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Fiction Fantasy Science Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

I startle awake to banging on my chamber doors "....ake up. My Prince...WAKE UP!"

Sweat beads on my forehead slicking my black hair down, a sigh escapes me, another nightmare. You would think in the company of death you wouldn't have those anymore. Nightmares are for children, people with family's, with things to love and to fear losing. I already have nothing. No family, no home other then this rotten place.

"one....one moment" I stutter crawling unsteadily out of my damp sheets to my door.

I open the large wooden door fully, letting the cool air from the tall stone hall calm my rapped heart beat and cool my sticky chest.

A small brown haired servant girl, stands at my door. Philia, I guess I do have one thing she’s the only person in this place who resembles a friend . She always seemed beautiful to me, under all the grime and mud that seems to constantly cover her and her ill fitted dress.

Her eyes widen a bit at my figure suddenly in the doorway.

"umm...sorry to wake you, he is asking for you in his study"

She glances down at my exposed chest. Embarrassment flows into my cheeks, as I have forgotten the state of myself. Wearing only undergarments with an exposed chest. I quickly close the door half way, while she chuckles and hides a smile behind her hand.

"What do you think it's about this time?"

"I...I don't know" I stumble looking up at her from the ground with colour still in my cheeks.

"He called me there too, not sure what for." The friends exchange a nervous glance. Nothing good comes in the middle of the night. She rambles on a little more always being more of the talker out of this two of us. "...well I best head over, don't take too long Thanaos you know how he is."

I barely get out a goodbye before she turns skipping away down the hall. A small smile pulls across my face, she's always so positive bubbling on about some thing or another. Even in this evil place, where every hallway is dimly lit and smelling of dust. The three dark towers of the castle always looming crookedly above the wide barren plains. It could kill anyones smile but not, Philia her very name means love where as mine has a darker tone representing death which isn’t very fitting for me.

They are opposite in many ways outside of name's, she always being the more positive one and he a little gloomy but even then the friendship works. She just might be the only person he has. The only constant thing. She’s worked here since the first day he can remember, just her and his mentor. Better than nothing I guess.

I turn back to my room to dress, the embarrassment of the encounter fades as fragments of my nightmare return. Screams from women and children ring in my ears, moans of men suffering. Nothing is clear it's a big swamp of sounds, screams and darkness.

Now fully dressed in black the one colour we are allowed to wear, I make my way through the halls. Following the path to the study easily in the series of twists and turns, it would be easy for anyone to get lost. But, living here for thousands of years you get used to it. On my way an uneasy feeling begins rising in my throat, my stomach already starting to roll and curl in on its self as I make my way.

Long before I am at the study's elaborate wooden doors, I hear a shrill scream rip through the stone halls. It joins and mingles with the screams still echoing in my head. I quicken my pace as my throat tightens further. The screams continue getting louder and louder as I make my way to the study. Thus, confirming the feeling in my gut that something is wrong.

              -------------------

The poor man is shaking so hard that the chair has begin to quiver under him as well.

 "what do you want?!?....who... who are you? where am I?" his voice is shrill, echoing amongst the endless books and elegant shelfs of the study.

I entered several moments ago to see him tied there, my mentor standing over the man. He barely acknowledged my arrival just simply waved me in and here I remain watching, stomach twisting with every noise. I know better than to speak out of turn.

"Who am I?" my mentor responds a smirk pulling at his lips

I stand behind him trying to keep the view of the tied man behind his tall strong frame. He is quite taller then me. with jet black hair same as mine. Where he is larger and muscular I am long and thin, almost lanky compared to his well built figure. Beside him is a table full of various items a rope, axe, pliers and other unappetizing tools.

My mentor makes a waving motion to a far off darkened corner of the room, Philia makes her way over and into the light. A tiny sigh escaping me knowing she is okay, not that there is any reason for her to be harmed. She has worked here a long time, knows her way around and how to stay out of trouble. See offers me a quick glance and a cocky wink, but at the site of her face I know better. She is scared, face ghost white and trembling slightly as she carries a tray over.

 "Hurry girl, I don't have all day. You already took long enough fetching Thanaos" my mentor rushes her along.

I can see the side of her face reddened, probably an unnecessary punishment from my mentor. His mood is clearly more sour than usual. Quickening her pace on the uneven floor, she makes a fatale mistake stumbling and dropping items from the tray. Knifes. In all shapes and sizes scatter over the floor. My heart leaps into my throat in fear for my friend.

I try to seem unbothered, friends aren't necessarily allowed in the castle. She would be sent away to work for another master either Dream or Desire or if she's lucky Life. I turn to the figure in front of me trying to draw the attention, as she crawls on her hands and knees to gather the knifes.

"Sir, may I ask why you woke me at such an hour?"

He turns slowly with one eye on the Philia clearly annoyed "You're not the type to ask questions Thanatos....but very well, you are weak" I flinch at the insult "You are too soft, too scared and far far to weak, to take over my role in this world. I have grown weary of your lack of eagerness to take it.”

He speaks it like a fact and I suppose he is not wrong, but the words feel like a blow to the gut. I exist to take over this plain one day, every plain having a different master and purpose to rule a part of the human world. It is clear to everyone on every plain that I don't suit this role, but it cannot be changed.

"I never asked for your role.” I mutter. "what did you say boy"

"I never asked for your role" I spit back "I never asked to be here. The very air is rank the sky never blues, the darkness near swallows you whole. There is only pain and death. I am not born, not created, I'm just here with YOU for eternity. Without even a good rest's sleep."

The words just tumble out having been built up for years and years. It's too late to question what I have done, he has spun around and is in my face in a second. Raising an arm he slaps me across the face with the back of his hand, like how you would punish a child.

My limp body is thrown across the room slamming into the large wooden doors of the study. "Do you forget who I AM?!" his voice booming throughout the stacks of books and maps.

Philia still on the floor stands upright placing the tray on the table and scuttles back to the shadows. I am envious of her escape, I will not have it so easy.

 Still standing several yards away he walks back over to the tied man, whom luckily was forgotten about. "You asked who I am, you filthy human. I am Endlessness I am the Ruler of Death, I am he himself in the flesh." the mans eyes practically bugle out of his head in terror.

"am...am I in..in hell?" the man whimpers

Death cackles with a crooked grin. I sit up from the floor holding my face as blood spills from my cheek. All I can do is watch.

"You would have to be dead to be in hell you fool, you cannot cheat death. But don't worry, I can fix that.”

Spinning around Death grabs one of the knifes on the tray slashing the mans throat open, blood spilling onto the carpeted floor. A scream cuts from somewhere in the shadows.

"You may be eternal like me boy but if death is what you seek for yourself little prince. Then you are in the right place. I am right here"

After a few moments of us locking eyes. I regain feeling in my legs coming unfrozen from my spot and I start to run. Deaths cruel cackle following me down the hall. The sound is worse then the screams in my nightmares.

I ran and ran weeping tears mixing with blood from my cut, the scream of Philia as the man was cut open haunting me as I run. I don't know how long it is until I'm standing on a balcony catching my breath, looking out to the empty flat plains of this world. The hot air outside almost choking me but I welcome it. With the scream still ringing in my ears I know it will be sure to appear in my dreams tonight.

What am I to do here I cant escape, can I? It comes as a surprise I didn't get a worse beating from Death. I know that I must leave or I fear that one day he will not be as forgiving. I will take Philia with me I cannot leave my only friend behind, maybe we can travel to Life's domain and she will welcome us. It's our best shot. Sighing, I know I must do this. If anything out of fear of not knowing what else to do.

After several long hours of staring off the balcony. I have my plan, I will brief Philia on it when I'm back surely she is already waiting for me at my doors. I begin making my to my chambers, foot steps echoing down the empty halls. Not a sound, for once the castle seems still and peaceful. My mind is clear for once, hope is holding my heart. Maybe I could do this for eternity if only the days always felt this peaceful and my nights weren't terrorized by screams.

I eagerly turn the last corner to my chamber door and stop dead in my tracks.

A bloody scream rises out of my raw throat, more tears find themselves spilling over my cheeks. I hoped there would be no need to spill anymore tonight, how could he think for a moment that he would be fine in this place that he could escape for something better. His knees give out, cracking against the floor as he falls.

Looking up he sees her, his dearest friend his lovely Philia holding the only shred of hope and love in his heart. Slummed against his chamber doors, pale and grey.

Pausing in my fit, a smile begins to crack across my face my chuckle echoing through the halls. Of course he would do this, tears start to dry as rage rise's into my heart. This was a lesson to stay in line, to make me stronger in some sick way. A punishment from “father to son”, he probably thinks he is helping me.

Death is pure evil, through and through he is a fool to think he is anything else to me. Now I am stuck with the close's thing to a father I will ever have in this life and how could you ever learn to love a monster like Death.

November 03, 2023 23:05

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3 comments

16:58 Nov 05, 2023

An interesting premise. Did well on the atmosphere, It has a gothic horror feel. The idea of there being different planes is cool. I want to know more about how this world works. Always alone in death, so it makes sense he can't have friends =w=

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Kacie Dawson
16:39 Nov 19, 2023

Thank you for your comment! I love getting feed back. My idea with this story was to have different plains with their own gods. Human emotions and experiences (like Death and Life) would be embodied into an eternal god. They each have their own roles in the human world. For example: the god of desire, the god of love, a god of pain etc... basically an eternal number of rulers for the eternal amount of things that humans face in their life's. These gods job is to role and overlook how their emotion or "experience" plays out for people in t...

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J. D. Lair
03:16 Nov 05, 2023

You sure know how to ramp up suspense Kacie! Welcome to Reedsy. :)

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