The Guardians of Death (Life after death competition)

My entry for the Life after Death competition, but with a twist.


1. Before death

It is odd that after all of my creations I find these two legged creatures the most interesting to watch. Their mundane and trivial tasks continue endlessly as they conform themselves to the idea that this is the best life could ever be, that they could wish for nothing more.

You should see the blank looks that mask their faces when they find themselves looking at a shadow as they wait for it to move again like they swear it just had or when they catch movement out of the corner of their eye, perhaps hearing someone call their name. Their face just closes up for a moment and their eyes glaze over as they ponder the possibility that something might just be there, something they can’t see. But then the light will fill their eyes again as they shake their head and cast one more forlorn look out of the window and once more they close their minds to the possibility that there is more to the world than what they can see. They all do it. Some more than others of course, these are the most interesting to watch.

You’ll see them lift tired eyes from a book late at night and cast their eyes around the room as their mind continues to swim with a story of dragons or dark curses. They’ll look twice at a particularly dark corner and they’ll remain riveted on that spot for minutes, even hours because their minds aren’t closed because of a lack of imagination. Their minds are closed by society.

These poor souls try to trick themselves into thinking that they run their own lives, that they control their own actions. It makes them look so pitiful. It’s like trying to watch an ant resist the pressure of a shoe as it forces its weight down on the squirming creature. This is what these poor souls do. They don’t realise that their minds are closed by the iron grip that society has on their head. Society’s fist is wrapped so tight around their thoughts it has become a constant headache that they must live with because they have been constrained for so long they no longer have the strength to remove the influence on their lives. They are scared of change.

Watching them grow from childhood is the hardest. At their stages of innocence and excitement they do not struggle to see the shadowy figures or hear the voices calling them, but as they grow the figures and voices disappear. Society forces all memory of these encounters out of their mind because it is unacceptable to see or hear what ‘is not there’.

It is this that angers me most. Unfortunately they do not seem to realise that they aren’t society any longer. Eons ago, on other planets and in other solar systems, and on this planet too, society was the combination of care and love for each other. Now it is an idolised and false power that they have installed to dangle over their own heads to keep them uniform and alike. Society is a power that they have created and twisted into a hideous and malicious beast that snarls and bites at any sign of individuality or remaining mortality.

They must obey or the leash that holds the beast from destroying their very soul will snap. They fear this day and yet they have forgotten me. It is their error that has forced me out of place and filled that hole inside them with this raging beast of darkness. They don’t even notice my absence as they worship this false hero that so kindly keeps them in check and gives them such a wonderful life of freedom.

I am the leash that holds back that snarling monster. I am strong enough to keep the beast back and give them some small salvation but I am small enough that I am not enough for them. They desire that I help them and so I do. And yet each day my grip becomes more tenuous as they allow themselves to be subjugated.

I am that small glimmer of an idea that there may be more to life than what the beast gives them. I am the fleck of imagination that suggests that there may be something more after death.

I am Hope, and humanity is slowly forgetting me even as I try to guide and guard them before their death.

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