Chapter 4: Let me Live
In this moment, her eyes snap open. They flick to me, staring intently, emotionless. It feels like her gaze is locked on me, but it is impossible. I am a myth, nothing but a shadow of death in the human world. Rosalie lifts her bony finger and points at me. I step back in shock; she is alive and it should not be possible. But she whispers something so low that only I could hear.
“Let me live.” She whispers.
Her voice is so weak, yet I feel as if I cannot disobey. I want to please her, I want to make her happy. Rosalie has stirred something in me I have never felt. Only one other has ever seen me before they have died, yet she pointed at me and her plea felt direct.
I held my scythe tightly in frustration. I did not want to deny her. If I helped her, I would break the rules of what I am. Her eyes shut again, as if they had never opened. Rosalie was starting to flat-line. My time was ticking.
“Do I save her?” I ask myself.
I stepped forwards; I rip a piece of my cloak. A piece of me. With care and a gentle hand, I place the cloak on her heart. A gold beam shoots toward the sky, a message to the gods. I asked them to save her, her life is in their hands and they will deem if it’s worthy.
“She is different.” I whisper to them.
A question I have only ever asked once before. The devastation of the first time was still heavy on my conscious. I left the locked box of that memory in the dark, not wanting to relive my mistake. This time felt different.
The time felt eternal as the gold beam glowed up and into the sky. I could feel a heat growing through me, I wanted to save to her. I wanted to see her live and hear her sweet voice. A minor pain in my heart occurred when I asked myself one question.
“Can the reaper be worthy of love?” I ask myself.
The beam vibrated. It sent an angelic ring through my ears and my ears only. The gods had decided, and I was now waiting for the answer. I froze, unable to take my eyes off the monitor. I wanted so badly to hear it beep, Rosalie was one soul I was happy to leave. I hoped the gods had trusted my judgment. I was less of a fool this time. I had a hundred years to learn from her.
The monitor beeped, a steady normal beep.
Beep... Beep... Beep...
I was not the only one to rejoice, as the medical team also cheered. I cheered on my own, remaining unseen, voiceless. I thanked the gods; I knew this didn’t cure her, but she would have another chance to fight the cancer. Rosalie had another chance to earn her life in the eyes of the gods and maybe, just maybe, they would grant her a wish.
As a bell rang through my ears. I could not ignore a soul needing my guidance, if I left the soul to wonder it would turn into something dark and evil. A lost and aimless soul only caused chaos to humans, but they could never see it.
Ding. Ding. Ding.
I wished I could watch her wake, but I am death and I need to collect my next toll. I tapped my scythe on the hospital floor. A loud thump echoed around me as the room I had once been in was disappearing.
I prepared myself for my next soul, reminding myself of my standard speech and readying my arms to comfort them once their heart stops. I did my best to push Rosalie out of my head, even though I wanted to keep her there forever.
“Stay strong Rosalie.” I whisper.
I stood on a cliff. The ocean waves are crashing on the rocks underneath. I search around for the soul I am to collect. I listen for any commotion, for any sirens, and I hear none. I sigh, but I continue my search. I floated to the bottom of jagged sandstone, the waves sprayed over them.
I hear a light groan, a slight distance away, just behind some sandstone boulders. I slowly walk over, I search for the soul to be with my eyes. I spot him, a brown-haired and olive skin toned male, wearing a bright red harness and heavy boots. After a further few minutes, his information processed in my head as I looked over his body.
Brenton Johanna, twenty-three, confidant rock climber. Brenton or as his friends called him, BJ. Turns out BJ was an instructor for rock climbing. It seemed as if he used all his free time doing just that.
Unfortunately for BJ, he had attempted this climb on his own. His body may remain in this spot for some time. I listened to his heartbeat amongst the waves. Slowly it was stopping. I knew his pain of all the broken bones and the internal damage would be over soon. It was hard seeing someone so spirited die alone, but I had meddled in human lives enough today.
“All will end soon, bj.” I say.
I heard a women’s voice warmly call my name, but it was not Charon she called. It was BJ. I am young, I cannot remember my age, I told everyone I was twenty. But I was barely the height of the kitchen table, even the pale white orchids sitting on top of the table could tower over me. I love adventuring; I play with my dog snoop in the garden. Our favorite game is to play search and rescue, I pretend to fall and snoop saves me!
Time flashes forward a few years, I am starting school. It is my first day and I play with a boy called Jeremy. He wears his hair in a bun. Our uniforms are outstanding colours, bright green and black. Jeremy and I are playing on the monkey bars, pretending the chip bark below is lava. We moan when the bell for class rings, I just want to play longer!
I am walking through the door; I slam it shut behind me. It’s been an interminable day of exams, but my results will be my future. Will I pass school?
I want to make my foster parents proud, but I would never say that to them out loud. I wear all black, a picture of my favorite rock band on the front and dark jeans to match. My shoes were converse I dyed… black…
My phone buzzes, a rock tone yelling from the speaker. It is my girlfriend, Micky. I want to pick up, but my heart is racing. I am anxious to answer the phone, my actual parents used their phone time to tell me how terrible of a son I was.
I am always worried they will call someday and make me live the nightmare all over again.
I pull myself out of BJ’s memories; I don’t want to see anymore. I will comfort him regardless of his past, but I do not need the emotions effecting how I comfort and help him move on. If I spook him, he will be a lost soul.
“I am here for you.” I whisper.
Catching Bj’s soul with the tip of my scythe. I ground him beside me. He stares up with a face of horror. A very regular expression, given the stories people write about me. I give him the normal speech; I put a cloaked arm around his shoulder to help smooth his emotions.
“What are you?” He questions.
“I am Charon.” I introduce myself.
Slowly BJ settles, I explain I am his guide to the afterlife. He only nods in response, he is still nervous. I tap my scythe, making the golden door appear, in the hope he will feel its warmth and feel drawn to it. Which he did, and we found ourselves in my boat.
BJ remained quiet. He wrapped his arms around himself. It pained me to see how humans can be so cruel to their own young. I have seen many inexcusable things in my time of collecting souls. But I will not disgust you with the details. Once again, I am at the glowing arch.
I can tell he is nervous to find out where he will go, but there is no other option but going through now. Finally, he is now gone, his fate decided by the gods. I will never fully know where the souls I take end up, but I am content that I guide the souls and never once judge them.