The Crow’s Feather.
Many say death comes unexpectedly. They say it comes when you least thought it would come, but that’s not the case for me. I can see death. I see death before it happens, whether it’s an accident or not. It’s my curse. Or maybe, just maybe, it could be a gift.
Okay so let me clarify things. When I mean death I don’t mean ‘death’ exactly. I mean Death the Angel, the soul redeemer. I can’t say I’m friends with him; the right word is I’m acquainted with him. He knows I see him. Well he knows now.
I remember when we first talked. I was fourteen then, I‘ve seen him around a couple of times. He’s almost everywhere. But he disappears as fast as he appears. No one knows him. None of the people I’ve asked knows about a blue-haired boy with striking silver eyes and pale white skin, very pale, snow-white pale. I wondered how come I’m the only one who can see him.
There’s also another thing I’ve noticed about him, everywhere he goes death follows, always. He always leaves a crow feather at the places he visits and after a day or two, someone from that house, or building, or office or whatever it is dies.
Then one night, I was at the hospital with my grandmother. She was suffering melanoma. The doctor said there was a very slim chance that she would survive. I was alone with her, watching her while she was sleeping soundly. Then he came. The mysterious blue-haired boy came. He stood right beside me, looking at my grandmother. After a while, he took a crow feather and then he placed it on my grandma’s hand. He stood up, he was about to leave. That was when I spoke.
“She’s gonna die, isn’t she?” I asked him.
He looked at me like I’ve grown another head, but I didn’t mind.
“Why is it that everywhere you go, death always follows?” I asked him again.
“You can see me.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.
“I’ve been watching you for a while now.” I admitted. “Nobody knows who you are. Nobody has seen you before around here.”
“Because they’re not supposed to see me. You’re not supposed to see me.” He answered.
“Because you’re alive.” He told me. “The living are not supposed to see me.”
“Why? Are you dead?” Then I stood up and went to touch his nose. “But I can touch you.”
“You can touch me?”
“Seems like it.” I said. “I’m Aisha.”
“Death. I’m Death.”
“That’s an odd name.” I commented.
“It’s not a name. It’s what I am, the death angel. That’s what I do.” He said seriously.
“Do you like what you’re doing?” I asked.
“Is killing people fun? No, I don’t think so.” He answered sarcastically.
“Have you ever lived before?” I asked him, not minding his sarcasm.
“It’s none of your business.” He said then he left.
Hmm. We’ll meet again. That’s for sure.
Surely after two days, my grandmother passed away. I was supposed to be sad but somehow. I expected it, because of Death. During her burial ceremony, I saw him again. But he’s not collecting souls; he was just standing in front of the grave. After my grandma was buried, I decided to approach him.
“Born 1817, died 1834. Wow, this person died young. I wonder what kind of illness he suffered.” I said mainly to myself.
“Hi didn’t die of an illness. He was murdered, by his own mother.” Death said solemnly.
“How did you know?”
“I was there.” Then just like that he left again.
It’s probably hard, witnessing such painful deaths. I wonder, does he know when I’ll die?
After a few more days, or weeks actually of following him, he somehow, warmed up to me. I always see him standing in front of that young boy’s grave so every after school I go straight to the memorial park.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“I’ve noticed, it’s been a while since you collected someone’s soul. Does that mean nobody’s supposed to die for a while?” I asked.
“No. there is someone. I just don’t know how to do it.” He said.
“This person, … this person somehow became pretty important to me. I don’t know if I wanna see… this person.. die.” He said.
I sighed. “Wow, that must be so hard.”
“More than you know.” Then as expected he left. He always leaves every time he wants to avoid my questions. It’s a tragic flaw of his.
One day I went to the public library. I went to search for something there. And what a big discovery did I find. I was about to go home, I saw him right across the street. I smiled at him but he didn’t return it. Instead he frowned, a sad frown, like a sorry frown. I didn’t understand him so I decided to shrug it off but as I was crossing the street, I suddenly blacked out.
I woke up to my mother crying, I looked around and somehow the place seemed so familiar. Ah. I’m in the hospital.
Now I understand.
“What’s the matter, mom?” I asked her.
“N-nothing honey, don’t worry. Everything’s gonna be fine.” She said in between her sobs. I know better than to believe her. I know what’s gonna happen.
“Mom, if I die, I want to be buried next to Thanatos Allister’s grave.” I said bravely.
“Y-you’re not gonna die! Don’t say that!” mom told me, quite raising her voice.
“I’m gonna be alright mom. I promise.” I said.
“Of course you are. Of course you are.” She said, still crying.
The next night, while my mother was asleep, Death came.
“So, when are you gonna give it to me?” I asked him.
He looked at me apologizing. “I don’t want to.”
“But you have to. It’s you job.”
“I know. But I don’t wanna see you die, you’re too young.” He said.
“So were you when you died. Right?” I asked him. “Thanatos?”
He smiled at me, the first time I ever saw him smile. “You’re too smart.”
“Do you know what your name means?” I asked him.
“Yes. Death.” He answered. “Do you know what your name means?” he countered.
“Yes. Life.” I smiled. “We could be partners you know. You collect souls and I lead them to their next life. I think that’s cool.”
He smiled again. “You’re the only one who thinks dying is cool.” He teased.
“I don’t have much of a choice, do I?” I said honestly.
Then he sighed, he took another crow feather, and then he gave it to me. I accepted it, willingly.
The next time we met, he was still looking at his grave. I was beside him, watching him.
“Here Lies Aisha Miller. Born August 1997, died October 2013. Too young.” He said.
“Yeah, I guess so.” I said to him.
“Something’s missing. Your mom should’ve added annoying little girl at the bottom.” He commented.
I playfully slapped him arm. “Whatever, come on! I’m on my first assignment.” I said excitedly as I dragged him across the town.
“Really? So who’s the lucky couple?” he asked, smiling.
I smiled back. “My mom and dad.”
That’s how we happen to be. He collected souls and I lead them to their next life. Life and Death side by side.
Like I said, we’re partners.
“I could never get rid of you, could I?” he teased.
“Not a chance.”