It worried me. I was Death, and Death wasn’t supposed to feel pain-Death was above pain. Above hatred. Above mankind. A fallen angel, like.
My name was Death, and I am the bringer of Death.
I found the cloak in the middle of the road late one night, and it was so dark I couldn’t see three feet in front of me. I had just stopped at a coffee house two blocks from the rock quarry, and my mind spewed hatred in every direction, in all directions I couldn’t see. I thought to myself: “You almost got hit by a truck.”
The inner demon inside me almost laughed out loud, and as painful as it was, I had to stop at a hospital. It worried me, the pain in my right shoulder was very sharp, and I laughed loudly again, because I was getting hungry. I had bags of money back at my hotel room, for they were left behind by unsuspecting victims, somebody I didn’t know. I didn’t know anyone, now, no one would befriend Death.
* * *
It was the void that disturbed me, in the sullness and the darkness, that void that called to me in a song-that I was by myself, that I was blessed with the death of a song. I was the song. The car accident changed me in a way that was both temperamental and hard to transcribe, indeed, on the back door of a song, my life was dramatically changed. I became the singer, and the sinner was estranged, and the heart of my life was broken, unfeeling, like the wings of an angel. I thought about death and dying and everything in between and the miracle of being alive, of being temporary insane, since I could see what I could see at that very instant the car struck me, ahead of me, sort of to the right-almost as if I wanted it to strike me down, dead. My mind felt a sharp, intense pain, a hatred that defined me, and the wholeness of hatred was what refused to succumb me to the succubus that was my life. The succubus of the self, the innermost hatred of being dead, then being flesh, and an escape from death.
I walked from the car accident without a scratch-except there was a small one on my right arm, a jagged, scratch that went almost up to my elbow. I thought bitterly of jumping off the jagged rocks into the highway below, that there wasn’t anything worth living for. My daughter, Gloria, was dead, had died from tuberculosis when she was three, and the mortician said she’d hadn’t suffered. It wasn’t very important, this small transgression, the part of me that was the great unknown, being devoid of life, the unknowing of the self, the temper of the self that was within me. I was not a guardian. I was not a god. I simply co-existed, floating through time and space, thinking about my own death, and then there were three bright lights and I woke and a man stared down at me, bug-eyed and looking placated.
“What are you doing here?” he screeched down at me. “You’re going on the highway too fast, you were going to break your neck!”
I tried to talk, to speak to this angel that was my life, my shining star, the glimmer of hope in the distance. It was night, and the darkness was around me, through me, in me, swirling and swirling forever in a void. I was the void. I couldn’t remember anything about my life.
The med shielded my driver’s license from me. “What are you doing here?” he screeched once again.
“I’m death,” I answered, and laughed, and he looked down at me and narrowed his eyes, and I thought he was probably insane. He probably thought the same about me.
“Can’t you get up?” he asked me. “All you got is a scratch-an old one, from the looks of it.”
“It’s an old scratch,” I agreed. “I was hunting two weeks ago, in Braum Park.”
“Good,” he replied. “Why don’t you get up?”
I scrambled to my feet, and looked left and to the right of me, and the police swarmed around me and started jotting things down. I insisted I couldn’t remember my name.