A Gift from Me
Carrying a fallen, scarlet petal, a scolding wind washes away over the horizon. Behind it, a solitary rose bush lingered in the barren deserts of an unnamed land. Rising from the parched dust, its blooms, now fully developed, stood sternly against the azure sky, not wilting under the sun's harsh glare. This rose was not ready to die.
The blood red petals shoved themselves out of the background of life, taking center stage of the desert terrain. The spiral patterns within the bloom were simply mesmerizing… beautiful. It was the symbol of life, of hope, of spirit. This rose bush, this was the symbol of human endurance.
But… sadly, this bush also was human frailty. Just below the layers of sand and dissolved rose petals were the bones of thousands, all once sewed together with skin and muscle, moving towards the rose bush thousands of miles away from the world. Moving so far through the unforgivable terrain, withstanding the unmerciful beats of sun and the compassionless scowls of the moon, these fallen men had thought they were close to something wonderful, something alive. No. The sand was not living, now too fatigued to move through the ever-swirling wind. The sky was not living, only pasted up because this desert was too vast to have a hole above it. The rose was living, but only in a way in which it was dead on its own.
A desert wind kicked up, grains of sand scratching the silk-soft petals of the rose. The world, now blanketed in a sheet of sand, seemed to fade away from the universe. A wall of dust, unbreakable dust, stood between this desert and the rivers of time, the planes of space, and the mysteries of the universe. It was a world of its own.
The hollow whirl of sand pressed a haunting presence upon the desert. The land wished and cried for a drink of water, a heavy cloud that couldn't hold its required weight. Had it been able, the sand would have begged at the heaven's knees for one, measly droplet of liquid for its dried out home. But the ever-present wind calmly said, in a bewaring tone, Be careful what you wish for, it may come true one day. The dust died down. A boiling sun reared its head once more and dared to laugh at the suffering rose bush below, taking its torture like the brave. From behind the curtains of dust, a flock of vulture circled in the distance over a figure too far away to see. The watery waves of heat rose from the ground, the sweat dripping from the rose's petals. Hot like the fires of hell, the desert pushed on.
A man appeared by the roses, the vultures hovering like Death itself. He reached for the petals, so beautiful in the heat, collapsed, and lay in the sand. The vultures swooped down as a petal fell from the flower.
It is a gift from me, Death said.