Twice We Met
Copyright 2013 Paris Aubertin
Published by Paris Aubertin at Shakespir
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Twice We Met 4
About the Author 8
Other books by this author 9
Connect with Paris Aubertin 10
Living in London has its advantages to my line of work. For example, the weather is ideal for coverage as well as protection. When the grey sky, thick rain clouds and the chilly breeze circle the suburb of Fulham, umbrellas, thick coats and hats appear. No one notices anyone. There is no need for communication, and therefore I can easily slip in and out places without being acknowledged. The only time I wish to be recognised is during someone’s last breath, and during that time, I leave my name on the tip of their tongues while placing my hands over their beating hearts…Death.
My typical hotspot in Fulham is the Charing Cross Hospital. It’s always full of faltering heart beats and is always open. Now there’s nothing that grand or exciting when it comes to patient’s rooms. After a while, they all start to look the same with white walls, grey floors, small TVs, and a cheap arm chair which is usually placed opposite of the bed. The patients are no more interesting though, usually defeated and desperate for my deadly touch. Their skin is always pale, their eyes are worn and their cheeks have sunken in. To me they are nothing but depressing…so willing to surrender. Their diseases are ever changing and everlasting. Cancer is the biggest cause of death in my line of work, however I am the executioner.
But my work isn’t always as dull as it seems. I do remember faces in time, but it was her who I remembered most. I can still remember the first day I laid eyes on Angela Shaw… Her long strawberry blonde hair was splayed out all over the pillow, fading and falling out with sickness and her body was limp and frail. However it was her strong bright green eyes that stopped my hands from moving towards her chest. Her eyes had such power. The hatred that she possessed for only me had spread within seconds to her cheeks and lips, now burning bright red. Nobody has ever looked at me this way before. No one ever dared to.
My feet were plastered to the ground as my body failed to do its only job. I knew the words that I had to say. I perform them at least five to six times a day, but my curious nature took the better of me. My heart wanted to get to know this woman, to understand why she hated me so much. Yet my mind was set on her dying by the “cause” of Leukaemia. Still a job is a job…
I sighed audibly and slowly reached a hand out towards Angela’s heart. Her heart beat steadily, even when my magic began to seep through her skin to her heart. However, instead of hearing a gasp of breath…I heard a whisper, ‘I used to fear you, many years ago. The sky was white that day…’ At the sudden realisation of her being familiar to me, I ripped my hand from her chest. For the first time in my everlasting life, my heart began beating uncontrollably, ‘How do you know me?’
Angela’s hand ripped out from underneath her bed sheets and gripped my wrist with unexpected strength. Specks of light began to flash before my eyes, bouncing and dancing into place, forming a memory that was not mine.
A beautiful woman with short strawberry blonde hair sat beside me, driving and singing along to Madonna. Her eyes glistened with delight. The lines around her eyes and mouth told a story of a happy girl who had grown into an even happier mother.
Mum was happiest in winter. She loved how snow suddenly appeared and then disappeared the next day. Being a house wife meant she would bake cookies and make hot chocolate for dad and myself, whilst I made snowmen and had snow fights with my friends in the front yard. She took pride in being a mother, and I took pride in her happiness.
Today we had decided to go Christmas shopping, to buy the last – less important – presents.
The day started off like any other day, with music, laughter and smiles. However there was a fear amongst the neighbourhood. The neighbours were becoming concerned with driving due to the build up of snow and ice, but dad had recently changed the tires and we couldn’t afford to delay the shopping anymore. We were optimistic. I was brought up to see the good in every situation and everyone.
We had reached the last set of lights before the shopping centre when the light turned green. Mum slowly accelerated. The sound of tires screeching against ice broke through the booming stereo. A man had lost control of his red car and had sped through his red light. He was skidding straight towards us, closest to my mum’s side.
When his car collided with ours, everything slowed down. Our car began to spin around. Mum fought against the car, steering in the opposite direction. This only made things worse. The car instantly hit a curb and lifted into the air. We felt our bodies jerk around as the car began to flip.
Mum reached a hand out to my head and shoved it down between my legs, just in time for the impact of our cars roof against the icy road. I screamed in fear as the car slid across the ground. Mums hand continued to push down on my head, until we collided with a light post and came to a stop.
Silence followed; no one spoke a word. I couldn’t move much. The adrenaline only allowed me to tilt my head to the side in which to see if my mum was okay. Her hand on my head had become limp, and as I looked closer I saw blood rushing down her face. Her face was as pale as the snow which only enhanced the richness of the blood dripping down her face. Fear coursed through my body as I cried out, ‘Mum?’ There was no response.
There was nothing I could do, nor anything that the onlookers could do. We were all frozen in time, watching my mum dying. A dark shadow appeared near my mum, outside of the car. A pair of black boots was all I could see, until a man knelt down. A flash of bright amber eyes briefly met mine before turning to my mum.
One of his hands reached towards my mum’s chest as he whispered inaudible things to her. Warmth radiated throughout the car and his hand began to glow a bright yellow. A singular exhale resulted in absolute silence. My mum’s chest emptied and her whole body hunched over limp. My mum had died…but at the hands of a stranger with amber eyes.
Coming back to reality, I pulled my wrist from the girls grasp and attempted to utter something logical, but I came up with nothing. In my mind, I had multiple thoughts. However my main thought was towards the idea that no one noticed me until I gave them permission to do so. I never allowed another person to view me when I took Angela’s mother from her. So how did she see me?
I tore my gaze from her, ‘I don’t know how you saw me, but please don’t make this personal. Everyone is destined to die. I’m just here to help them pass through easily.’ Angela began hiccupping from her tears. She tried to speak but the tears in her throat wouldn’t allow it. I spoke for her knowing exactly what she wanted to say, ‘It wasn’t your time. You needed to live. That’s all I knew…”
Angela struggled to wipe her tears away, so I took the liberty upon myself, which is something I have never done before. She exhaled loudly and tore her eyes from mine, ‘Will it be painful, when I die?’ She asked softly.
I shook my head. Without me, pain would overcome the body.
‘No. I take all the pain away.’
‘What about with mum?’ She whispered.
‘The only pain she felt was leaving you.’
Angela nodded, understanding. We shared a moment of silence, accepting that the inevitable would soon be upon us. It was then that I was able to read her eyes. The spark of life was still there, but it was me who would have to take it away from her. There was so much more that I wanted to learn from her, but so little time.
The moment seemed endless, until the machines behind her began to beep uncontrollably, her time was nearing. She knew this too. She took a deep breath and nodded, ‘Okay.’
This somewhat struck me by surprise. I have never communicated with one of my targets and none were lively enough to question me and then accept me. I knew that I would never forget Angela.
I leaned towards her and instead of reaching for her chest, I gently cupped her face. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, so I used my thumbs to wipe them away. I leaned in and whispered in her ear, ‘Do not be frightened. You will soon be with your mother.’ As I pulled away from her I caught Angela smiling. She looked so beautiful, so innocent and young. It almost pained me to do this, but I didn’t want her to feel any pain either.
Slowly and carefully, I did something I have never done before. I brushed my lips across her forehead. Warmth seeped into my lips as I began to take her life. Her warmth was unlike any other. It did not pain me with its heat. It was a mere tickle of light spreading through my veins. It was almost as though Angela were whispering to me, telling me not to forget her.
When she exhaled for the last time and her heart froze in time, I knew that I never would forget her. Her strawberry hair, fair skin, rosy lips, daring eyes and her beautiful smile could never compare to any other beauty. For the first time in my life I realised that I, the Beast had killed my Belle.
Paris Aubertin is a Western Australian student, currently studying Arts and Communications at Edith Cowen University. Her aspiration in life has always been to become an author, to express her views and feelings upon willing readers. When she is not studying or working in hospitality, she is probably swimming at the pools, travelling, reading or cuddling with her family Labrador.
Paris Aubertin currently has no other short stories or novels, however is always writing. So possibly someday soon a new story will be added.
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Twice We Met is a short story narrated by Death, which expresses a particular time where a target recollects a memory where she (Angela) first met Death. Angela telepathically sends her memory to Death where he then has to decide whether to kill her like he originally planned to, or to let Leukemia kill her instead.