By Annie Dashiell, TIWP Student
Death waits for me on my doorstep. Sometimes he would appear in the form of a friend, tricking me to open the door for him. I would stop before the door was fully open. I had the twisted feeling in the bottom of my gut that if I let him in, it would become my end. Other times he would lurk in the shadows of my house, blending into them so all I could feel was his deathly presence. He would always appear behind me, and I could feel the iciness that came with him.
No one believed me when I said he followed me around, but he has ever since I was young. One day he just appeared out of nowhere, in the shadows outside of my childhood home. I stopped explaining it to people who asked. I have always gotten stares whenever my feet would start to quicken beneath me, or when I would repeatedly look behind my shoulder. He would sometimes leave me alone, but I would always know when he would return. I could feel the rush of shivers that would creep down my spine and travel throughout my body alerting me to his presence. I would feel my bones go still, and feel my back become rigid. No one believed me so I stopped explaining it.
Then, as one day was coming to an end, a young boy came up behind me, resting his head against a tree just to my right. “What’s that in-front you?” he asked. I turned quickly to face him, as he had frightened me. It was most likely just a bird, so I shrugged. He kept staring at me until I finally turned to face that direction again. I could see a shadow dancing along the trees and assumed it was death.
“What do you see?” I asked the little boy, an edge of fear in my voice. I never took my eyes off of the shadows. I doubt the little boy was staring at him, since no matter how many times I would point him out to people, I was the only one that could ever see him. I could feel death, but no matter how hard I focused on that little shadow, I could not feel the iciness that always came with him. Instead, that iciness was coming from behind me. My heart took a stuttering beat as I realized that the shadows were just shadows. Death was right behind me, and I felt coolness sweep through my entire body. It wasn’t the type of coolness that came after jumping into a pool on a warm afternoon. This was the type of iciness that came with jumping into a frozen lake. Slowly, I looked down and saw a knife go through my stomach, but there was no blood. I slowly turned my head, and behind me, the boy gave his best impression of a childish grin, but as I looked into his eyes I could tell he was much more than a mere child. The last thing I saw was death looking at me, and a flash of sorrow crossed his face before the world faded into black.
I awoke with a start, not recognizing anything around me. I was in the middle of a field with a house just a few hundred yards ahead of me. I lifted my arm, my now burning arm. With a start I realized I was burning. I was not on fire, but it felt as though I was burning from the inside. I jumped to my feet and rushed to the house, sighing with relief for the shade of the roof. “Please, please let me in!” I yelled. But as I brought my hands to my lips I realized that they would not open, and no sound could escape them. Someone must have heard me banging on the door, and it started to creep open. Just before it was open wide enough for me to walk through, I felt the rush of wind as it slammed in my face. I heard the lock click, and realized with horror what was happening. I looked through the window shudders and could see someone staring back at me, wide eyed. I took a seat on the front porch and realized what I had become. I would need to give someone else this terrible fate to become free, just as he had given it to me. I am death and now I’m waiting on someone else’s doorstep.
By Annie Dashiell, TIWP Student