Here, By Your Side, It's Heaven

An entry I wrote for a writing competition based on a given prompt (the title). Looking for some input on my current work as I pull some new stuff together.

       Poets throughout the ages have written wonderfully about the beauty of nature, and their love for the all-mother that she is and the beauty of her works. Others turn their eyes to the sea, seeing within her the mystery and beauty that they long for, writing odes to her beauty and fickle nature… So, I ask you, is it so strange that I have fallen in love with her, with Death herself?
      It began the day my mother died, when father lost control one evening as he beat her senseless. As her spirit soared free, I saw her come down gently to my mother, and take her by the hand. She was wonderful… Her long black hair, her pale skin, her dress shining like obsidian... I loved her, even then. She carried my mother away, took away her pain. Mother turned to me, and I saw a sad smile cross her eyes as what had once been her earthly shell cooled slowly beneath her. I knew my mother was dead, but somehow, it didn’t seem sad. Wherever she was going, it couldn’t be worse than here, with Father, the drunk, and now killer. He shook her, and panic filled his eyes.
      Mother had told me something, once. About what to do if Father lost his mind. She showed me a cabinet. She showed me a box. She showed me a gun. I ran. I opened the cabinet as Father screamed in the background to get back here. I took out the pistol as he turned the corner. I loaded the magazine as he ran towards me, screaming. I fired as he reached for me. He fell down, and Death walked into the room. She smiled at me, and blew me a kiss. She reached down, and wrenched Father away from the cooling mass of meat bleeding gently on the floor. And with him in tow, him in all his horrible splendor, she sank into the ground. There was a faint sound in the background, and she was gone. I was acquitted for his death, on self-defense. Just another poor kid, just another bad family gone to pieces over domestic violence. But I didn’t care. Mother was gone to some place nicer. Father couldn’t hurt anybody ever again. And I was in love.
      The therapists they took me to were worried about me, how well adjusted and normal I seemed. I didn’t even seem to care, and so they kept me in therapy for years, and they were frustrated, thinking I’d merely lodged the reality away or lost my mind when I had to kill my father. But I wasn’t crazy. And so I grew up, and became a soldier. They gave me a gun, and they taught me how to fight, how to kill. And I saw her, sometimes. When a man I knew, a man I fought beside fell, or one of my shots landed, and a man who was bent on killing me and my compatriots for his country fell and left behind another cooling bag of meat, bone and skin. She took them, and she carried them softly away. And though she never seemed to notice me there, I watched her, and smiled. I would keep fighting, and I would kill to see her again. So, I wasn’t sure what to do, when the psychologists had me discharge from the military, when they hypnotized me and found out about her. I was given a pension, and with my wages, I was able to get a good apartment. But… I had to see her again. I still had the gun…
      The first one was a drifter. The bullet went into his temple, and I threw his body in the river. There was no satisfaction in the kill, never any satisfaction there. Just another death, just another stopping heart, just another cooling corpse on the ground, nothing more and nothing less. But to see her again, that was joy itself. I waved to her, and she turned to me. Her eyes were so sad. She looked away, and took the drifter away with her. It had been easy, so easy. I had to do it again. I had to kill another man, I had to see her, I couldn’t live without seeing her…
      The body was never found. He was an old man who lived alone in his house, nobody ever saw him, and nobody would know he was dead for weeks. I snapped his neck in my gloved hands and watched as the beautiful vision of Death came to claim him. I reached out to her, and she twisted out of my reach… She spurned me, but she would be mine. I would have her. The next was a girl from a street corner. She got in my car, and I stabbed her to death in my apartment. And As death came for her, I watched her, and her eyes met mine, her sad, beautiful, eyes, eyes deep and dark as the universe. And then she left. I nearly wept; she’d seen me again…
       And then the police came in the door. They’d been following me, apparently. They’d found the body of the old man, they’d heard about me from the military psychologists. The man in the apartment below had heard her screams. The trial was quick; I didn’t really have a leg to stand on, as they’d seen me holding the mass of flesh that had been the hooker from the corner, seen the knife in my hand. They sentenced me to death. I sat in the condemned cell, but I was damned if I was going to wait. I tied a few knots in a sheet, and jumped from the bed, with all but the briefest of snaps. My feet danced a victory jig on the air as she came down for me. I looked up into her sad, beautiful eyes, and as my body cooled below, she embraced me, and I said… “I love you…”

The End

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