoke with Life, she told me some strange things. Strange things which came from you.”

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.

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.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt2)

The hound was made out of bone. Bone so white it seemed difficult to think it had ever been exposed for as long as it had been. When the bone was left to be white, in any case. Currently he was covered in mud and appreciating the assistance in cleansing himself.

While Pup enjoyed himself immensely, it didn’t mean he wasn’t listening to what the angel was saying. Forgiveness was his best friend, besides his master. He would listen to anything Forgiveness had to say. But he especially listened when Forgiveness spoke of his master. His master was the hound’s favourite subject. Other than fetch, of course. He rather liked fetch too. His master first, but fetch was a close second. Oh, and the angel, of course. The angel was on par with fetch. The angel often played fetch with him. Not in the same way as his master, of course. Not with skulls flying across the open fields. Usually with something less…

Dead.

Pup didn’t understand all of the angel’s words, but the intent was clear. Forgiveness needed to find a present for his master and the sower. It was a very particular present. It wasn’t belly rubs. Pup thought those were the best presents. They were so easy to give! They were even easier to receive, too. Then again, his master required very particular things. Touch wasn’t usually one of them. Touch wasn’t ever one of them, unless it was the hound doing the touching. Even though it was Forgiveness, Forgiveness wouldn’t fare any better than anyone else would if touching his master.

His master was his alone for that. Pup knew that made his master very sad sometimes. It never used to, he thought. Like it was a new thought for his master.

The last of the mud and dirt being scraped from his bones, the hound shifted in the water, resting his head on his back to watch the angel work. They had no qualms about getting their hands dirty. Or the rest of them, for that matter. Flecks of mud in their wings, smeared above their brow, clothing completely soaked from the water they treaded in order to completely clean the hound. It felt nice, but it was almost over.

It turned from an explanation to a question. Pup stood up, shaking off the water from his ankles upward, where the water no longer touched. Forgiveness flitted back, then rested upon his back. A very light touch, as though they could go away in an instant.

They wanted quick travel. No one was faster than the hound. (Well, some were, but they weren’t as important and they didn’t travel quite so often, so Pup decided the fastest was his title by default. His master didn’t want it. His master had the title of being everywhere, so he didn’t need to be fast.)

Pup took the angel where they wanted to go.

A Gift for Life and Death (pt1)

When the angel forced their eyes open, it was because of the soil pressed up against their cheeks warming. They were alone, sitting up to look along up at the place where the mythic phoenix roosted. Their back was sore, though that was an improvement from before they had decided to take a nap. A distraction from the pain in their aileron, which had since sleep faded away.

Mayhaps not a good sign, but at least it wouldn’t hamper the last leg of their journey. One foot in front of the other, they began to climb the fresh soil on the sleeping volcano, home of the wizened tree.

Forgiveness knew fatigue, but it had never stopped them before.

It was time to consider what it was they would return with. When they had come up with this idea in the first place, they had thought about the phoenix alone, but now that they had come all this way, they knew it would be ridiculous to think about taking the phoenix back with them. Even if they had been capable of it, which they never had been, removing the phoenix from their home would have been a cruel thing to do. Which left them with the question: what might have been left for them that they could possibly take?

Forgiveness considered a feather, wondering if the phoenix who lived here would be willing to part with one. Well, no way of knowing the answer but to ask, so the angel continued their path up the mountain.

Death would laugh them right back into spring, the angel knew, when they showed up like this. This far for a representation of a concept they could have simply spoken to him about. Forgiveness knew better. They knew Death wouldn’t take them seriously. That was what this effort was for. For Death to actually listen to the point Forgiveness wanted to make.

The way was long and tiring, even for the most rested of traveller, but especially for one who had already made their way from afar and spent most of their energy doing that. The angel wished they had another options to ease their way. To fly, to ride. Those were options they had had available earlier on in their question. Now both had vanished, leaving them with their hands and feet, the same as any human mortal.

What the angel had once believed themselves to be.

Actually, it’s to save you from insanity of seeing an otherworldly being

The being descended down before him with majestic light. “I have come bearing you tidings, mortal.”

The mortal squinted. “That’s nice, but could you tone it down a little?”

As that wasn’t the usual reaction to seeing an angel, the otherworldly being wasn’t sure what he was talking about. “To what do you refer?”

“The majestic light. It’s a little too bright to be really majestic. It just makes you seem like some guy that has a spotlight behind them. I mean, the descending from on high was great, but maybe there are wires or something? I dunno. In any case, you look like a silhouette and I can barely even make that out.”

The angel paused. A very slight pause, but a pause nonetheless. “Do you doubt my origins, mortal?”

“I guess? What are you claiming to be?”

Peering through their own light, the angel focused on him. “I do not believe you are who I am waiting to talk to.”

“What?” the man said. But the angel had already decided to peace out, realizing the truth of the matter. The light was too bright and they’d descended down before the wrong person with a less than majestic light.