Death Sang for Me.

The sun shone hot and brightly in the late July sky, as I sat on the terrace a thick blanket over my sticklike legs.  Even with the sticky humid day, I was shivering inside my thick dressing gown. I liked being outside though, it was one of the only pleasure left for me now.  I let my hands rest on the book on my lap, a book by my favourite author. I had read it so many times, that the pages were dog-eared and yellowed. I didn't have the strength to lift the book once more and begin to read. I sighed, looking out over the garden at the beautiful flowers dancing in the skant breeze.  On the horizon stood the trees, my woods, my beloved place.  Since I'd fallen ill I'd been unable to go hiking like I loved to.  The cancer had seeped into my bones and was now trying to enter my brain. Three months was all I had left; there would be no more days like this one. Soon I would go blind, and would no longer see the dancing flowers or the majestic oaks that were older than I could imagine.

I longed to get up, walk across the grass and sit beneath the shade of one the oaks, smelling the earth as I clutched it in my hand and held it to my nose. I felt tears in my eyes, but I didn't even have the strength to bat them away.

"Why are you crying?" A little voice said, and I scanned around me looking for the source.

"Who's there?" I asked my voice soft. A little hand covered mine and I looked up into the deepest blue eyes I ever saw.

"Why are you crying?" She said again and I sighed, noticing for the first time that it hurt me to breathe. I tried to focus on her, blinking my eyes to get her into my sight.  She looked to be about Seven years old, her long blond curls were held back from her face by a pink headband. She was dressed in a pink dress with flowers embroided on the hem, little white sandals on her feet.

"I'm not feeling very well." I said finally, asking myself how she got onto my property.

"I'm sorry. I had a cold once, but my Mommy made me some nice medicine and I felt better. Do you have medicine?" She asked and I smiled.

"Yes, I have lots of medicine. How did you get here?" She smiled sitting down on the end of the lounger.

"Isn't the medicine making you better?" She asked her blue eyes wide in question. I shook my head.

"No it's not working." How did you explain to a child as young as this, that no medicine was going to help. I felt like screaming at her to leave me alone. She made me feel so self-pitying and I hated to feel like that.

"I'm sorry. Would you like to come for a walk with me? It's a pretty day, too nice to stuck inside."  I sighed. She meant well, this little girl and she was a welcome distraction I suppose from waiting to die.

"My legs are wobbly, I can't walk very far." I admitted, pulling back the blanket to show her. She looked at my thin legs and then up at my very pale face.

"I will walk slow, and hold your hand. I promise not to make you tired." She said finally with authority she reached for my hand, pulling on it.

"Come on Mary, it'll be fun." She said. I sighed swinging my legs to the side of the lounger. Within moments I was standing in my slippers at the top of the short run of steps leading to the garden.

"I can't do it." I said to her and she looked up at me with determination in her eyes.

"Yes you can, and you will. Come on Mary." I gasped as I heard my name from between her lips.

"Who are you?" I asked as she led me slowly down the steps. She smiled as I reached the grass.

"I'm nobody really. Don't the flowers look pretty?" She said and I nodded holding out my hand to touch the velvet petals of the blood red rosebush to my left.

"The garden looks prettier from under the trees Mary, come on it's not far really." I allowed her to lead me through the grass, my feet stumbling every so often. Each time I stopped she waited with me, her small arm around my back. Before I realised we were looking up into the huge canopy of the oak tree.

"I told you you could do it Mary." I smiled and hugged her to me.

"Thank you." I whispered, as she helped me to sit down under the tree. I was so tired with the exhertion that I closed my eyes for a second taking a deep breath.

"It doesn't hurt you know." She said cuddling up next to me on the ground. I opened my eyes looking down at her and she looked up at me and smiled.

"What doesn't hurt?" I asked feeling exhausted. She slipped her small hand into mine.

"Dying. Dying doesn't hurt."  I took a sharp breath at her statement.

"Why would you say that?" I asked feeling apprehensive although I wasn't sure why.

"You're dying Mary. That's why the medicine doesn't work anymore." I felt tears filling my eyes.

"How would you know? What do you know about anything? You're just a little girl!" She shook her head sadly. Then she opened her mouth and began to sing. I couldn't understand the words, it was in a foreign language, but it was haunting and beautiful and most of all I felt so calm and for the first time in so long I stopped shivering.

She got to her feet, not stopping her beautiful singing for a second. I followed her with my eyes, a huge smile on my face as gradually the pain left me.

"My pain, it's gone!" I said in shock and she smiled, closing her mouth finally. The song ended and I was sad.

"Why did you stop singing?" I asked her and she touched my hand.

"We have to go on a long journey now, but first lets walk in the forest because I know that's your secret wish deep down inside you." I shook my head.

"I can't walk any further, I'm all worn out." She pulled me to my feet in a fluid motion and I stared at her in surprise.

"How?" I asked and she smiled pointing to the ground.

A woman with long dark hair and a very pale face sat sleeping, wrapped in a thick dressing gown. She looked peaceful and I smiled.

"Am I dead?" I asked the little girl and she smiled slipping her hand into mine.

"Yes, your life as Mary is over, but there are plans for you. First lets walk in your forest because I know that's what you wanted to do most of all before you move on." I smiled so happily my soul singing with the beauty of it.

"Are you death? Are you an Angel?" I asked the little girl and she nodded.

"I am both. I knew you were scared of dying, so I came to you as a little girl because I knew then you wouldn't be afraid to come with me. You lived a good life Mary, a kind life; and although it has ended far too young you will have a chance to live again." I felt tears welling in my eyes and she shook her head.

"No tears sweet Mary. This is a joyful passing you're coming home now." And I nodded as we walked off together through the thick forest of trees leaving behind my useless body sleeping forever beneath the oak tree that I loved so much in life.

The End

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