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Who am I – Writing Competition – Adult Runner Up

Adult Runner Up -Anonymous

Who am I? I prefer not to say and to remain hidden in plain sight. Over the centuries I have had many names none of which are spoken out-loud. As one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse I have charged across battlefields, galloped through pandemics, and trotted through hospitals. Sometimes I am greeted with relief and sometimes with fear but always with respect. You already know who I am because you have glimpsed me in the shadows. Perhaps you saw me during a raging fever or when you fell into the void.

I wait with infinite patience because in the end you all find out who I am. Whilst I wait, I watch and what I see amazes me. I gaze in wonder at your love, your creativity and how you bring the universe to life with your curiosity and joy in being. Despite my lurking presence you are creatures of optimism, hope and charity. I and the other Ancient Ones love you for that and marvel at your acts of kindness. At the dawn of time when your ancestors huddled around their campfires in my stupidity, I thought you did so because you feared me and the other things of the night. But then I heard you sing and overheard your poetry and I understood that my power was as nothing compared to the strength of your kith and kin. For I am but one solitary predator whilst you are generations of love, made flesh and blood, stretching through time in an unbroken ribbon of humanity. The shadows in which I hide only exist because of the light you have bought into the world. Without you I would have no name because there would be no one to speak it and the universe would be as nought without you to see it. I am who I am because of you. Without you I would not exist, and the universe would be a barren and sterile place. You are the alchemy that makes all things possible.

Although we have never spoken you think you know me. Many see me as an ending – an eternity of nothingness. For you mortals its hard to see beyond the veil I bring down between the living and the departed. That’s why some think I am an ending – the destroyer of worlds – but that is not who I am. I am the mystery that some must wait six score years and ten to understand. I am the surprising revelation that makes sense of all that has come before. If that sounds religious, then so be it but that is not who I am. I am the one who takes you back from where you came – the one that reunites you with the cosmos. I scatter your atoms across the multiverse, so they are free to spiral with the galaxies.

Without me there would be no fond memories of those that have gone before and no rebirth and no new life. To have the Spring first must come the winter. When your clock has ticked one last time you give your greatest gift by letting me take you so that a new-born can take your place. Once you have become all you can be and have made your contribution there is love to be found in giving way to those who come next.

Having visited all who have lived from time immemorial I have witnessed much. Some amongst the Sentinels see only the destruction you have caused and whisper to the Guardians that you have truly fallen from grace. But not I. When I visit you for that one and only time, I see you as you truly are and know that you are creators not destroyers. I have seen you build pyramids that touch the sky, play music that makes the Angels dance and tell stories that bring the Gods to life. You have it within each of you to heal the world for you are transcendent beings whose power for good passes all understanding.

You have taught me much. You have shown me that every life is precious and that it is my privilege to carry you away to that which lays beyond. When I come, I try to be gentle and always bring an end to pain and suffering. As we spend some final moments together time expands and is filled with golden memories and glimpses of that which comes next and the reunions that await. What once was feared is a time of peace and thankfulness for a life well lived.  For who I am is misunderstood. I come not because this is the end but because it is time for you to remember a life well lived and to be transformed.

I sense you doubt me. For millennium people have lied about who I am dressing me in black and fearing my embrace will be cold and uncaring. False prophets have preached that I am the gateway to Hell. Physicists have taught that I bring the end of thought – that I pull the plug and that is that. Both are wrong and speak with the arrogance of the ignorant. A plague on both their houses. I come not to judge nor to destroy. I come to free you from this earthly prison. I come as the custodian of human consciousness. For amongst all the wonders of the cosmos the most precious is consciousness – the universe made sentient – aware of itself. All the heavenly hosts are as nothing compared with the mortal’s ability to love, feel, and experience. Do you think I am the one that would destroy such a wonder? There is no such one! I am the collector of the observers of creation. You are precious which is why when your time comes, I collect you so carefully and so completely leaving nothing behind but an empty husk and a dark dank grave.

For I am Death dear reader and sooner or later you will know who I am. BUT KNOW THIS – YOU ARE LOVED AND HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR FROM ME.