Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Harvester

(I wrote this piece for Monday's writing prompt over at Creative Copy Challenge as well. I felt the other one was too brief and I'm getting back a little bit of creativity now, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to post twice. Hope you all enjoy this one just as much if not even more.)

This is a story never before told, and I'll tell you why. The odd little man who told it to me forbid me of mentioning it to any other soul whilst he breathed otherwise I would receive a gift most undesirable. Of the gift I have no idea, but I needed not words from him to ascertain an understanding. He let his voice be a drum, resounding of the coming dangers for my soul should I let out the tiniest peep of his little narration. But now I can tell you of what has happened. I know he has been gone for nearly a week now. I received news of his death just the other day in the post. Strangely enough, it was from the odd man, writing a letter to me. And with the calligraphed letters, he announced to me, and God knows who else, that this would be the day he would die. He told me many years ago that he could see it coming, the day that Death would come and rub out his life. I, however, attempt not to think of it so, but rather as some benevolent being, who, like a farmer, sows the seeds of life and in the autumn of our years returns to collect the harvest. The odd man, I perceived, was never keen of thinking himself a plant. Nor did he ever see Death as a benevolent farmer. No for him Death was something horrible. A thief in the night. Perhaps that was the main issue.

He told me how Death had stolen away his wife many years ago. It was in the middle of a cold winter night, the season when day is the shortest and night the darkest. Death, stealth as he was, tried to sneak into the couple's bedroom. The odd man, however, had always been a light sleeper with the only comfort during the night being his wife snug at his side. Death stepped on the only floorboard that creaked and this made the odd man jump out of bed much like a jack from a box.

"Who are you and what are you doing here?" shrieked the odd man, shaking in the frigid cold.

"I am Death, and I am here to collect your wife."

"No! No! Take me instead. My wife means far too much for me."

"Your time will come, but now it is your wife's turn. She is ready."

"What? I don't understand!"

"It's not your time to understand. Just wait and someday you will see it coming. You will be waiting for it, perhaps without even knowing."

"No!" And with that, the odd little man ran in a fury straight towards Death, but Death, being a much superior being, threw the man against the wall and knocked him unconscious.

When the odd man woke up in the morning, he found a note next to the body of his breathless wife. It was a list of rules left by Death for how the man should continue to live his life. At the top of the note Death had written, "If you adhere by these rules, I will be kind to you on your harvest day." If the odd man lived by these rules or not, I am not sure. But I know he was waiting for Death in his last days. That much he had told me in his letter.

Now, the events of the odd man's tale had occurred in the days before it was necessary to computerize everything. I don't know if I am allowed to tell you all of this, but I think it better to let you know than to leave you in the dark. Of what shall happen to me am I not aware. but I am always ready to dig my own grave. Actually, it's already partially dug.

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