My Shadow, Death

Some people are afraid to die, others embrace it; and then you have Noah who has known the shadowy cloak of Death for all too long. His life has been plagued by it, soaked in it to the point where not only does Noah feel nothing towards the subject; he is willing to become it.

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1. A Review of Life; The Beginning

Sitting here I have to wonder how it got to be this way; I mean dying and all, it isn't an easy topic to grasp and yet I understood it well, perhaps too well. My life has been nothing but a cruel story of such events. Augh, god damn it hurts so much... I watch as the crimson warmth and life force known as blood slowly oozes out of my beaten, battered and bruised body, it's kind of nice actually, especially since I brought it on myself. Oh my name's Noah by the way, though not like it will matter, soon, Death will come and I will take on his charge as the ferrier of lost souls. I'm sure by now that if you are still with me you must be curious on how it got to be this way....

   The figure hid amongst the shadows, a thin glint of silver shone from his figure as the lantern light reflected off the small blade that was now soaked crimson almost all the way to the hilt. There was a silence and then a hoarse whisper.

   "Noah, why?' The voice seemed to echo in the emptiness of the room and then there was darkness.

**************

January 7th, 1896

It was on that early grey, snow covered morning I was brought into this world and given the name of Noah Riley. My mother was a beautiful young woman named Ann Riley, apparently my family, though hanging onto the fringe of existence welcomed me into their clan as one of their own with no thoughts or regret. Life was a bit estranged in my family at that point; a new baby was in the house, my great grandmother was becoming deathly ill, and both my mother and grandmother took turns working and taking care of me since my... my um, father wasn't in the picture... at all. Life was apparently hard for my mother since I was sickly when I was first born, if I died then my mother probably would have given into despair since my older sister Anita had died only a little while before of scarlet fever, she was only five. I remember being in my cradle, all wrapped in cloth with a terrible fever when a figure dressed all in black emerged from seemingly the shadows. No one else noticed him except me... and my great grandmother who was ill. 

   "Ah what a precious little thing you are," whispered the figure in black. He approached my cradle. "Ah you have a terrible fever, and I can tell you are in an insurmountable amount of pain and torment." He stood there, waiting for something, waiting for me to cry out in terror but I didn't, I looked him over in wonder and amazement. "you aren't afraid, how curious. Someone who has just begun life would be terrified to see me and yet here you are barely alive and starring me right in the face... How bold." he smiled a grin of teeth that were somewhere between a faded yellow and ivory color. He commanded an immense presence of silence and the darkness itself.

   "You can't have him," came the soft, but stern voice of my great grandmother. She had hobbled out of bed using her old cane and made it into my room to check on me. The shrouded figure casted a glance of unamusement towards her as he stood erect to face her.

   "Amelia, my dear, I wouldn't be so commanding if I were you," the figure replied in a monotoned voice. He walked towards her in a slow, deliberate manner. "You are terribly sick and it wouldn't take much for me to separate you from these people you call family."

   "I know this, but I do not care, I would gladly take the place of my great grandson," she replied in her still stern manner. "I have lived a full life, where he hasn't. It wouldn't be fair to Ann if she lost two children either."

   "Ah yes that's right, Anita was my last reason to visit," he smiled his unearthly smile towards her. "I must say though I didn't enjoy having to do it, but it had to be done, I had a job to do." He looked back at me and then at her. "you have no idea of what will happen to your family if he lives, he has a presence about him that should never exist, if he lives I will be making many more visits to this family before his twentieth year passes."

   "let him live," she demanded. "Our family has been responsible for many things and it should wither away and die, but let him live, let him start things anew." The shrouded figure looked her over and then turned and faded into the shadows. That shrouded man would return a little over a year and a half later, but not for me.

December 30th, 1897

A week prior of my second birthday she died, my great grandmother left her time ravaged body and took the hand of the shrouded man and walked with him into the shadows. It was a sad night especially for my mother who was beside my great grandmother when she took her last breath. Snow fell that night in a slow, even manner as though it was marking the departure of her soul from this Earth. My second birthday as a result was rather solemn for the family... but not for me, for me it was bittersweet, I lived while she died, and I wondered then was my life worth living. We moved from London to America later that year and settled in a small hamlet town in a place called Rhode Island. That year was a turning point for my new home country, they fought for another nation's independence. 1898, the year of the Spanish-American War was a time of great upheaval in America, it wasn't the greatest place for any Spanish person to be living but what did my family care? We were of English and French descendance. My mom's cousin Peter was fighting in the war on the side of the Americans aboard a cruiser that was patrolling off Cuba's shores...

July 6th, 1898

  Two men in blue uniforms knocked on our door.

  "Are you the family of Peter Richards?" asked one of the men.

   "Yes, I'm his cousin Ann Riley," my mother responded with fear growing in her voice.

   "Mr. Richards has been wounded during the Battle with Spanish Warships off Cuba's coast on July 3rd," the other soldier responded as he handed my mother some papers. "He has been discharged on a Medical charge which involved the loss of a leg and one eye." My mother collapsed in tears as my grandmother came in and consoled her. The men saluted and then left. I wonder why she was crying, Uncle Peter wasn't dead, at least not yet. No Uncle Peter lived until i was five years old, infact he died a week after my fifth birthday, he was twenty seven years old. That was my life so far, three deaths, two during my life and one right before, needless to say my curiosity with the notion began to manifest as I started grade school.

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