Death Comes Alive – Short Story by Elene Beridze

They weren’t born, they didn’t grow up. They always were. Neither came first, and without each other they didn’t matter. Sisters. Death and Life.

The story begins at a tall home library, two large arm-chairs standing by the fireplace, one is leather, other is suede, both are brown. On a small table between these chairs, there’s two glasses of water. A woman is standing on top of the ladder picking out books. She has a very slender figure, green eyes, dark brown skin and a short afro. She’s wearing a white-yellowish knee length dress, barefoot. She looks very calm and kind. On the opposite side of the room, we see another woman. She’s sitting on the floor with books piled up by her side, she’s reading a book. She has very long straight black hair, pale skin, and green eyes. Her red dress is spread all over the floor, she looks calm and kind. The room looks complete.

The woman in red turns towards the woman in white. “Say, Life, why do souls cry when they die?”

Life looks at Death and smiles. She climbs down the ladder and goes up to Death, takes the book she was reading and skims through it. “Because they live stories which they don’t want to end.” Life goes up to the fireplace and throws the book in the fire. “For them saying good bye means The End.”

Death looks puzzled. “I never understood. Every time I finish a book, the soul cries even though it lived a beautiful story. Why don’t they want to finish it?”

Life gestures to Death with her hand . Death stands up, her red dress drags behind her as she walks towards Life. They stare into the fire. Death puts her hand in the fire, and pulls out a different book. They sit down in the chairs, Death sits on the leather with the book on her lap, Life sits on suede.

“I want to write a story of my own, maybe then I can understand why they cry.” Says Death and opens the book she just pulled out of the fire.

Life smiles. “Well then why don’t you? Jump into the fire, and you’ll see what life is. Create a story of your own.”

Death picks up the glass of water by her side and drinks it all. “You’ve done that so many times, and every time I pull you out you come out smiling. How come you don’t cry?” she puts down the glass, which is full again.

“I never live without forgetting what I am, I can’t bear the thought of forgetting you. I did it once, and I felt incomplete the whole time I was writing my story. When you pulled me out of the fire, I realized life without you has no meaning.” Said Life and took the book from Death’s lap. “Go on. I’ll do your job while you’re gone.”

Death gives Life a kiss on the cheek. “I want to live a life like they do, I want to forget what I am.” Death steps into the fire and disappears. Life simply keeps on reading the book.

Death starts her story, naming the first chapter “Charlotte”. Charlotte is born in Hawaii. Chapters after chapters, she writes her First Love, First Friend, First Loss, First Puppy, First Paycheck… Real Love, First Child, First Heartbreak… And as she nears the ending, the chapters become shorter. The last one named The First Hello. On Charlotte’s deathbed, Life comes to her.
“Did you write the story you wanted, Death?” Says Life as she takes Death’s hand. Everything goes white, and Death is back in the library.

Sitting on the floor by the fireplace, Death is crying as she holds a book called “Charlotte’s trip.”

“Oh Life… I don’t think I can take any more books without shedding a tear for every soul. Life is beautiful, it shouldn’t have to end.” Death hugs the book. “I will miss her… My Charlotte.”

Life sits down next to Death, and takes her book. “It’s sad, but don’t worry.” Life stands up and puts the book on a small shelf above the fireplace. “Charlotte’s trip” is the 12th book on that shelf. Death sits on her leather chair and drinks the water, the glass is always full. “How can I end stories knowing what’s it like to write them.”

Life hands Death the book she left before she lived. “Read the ending.” She says. Death cries as she reads the last chapter. Life takes the book Death just finished and throws it in the fire. “Once you take a soul and finish the book, I put it back where it will have a new purpose. Without you, there would be no life.”

Death stands up, goes up to the fire warming her hands and says “without you, there would be no story.”

***The picture was intentionally left unfinished. ***

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