My sister stood directly opposite to me, exactly five metres away. To her left was a table, various weapons laid out. A replica table sat to my right.
"Ready?" She asked, her lip turned up halfway.
"Ready." I answered. My sister nodded and snatched up her first choice weapon: a dagger. Not shocking, she always liked to start off strikingly.
She winked at me before pulling her arm back and catapulting the dagger forwards. I watched it spin, slicing through the air until it hit me square in the chest, right between my breasts. I gasped at the impact, stumbled back slightly from the force she'd issued so early on. She was mad today.
I pulled the dagger from my flesh, seeing it painted red with my blood. I looked down at the wound, gushing manically. In less than a moment the skin stitched itself back together.
I dropped my sister's weapon to the ground, bending over my own table and choosing the bow and single arrow. I slid the arrow into place, bringing it up and aligning it with my peripheral vision. I pulled back gently on the bows string, as if massaging it, and took a deep breath before letting the arrow fly.
I stared at the look on my sisters torn face as the arrow flew towards her stomach. She didn't even flinch as it entered her greying flesh, she simply pulled it free and allowed the wound to ooze a thick, black substance.
There was a time, countless years ago, when my sister and I were exactly identical. Same pink eyes and rosy cheeks, same mousy hair and unblemished skin. Life before the Initiation had been perfect for us. We were adored. Loved by all who laid eyes on us.
"You're no fun playing this game, you know that? Don't you ever want to play dirty?" My sister grinned, her chapped lips flaking as she did. She snatched up a triumvirate of throwing stars, dishing them out one after the other whilst laughing her delight.
I tried to relax, but against my will I tensed up just as the stars sliced into me. The first two protruded cleanly from each of my arms, whilst the third poked out from my throat. I screamed as I pulled them free, the searing pain vanishing as the lesion healed. Something was tugging at my sister's thoughts; something eating away at her. This would always happen from time to time. She would be overcome with unexplainable anger, and would happily take it out in our monthly game. I tried to talk to her, to understand how she felt, but she shut me out millennia ago.
My eyes darted over my weapons, seeing the slender spear laid out at the top. I picked it up, catching the glimpse of shock from my sister. She quickly masked it, but I'd seen all I needed to. She was listening now, whether she wanted to or not.
"Tell me, sister, what's bothering you today?" I asked, twisting the spear in wide arcs.
"Tired." She answered tepidly.
"How can a sleepless girl be tired?"
My sister's eyes seemed to darken. They were the only recognisable feature she still had left after all this time. As eternity had sauntered past she had rotted whilst I had blossomed.
I waited for my sister to say something, to open what was left of her withered heart and finally console in me. But she remained silent, her chin outstretched. I ground my teeth together and fired the spear, hitting her square in the chest. My sister blinked twice before aggressively pulling the spear free and throwing it to one side.
I hated this game. I still had no idea why my sister insisted on playing it. Every cut I inflicted would simply add to the scars that littered her body. She didn't posses the power to heal. She was pure and utter death, and that only came with one quality.
The gift to kill.
"What's it like?" She suddenly asked, scanning her remaining weapons.
"What do you mean?"
She picked up a throwing knife, twirling it between her broken fingers until turning to face me. "What's it like to be immortal? To be perfect on a timeless scale?" Her words dripped with insolence.
"I didn't ask to be this way." I argued, feeling the prick of her sharp tongue right at my core. My sister's thoughts were trickling through her many cracks, and I waited patiently for her to carry on in her confessions.
"And neither did I, but these are the hands we've been dealt. Chance was happy to issue us with Godly power, but even with all this power we're both still depressingly human." My sister grunted as she tossed the knife. My head lurched backwards as the blade sunk precisely between my eyes. For a fleeting moment, the world went dark. Blindly, I pulled the knife from my face, and in a second my vision had been sewn back together again, like a tapestry before my eyes.
"Did you forget, that before we were ever granted these lives we were both human?"
My sister scoffed. "Lives? Only one of us is immortal. You are Life! You are connected to every living person on Earth. But I've forgotten what it's like to feel alive. The dead and I are linked, bound, and it's been that way for so long that I've become one of them."
"You are immortal, just like me. You've been by my side since the very beginning." I took a step forward, but my sisters blazing eyes burnt holes into my courage, and I retracted my foot.
"I'm not immortal. I'm not even mortal. I'm anti-immortal. I am the complete opposite of life. I am Death for all of time. My body is but a flimsy corpse." My sister pulled at the few strands of hair still attached to her scalp, and I watched as they came free effortlessly. She was a morsel of the girl she had once been, when we'd been plucked from the Earth and chosen to take on a purpose that was unimaginable.
I picked up my own throwing knife, tracing the point where my sister had just injured me.
I was always afraid that this would happen. That over the course of forever my sister would become so bitter that she would resent me for the role I had been given. It wasn't my fault that Life had been woven into me. As a girl I'd loved the world around me, the way it worked, how atoms and particles could intertwine to create such beauty. My sister, however, had been intrigued by the idea of life after death. Of there being no end, but rather endless beginnings.
My sister had lost sight of her calling, her eyes slowly fading green with envy.
"I'm sorry." I said.
"There's nothing you can do to change what I think."
I threw the knife, watching it glide towards its target. My sister's eyes went wide as the blade made a deep incision in her skull. She staggered away, breaking formation and scratching at her face until she found the hilt of the knife. She pulled it free, bellowing with self-pity as she clawed at her eyes.
"What have you done to me? What have you done?"
"You would watch, each month, as you hurt me in every way possible, but never once leave a scratch. I realise now why you wanted to play this game, sister. You wanted to see what you didn't have. You wanted to feel sour, to pity yourself. You made yourself hate me for the sake of it." I walked towards her, my pace even. My sister had fallen to her knees, her nails digging into the rigid ground beneath us, as if to anchor herself to reality. "You are not Life. You are deathless Death. If you can't bear to see what you can't have, then you shouldn't see at all."
I left my sister to wallow, deciding instead to stroll along the skyline. Here I could feel every thread of life that connected me to all those above and below. I could hear each new heartbeat, feel each eye blink.
It was my duty to watch over the land of the living. Just as it was my sister's to protect the land of the dead. A sudden wave of guilt washed over me for what I'd done to her, but it was all I could do to numb the pain. I had faith that she would forgive me one day.
For now I focused on the small prickle I felt on the back of my neck, and smiled.
Somewhere, a new life had just begun.
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