A Deal with Death

This morning is so beautiful, the sun is dazzling in its reddish glow, its hue adding a magnificent allure to waking up today. I normally do not prescribe to rising early—I’m lazy, I know. But I am rousted by the breath of fresh air mingling with the scent of the delicious aroma assaulting my nostrils. My mother is at it again. She’s that good, the best cook in the world.

I think of what to do today, nothing readily comes to mind; this is one of the problems I have with what I am, I have too much time on my hands. I sneak into the kitchen, the wafts of the tantalizing chicken sauce automatically conjures up a river in my mouth. I love Sundays—my mom spoils us silly.

As I scoop some of the sauce to sample, I hear shouts emanating from the street below. My super senses pick up the gloomy aura down below. I know I must investigate. Throwing a shirt over my torso, I jump into a faded jean trouser and take the steps three at a time.

The closer I get to the scene, the more the pallor of death looms. I reach outside and gasp at what happened. It was an accident. I edge closer to a bystander, a woman and inquire about what had occurred.

“An accident,” she answers, sniffing quietly, “A whole family dead. Such a waste.”

While she laments, I notice a dark spectre floating by the roadside. I recognize what it is instantly. “It’s been a while Death,” I say.

“Indeed, immortal one,” comes the reply. He is faceless but I know he is grinning. He cannot get me, but he has promised to make me witness as many of his works as possible. Till the end of time. He floats towards me, wanting to imprint himself and the horror of this particular death on me. He reaches me and I can hear their screams, the screams of thousands, no millions of souls he is taking to the afterlife this instant.

But he doesn’t dwell in one place for long; and so he proceeds to his next task (which I’m not privy to). As he drifts away, the stench oozing from him chokes me and I gasp for air. I feel dizzy and automatically throw up my dinner and the sauce I just sampled.

I heave more and suddenly someone is bending over me. “Hey, are you all right? Do you need a doctor?” It is the woman who I asked about the accident.

The nausea subsides and I reply, “No, I don’t. I’m fine now. Anyway,” I continue, “thanks for your concern.”

She lifts her eyebrows in obvious disbelief. “You certainly are not all right. You just threw up.”

“Hard to believe, right? But really I’m fine now,” I say, wanting to get away from this carnage fast. I’ve had enough, I thought. It was time to undo the deal.

I go back upstairs, with the intent of telling my folks I am tired of it all; I am tired of being an immoral being. I reach the dining room, they are not eating. Instead, they are looking gloomy. Something is wrong.

“What is it Dad?” I ask, hoping against hope that my wife and daughter are all right. They went to our beach house down south for a two-week vacation.

“It’s Janet. She’s just informed us that Little Judy was involved in a shark attack down at the beach. She’s in the hospital ICU,” my mother says, her cries reverberate throughout the building. My mother has the elemental power of Mother Earth.

My little girl! In a shark accident? Immediately, I spring into action. Using my telekinetic powers, I transport the three of us down to the beach house. I run inside and see my wife Janet packing a few stuffs. She sees me and run into my arms.

“Oh Josh! It’s so horrible. I only took my eyes off her for an instant. The next thing I saw was her thrashing about in the water, inside the mouth of a huge, ugly shark.”

I hold her, shushing her and kissing her long, beautiful jet black hair. My parents come in and quietly lead us towards Janet’s Ford Explorer, packed in front of the house, the key in the ignition.

I race us towards the hospital. When I reach, I jumped down and grabbing my wife’s hand, dash into the hospital lobby. My wife points me to the right elevator and once my parents come inside, I accelerate the elevator’s speed—I just can’t get there fast enough. As I step into my daughter’s room, I see him again. Death was hanging around my daughter. I seriously wish I could strangle the sonofabitch, but how do you kill death?

Inside the room, I see my daughter, but she isn’t really my daughter. There are tubes protruding from every hole in her body; different dials conveyed her vitals to a computer monitor. There is a big gash on her shoulder, a product of a damn shark.

My half breed daughter, born of an immortal father and a mortal mother. She inherited some of my powers but also had the human frailty of death. As I look at her, tears cloud my eyes. How do I save my precious princess?

“Daddy why are you crying?” her voice is weak but full of life. She is in obvious pain.

“Hey princess. Daddy’s got a bug in his eye. How’re you feeling?” I say as the my wife comes closer, caressing her forehead. My parents maintain a distance, wanting to give us the moment of privacy.

Janet says, “Judy, how’s that your big headache?”

Before she replies, a big cough holds her. She retches, and looks at us with anguish in her eyes. Suddenly, the room clouds over in a dark gloom. He floats in, this time with his trademark scythe, and goes to stand beside my daughter. He is grinning at me, I know it.

“It is time, immortal one. Her time is due,” he says as he places his hand on Judy’s head. I see her spirit leaving her, her body becoming rigid, cold, lifeless. Soon the dials give one final shrill ping, and the room becomes still, a graveyard of some sort.

My wife screams her heart out; the most unthinkable of pains crushes me, but I cannot die, no, I’m subject to this curse.

Immortality is a curse; you live while your loved ones wither and die. You bury your children and cry your heart out. When I made the deal with death, I thought immortality was the best thing in the world. But I’ve found out the truth.

The possibility of death is what makes life beautiful; mortality is what makes life worth living.

Enjoy each single day, dear mortal.

Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha

About Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha

Somtoochukwu Benedict Ezioha is a passionate writer, a Biochemist and a Life Coach.

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