4 years, 7 months ago

Life and Death share an evening meal in the depths of Death's barren domain at Death's request.

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"Good evening."

Life gazed into her gentle eyes. They did not respond, only continued to tap a nail against their barren plate. The table stretched the massive expanse of the room, leaving an eternity between the two. She held their gaze. She was smiling.

"How have you been?" A servant stepped beside her, revealing a plate of grilled lobster tails. Delicate hands placed the food before her. As he moved back, the servant's arm brushed against her skin. He began to choke. In a moment he lay on the floor, face blue, unmoving. White wisps escaped his parted lips, vanishing in the rafters. A look of sorrow passed over her face. "I am sorry you had to see such an event, Life."

Life gazed into her gentle eyes. Life did not blink. She looked so happy to see them.

How had they been? They had no answer for this question; while they enjoyed their job, there was nothing new. Life contemplated the cycle of the universe: the birthing galaxies and dying stars or the blossoming plants and decomposition of those that passed. Life considered their role in breathing essence into the tiniest of bacteria to the most massive of underwater beasts. They could feel this essence of everything, all at once. And yet... there was nothing for them in this room.

Life forced a smile; they did not want to offend. The plate before them was riddled with scratches from their nails. The clicking they made was soft. "Thank you for inviting me, Death. You always try to make me feel welcome in your domain."

"How have you been?" Death repeated while prodding the tail. She took a bite. Teeth ground against the shell.

"I have had no troubles in my work. The future bodes well."

The world needed balance; Life understood this. Life promoted it in everything they did. Without Death there would be chaos; no one could live to their potential, souls would not find peace in the afterlife, and all would suffer.

But in the end, all Life felt when surrounded by Death was a harrowing emptiness. They gazed into Death's gentle eyes. A darkness swam in their depths. But without darkness, there would be no light. Both are necessary. And both are good.

"Why did you call me here?" They ran a nail along the edge of the plate.

Death stopped eating and blinked. "I wanted to wish you congratulations. It is the four billionth year this dimension has been in existence. You should be proud. Please, eat."

"Thank you," Life replied. They broke the stare, looking down. Four billion years is nothing to eternity. "I could not have done it without you."

Author's Notes

this was written in august 2017 for contest to win the original design.