Words cannot describe the pain. What pain it was to lose the love of your life to an argument about a joke. What pain was in the words that he wrote so bravely on the page, knowing that it would lead her to do the worst possible outcome?
It was April and he thought that maybe he could return and there would still be what was left of their relationship, though he was fully aware that he might have caused her to hate him. He approached his old haunt, Walter High, the high school he went to before he was required to go to military school.
The school seemed different. There was a quite air around it, like someone had gone and never returned. He was dressed simply in jeans, a black leather jacket, combat boots, and a white shirt.
“Can I check out Em Harrison?” He asked the front office ladies. One tensed up and the other one looked like she was about to cry.
“Haven’t you heard? Em committed suicide a few months ago. It was really tragic.” The tensed up lady said after a minuet of awkward silence. She looked like she was about to cry.
“Em..? Are you sure she’s gone? She can’t be.” He stammered softly, not believing the words coming out of the office workers mouth.
“I’m sorry sweetie. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“No. Thank you.”
Sam walked out of the building briskly, tears coming down quicker than he could wipe them away. She was dead. Em, his morning star, was dead. Why didn’t he know?
He hadn’t left his bed. He was broken on the inside, yearning for Death to come to him.
“Sammy?” He heard someone ask. The person’s voice was quite and soft like a summer breeze. “Samuel, you can’t sit here forever. She doesn’t want that.”
He sat up quickly looking around for the person speaking.
“You can’t see me. You won’t see me. My name is Death. You’re Em’s lover, right? I need to make sure I have the right Samuel.” The voice said again.
“That’s me. What do you know about my little star?” He asked, reaching for the knife under his pillow.
“I know she’s in heaven somewhere. She is a beautiful soul.” A figure appeared in his room. A teenager, not much older than sixteen, looked at him from her place on the dresser. “I hated bringing her to the other side. She was a child. Children are the worst, but she was so quite and accepting of me that it was easier on the both of us.”
“Em? Is that you?” He asked. The girl bared a strange resemblance to his lover. The same frame, the same eyes, the same look of hurt in her face.
“Darling no. I am Death. I am coming here on her word.”
“I thought Death would be scarier. I thought she would have been scared being alone.”
“No. Em smiled when she saw me. Though she hesitated when I told her you were never gonna be the same but she came with me anyway.”
Sam froze. Death looked broken, like she had been through this for many years.
“Why are you so young?”
“I’m not. I’m as old as the galaxy itself. I’ve been holding people’s hands when they cross over for millions of years. Suicides hurt me. They leave so much behind. It’s hard to remember that they were daughters or sons, wives or husbands, mothers or fathers. Her soul hurt to bring over because I felt it be ripped out of you softly when she died. She died alone. I was the only one there. I sang her to sleep. I carried her over. She was so beautiful.”
“I don’t believe this. She’s not dead.”
“Samuel. This will hurt less if you let me speak.” Death hopped off the dresser. She looked at him with clear pain in her eyes. “When I first came to Em, she smiled. She smiled and reached out to me with a bloody had and wiped my cheek as I leaned down to pick her up. I had to ask her if she wanted to be rescued. I had to ask her if she knew that you would never be able to process that she killed herself. She knew that. She knew that you would be changed.
“Samuel. She never meant to hurt you. She never meant to leave you be. She of all people realized that once she was gone, most people that she loved would be too. I never want to take the innocent. I can never take the innocent.”
Sam was awestruck, yet horrified. The teenager before him was Death. He saw it clearly now. The crown she wore so proudly on her head was broken. He could look into her eyes and see nothing, like she was calling him.
“Go to bed Samuel. We must work together now. People need to know about Em.”
“Will I see you?”
“Yes. You will also hear me in the brontide right before a major storm. You will hear me when it’s too quite. When the world isn’t awake.”
“Tell her I love her.”
“She knows darling. Now go to bed. We face struggles unlike any others in the morning when you awaken.”
With that, she was gone. All that was in her place was a folded slip of paper. Sam stood up to grab it but he hesitated when he saw the familiar handwriting. When Death left, she left the only thing that Sam ever wanted back in his life, Em. This wasn’t Em though; it was the note she left him.
He climbed back in bed, placing the note under his pillow, vowing to read it once he didn’t feel the pain.
Death was alive.
She was broken.
She was scared.
Death wasn’t perfect.