Title: Merciful Death

Author: Perfectly Mental

Rating: PG just to be safe, there are romantic elements in the plot and questionable behavior, but I like it that way. (

Summary: Death walks the world, taking away the hurt and pain. But what happens when death falls in love?

Warning: The only warning I can issue is that the story is mine and cannot be reproduced in any way imaginable or you will succeed in making me very mad. When I am mad I get crazy.

Notes: It took me one complete day to write the story. Comments are welcome and needed. The first line in the introduction is a slight variation from System of a Down's song "Chop Suey". If nobody likes my stories why am I wasting my times posting them here? That is rhetorical question. (

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Introduction

Do angels deserve to die? But what is life but an inevitable road to death. Doesn't life bring with it suffering and pain? Death seems to be the doorway out of life to bring to an end the eternal torment of living and not knowing. But what would Death think of this sweet folly?

Chapter I

There was Life and then there was Death. What a splendid figure, he was, draped in red and black finery. The dark pools of his eyes slightly covered by the unruly raven hair. An imposing figure he formed but his face softened every time he was to take a life, release a soul from it's encasing body.

Every time he appeared to claim a life the marked person's eyes would widen with fear and loathing. But Death was not a thing to be feared but to be welcomed. A grateful change, Death was, in the monotonous chain of simple yet intricate hardships one must resolve everyday.

Then the wisdom of goodness and trust would dawn on the doomed person and Death would lower his stately head and with the gentlest of acts pressed his rouged lips to the victim's lips and stole the very essence of life. Enfolding the man, woman, or child in a lover's embrace, giving the last warmth the poor soul would know before Death claimed the last breath.

Death was not hateful of what he was but saw himself as the bringer of peace in wartime and plague. What wouldn't man do to keep their lowly body from betraying them, but life, un-relentless and unforgiving, would quicken the heart and weaken the body until the soul gave up and turned it's face to Death for a way out.

Death traveled all over the world and never shunned anyone no matter his or her physical or mental state. He knew that he was not the one to choose them but it was they who chose Death, and he was only so very complacent.

Constantly being in their presence, Death, fell in love with their image of helplessness and resistance. The soft flesh of their lips so warm and pliant. There was never a calm moment in Death's existence, people all over the world cried out for release and he was their only hope of ending their plan.

Chapter II

Soon the joyful springtime came and showered all in greenery and dainty flowers. Death was now in constant jubilation over all that he saw and when a call came for him he hastened to reply.

All the beauty of the world did not prepare Death for what he saw. The caller had been a young maiden not past her twentieth winter. She lay on her deathbed but none of her beauty was diminished. Her golden hair and fair skin gave the illusion of weightlessness to her and she seemed and angel then.

Death could see the visible strain through her whole body attempting, but in vain, to still the pain that coursed through it. Her heart beat with a frantic pulse and her cheeks were tinged pink to give the semblance of good health.

Her lungs were the cause of the pain. Her body was racked with a cough brought on by the severe cold of the winter past. Relatives, nurses, and neighbors scurried about her as so many attentive hens. None of their ministrations could comfort her and she shook her head and covered her face as best she could to keep their inquisitive eyes away from her.

Awestruck, Death moved closer to the bed, unseen by the many occupying the closed space. All faded to a meaningless hum and she, the angel in white, was the only one Death saw. In the moment of fate her dovelike hands slid off her fevered face and she positively stared at him. Her eyes were wordlessly begging for him, how distressed she looked.

As Death moved closer he could see that she was suffering immensely and that her time was close. Oh, but how her gaze tormented him. He could not perceive how such a heavenly creature was in such dire agony and misery. But Death could not see how he could snuff out this vibrant creature's life without a though as he had done with so many others.

Yet closer he pressed through the swarm of her attendants and he could see in her eyes the recognition of what he was. But she, as all before her, did not curse him for his coming; after all she was the one to call on him. Death was now standing over her, looking down at her angelic features, and he wondered, did he seem cold and distant to her or did he carry with him a certain mystery for her?

How beautiful she was, no words could be found for her striking countenance. Her hair in small ripples all over her pillow framing her intense face with her two dark gray eyes burning into him, inspecting him. And the soft set mouth was twisted in a grimace of pain but still her features seemed and innocent child's face.

She struggled to speak, this saintly being, and Death lowered his face to hers. And even now Death barely heard the inaudible sound that was her voice. He tried to decipher what she said by the movement of her lips and what he interpreted was the verdant prayer of so many: "Deliver me!"

And with a sudden jerk Death stumbled away from the bed and in his dawning mind he understood himself. He could not do it; he could not kill her, not her. If Death could forget her and turn deaf to her pleas for mercy he would be rid of his duty to release her soul.

Confused and bewildered Death made his way out of the small house on the outskirts of a small city. But to his unwilling ears came her name, Louisa, called out by so many that attended to her. And she, my virtuous beauty, was screaming madly and in anguish. With every horrific scream Death felt his resolve weaken, and in a quick movement he ran away from her and her prayers. Far away where she could not reach him and tear at his heart.

Louisa, why did you have to be ailing, why could you not live until old age when most of your beauty would have been lost as wisdom was gained. Then Death could have taken her as easily and with as much love as the common people of the world. No one Death encountered before had possessed such charm and beauty as Louisa.

Chapter III

And in the innumerable deaths of the little people Death sought to drown the image of Louisa and banish it from his mind for all time. Every time the deadly kiss was delivered a sense of timelessness settled over Death and he knew peace.

From town to town he traveled, on foot he covered immeasurable distances that would tire even the strongest human being, but not the ageless Death.

But even with his tireless work Death could not expel the thoughts of Louisa and that little prayer frozen on her lips as he refused her. Oh, how death suffered for that rejection. Death did not know if any consequences would befall him because of his shunning of duty.

Then another mistake was made by Death. One of his callers was waiting for him to arrive and when Death did arrive he beheld an unsettling sight. At the first frightful moment he perceived that before him lay the beautiful Louisa. Death was ready to run from the house of this unfortunate soul but then realized how foolish he was to mistake someone so unlike her for Louisa.

He turned towards the woman lying on the bed whose whole frame was diseased and could not support her anymore. Death was about to deliver the kiss of Death when again the hateful illusion appeared before his eyes and he almost struck the woman who now was blissfully waiting for release.

Death finished the deed as fast as he could manage and wandered out into the forest that stood at attention not more then a mile away. The trees seemed to speak to him in small little whispers, mimicking the fair Louisa and her simple prayer. Death thought he would go mad if he could not see Louisa again and yet he knew that if he went to her again he would be unable to control his nature that told him that no one was allowed to suffer so.

Chapter IV

And so Death went back to the fateful little cottage that Louisa was cared for in. There Death again was stunned by Louisa's beauty even in such torment. The illness has now been escalated to higher standards and now Death saw that Louisa's lungs were slowly flooding with her blood and she, the lush flower, would be still living but barely so.

As Louisa's eyes fell upon Death she gave a stifled gasp and tried to rise and as there was no one there to stop her she was successful as to push herself up into a sitting position against the pillow. Death slowly came near to her. The netting on the bed was billowing in the summer breeze from the open shutters and Louisa was the one who seemed ethereal not the advancing Death.

And then the angel spoke in a brokenhearted whisper with a note of desperation in it.

"Why did you refuse me, why did you leave? Was I not good enough for you? Why did you make me suffer so? What did I do to deserve such pain? Was God punishing me for a sin that I did not commit." the questions seemed to be pouring out in a torrent out of her. These questions were burning her heart and soul and now that there was an ear that would finally listen to her mad ramblings she was happy to pour it all out.

Immediately Death pressed to her lips one long white finger to indicate silence and she complied. She sat mesmerized watching Death as he watched and measured her every breath. Louisa now had a better chance to study the man who would bring her pain to an end for why else would he show up again. Surely he would not leave her again as he had done months ago.

Louisa was sitting in a plain cotton white nightshirt because of the stifling heat of July that was brought on by the rising sun. And now she wished that she had a cloak she could cover herself with. Death was studying Louisa to the minute detail as if memorizing every detail of her frame. Her lungs burned and hot pain shot through her torso. The cough seemed so much stronger then when Death first heard it and this caused Death to flinch in shame.

"If you wish, Louisa, I could take you away from here and bring you to a place where you will have all. I'll bestow upon you all the riches you might crave. But I cannot take your life from you, it is too precious to me," said Death, and he was sure he was disgraced in the eyes of God for this pure selfishness.

Louisa was resigned for her fate and she spoke with a quite abandon, "Do what you wish, but do not leave me at the mercy of nature."

Death bowed to her and lifted her, cradling Louisa against his chest and covering her in his black velvet cloak. He carried Louisa in this manner for quite some time until Death was able to finally reach his home.

Oh and how his little cottage has been neglected, he has not visited it in such a long time and now he found a use for it once again. He lowered Louisa to the floor and started preparing the bed for her.

The cottage was situated in a niche of a mountain and it was protected from terrible winds and it was not as hot during the summer. It has been an easy journey for Death because he made long journeys all the time to reach his callers who were all over the world. Louisa seemed a lifeless rag doll in his arms and more then once he roused her from sleep to check on her well being.

As soon as the bed was ready Death carried Louisa the short distance to it and laid her down for a fitful nights sleep. Death kissed her warm cheek not daring to touch her lips for the terrible wish to grant her long ago prayer and deliver her into the arms of God, where she surely must belong.

Chapter V

After a few days spent in silence, both Louisa and Death studying each other in complete silence Louisa broke down.

"I cannot survive here, not with any riches or any promise of Heaven unreachable," she was in despair, tears streaming down her face," you do understand that it is not my rightful place to live anymore. I know that it is my time to die and leave this hateful body of mine, it is too diseased to support a normal lifestyle that I wish to have." And now she lowered her head her hair hiding the tears that surely slid down her milky white skin.

Death could not fathom the suffering that raked through Louisa and he didn't try to either. He did not wish to seem impertinent and heighten the pain. And then the unthinkable happened. Louisa stood against him pounding with all her might on his unyielding chest and then slumping to the floor at his feet in defeat. A great coughing fit caught her at that moment and she lay a broken doll on the floor weeping and coughing up blood.

And then again came the lost prayer from her lips and her broken heart: "Deliver me!" But this time it was not directed at him but at the Heavens and she whispered it over and over with a chanting quality added to it by the listless stare of her steel gray eyes that stared at a spot on the wall unblinking and unseeing.

And how it broke Death's heart to see Louisa in this pitiful state and he could stay with her no more. In a halfhearted whisper he told her of his intentions and left without another word.

He wandered for an infinite amount of time, it seemed to Death. His voyage led him to a deserted clearing near a pond, a forsaken place with the wildflowers growing uncontrollably throughout this angry garden. And this garden was a perfect picture of what was going on in Death's own heart. Hid emotions he did not know and he did not understand the duality of his position where neither side was willing to give in.

Chapter VI

Death was grieving for his lost love that he knew he could never have. And then quite suddenly he felt hands lifting him from the fetal position he mourned in. Death lifted his head and with a sinking heart he realized that now the matter of his fair Louisa was not only his own to resolve.

Gentle faces looked down at him and tender hands brushed off dust from his clothing and out of his hair. And so the Council of the Angles has now taken up the matter of Louisa.

The angels spoke in soft voices of their concern for Death's well being and the shying of his duties. They told him he was to be brought before the Council for a trial and a decision based on the unspeakable action done by Death. No one could be kept from being judged by God and sent either to Heaven or Hell, did Death know what he was doing by denying the mortal woman the comfort of death?

Death complied with the helpful angels but he behaved as if all reason left him and he was dumb. No semblance of life was visible in Death's dark eyes and he was a lifeless thing in the strong arms of the angels who flew up into the sky and descended in the courtroom of Heaven. The Council was to judge him and Death was now afraid.

Chapter VII

Death was seated alone and unattended facing the stands filled with the members of the Council. The Senior Member or Elder, as it was evident by his fine robes, was seated in the middle right across from Death. His white wings, the Elder, had folded behind him and his white hair all the more made the angel seem wise and prudent.

"Before us, we have a most startling case," started the Elder, "Death, who stands on trial before us, has refused to release the soul from the body as he does with everyone who is in such a need."

A chorus of astonished gasps answered this statement as angels everywhere started murmuring politely and casting glance in Death's direction. But Death was still in the same state of motionlessness as when he was taken from Earth. His eyes were now dead pools that seemed to absorb all light and never release it back.

With a gesture the Elder quieted the gathering and continued with his case, "Death has fallen in love with a mortal woman that has been dying for a few months now but never sufficiently so due to the lack of courage on Death's part."

Murmuring again commenced and Death was now painfully aware of the predicament he was in and that every word the Elder has spoken so far was completely true. And only now did Death realize that indeed, he did love Louisa, and he could not bare life without her in it.

Again the Elder silenced the crowd and continued, "And we are faced with the choice that Death is faced with: do we or do we not let the mortal Louisa live? But we must also look at this from the mortals view, if we were to let her live would we leave the disease that eats away at her lungs or do we cure it?"

Once again the talking started and this time the Elder did not stop it but encouraged the discussion that would be the choice of life and death for Louisa. Time was not an object to Death and this trial seemed to stretch on into infinity when in reality it might not have been longer then and hour or so.

To Death's amazement the court once again was silent and all were awaiting the Elders decision, who was whispering to the ones sitting near him. At once the Elder rose, "The Council of Angles has finally reached a decision that includes the needs and wants of both parties, and as we are ever so generous and un-judgmental we have chosen what would bring happiness to you both, " the Elder glance meaningfully at Death and continued, "so we will send angels to cure Louisa's fatal illness and Death shall be allowed to stay with her but not interfere in her life in any way. You may observe but not hamper her development as a human being in any way. When her time comes you will be forced to take her and we will not cure her at any other time but this one instance. And now the Council is dismissed."

Everyone rose and went off to tend to their own affairs while Death dumbstruck and in awe was gently coaxed by the same angels who brought him here to go with them to his dwelling in order to cure Louisa and let him do his duties on Earth. The angels enfolded him and once more they took to the air and soon they were standing in the small cottage at the foot of Louisa's bed.

Chapter VIII

Louisa was still the picture of saintliness but her breath was sharp and ragged. Death implored the angels to hasten with their healing and they obeyed. The angels lay their hands upon Louisa and in a miraculous recovery the breathing cleared immediately and color returned to her cheeks. Her limbs lost the pallor and thinness of one long sick.

The angels vanished and were no more. Overjoyed Death at once went to rouse Louisa and tell her of her good luck. As Louisa struggled to open her eyes Death commenced the story of what went on after he left her that lonely night. He told of the trial and the outcome. Louisa noticing the usual weakness was gone from her weary bones and after hearing Death's words believed Death to be speaking the complete truth.

At once she embraced Death and thanked him profusely for everything that he has done to help her.

"But I must leave you now for the Elder has warned me to let you pursue a mortal life and forget me until your time comes, " Death was infinitely sad but he tried not to upset Louisa in her joyful moment.

At once Death set out with Louisa back to where Louisa has been reared as a child and then cared for when she was sick. Death was too miserable for a long farewell and so Louisa made do with another quick kiss on the cheek.

Chapter IX

Death tried not to come back to see Louisa but never made good to his promise. And every once in a while he would come close stealthily and peer into the warm house and spy upon the occupants without them knowing it.

Soon Louisa married a wealthy merchant and she moved with him to his grander home. Soon she bore a son and later a daughter both worthy of Louisa's beauty. Louisa often told her children a tale of merciful Death and his adventures in the world. How people sought to destroy merciful Death just because of what he was, death. The children loved this tale above all and asked her to tell the story as often as Louisa would allow it.

A fatal accident, an awful storm at sea, caused Louisa's husband's ship to sink and the ship claimed with it all on board. Death found no pleasure in taking the husband's life but he felt strangely sad for the death since now Louisa was left alone to raise both her children who were growing up fast and also more beautiful.

He lived through all of Louisa's hardships and all the little pains; Death saw both children married off to rich nobles. Louisa was now left quiet alone in her old age and she spent them quietly thinking over the meaning of life as she used to do during her long sicknesses after that cold winter so many years ago.

And then quite suddenly the decision came to her, to call to her long lost friend and ask for the end as she did so many times before. And she did call and Death was crushed after hearing this call but had no choice but to listen to the call and grant this wish to his beloved Louisa.

Chapter X

As he entered the bedroom she lay on the pillows as she did the first time he saw her and she still seemed the angel the eternal watcher of life. Her hair was now white but still long and wavy as it ever was and her unchanging gray eyes were still full of love and wisdom. As she noticed him she broke into a smile and beckoned him with her withered hand. And again he wondered how did he seem to Louisa now, still the same still the vigorous young man who brought peace to all that asked.

Reverently he whispered in her ear, "And in love Death shall take you away." And she opened her arms wide to embrace him for the last time.

He leaned forward and finally let himself go in that gentle euphoria he always wished for with her. He finally let himself kiss her full on the lips and she sighed her last breath as Death at last withdrew.

And as if in a daze he left her house and tried to remember this moment forever as he still felt her warm lips on his. Sadness overtook Death, one that he never knew before, the sadness that only comes with loss.

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And for once Death wept.

6:58 p.m. November 12, 2001

The End