Black Orchid

She sat upon her father’s grave, the hum of death still loud in his ears. One day she would know that sound, and then would know nothing else. The orchids in her lap, her skirt over her knees like a blanket.

Her tiny backpack by her side, red, yellow, blue.

The wind blew in, and Death himself followed, winding his long bones around each stone. He slithered up behind the girl.

She felt the change in weather. She didn’t have much time. She placed the orchids on the grave. “I’ll see you soon,” she said.

She rose to her feet, her anger at its peak. Whirling around she shouted at Death, right in his sunken face.

“Why do you stalk me, Death, what else of mine do you want?”

And Death was sad; she’d misunderstood. He wanted her to know.

Follow me, he beckoned her with a curl of his pointed finger. But she stood still and crossed her arms, commanded him to stay.

“Where you walk, you walk alone tonight. I won’t be at your side. You tell me what you want with me, or vanish till it’s time.”

Now Death was deeply hurt; how he had so loved the girl! And he knew that she could love him too, if she would only try. His nothingness, his permanence, were things that she could know.

But he saw that she mistrusted him, she did not understand. He’d been so lonely, so feared, but he could make her see. She wasn’t like the others, he knew she was the one. He’d show her what he held inside; she could handle it. She’d know.

And Death convinced the girl to go; with him she walked away. But he was wrong, he’d come to see, no girl could be the one. The only one who could understand was Death himself, not man.

When he revealed himself to her, her mind did not accept it. She lost herself and lost her way, her world no longer logic.

When he saw what he had done he realized he’d been wrong, and felt so guilty that he’d misled the little girl he loved.

Alone again, he carried her back to rest aside her father. His vast shadow casting black onto the orchids on the grave.