I am the Book-Keeper

What if Death wasn't a skeleton with a scythe? What if Death was something completly different?

A short story re-imaging the whole idea of the after-life and death.

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1. I am the Book-Keeper

Hi, allow me to introduce myself. I am the Book-Keeper, carer and librarian of the most unique and incredible library you will ever come across. AT first glance you wouldn’t think I fitted my job role. For one thing I look much too young, only about 18 or do, and look dwarfed by the heavy black robes that  are the uniform I must wear. As the Book-Keeper it is my solemn duty to keep the library tidy and prevent the books from becoming damaged. I imagine you as the reader of this are probably wondering why I’m actually writing this. Well the truth is  I’m writing this so you will understand a little about what happens backstage while you are busy living out your lives.  Before you put this down and dismiss it as the ramblings of a mad person let me at least describe to you the wonderful place I am the librarian of.

 

The library is bright and airy with large windows high up on the wooden walls to let in beams of sunlight. This sunlight is what  provides sustenance to the single living tree with vibrant green leaves that grows up out of the floorboards and stretches up, up to the arched ceiling high above my head. Beneath the tree are shelves upon shelves of books in two tiers with a thin, metal balcony to prevent an ambitious person from falling to the leaf strewn ground below. You will never see a computer in this library however since modern technology such as electricity doesn’t seem to work here. Another thing you will never see here is a reader, I am the only one with the privilege of reading the stories filling the pages of the hundreds of leather bound books, some cracked and yellowed by age while others are still as fresh and white as the day they arrived. In all the years I’ve been the Book-Keeper here I have never seen the same book twice though I have often searched desperately for days amongst the never-ending maze of shelves for the wonderful story I’d been reading.  

 

Often when my chores and duties are complete for the day I will walk along the shelves and randomly pick out a book before settling down by the tree in my favourite armchair to loose myself in a story that will whisk me away to a world it is my curse to only briefly glimpse and never truly belong to. I would be nothing without the library and the books that make my half existence worth living. The books in my library however are very different from the ones you’d find in your local library. While your books would be filled with any story the author fancied writing, mine are filled with the lives of the humans who live on Earth with everything from their day to day activities to their greatest hopes and fears being recorded upon the fragile, crackling pages.  Every time someone is born a new book is added to the ever-changing library and a new page is added every second until the time the book quietly crumbles away, signalling another life has reached its inevitable end.

 

I will have to stop writing soon to continue on with caring for the library and it’s books but there is just enough time to tell you about one final book. This one never fades and never changes. It’s sits on a small table before the libraries ornate carved doors, it’s pure white cover gleaming with a light of it’s own. Sometimes when I’ve witnessed a particularly exciting life crumble to dust I will open this book just to see if they have passed over to the afterlife and the pleasures (or horrors) that await them there. Often when I see how happy they are I wish just for that brief moment I could join them. The moment always passes and I tell myself not to be so silly. After all without who would take care of the books and the unique, beautiful lives held within their pages.

 

So anyway I have to stop here, I have so many things I need to get on with. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my library (if of course you stuck with me this far). I am the Book-Keeper, though you may better know me by the nickname everyone calls me…. Death.

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