Death is the only god that responds when you call. But why?

I. THE FIRST

I saw him drenched in cold black
In a hood of darkness and wanting.

He smiled slightly and asked me as I struggled to hold on
Three little words:
"Come with me?"

I might have been five then
Wallowing in my desire for a parent.

If only I had said yes.
But I shook my head and he was gone, leaving me senseless with my little legs and arms radiating pain.

II. THE SECOND

I wailed prayers for Death to come find me
Beacons that said I am here. Save me, please.

Then he arrived, his hood up. In his hands was a basket full of glittering things in shades of black and white and purple and pink and yellow and sky blue. He drew his hood back, and I saw he had blue eyes (the colour of the sky right after the sun sets) and looked worried.

"Are you alright?" he asked, robes leaking darkness and hemmed with light.

I shook my head. Three words every time he says, and three words every time I repay. "I am endangered."

He extended his hand. "Come with me. Little one, I could rescue you." A hesitant pause. "If you want."

I tilted my head curiously. "What are you?"

A dark laugh. "I am stars, I am darkness, I am light. But I was human, if that is what you ask, little one."

"Did you have a family?"

A somber nod and maybe I thought his robes shifted to reveal jagged pieces of a broken heart.

"What was it like?" I asked.

I was youth and despair and longing, my heart was glass and the demon inside Father (the one that had awakened the moment he first touched a bottle to his lips) had cracked scars down it.

What would be like to be whole and happy?

He blinked. "No one has asked before, youngling, but it is a place where you will belong. Where others accept the truth of you and know you beautiful and worthy of them."

"Is it nice?"

"Very much so." An awkward pause. "Will you come? Do you need a family, then?"

A family of what? Darkness and despair?

His mouth tightened, as if reading my thoughts. "You are darkness and despair, youngling - we are hope. Your hope, dear, if you wish."

I shook my head. Maybe I can find a family still?

Maybe.

"Are you sure?"

I nodded and he smiled faintly. "I'll be back."

Then I jerked upright, back to the real world with Father staring at me
With the demon staring at me.

III. THE THIRD

I never found a family. Maybe it was the demon, maybe it was me, but I didn't find a family. And I was begging daily for Death to come, to take me away to the family he promised.

Buds bloomed into blossoms
Bare branches pulled on robes of vibrant green
But he never came.

Then summer turned to autumn,
Autumn to winter,
And a year was gone. Just like that.

The demon in my father's body hit me more often
My concealer was slowly running out
And the final time he hit me, the last thing I saw before my eyes closed was him hissing three words:
"I hate you."

Floating somewhere in the darkness of a hospital room (what a mundane place; so many sad stories condensed into the unfeeling white walls), I heard silence.
No one grieved for me, called and cried for me as others did.

Then finally he came, robes dripping in sadness and pity. A different set of three words.

"I am sorry."

A father I desired, and a father I was denied. "Why?" said I, voice so broken and cracked and weary. "Why me?"

Death shrugged. "I do not know, youngling, only that the best and the brightest people must suffer. It is the way of the world, isn't it?"

I remained silent. Oh, why was I not born with wings, to fly away? Even better, talons to hurt worst and cruelest, then.

Death said again, a lot more hesitant, "I ask you again, youngling. Come with me?"

I looked at him, and I beheld that basket he held. "What do you carry with you?"

Death glanced down. "These are the souls of the brave and forgotten."

"Can I - that family you said. Will they take me even now?" Parched, parched throat. Rougher voice.

Death looked at me, and I swore I could see surprise on that ageless face. "You will come? You will not look back again?"

"I will come."

His smile was a beautiful, welcoming thing. "Then they will have you, youngling."

AFTER

I am stars
I am butterflies
I am happy.

A father I desired
A father I was denied
And a father I received at last.

Don't waste your prayers on other gods, because death is the only god that responds when you call.