Author Notes: I can't explain this one. This is one of my many stories that just writes itself. I sat down and said "I'm going to write a horror story today!" but… I got this instead. Somehow it makes me think… a lot. There is a lot of meaning to this story. Interpret it your own way. I'm just surprised it came from lil ole me. I somewhat described Azrael in my own way, but I didn't at the same time. Also, this is almost biblical. Oo It frightens me, seeing as I'm no Christian.

Death And The Tree

The clatter of chains and bells grew louder and louder to the spirit of the tree. It had been a long time since such a noise had fallen across the nymph's ears. She bent down from her limb and scouted the dark suburban street with a small grin on her ashen gray face. The noise was that of the angel of death. The bells were a symbol to the supernatural, a warning or even a potential dinner bell for those dark creatures that feast upon violence. Today, it was a signal for the parade, and the spirits were restless.

It was not long before a line of black spirits, all with similar grins to the nymph, were lined along the streets to try and see this parade. One crept silently to the bottom of the nymph's tree, tilting back it's head and keep what the nymph new now to be the area it's 'eyes' were upon it. The nymph bent down to great the spirit as her legs curled tightly around the branch it had been occupying.

"Hello, spirit. Be you gentle or naught, your eyes should be upon the street and not upon myself," spoke the nymph in what seemed a gentle coo. The nymph's mouth did not move and the voice seemed to wisp about upon the wind. The spirit did not seem amused, but continued staring directly at the nymph.

It was not long before the nymph realized the entire street was staring at her now, though she was not frightened. It had been a long time since any spirit, human or otherwise, had graced her beautiful tree with a grin and a stare. The spirit of the tree merely pulled herself back to be atop the branch, her knees to her chest as she stared out at the parade of death.

The clatter of the chains and bells grew louder as a shrouded figure could finally be seen in the distance. When this figure had come close enough the nymph's eyes were scouting it questioningly. This creature did not seem to be the mighty angel of death of which she had so often heard of. For his had flesh wrapped around his bones, and no scythe was within his hands. He truly was a beauteous angel, but his wings were like nothing the nymph had seen before. They were a deep crimson color and seemed as if to be comprised of the life liquid itself, though they never seemed to drip upon anything. He was bound by multiple chains with little white bells strung to those on his wrists and feet. In one of his hands was a leather-bound book and in the other a quill smothered in the blood from his wings, of which the nymph assumed was the mighty angel's form of ink.

The angel drew back the hood of his cloak and stopped at the base of the tree, multiple frightened spirits of the dead scrambling out of the way. One spirit that was previously a squirrel darted up the tree and sat next to the nymph as she once more bent down to great her guest. Her eyes were tracing over those dark but gentle eyes of which seemed both sad and content at the same time.

The nymph, though upside down once more, tilted her head to the side as she began to once more speak upon the wind. "The chains that bond your wrists and feet, as well as the book of birth, growth, and death, lead me to believe you are the mighty Azrael. It is an unexpected honor to this young tree to be graced with your angelic presence."

Azrael nodded his head politely and then glanced over at the base of the tree. He moved to his knees and laced her arms around the tree, pressing his cheek against it and closing his eyes with a content look upon his face. The spirit of the tree closed her eyes with a happy sigh and wrapped her arms around herself as she spiritually felt the hug of Death himself. A few limbs of the tree began to shake as a few leaves fell down lovingly around the angel, and he smiled slightly more.

The angel did not move as he finally opened his mouth, speaking in the voice of what was truly a wise spirit. "Youthful spirit of the tree, such life beats within you, and yet I sadly come as a warning to your soon to be demise. I had wished perhaps that your destined course of death would be through the heaven's choices and not the freewill of the Earth's inhabitants. However, humans would not have been given freewill if they were not intended to use it. As I too was human once I am not too far surprised at this."

The nymph seemed puzzled for a moment at Azrael's words and then she pulled herself back up onto the branch with an almost sad look upon her face. "Oh Death, I would said that this is a tragic experience, but I have come to relive it many times. Though you were given a job, I will always be the trees. Humans spread, and I decline. It is alright, however. Nature has a way of regaining it's balance. That is what Earth was designed to do."

Azrael curtly nodded his head once more before he stood, retracting his embrace with another clatter of bells and chains. "Yes, my dear nymph. You will be reborn again, and I should hope this time you will be in a vast forest and live longer than you would in this country. Perhaps you will be put upon a mountain."

The nymph shook her head and smiled. "No, Azrael. I hope not. I like being around the humans." Her hand came up to motion towards all the smiling souls of the dead that had surrounded her tree. "They may be destructive creatures, but some of them are kind like you. Some of them understand that they aren't the only creature with a soul. If I am far away, I will no longer be a martyr for my other creatures. Humans need martyrs, or they never understand. It took a martyr to teach you, didn't it?"

The angel of death gave a chuckle as he began to walk away, a sad smile on his face. "Yes, but it is a shame you do not make a good martyr. As the humans advance, they are slowly forgetting how to communicate with such a beautiful creature."

The nymph nodded and sighed. "Yes, but nature has a way of straightening these things out. Nature's work can always beat a human's."

The End.