It happens at twilight, always.
That moment when Death and Life finally crash into each other and Death, demanding as it is, states that it will take her soul.
“No!” protests Life sharply, “You have taken so many already, just today too, you have spread so much agony.”
“No, I will be the guardian of her soul.” Life says tenderly, “She is lost and tired and I shall make her whole.”
“And you?” seethes Death, “How many have you brought into this world today? How many souls have you sowed for me to reap?”
“No, she is tired and would rather not awake. I will take her soul and give her rest.” Death murmurs, and behind his hard gaze lies, for one moment, something soft.
“You cannot take her!” Life chirps furiously, “There is so much that she can do! So much she will be for others! You cannot remove her from—from fulfilling the truth of her own existence!” Life advances, comes in between her sleeping body and Death.
“What kind of truth is worth this much pain?! What kind of—of happiness is worth it?!” Death roars, and for one split second, something in Life’s brilliant gaze wavers.
Death approaches her but Life stands as a barricade between them. Yet, with a gentle shove, Life is quietly standing on the sides, watching as Death’s firm hands sift through her hair, her fitful dreams.
“Release her, give her back to me. She did not know pain when she was with me, before you took her away.” Death accuses.
“Nor did she know happiness at your side! She did not even know herself!” cries Life viciously, yet not making any move to push Death away from the innocence of her sleeping face.
Ignoring Life, Death recalls:
“She was weightless with me. She knew nothing: no darkness, no pain, no sadness, no anxiety, no hunger. She floated like mist, and went about existing in the purest form, in the most neutral way. She was a star, luminescent, such beautiful energy…
“And now!” Death sneers, spinning to face Life in a flash of fury, face now ugly and contorted in rage.
“Now look what you’ve made of her! You have marred her! Sullied her!” Death accuses.
“What should I have done then?!” Life cries “Leave her to you until the ends of Time, and never let her truth unravel? Never let her see the very light she is made out of?
“But you’ve never known that, have you?” Life silently accuses, something cold gleaming in usually warm eyes, “You’ve never seen her when she laughs or cries, when she sits there, grateful for another day. You’ve never seen her ties with Fate, never, never—”
Death is quiet, thinking of those things he cannot understand, and a certain frustration gains him then.
“But I know them and know she would rather be made to laugh in earnest again.” Life looks at Death, pleading.
“Let her, let her,” Life begs, chirpy voice now even more high-pitched as tears threaten to spill. “You will take her anyway, and I will never again look upon her.” says Life, although there is no bitterness in that voice; Life has long since accepted that it will always hurt, that Life will always lose over those most cherished souls to Death.
It is all too quietly that Life speaks: “Let her, for her sake and mine, if you care for that life half as much as I do, let her live.”
Something flashes in Death’s light eyes at the sight of her, at Life’s words. There is inner turmoil boiling in Death’s eyes, and for a moment, Death is at war with his own self. His selfish desire to have her at his side again, but the need to protect that life that had existed so purely before… And her truth, her happiness, her ties with Destiny he knew nothing of, except that it made for more luminous souls, souls that lasted into the universe.
Finally, Death huffs in resignation, clicking his tongue at Life in annoyance.
“Fool. I care for that life more than you do; I was there when it formed.” Death sends a final, longing glance at her, not trusting himself to touch her, lest he glanced again through those nightmares, and decided to take her away.
Ruffling Life’s light-coloured hair, Death turns his back with whispered words.
“I will be back for her.”
And in a fog of grey, he disappears.