Hello dear readers, this is my first ever story on fictionpress and really my first shot at trying to write anything that wasn't an AP English class essay. The more reviews (or flames if you really feel that passionately about this story) I get the more chapters will come up. I am gonna shut up and let you read now, Adios.
Bright mahogany eyes fluttered up to an unflattering old black and white portrait resting on a rustic looking antique side-table. The edges of the portrait were wrinkled with that sweaty 'been folded over and over' look, tips formed little wispy swirling curlicues. A pleasantly plump old woman in a sour stuffy looking outfit peered at the viewer with knowing elderly eyes, once bright now dulled by times cruel progression. A filmy glassy sheen covered the woman's eyes; drooped lids with short thin lashes made long arching shadows fall upon chubby cheeks. Wrinkles and age spots filled the face, leaving no place smooth or clear. But there was still a sense of kindness in that colorless face, a trustworthy face; a face expected for grandmas and Mrs. Claus impersonators near Christmas time. The child turned from the frame, strands of golden blonde hair whipped at her face as she spun on the spot so she could glance at other frames on the yellow walls.
The child stuffed tiny grubby chubby four-year-old hands into the deep pockets of her faded overalls. Her brows furrowed as she pulled out a rusted old penny found in the recess of her pocket, once shiny and new, now turned grimy with age and use. She brushed pocket lint off of her seemingly ancient penny. A harsh smell reached the toddlers nose, attacked by the smell she scrunched her nose in a humorous kind of way as she tossed the penny to the side. She then promptly forgot the penny as she waddled to examine other various photos on the wall. She suppressed small giggles with child like glee as she pondered more silly portraits of relatives she barely knew. Bored she waddled over to a faded floral 60's style couch. She promptly plopped her bottom onto one of the dusty cushions when something in her peripherals caught her attention. She climbed onto the arm of the sofa to peer at a wooden cuckoo clock on the wall. It was an ornate little wooden thing with rusty chipped paint. It was shaped like a house complete with a tiny door and shingle and a patio. To the toddlers momentary delight there were two little people in the two blocked out window surrounded by an array of eyeless farm animals. The tiny people were dressed in comfy farm clothes. The toddler felt a lump grow in the back of her throat when she gazed upon the dolls large eerie smiles that were jaggedly carved onto their wooden faces. The toddlers' brows furrowed as she saw the wooden dolls started to twitch their heads in rhythm with the sharp tick tock as the hands of the clock moved around the smiley faced core. Now she considered herself a pretty intelligent grown up girl; she even knew how to tie her shoes all by herself, didn't even have to remember that weird nonsense about a rabbit and stump she thought gently. So she was quite right to be confused when she happened to notice the clock hands were going the completely wrong direction. She reached out a chubby finger to swiftly poke the face of the clock. Must be broken, she thought quickly.
Suddenly she heard a shrill cawing sound being expelled from the general direction of the center of the strange clock. Abruptly a bright red rooster popped out of a hidden door at the top of the little house clock. There was defiantly something wrong with the rooster though and then it dawned on her. It has no eyes! The little girl thought as she flung herself as far from the clock as she could in the least amount of time. She fiercely closed her eyes as she drew her knees up to her chin.
It can't see me if I can't see it, It can't see me if I can't see it, can'tseemecan'tseeme! Then as quickly as the sound came it abruptly stopped. The toddler hesitantly peeled open one doe eye to look at the clock which had somehow magically disappeared from the wall. Confused the little child grabbed the arm of the sofa looking to see if the clock had fallen between the couch and the wall. It wasn't there. She felt her face scrunch into a tiny scowl. She looked around the living room until she was satisfied that there had never been any clock on the wall and that she had somehow imagined the whole incident.
She then grabbed the remote to the telly, pulling the remote up so that it was right under her nose. She stared at the contraption for a few moments, knowing that it was indeed the thing that made Elmo appear but not quite knowing the how part.
A knock on the door stopped the child; she quickly raced to the front door, her small feet making loud thumping sounds as she pushed her small legs to go faster. It was a game her and her grams played, no matter what, they always played. Suddenly the little girl stopped turning her head to look for her grams. Whoever got to the door first got ice-cream or any array of delicious deserts from the bottom less freezer in the back room.
So why isn't grams coming? The child turned and started to head to the kitchen to see what was more important than a fulfilling banquet of sugary goodness. She tip-toed cautiously in to the old 60's style kitchen and saw her grams bent over the oven a lighter and cigarette in hand. The child cocked her head to the side a vile smell was raising above the scents of flour and baked goods.
"Gran the door bell ding-donged."
"No, it didn't sweetie. Oh, I am gonna make snicker doodle your favorite. I know just what we will do then we can surprise little Johnny dodger that lives down the street. Right sweet heart e' is. Oh, he likes snicker doodles too, not that that fat cow of a women he lives with lets em' have any…"
"Johnny is stupid. I ain't sharing my treats with anybody and especially not that cow patty" The little girl huffed as she defiantly stuck out her hip and folded her arms over her chest.
Abruptly there was another knock on the door. The little girl peered at her gran, waiting for some sort of recognition from her grandmother or maybe an 'ah sorry, I must be going deaf honey, you were a hundred percent right dearie, have as much ice-cream as your lil tummy can handle.'
Nope, not even a flinch at the incessant ring ring of the doorbell. Irritated she turned on her heels and dramatically stomped her way to the front door. She took great care to make as much noise as humanly possible in case her gran wanted to pay her some much needed attention. In her fit she ignored the simplest rule that her parents had ingrained into her psyche since she first came into the vast worrisome world; don't open the door for strangers. Today she figured out the exact reason why her mama preached that rule.
She stretched onto her tiptoes and flipped the lock. Before she could think of what she was doing she grabbed the brass door knob and thrust the door open. The minuet the door opened wide enough to reveal the visitor she instantly regretted her brash decision. She stood there in the door-frame and felt a chill spread from her head to her bare feet. She felt her blood run cold and her heart beat begin to race. Standing in the pouring down rain was a tall hooded figure. There was a dark aura crackling around him. His feet were surrounded by dark flickering tendrils that looked like scissor hands that twitched and oozed around him. She barely reached up to the creature's hip. She felt her body freeze up, something within, the animalistic parts of herself desperately wanted to run away. But she found that she couldn't run and she couldn't bring herself to meet the creatures face.
"What is your name youngling?" She felt goose bumps rise and up and down her arms at the sound of his deep baritone voice. She felt a foolish need to tell him the truth. She didn't want to know what he would do to her if she was to lie to him but she had a feeling that whatever it was it wouldn't be pleasant.
"… I'm Allora Landers." She mumbled bravely.
"I asked for your name child, your real name." Allora bit her lower lip a habit that she had picked up whenever she was nervous. She knew that she should do as he commanded but she was scared to tell. Her grandpa used to say that names held a special power and that one should never give out their true names. Her papa used to say that every single person on earth had a name, a special name that not even they knew sometimes, and that this name was to be kept close, safely guarded even from loved ones. The last time he told her he leaned in really close, close enough to see the pores on his wrinkled sun kissed face and hear the strain of his heartbeat. His old sickly blue eyes darted to both sides as if checking before crossing a dangerous road. He opened his mouth and lowered his already deep gravelly voice to whisper in her ear. "Now Ally you promise this old man one thing, just one thing. You don't ever ever under any circumstances tell anybody your name. That was the last time her grandfather ever talked about special names; well it was the last thing he ever talked about to anyone. She remembered the short car ride home running straight for her stuffed animals the instant she walked into her living room. She also remembered her mommy picking up the phone and beginning to cry.
"I am not supposed to talk to strangers," she squeaked forcing herself out of her own memories. She glared at the ground angry at herself for letting her mind wander at a time like this.. She heard the figure let out a low chuckle. Jerking her head in surprise at the cloaked person's laughter, Allora made eye contact for the first time with the thing on her doorstep.
She tilted her head to the side and blurted, "You have eyeballs," tack and manners thrown out the window. She guessed it was strange to assume that he wouldn't. As if he had read her thoughts the figure tilted his head to the side and raised a pale slender hand to gently push against her eyelids, as if to prove a point. She steeled her eyes and put her little hands on her hips, she knew when she was being picked on. Her glare only seemed to amuse the figure more. The dark midnight black hood covered up the vast majority of his face only truly revealing a pair of crystal clear eyes. She squinted her own eyes trying to make out the rest of his features but gave up realizing the shadows seemed perfectly placed so that only the eyes were revealed.
"You amuse me little one. It brings me no contentment or pleasure that I will have to ferry you to the beyond. Now tell me, what is your name?" Suddenly she was overcome with fear again as her grandfathers words again flew through her, a grandfather that had died exactly 35.624 minutes after he had warned his youngest grandchild about the dangers of sharing ones true name. In that instant she knew that she under no circumstance could tell him her name.
She gave her sweetest smile and playfully retaliated with a question of her own. "What is your name?" She thought she saw something flicker in his eyes, maybe amusement, maybe anger.
"Well little one I have many names: The reaper, Yamaraj, Malach HaMavet, Thanatos, Śmierć, but you my young one can refer to me as death."