I drew my shawl protectively around my shoulders, glaring at the approaching figure. I was unsure of what it was, but something about the stranger both frightened and disgusted me. The figure approached, its face hidden in the hood of the cloak it was wearing. It did not move to dismount its horse. It did not say a thing. It seemed to be waiting for something.

    Finally I cleared my throat, staring bravely (I hoped) into the shadowed face of this stranger. "Who are you and what do you want with the house Allevin?"

    "Allevin, eh? So it seems I have come to the right place..." The stranger's voice was rough and slow, but there was nothing tentative about it. The man seemed to think already that he was in complete control of the situation. "I don't suppose the one before me would be Maria Allevin...?"

    "Y-You have not answered my question!" I cried, my voice cracking, "Who are you and what do you want with us?!"

    "I am Death--" I could not help but gasp, retreating slowly back into the comfort of my home, but the man ignored me, continuing on. "--And my purpose here is to inform one Maria Allevin of a terrible tragedy. You see, the reason that I have come is because no one else would take the trouble to do so in my place..."

    "N-No! You mustn't!" Though he had only just stated his identity, some part of me seemed to have knew it all along. My dearest, my beloved... He was always getting himself into danger, oh, he had looked so grim when he left, how couldn't I have known it... "Y-You... leave! Now!"

    Tears began to materialize on my upper face, but I wiped them away, not wanting to show any fear in front of this terrible creature. Death did not waver, but simply stayed precisely where he was, staring down at me with unseen eyes. Again, he was silent.

    I retreated into my house, but before I slammed the door shut, I shrieked, "You need not tell me the news! I know! So leave!" And with that, I shut the wooden door and sank to my knees, sobbing and clutching the letter as if it were the only thing keeping me alive--and in many ways it was...

    "M-Maria!" A smooth, concerned voice cut into my sorrows, and I looked up, my vision blurred with tears, to see a beautiful woman hurrying down the stairs. "Sister! What has happened!?"

    "S-S-Sarah..." I sobbed, feeling my vision began to fade, "He is gone... so gone..." And with that, I went peacefully into darkness, feeling my body fall limp. Never before had fainting seemed so welcome.

The End

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