Fictitious Stories and Where to Find Them

Valar Morghulis

It was 3 P.M. The sun was moving across the sky, tracing an archipelago of heat and fire. This giver of life was also its arbitrator. Leaves charred and turned to ash, the delicately formed flower petals whirled in the dust laden wind, little crusts of grime coating their surface turning it akin to sandpaper and the heat, oh the heat! It turned everything to ash, not even barbecue could do such a fine job of it. There was an eerie stillness in the air as if a funeral had just begun. You could almost hear the leaves growing; the insidious tendrils of the grapevine creeping along the surface of lamp posts, slowly asphyxiating them and the flower buds popping if you listened closely enough. The silence hung in the air, like a pall had descended on the world choking the life out of everything that once existed and flourished in the neighbourhood.

A cobbled stone path, out of time and place, led to the ruins of a once fine, upstanding cottage. I walked towards the door and knocked at the charred remains, splinters of wood pushing into my hands. Wincing with pain, I knocked harder, kneading the flesh further into the wood. All at once, with a groan, the door fell with a resounding crash and I was left standing, gaping at what was unearthed.

I had knocked at many doors and many homes and everybody had let me in when it was time but this, this was different. I slowly picked my way through burnt floors, blackened with age and disuse, nearly stumbling over wooden beams that had fallen down a long time ago. The windows, coated with innumerable layers of filth, filtered out the torrid light creating a kaleidoscope of colours on the floor. But the heat remained, even intensified, in this poorly ventilated room. At the far end was an old mirror, ensconced in a thick wooden frame, a spiderweb of cracks running across its surface. But what distinguished it from the other objects lying about the room was the blood smeared over it, forming two very familiar words, words that echoed in the homes that I visited, chillingly final in their entirety. Valar Morghulis. I sighed and finally, unwillingly, turned towards the child, swathed in rags, sitting in the chair. She stared straight into my eyes, those onyx eyes! They stopped me in my tracks for never before had I seen such acceptance in one so young. Her insipid charcoal hair limp with oil, hung in ringlets, her sable skin roughened as though it had been through hardship. I swirled towards her and said, “It is time.”

She shrugged her thin shoulders, the bones straining against her skin; starvation had left her with little to conceal. She gave me her hand and whispered, “All men must die.”

I caressed her skin, the warmth making me shudder. She glanced at me inquiringly and I took her in my embrace, weeping with sadness at what the world had come to. But I had a job to do. And it was time. Her form began to merge with mine, all her memories gelding into my consciousness. Her laughter rang across the room, like the tolling of church bells. Her life began to play out within me and I saw her for what she was, what she had been. A life full of depravity and hunger, sadness and despair, with no hope for survival.  There had been a few laughs, with one she adored but then he succumbed faster than she had and her life had spiraled on into the darkness. And now her turn had come. I had come. All men must die, she had said. But she accepted me faster than the others had. They had clung to hope for longer than she had, desperately wishing for miracles to happen when I swooped in and extinguished it all. She came willingly. She had no hope left, her life had sucked it out of her, made her a philosopher in many ways.

The eventuality of death is something that everybody accepts but nobody actually realizes what it means until they near it. And then the fear starts. It’s only right at the end when they have to take the final step that they realize that it was all for nothing, that their lives did mean something after all and they wouldn’t be leaving without making an imprint or atleast changing a few lives, even if it was in the most mundane of ways. And then I come.

4 thoughts on “Valar Morghulis

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  2. Pingback: Daily Post: Partying, Flattery and a Visit from the Grim Reaper | The Whimsical Circumlocutor

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