Death Cometh For Us All
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"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time." ~Mark Twain
Spike moaned from the tapping sun-light against his face, wondered how long I'd been sleeping. I blinked, shut my eyes, blinked again. I yawned, managed to fully open both eyes. His mind is fuzzy, the last remnants of a dream being chased away by the realization that he am awake again. It was a nice dream, something about sitting in a big oak tree in meadow full of flowers alongside Rarity but the details are fading fast even as He try to recall them. With a mental sigh he allow my brain to focus and cautiously open one eye. The bright spring sunlight cuts the room in half and he see dust-motes dancing in the wall of light. he pull the duvet up over his head to keep it out. It's not going to work, his brain is awake now and already worrying about ...
...Where was I?
Spike scanned his surroundings closer. He was on a beach, the sunlight making the sand sign a glorious gold. To the right, the jungle sat there silently as the thick canopy of the jungle bristled in the wind. But, the most shocking feature was a large clock tower in the distance towering ominously over the beach's water deflects the sun's great glare into his eyes and is forced to look away towards and ever growing jungle of vines, trees and darkness. The trees making a canopy of the jungle hide what lies underneath. "Hello? Anyone there?" shouted the green-haired boy. There is no sound of an insect, bird or reptile, no call of a human voice, only the steady rhythmical lap of the sea. The sound of the sea makes him shiver with fear for what could be lying in the jungle. The heat of the sun pounds down on him as he gathers up his courage and makes his way for shade into the endless jungle.
As he walks through the jungle his courage is raised by the light, which streams through the canopy lighting up the beauties of the jungle and stops to smell the flowers and examine things, which he never thought existed.
He stops himself from getting distracted and concentrates on his goal at hand. He makes his way through the jungle cutting down vines and leaves in his way trying to find an end to this endless jungle. Just as he was about to give up on his quest, he sees light not too far up ahead and races for it. Despite the beauty of the jungle he cannot withstand the immense heat created to by the canopy and dives out of the jungle and into the seawater. He raises his head and looks around him and to find that he is still surrounded in an endless desert of sand and water.
Suddenly the ground rumbles and as he looks up he discovers a new part of the island. Another shake of the ground and then sudden burst of fireworks firing up into the sky, coming directly from the clock tower. He is stunned and the magnificent site, but also scared at the same time. He stands still watching the earth erupt, till finally his fear overcomes his interest and he sprints for his life back through the once never ending jungle racing for the other side. He glances over his shoulder, looking back for any sign of making it out safely. All of a sudden he falls over, flat on his face, and finds himself face to face with one of the many beauties of the jungle. He tries to turn over but he is faced with a hungry darkness, eating up all light in its path. He turns back to the flower and stares at it, waiting as he faded into unconsciousness.
Spike eyes slowly creped open as he clutched in pain from the headache he was currently experiencing. After his eyes finally adjusted after a few moments he was surprised to find himself in a meadow. Soft green grass under his feet, and blue, yellow, red, purple flowers around him, stretching to the horizon. The sun tints everything golden. A brook flows by, laughing with the teeming insect life in the rich brown soil seeing a sign of life for the first time on the desolate island.
The atmosphere of calmness and peace pervades, and the beauty is quietly stunning. But, what surprised him most was the large clock tower in front of him. It was old and decrepit and looked incredibly rundown as if it's been there for centuries the fact it was still standing was a feat in an of itself. The large hand of the clock just sits there. No movement, lifeless ... and yet an energy is building beneath the surface. It has to move as the seconds pass, it's role in life is to show time passing but not to frighten its owner with loud crashing and tumultuous applause. But, he was miles away from this place how so, did he get here?
An almost inaudible 'tick' - not a 'tick', not a 'tock' ... just 'tick' and a gentle trembling of the arm as it settles back to inactivity - the only indication that yet another minute of wasted time-watching, has passed.
"It seems your finally awake," a voice from behind him said. Behind him stands a man in black. His face was very pale, with blond hair and onyx eyes and he keeps his hands hidden in the wide folds of his cloak.
Terrified but eager for answers he asks "Who are you?"
"I am Death."
The young man felt a sense of dread and fear tunnel it's way through his body, his palms sweating, his heart pounding ferociously in his chest. He was face-to-face with Death himself.
"Have you come for me?" asked a petrified Spike.
"That I have,"
"Do you recall a dream of sorts when you awoke on this island?" asked Death.
"Yeah, yeah I do I-I was in a meadow kind of like this and I was with Rarity but, after that it's all kind of fuzzy..." stated the confused young man.
Death stared at the green-haired boy stoically before stating "You were in a accident. You were on a picnic with the one you call Rarity when you two were attacked by a pack of Timberwolves, you stayed behind so Rarity could escape and she lives but, you on the other hand...weren't so lucky."
"I...died?" asked Spike.
"Yes and no," replied Death. "You didn't die, you actually managed to fight off the beasts before you carried yourself back to your village where you are currently being hospitalized."
"Wait, hold on a sec...how can I be here and at the hospital at the same time?" A confused Spike asked.
"Your body is at the hospital while your soul is currently residing on this island...You. You are at a crossroads so to speak, residing on the boundary between life and death...this island is a purgatory of sorts before you are escorted by me to the afterlife." Death explained.
"This can't be happening...I can't be.."
Death looked down at the frightened boy. "Are you prepared?"
"I've never been more terrified in my life." Spike answered honestly.
"Well, there is no shame in that." answered Death. Spike risen to his feet, He shivers as Death opens his cloak to place it around the Spike's shoulders.
"Wait...wait a moment."
"That's what they all say. I grant no reprieves." Death said.
"Y-you play chess, don't you?" asked the boy.
A gleam of interest kindles in Death's eyes. "And how do you know that?"
"I have seen it in paintings at Princess Luna's art gallery."
"Yes, in fact I'm quite a good chess player."
"Bet you couldn't beat me." replied with a forced smile.
Death rummages in his cloak and takes out a small chessboard. He places it carefully on the tree stump beside him and begins setting up the pieces.
Finally, Death asked. "Why do you want to play chess with me?"
"I have my reasons."
"I suppose that is your privilege."
"Here's The condition is that I may live as long as I hold out against you. If I win, you will release me. Deal?"
Death stroked his chin contemplating the deal "Very well, but you must agree to my terms as well."
"Which are?" he asked wearily.
"You must defeat me within several hours and you do not defeat within the timeframe or if I happen to defeat you then you will come with me." stated Death.
"The clock tower will be our timer and I'll even allow you to choose who goes first." The Death holds out his two fists to Spike.
Death points to one of the Spike's hands; it contains a black pawn.
"You drew black!" exclaimed the green-haired boy.
Death smiled. "Very appropriate. Don't you think so? Well, let us begin."
Spike and Death bend over the chessboard. After a moment of hesitation, Spike opens with his king's pawn. Death moves, also using his king's pawn.
The First Hour
Spike moves a pawn to the right of his king's pawn. He looks up to death and asks. "Hey, can I ask you a question?"
Death doesn't answer as he moves his knight.
"What...what exactly is death? I mean to say...what happens after you die I mean. Do you hear me?" asked the curious boy.
"Yes, I hear you." Death replied.
"Then answer me! Tell me what is Death?"
"Inevitably, all mortals must die. They cling to life with fevered desperation for Death is a cold unknown. Filled of uncertainties and bleak everlasting finality. Your fear of the unknown is what drives your fear of me."
"That didn't answer my question though," Spike said slightly irritated. Why won't he answer me? "And besides, no one can live in the face of death, knowing that all it is nothingness."
"I beg to differ, many accept there fate with grace while others," staring directly at Spike."...are dragged kicking and screaming. But, of course most people never reflect about either death or the futility of life. "
"But, one day will all have to face death in our last moment of life "
"And when that day comes.."
"And In that fear we act out of desperation."
"You seem worried my boy...?"
"I wake on a island that happens to be some kind of purgatory and half-dead. Death visited me this morning. And we're playing freakin' chess together to determine the faith of my soul with pretty good chance I'll never see any of my friends again. Yeah...I'm pretty fucking worried." Spike said his voice trembling with fear and anger as he moves his bishop pawn up.
"Is that why you are playing chess with Death? Because you're afraid and this is your way to cope?" questioned Death.
"It's because he's a pretty tough opponent, but up to now I haven't lost a single man yet." Except, Twilight, Princess Luna, Princess Celestia and on occasion Applejack...
"And how will you outwit Death in your game?"
"Oh, well that's pretty simple I use a combination of the bishop and the knight which he hasn't yet discovered. In the next move I'll take out one of his flanks." answered Spike.
Death smiled. " I'll be sure to remember that."
Spike stared at the specter confused realizing he just gave away his strategy." Oh, goddammit you tricked me! Damn I'll find another way to beat you!"
"I'm sure you will" Death said smiling as he to moved his bishop to protect his knight.
Spike thought about the situation he was in. Here he was playing chess with Death. He makes a fist of his hand and lifts it to his temple. And he planned to win.
The Fifth Hour
Hours had passed sense the game began. Spike was struggling as each time Death came close to winning Spike would "accidently" swipe his hand across the chessboard causing them to start over each time, this happened six times so far and each time it made Spike breath a sigh of relief and a feeling of dread churn in him. Yes, he delayed Death's victory but in doing so shortened his time to win as each hour passed he could feel the noose around his neck tighten as each 'tick' and 'tock' of the clock tower pulled tighter.
On the fifth hour, Spike and Death decided to continue there game at the beach for "A change of scenery" as Death explained. Death had teleported them onto the beach. It was quiet and deserted; the sea was still. They both sat there as Spike was contemplating his next move as Death sat there patiently his stoic expression never changing.
"Whenever your ready," said Death. "I have all the time in the world you however.."
"I get it!" snapped a frustrated Spike.
"Very well" said Death not getting angry in the slightest which furthered aggravated the young man. Suddenly, Spike smiled coming up with a ingenious strategy.
"Why do you look so satisfied?"
"That's for me to know and for you to find out."replied the green-haired boy as he moved his knight towards Death's bishop, flanking his right.
"Of course. Now I take your knight." He said as he moved his bishop to take my knight.
Spike smirked. "Thanks bud."
Death's eyes widened slightly. "You tricked me?"
Laughing, Spike said. "Sure did. You fell right for my trap. Check!" moving his queen into a position to take his king.
"What are you laughing at?" questioned Death.
"Don't worry about my laughter; save your king instead."
"You're rather arrogant."
"Only when I'm winning and besides if I ignore the fact that my life is on the line this game is pretty fun."
"It's your move. Hurry up. I'm a little pressed for time."
"Oh, now look who's pressed for time. I'm sorry, I understand that you've a lot to do with reaping souls and all, but you can't get out of our game. It takes time."
"Time you desperately need or did you forget that you only have less than 2 hours remaining?" Death said a pointing to the clock tower in the distance and as if on queue the clock hand reached the six-hour mark as the bell ringed with precision. The vibrations filled the air even as far away as the beach as the metal gears ground together with a metallic click. one, the first chime echoing like a voice piercing into his skull. two, a step lower but still eerie. the rest blur together in a rhythm of clocks exploding ticks and tocks... "I apologize one hour remaining." Spike's suddenly stops smiling as he looked at Death's smirking face. "It's your go."
30 Minutes Remaining-The Sixth Hour
"Do you know what I see when I look into your eyes boy?" Death suddenly asked as he looked p from the chessboard which was recently and "accidently" dumped into the water conveniently before Death took his victory.
A weary Spike looked up towards Death. "What...what do you see?"
"I see fear in your eyes, an empty, numb fear. But something else as well."
"Determination," Death said." A desperate determination but determination all the same. I don't see it anymore...Have you perhaps given up hope?"
"Never! I'll never give up on my life, on my friends, on Rarity even if I have to go kicking and screaming." said Spike a fire burning in his eyes.
"Shall we play our game to the end? "
"Hell yeah we are."
Death smirked. "Then show me that will of yours...Show me your will to live, boy."
"I will!" Spike shouted moving his queen forward.
"Your move, Death!"
Death raises his hand and strikes the Spike's queen. Spike looks at Death. "Now I take your queen."
Spike's eyes widen. "I-I didn't even notice that." Spike leans over the chessboard. The moonlight moves over the chess pieces,
which seem to have a life of their own.
"It is your move, Spike."
Spike remains silent as he look down at the chessboard.
"Have you lost interest in our game perhaps?" The Spike's eyes become alarmed. Death looks at him intently.
"Yeah right, I'm just getting warmed up." he said with false confidence.
"Hmm, You seem anxious. Are you hiding anything?"
"Nothing ever escapes you huh?"
"Nothing escapes me. No one escapes from me." Death replied.
"It's just that I'm a bit worried is all." He pretends to be clumsy and knocks the chess pieces over of his arm. He looks up at Death.
"Oops, it looks I've forgotten how the pieces stood."
Death laughs contentedly. "How frivolous of you,defiant to the end I see. But I have not forgotten. You can't get away that easily."
"You are mated on the next move, Spike."
"It looks like I am."
"Did you enjoy your reprieve?"
"Yes...yes I did." Tears trailing down the young mans cheeks as the clock tower's bell ringed in the distance signifying the beginning of the seventh hour and the end of Spike's life. He thought about all his friends back at home and how he'll never see them again. He'll never hug his sister Twilight again, never here Rainbow boast her being the best and her tomboyish ways or how he and Applejack never be able to hang out again and most of all, I'll never be able to tell Rarity that I love her one last time. The ticking of the clock's second hand rang in his ears, followed by the whistling of the night breeze echoing throughout the island.
"I'm happy to hear that. Now I'll be leaving you. When we meet again, your time will be up." Wait what?
"Wait you mean...you're letting me go B-but I lost you said..."
"I know exactly what I said. It's simply not your time"
"Then...why? Why all of this If It wasn't 'my time'?"
Death turned towards the young man a smile on his face. "Because Spike...When you live, you wonder about all sorts of things ranging from incarnation, to after life's, and always wondering if these things truly do exist. A life is a chance for you to find who you really are the same can be said for death. The true meaning of life and death for it divulges so deep beneath the surface of explanation that it will never be able to be found. Whether you believe in living life as it comes, or if you think everything happens for a reason, even if you are so in tune to destiny you think your whole life was written out for you long ago. Life can be cruel, abysmal and unforgiving but it can be meaningful, harmonious and beautiful just as death can be. When most think of death they think of harsh finality and the grim visage that is a afterlife." He said as he picked up the white king's pawn.
"But no one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Life is short, and life is something that you can't take for granted. Life may be what you make, but truly, life makes you." He crouched down next to Spike and looked him straight in the eye. "Death is simply another part of life my dear boy. Never fear death...never fear life." He stood up from his crouched position and help Spike off his feet."
"I must thank you Spike."
"For not giving up on life. When I first encountered you had a fire I rarely see. The will to live and when you were face with Death..me and you decided to play me in a chess game of all things." He said laughing contently. "You are truly one in a kind."
Spike's face flushed red at the complement. "T-Thanks."
"Now, I believe it is time for you wake up." Death said snapping his fingers. Spike soundly slumped over in Death's grasp as he felt incredibly dizzy. He faded into unconsciousness but not before hearing Death whisper into his ear. "Live your life.."
The Seventh Hour
Spike could hear voices but can't understand what is said. There are blurred images of a face peering down at him and moving away then darkness comes again. Consciousness fades in and out. He was in hospital bed with something wrapped around his neck that prevented him from moving it. He couldn't tell if he was dreaming or not. He felt like he lay there forever and sometimes groaning with every exhalation just to hear something.
"Spikey?" called out a voice. He knew that voice...
"Rarity? Is that you?"
"I'm here Spike, I'm here," A pair of giant sapphire eyes filled with tears stared at me happily, wide-eyed, and eager, her purple hair elegantly trailing down her shoulders and face. She's a angel...he thought. A creature so bright and white and light with her soft, delicate, blue frock, she seemed to be glowing as she grasped his hand. "Thank you," came a soft voice from her bright red lips made contact with his own. She sounded older than her youthful face appeared. "You're hopeless you know that.."
In the breathless moments after she acquiesced to his holding her hand, he touched her hair which was hers yet not her. He slid his hand under the weighty tresses and touched her slender neck. Smooth and vulnerable. He sensed that she must be aware of her vulnerability too, and made sure that his touch was no more threatening than the beating of a butterfly's wings." I know...was I cool?" he asked with his raspy voice.
"You've always been cool, Spikey-Wikey," she said as She raised her right hand placed a delicate finger on my brow, tracing it to my temple and down my face, across my jaw to my chin, slowly dragging it down my throat, gently brushing it across my collar bone. "I made the right choice with you."
"I'm special," he teased, poking her side.
She laughed softly. "Yes, yes you are,"
He turned his battered body slightly so he was facing her."I hope your happy with your choices." He said twirling her hair with his finger, "Because you stuck with me for life."
"I don't mind that," she said grinning "I'm very happy with my choices."
Death's final words resonated through Spike's head, "Live your life.."
"I am too Rarity," he said smiling, "I am to.."
And that's a wrap! I got the idea to write this from watching "The Seventh Seal" great movie btw. This was suppose to come out a few days ago but I kept it on hold because I wanted to make a better quality one-shot for you guys because you guys deserve it. :) So, rewrote some parts and added some atmosphere and such. But, yeah, this is the final product and I'd rather happy with it. Reviews are much appreciated! So stay frosty and keep writing! Now I'm going to go play Dragon Age: Inquisition...its like really addicting..