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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2. The Friend who Died on Me

   I believe it was grade school that my next sighting of the shrouded man occurred. Grade school was an awkward time for me since I had two disadvantages; one, I wasn't American and so I was an outsider. Secondly, My infantile manifestation of a fascination with death led me to be somewhat of a quiet and 'strange' child. I would sit atop a hill in the school's playground behind what i believe was a large oak tree, observing the passing of life as the world seemed to move on without me. I had a little writing journal that occasionally I would write little blurbs in, though of course being so young my vocabulary was quite limited to say the least.....

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 And so another day passes... Teacher told me to go out and make new friends, how does one 'make a friend,' do I make it out of dirt and sticks? Does he mean the other kids around me? Life is so confusing to me-

   "Watcha' got there?" came a voice from behind. It startled me so much i threw the book. Frantically I immediately looked for where the book would fall to catch it as if it were my very living being. But he got to it first, he being another boy with messy light brown hair and a few freckles the teacher called them on his cheeks. His bright green eyes were somewhat mesmerizing to me; his attitude was calm and curious, much unlike the other kids who ever tried to talk to me. Terror struck me as he picked up my book for I knew he would take one look in it and run away calling me a freak or something. 

   "Here," he smiled, his hand outstretched with my journal in it. I stared at him cautiously, a kid named Kane had done the same thing once but then he threw it to one of his friends and played what they called 'Keep Away' with it for the entirety of recess, it was horrible. Cautiously I crept closer until in one fluid motion I snatched it from him and retreated a few steps. 

   "Thank you," I mumbled, looking away so as not to be caught by those eyes stare. He kept coming on though and after about five minutes we were talking happily and by the end of recess I had accomplished two things; one I made a friend, and second I learned his name; Zachary. Is this what it's like to have a friend? I didn't know but then again I didn't care since I was happy to have someone to talk to. Zachary opened me up to the world and helped me develop a sort of lighter sense of being for a little while, I even forgot about the shrouded man. 

  ~October 21st, 1901

It was a great day, a weekend day and I had been invited to play with Zachary at his house for the first time and my mother was going to talk with his mother to better get to know each other, it was great. There was an uncontainable excitement about me that day as is common with most small children since I was only five at that point. When we got to his house it was  to me a special place where to others it would be nothing more than a small white two story house with a small yard that was partially fenced and partially enclosed by a small grove of trees.

   "Oh why hello there, you must be Noah," sang the voice of a young looking women as she answered the door. She had a beautiful smile and the same green eyes as Zachary except they were a bit dimmer from age. She cordially invited us into her humble home. She showed us to a room with a fireplace two small white sofas and a small table. the walls were decorated with paintings of exotic places and flowers. A crystal chandelier hung above the table serving as a majestic centerpiece to the room, though in hindsight it did seem a little out of place in a small home like that.  

   "Hi Noah," it was Zachary's voice that broke my train of thought. He was in a shaggy white buttoned down shirt with black shorts and a kid sized overcoat. His hair was drawn back. 

   "What's with the dress up?" I asked inquisitively. He smiled and pointed a wooden sword at me before responding with a smile of innocence and solace.

   "Pirates." He poked me with the sword and than ran out the door laughing. I stood there for a minute not sure of what had just happened. My mother smiled and whispered the words "Follow him" to me so I smiled and ran after him; I understood that it must be some kind of game. As I left I heard my mother whispering something to the other women.

   "Has he never played a child's game before?" the women asked quietly.

   "Your son is his first friend," mom whispered back. 

   "Oh, I see, well I hope he won't be the last. Your son seems like a nice boy," responded the other women. I ran outside to look for Zachary before I could hear the rest of the conversation. When I burst through the back door I looked around but to my dismay I couldn't find Zachary anywhere.

   "Up here Noah!" Looking up I found him, he was in a small fort up high in a tree on the corner of their property. Calmly I walked over to him and looked up. He looked at me and smiled, he knew what I was after; the way up the tree. He pointed around the back of the tree and so I went and found wooden boards nailed securely into the trunk of the tree. It took his encouragement to get up the makeshift ladder and up to where he was but I did eventually get up there. He looked me over and ruffled my clothes and rubbed dirt onto my hands and face. Handing me a wooden sword of my own he spoke cheerfully, "There we go, a decent pirate you are, now do ya know how to play?" I shook my head and he just chuckled. "Alright I'll teacha' how to play." After a while I got a hang of this new game and we played for hours happily together. When I went home that day I felt so happy I would burst, until I saw someone that chilled me to the bone, it was him, the shrouded man, and he was smiling his usual smile. I ignored him and walked away as calmly as I could, naturally only I could see him, my mom was waiting for me at the corner smiling, unaware of my fear and concern for the fact that only I could see him. I didn't want to concern her so I smiled a false smile and grabbed her hand and we walked on home.

  ~March 21st, 1902

I was six now and it was almost a quarter through the year and nothing had happened, so naturally I began to forget about that  meeting with the shrouded man. I was almost through early grade school and Zachary and i were still close friends, though by now I had picked up two other friends as well. Life had been a constant joy at that point since I didn't feel as alone anymore and the fortunes of my family had improved nicely. There was also one other thing; it was the first day of spring.

   "Hi Zach," I called to my friend, it was only a little while ago that he asked to be called just Zach in place of Zachary, I suppose because it sounded less childish. Anyway I had called to him and he smiled and came over to greet me but to my surprise he wasn't alone, no, there was a girl holding his hand. She had blonde hair and short curls, her brown eyes were earthy looking and a somewhat stark contrast to Zach's green eyes. The girl introduced herself as Maybeline and we got along pretty well so I didn't mind her being with us. "So what are we gonna do today Zach?" I asked as per our usual tenement of the day.

   "Actually I'm going to walk Maybeline home if that's alright," he responded, she lives only a few houses over. We can play after that if you like Noah." I smiled out of habit but again it was a fake smile as it was many times before and responded with a simple "okay." and so we all walked towards Maybeline's house with the plan to move onto Zach's later. There was a dirt road we had to cross that was always busy with horse drawn buggies and such, and crossing it was tricky. 

   "Is it clear on the right of us Noah?" Zach asked as he looked down the left side of the road. 

   "Not sure there's too much dust about right now."

   "Aw come on guys I want to go home," Maybeline whined.

   "We have to be careful crossing the street," Zach reminded her.

   "Why? No one's coming," she replied as she stepped closer to the edge.

   "The buggies go fast around here, that's why," I responded with a minor agitation in my voice.

   "Aw you're a frady cat," she replied smiling a mischievous smile. We weren't paying attention to her, we... we were watching either end of the street until her singing got our attention.

   "Maybeline!" Zach cried as he ran out into the street. At that moment through the cloud of dust and horse drawn buggie came thundering down the road right towards her and Zach.

   "ZACH!" I screamed. "LOOK OUT!" but it was too late, he had enough time to get out of the way but instead he ran out to her and shoved her. The driver tried to stop but the horses and the buggie were moving to fast, there was a scream and the whinnying of the horses and a series of terrible banging and crunching as the buggie ran over him. He died that day in the dirt and the dust and so to did that little bit of happiness I had with him. He was six then too, infact his birthday was three days beforehand, and he choose to sacrifice himself for a girl he barely knew. She on the other hand screamed and cried but less than a week latter she had found another boy to call her own; that enraged me and made me wish it were her in the ground and not my friend. Ever since that day that's how I remembered Zach, he was the friend who died on me, and all to save a little twat like her; only the good die young, too young for my taste anyway.

   

 

 

 

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