Once upon a time, on the same year, two babies, a crying fair girl born in spring and a quiet sickly boy born in winter, came to the world. Motherless children, both so different and yet so alike, both born with a foot in the cradle and the other in the grave, already aware of the darkest omen that scares even the most powerful men. Death.
On their first night on this earth, She paid the two children Her first visit for Lonely Death desired what her sister Beloved Life had denied her: children.
Bent over their cribs, swinging them with bliss, She sang the two children to sleep, a gruesome lullaby and scary music that was nothing less but a funeral march, for Death and Her painful heart had reaped their mothers’ souls before dawn.
Both children acted terrified but only the girl, whom Death had first heard whine, found the strength to cry, for the little boy, whose dark eyes were open wide, staring at Death’s gloomy face, was breathless and petrified.
Death smiled and kissed the two children goodbye, knowing she’ll meet them sometime.
When the girl reached five, Death knocked at her house gates one more time. She was pleased to see her pretty child and her bright luminous smile living a happy life despite the awful demise.
The girl was playing on the swings hung to a centenarian tree, the biggest of the property. Above her silver head, sitting on an old branch, her older brother held a stolen blade in his chubby hand. Threatening to cut the ropes of the swings, he kept smiling and swinging on the tree and so Death so displeased by the cherub’s mischief decided to punish his evil deeds. The girl was no one’s to mistreat except Hers when her time would be.
Therefore, when the girl’s bottom landed hard on the soil and silent tears started to roll; Vengeful Death fell from the leaves and with two sharp teeth bit Georges till blood seeped.
And on that day, Death paid the girl her second visit, this time not as a song but as a hiss for Motherly Death had stricken as a snake, an adder with smooth grey scales and reddish brown eyes that scared the girl’s brother who tumbled from the elm with a sharp loud scream that made Death’s favourite close her pale green eyes.
When the girl finally dared to glimpse, her brother was swinging in the breeze from that solid rope he had played with. Neck broken, mouth agape, eyes red with blood, he was indeed gone. The girl gasped and screamed. And Death grinned with pride as She slithered on the girl’s thighs. Why had She left her child?
Thus Death, pleased with herself, decided it was time to pay Her second visit to the boy whom She hadn’t seen in years.
On a dreary night, She sat at his bedside and lay by his side. He was sicklier than when she had last met him. So feeble, so rickety and yet so pretty. Her poor poor boy, how perfect he could be.
Her vile arms around him, she brushed his wet skin and smelt his dark hair that were as black and rare as the cloak She had to wear. She looked at his swollen throat. She looked at his red pale face, stared at his glassy eyes and started to cry when She heard his lungs whistling as he silently whined. The wretched boy was wheezing of both sickness and panic and Death hated it. She didn’t want him to fear Her. She didn’t want him to suffer.
She caressed his feverish forehead and the boy trembled from toes to head. Paralyzed, he stared at Her black-hooded figure, with a fear in his constricted pupils that rendered him muter than the first time he had met Her.
Death put Her cold hand over his heart and felt it beat against Her palm. So quick. So fragile. Terrified. Her precious child. She could easily take him with Her she thought, wrapped in her tenebrous dark cloak, the same way She had taken the silly Merope, like a hunter kills a doe, in that very same room years ago. After all something in him was begging her to put his tiny body in a black hearse. But deep in his eyes there was something else hidden behind terror and stress, a will to fight Death.
Death was intrigued. How come such a young dying boy like him could think such a thing? And so with a grin, She let the boy live, hoping to see him becoming combative. And instead of him, She took little Jim in the bed next to him.
For days Death observed the child to see him thrive. How grim seeing a sweet boy like him slowly reaching darkness to its brim. Was he darker than Death Herself? She wondered and, without an excuse, let the vengeful boy tie a noose around the poor rabbit’s neck that used to live under Billy Stubb’s desk. It would carry no more infections after this retribution.
And so the rodent fell and the boy gloated so heartfelt as the animal swung, shook and squealed until it became still. Unsettled, Envious and Worried Death stared at the boy. What had She done? What had She made? An offspring? An heir? Or a new plague?
With a feeling of powerlessness She wanted to see fade, Death came back to the girl and paid her a third visit.
She spotted the father in tears, afflicted with sorrow and unable to grieve. His wife and son were no more and his daughter was just a sore. In a great theatricality and needed pride, Death inspired the man to take his life and so he tied a knot to be buried with his lie. Never to be revealed his secret would be.
And thus, the wretch shook and swung at the end of the rope but unlike the rabbit the man didn’t squawk. It let Death furious and jealous and so She became vicious.
She hissed the silly girl to stand in here and so the girl found the poor body. It was casting a large shadow on the family portrait on the wall; an enchanted picture painted years before her birth but that somehow never added her figure.
The girl screamed the same way she had screamed before and the maid ran to her for comfort. She asked the girl to look away but she stared anyway.
Alerted by the squeal, the gardener who everyone thought a squib, arrived to cut the rope but his spell did not result as he had hoped. The rope turned into a weird-looking snake that eventually freed the father’s neck but that also bit the poor lad who weirdly instantly died. This time, there was no shouting for the girl realised she had to grow accustomed to Death’s doing. And that’s the second and last day She knocked at the door for She knew that the manor had went through enough tremor.
After that, the girl left Great Hangleton to live near London with her paternal grandparents who found her rather aberrant. Though they were old, chubby and rather stunted folks, with white-streaked black hair and an odd air, the girl could definitely catch the resemblance with her dead father’s appearance.
When the maid left her, they squinted at her with scorn and rage that left Death outraged. How could badgers look so much like predators?
It worried the little lonely girl but Protective Death promised her those mortals would not be the end of her. She had something better for her that would bind mother and daughter forever. The girl would learn to embrace Death like a mother or like a goddess. She would learn to love Her the same way She loved her. Unconditionally, eternally.
When it finally was time to pay the boy a third visit, Death found Herself powerless.
The child of the orphanage was nothing like his age. No pure innocence, but a hidden malevolence. He was growing in a way She could not even say. An evil deceiver and sadistic liar. With a smirk on his childish face, he could find delight in darkness and pleasure in wretchedness.
And so Death watched him, wondering how She could stop that heir she had unconsciously mould to be just like Her, that ominous child She knew since birth and that She now wanted so badly in a hearse despite Her motherly tenderness. She wondered as She saw him hurting others with spells and jinx, as She witnessed him wearing a soft lambskin to bite like a water moccasin.
She looked in his future and saw Her boy fancying himself a killer and stealing death from her. This could not happen. Therefore, one night, Death realised it was time for her precious boy to die.
But this decision was not to Life’s liking. She appeared to her sister to stop the killing. Death had stolen two of her most beautiful children and so she had come screaming revenge. With her darkness, She had corrupted them. She had contaminated them. She had poisoned their innocent spirits, their pure bodies. So Death, as punishment, would watch them rot alive. She would watch them live an awful life and walk down a path full of knives. She would watch them hate Her, fear Her and run away from Her.
Afflicted Death cried and Powerful Life smiled.
So Death bargained. “Take my son. His cause is lost. But leave my daughter be for she is all I need. Let her be mine. She is my pride, my first born, my first love.”
Reluctant Life exhaled and out of compassion declared, “Fair enough, sister. Have your daughter.”
Death sighed and did not linger. Then Life smiled and uncrossed her fingers hidden behind her back. And when her sister was far she decided it was time to wage war. “Oh sister, haven’t you heard that Life’s unfair and do not care. You thought you could steal from me but there is no one slyer than me. Now watch me steal from you that daughter that is so dear to you using that vile son you abandoned.”
Thus, Life entered the boy’s dreams and infused a fear in him that made her grin. An easy task indeed for the dread of death was already in his head. For abusing people’s trust, his fate would be the dust and Death he would apprehend as well as the dirt of a grave in the end.
Therefore, like a seed, Life beheld the boy’s fear grow roots and give fruit. The boy whom Her sister had wished to see combative had now another idea. He would not simply fight Death. He would conquer Death. Immortality he would seek for the grave is for the weak.
And the daughter would fall for him, that pretty snake so enchanting yet so grim, and she would let him corrupt her to become a death eater.
“O yes, eat Death. Steal Death. My beloved cursed children”