Category Archives: Short Story

Vivid Death

Everything that lives, dies.

After witnessing the death of my grandmother at a young age I have always been fascinated by death. As I grew my thirst for knowledge beyond the physical finally achieved a critical mass and I proceeded to catch and disembowel an adult male cat. As I cut upon its body and pry apart its innards I kept wondering just what is it that makes such a complex machine function. Life simply seems to work. One gear turning another, each with intricate balanced and accuracy, never missing a step. I pulled apart its brain, squished the jelly of its eye and rubbed against the inside of its skin, eager to find out just lies beyond the physical world that binds such a thing together.

That night I had a dream. I figure much like a human being was pulling the shadow from the body of the cat. The figure placed the shadow upon her chest and it was absorbed into her. I recalled a similar dream when my grandmother died so many years ago.

Not long after the incident, a close friend stumbled upon a mugging which he felt too obligated to help. He was subsequently killed when a fight broke out. I would mourn his death but I always had a form of disassociation from death. People die. I have accepted that as fact. Seeing those around me die was hardly surprising.

When I had another similar dream that night an idea occurred to me, we don’t die because we run out of life. We die because we collect too much death. When we die, the death gods reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

While it makes sense that natural death is caused by this, what about unnatural death? Is it simply the body’s lack of ability to sustain itself that also leads to death god collecting their due? Or it simply the fact that collecting too much death would lead to extremely bad luck, leading to death by unnatural causes?

My obsession to find answers lead me nearly to insanity. Neither mythologies nor folk tales were left unexplored. My search lead me to many places and experiencing many forms of hallucinogenic drugs. My search for the answers I wanted was futile as all roads lead to a dead end. When I was close to giving up hope, I encountered a rather knowledgeable man living alone in the forests. He had many relics and ancient books in his possession, many of which he claimed are from lost civilizations of the past. When I questioned him about death, he seems to have also discovered that every living things starts collecting it at birth, and that upon reaching critical mass, will cause death. Unnatural causes of death, it seems, are not caused by the collection of death.

The are few that knows the knowledge this mage possesses. Even less so that manages to find him. Those who do often ask for relics, herbs or recipes to help cleanse death from their bodies, hoping to prolong their life as long as possible. He seems to show a slight amount of surprised when I questioned him about the nature of death gods. Death gods, it seems, are not gods at all. Their are merely concentrated masses of death, constantly leaking death wherever they go. As they do not possess a body to contain death, they are constantly looking out for those who die in hopes that they can live. However to lose their physical bodies means they are reduced to their basic instincts to survive, constantly seeking out bodies that no longer collect death, so that they may extract and absorb it. When I questioned about my dreams the man informed me that I had a form of sensitivity for death. As death gods are always dissipating death, the death I have absorbed from them are memories which replayed itself in my dreams.

At this point I was absolutely fascinated by the death gods. How did they come to be? Why do they no longer have a physical body? What becomes of a death god that runs out of death? They seem like an awfully mysterious being that lacks any form of physical body. Of course, such mysteries are only compounded in effect when there is a storyteller that seems to know so much and have lived so long. How was the man able to avoid collected too much death for so long?

As he poured me another glass of tea he explained, life is like the teacup that is being filled with tea. When it is full, it is no longer capable of containing any more, its function at the time, which is to hold tea, is now complete, and therefor, it dies. When you are born you are constantly collecting death until your deathbed unless an intervention has been made to end your life before you are filled to the brim with death. What many have attempted to gain from him are ways to slow down the collection of death and even to pour death away from oneself. While these methods work, old age eventually leads to requiring a greater effort to do such tasks. Eventually, death catches up. He gave me a parting gift and refused to speak anymore with me. According to him, the knowledge that I have acquired, it seems, was enough to serve my purposes.

When I have returned home from my travels I open the small cloth bag and took out his gift, a rather old looking teacup. Throughout the process of making tea I have been thinking of his words and advice. I seem to be have almost all the pieces to my puzzle but the missing piece is keeping me from seeing the big picture. As I poured my tea into the teacup tea began spilling everywhere. Seeing to as it was hot I decided to leave it to cool before attempting to clean it with a rag. It was then that something struck me as odd. The teacup was made with a material that seems to degrade quickly in contact with hot water.

The answer swept over me like a tide unto the beach sand.

If a teacup is broken, it would allow much more tea to flow through. By being broken, one could collect much more death. Do this for too long however, one would begin to lose oneself. Death gods were once humans whose desire to live  forever lead them to collect too much death too quickly, eroding their sense of self far too quickly compared to the speed of which it can recover. Eventually they have lost themselves and the death that has remained is ingrained with only their instinctive desire to collect death and survive. The questions that haunted the back of my mind since I realized that death was beyond the physical world are finally answered.

Now, I have broken myself.