Death; a journey we all must make, more than once, is just as riveting—if not more so—than life. The aftermath is, anyhow. The process, I admit, is by no means a pleasant stroll into the sunset. It’s as confusing as it is terrifying. Sadly, a vital decision must be made by your soul at this juncture. I’ve seen it so many times, I can almost call it every time—which way they will choose: to rise, fall, or sustain.
I’ve died twice. The first time, I never made it to the Veil. I was…well, I guess I was claimed. Claimed by someone who surely grew to regret that decision. The second time I chose death, I chose it to protect my closest friend, Mazing. I chose death to protect my line, too. Not to mention the human souls that will never know my name or my role in the grand scheme of things. But that is not really the point, now is it? The point is that the second go around, Sirius chose not to let me pass. I was rejected. No surprise there.
I wasn’t bitter. The Reaper had grown to be a wise advocate of Mazing and me. He welcomed our offer to guard The Fall, the one and only passage that led to the twin reality. The one point that every Escort was fighting to pass through. We all wanted to go home. To the other half of our life. We wanted the power in, around, and behind The Fall. It was the next frontier. Or, well, the old frontier that got wise and burned the bridge down. Now we are all stuck here. Fun. Not.
I always kept my gauge on the procession of death. When it was massive, there was not a doubt that somewhere in the mix of mayhem there would be an Escort or two. I was in the mood for a good hunt. It had been days since I was given a solid release of power. Days since I’d been fed properly.
The procession began when dusk reached the Veil. Those that did not pass into the calling light or felt they should plead to continue their path were granted permission to speak with the Reaper, to approach his throne and humbly state their reasoning—reasoning that rarely made sense when fear and confusion were seizing their soul, reasoning that had no meaning in the larger scheme of matters. More times than not, by the time they reached the Reaper's throne the people they left behind had either passed on or were a few feet behind them in line. They were all blind to each other in this state of existence.
Often the Reaper would offer a glance or a simple word that would convince the souls to move on. Yet, there were others that remained, stubbornly refusing his persuasion. Some lingered in the enormous cathedral that I call home. Others ventured into the Veil, seeking to find their own way home. More often than not, those were the ones that became haunts, or worse, nourishment for my kind: Escorts. But hey, we all make our own choices now, don’t we?
The throne the Reaper sat upon would change—as would his appearance—with each new soul that was brought to him. I asked why once. If the way I saw him was even real, he grinned and very politely told me that I was one of very few that knew his true form. The change was made for the comfort of the soul, to frame the beliefs their energy was emanating. When I thought about it, I realized it was a foolish question to have asked in the first place. The soul is in a constant state of manifestation. Sees what it wants, hears what it wants to, and feels what it wants to.
I was standing one story up and a few feet in front of the Reaper. From here I could not only watch him and his gracious decisions, but also keep a weathered eye on The Fall.
I leaned against the white marble column as I gazed out at the wonder of The Fall. It was just that, a fall of liquid, yet there was no beginning and no end. A solid wall of what looked like water but was pure energy, stretching in each direction as far as the eye could see.
Sirius, the majestic star, rested in the center of this wall, only a few thousand feet above the highest peak of the cathedral. At least that was what I was told. I see nothing when I look up.