Thanatos Journal entry
Type: Remnant World One
Number: World Nineteen
Date: July 5th, 1946
What a desolate place!
No structures stand in this place, no trees, no birds sing, no animals stir, and no flies buzz. The ground is covered in a thick coat of black ash. Yet I feel the pull of souls in the north and my feet move me northward like a magnet.
In the mornings, gray overcast skies; occasionally it rain water, sometimes ash, sometimes both.
I alternate between flight and walking to trek this barren landscape. At night, strange luminescence under the cloud covered sky and lighting storms. I rest and stare off at the horizon, hearing the cry of thousand wayward and lost souls. I feel their panic and confusion. It’s a heavy sinking feeling in my heart and stomach. The back of my head tingles like static electricity as the souls look for passage to the other side.
I want to give them the relief of that passage. My duty, even though I have abdicated on my world, doesn’t mean I am still not a God, let alone death.
“I am coming, I will bring you aid. I will bring sweet, blessed, and kind relief,” I tell the empty horizon.
The nights are cold, almost like winter minus the snow, of course. Nothing to burn to keep yourself warm, so my wings will do the trick. They come in handy that way. I remove my trench coat. My cloak, now long discarded, is in the dark purple pouch in the backpack I now carry. I unfurl my wings and wrap them around me to sustain my body heat. As always, they do the job well. I don’t sleep like most of my fellow gods or mortals, but I enter a meditative state to rest.
At what I consider sunrise, I break camp and start moving. The sinking sensation is getting stronger, which means I am nearing the place where the souls wander. My heart races faster than Hermes on caffeine, which is a funny story, but that’s for later. The static in the back of my head feels as if Zeus himself has hit me with a lightning bolt; that’s another funny story, but later.
I saw my destination on the horizon. My nerves and hairs stand on edge as I stare at the only structure I find still standing in the empty world. It is an old, decrepit, wooden Victorian mansion. I stood there in wide eyed wonderment of the thing. Two thoughts ran through my mind as I approached the house:
One: “How in Tartarus is this thing still standing?”
Two: “Where are all the Gods?”
I was about to find the answers to both these questions.
Before I approach the house, I remove my pouch from my backpack. The little dark purple pouch feels heavy in my hand. I told myself when I left my world, my Pantheon, behind I would never dawn my cloak again. Not since August 9th, 1945, and here I was, about to remove it and drape it on myself again. Honestly, what else could I do for these souls in there? I had a duty, and whoever was this world’s version of me failed to do so. I will bear the weight and pick up the slack.
I open the pouch and remove the cloak. The cloak must’ve weighed a ton as I just stare at the cloak and the house. The souls urging me to come in. All their voices were chattering away in my ears and head like a maddening cacophony. I drape the leaden cloak over me. It embraces me as it always has: the embrace of the one who weaved it, my mother Nyx. Even here and now, I feel her faintly begging me not to go. Screaming my name as I fled. Tears threaten to run down my cheeks. I suck it up and approach the house.
I climb the creaky wooden stairs to the double doors that will take my inside. On my right, the porch has been extended to make an outside patio sitting area. Running footsteps from that direction, a child! A little girl! A soul! The first to claim. I turn sharply to the right and stare into empty space. My mind races,
Empty space? But how? I should be able to see the soul.
My thoughts are broken by the creaking sounds the doors make as they opened inward. I turn, slowing and looking into the threshold of the house. The souls cries only grow louder from the open maw of the doorway. An image of a carnival performer placing his head inside a lion’s mouth came to mind as I gazed into the house. I swallow, hard and audibly, then slow exhales to calm myself and summon my will. My sense of duty drives me forward into the house.
The doors slam shut with a bang from behind me, letting up a small cloud of dust. I stand there, taking in the cavernous inside. It is well-kept, despite the outside falling apart. I see hardwood floors covered in expensive-looking area rugs, a grand staircase, long halls that stretch forever, and multiple doorways. I step away from the doors and enter the drawing room on my right.
I survey the room. A fire roars in the fireplace. To my right are two massive windows with a bench seat under it. In the center of the room, on the area rug, two leather high-back chairs sit with a small circular table in between them. A small bar with glasses and alcohol are to the right of the fireplace, and a plant sat to its left. Also to the left are bookshelves stacked with books. In front of me are sliding doors, which are closed. The house went silent… still… and then,
The sound is coming from my right and my head spins that direction. I feel on edge and that’s when I see him: a fat, middle-aged man balding on the back of his head. He wears black slacks and a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He walks into the open part of the wall near the fireplace, bounces off and walks into the wall again. I stand there watching him repeat this course of action.
I attempt to sense him, his name, his past, so I can address this lost soul. I reach my hand out and close my eyes in concentration. I cannot find him. Shocked, I open my eyes. It was a soul. It was a dead man Death came to claim. I carefully walked over to him.
I place my hand on his shoulder and receive a large static shock. I pull my hand away and hiss. I shake my now numb and throbbing hand and go to touch him again when the tingles stop. I put my hand on his shoulder again; yes, there is a static shock or a tingle.
I turn the overweight man to face me so I can address him.
He does not have a face, yet he screams at my touch. It isn’t an open maw; it is as if skin had grown over his face and mouth. I let the screaming soul go and took a step back. He staggers backwards, still screaming, and trips. It’s as if he’s lifted off his feet and before he lands on his back, he falls through the floor instead. As I drop to a knee and feel the floor where he had gone through, one of those closed doors slid open.
I look over my shoulder and see a little black-haired girl in a white dress regarding me. I smile, rise up and walk to her. She smiles warmly at me as I reach her. I put on my most reassuring smile for her. I squat down to be on eye level with the little one, my knee popping as I got down. That makes her giggle. I laugh, too.
“Hello, dear one, my name is Thanatos, the God of Death. I am here to help and there is no reason to be afraid,” I say.
She nods her head emphatically. Her eyes are bright and intelligent despite the black circles around them. Her smile is toothy, full of joy, and what I mistake for innocence. The nodding of her head causes the curls of her long black hair to bounce.
“But you are wrong about one thing, God of Death who flees,” she starts.
My heart sinks as I ask, “What did I get wrong, dear one?”
“You do have to be scared,” she finishes, giggling.
“Of what?” I ask, my throat feeling dry.
“Me!” she answers.
I gulp as she giggles. Unseen shadow tentacles rise up from the ground and wrap around my legs. I am slammed me to the ground. The tentacles carry me down one of the many infinite hallways as the giggles follow.
- Thanatos and the Aftermath: The Girl in the Yellow Sweater, Part II - June 8, 2020
- The Pack: Thanatos and the Secret Meeting - June 3, 2020
- Thanatos and the Aftermath: The Girl in the Yellow Sweater, Part I - May 18, 2020