I woke up in a writing mood this morning and this short story just flowed out.
Must have been a dream...or something.
A man was on a journey when he saw a shortcut down a dark alley. Dark alleys were nothing new to this man, as he has travelled through many of them over the course of his journey.
Neither were shadows, as he has even faced his own, but there was something odd about this one because it seemed to move as he looked at it and it wasn't his.
He paused, sensing something.
"Who's there?", he asked the darkness.
The darkness chose not to respond.
"You might as well show yourself, i can feel you here.", he said to the silence.
"You have become much more aware my friend..." came a whisper from the silence. "There was a time when you were oblivious to me looking over your shoulder.", it continued.
"There was a time when i was oblivious to a great many things around me...now is not that time." The man replied.
"As we both see...long has this meeting been coming." said the whisper on the breeze blowing by him.
"Aaaah...so is it my time then?" The man whispered back.
"Yes it is...so no, it is not...not yet.", was the message brought back by the breeze.
The man paused again while he listened to this.
"Before you were born, GOD knew you and called you by name...You answered that call and followed Christ until you found yourself anointed before 'The Mighty One' and came back with a message...completing 'The Sign of Jonah'."
The messages carried on the breeze continued;
"The greatest of evils have always avoided you because of the light within. Those whom have crossed your path in the past have been defeated, when you turned the other cheek and did not strike them down to make them stop...each one, making you stronger."
"The 'Art of the Warrior' and 'Art of Shen Ku' have served you well.", the whisper went on.
"But now...", the whisper paused and the wind changed direction.
"Now, you are so aware, your will affects their reality...", the whisper said anew. "And they fear their time is ending...as it is."
"Now, they are feeling desperate, and when you turn the other cheek they may not stop..."
Again the whisper paused, as the wind increased in intensity and the Shadow grew, bringing forth words with it. "Then, shall I be forced to act...Only the survivors that are wise, shall learn their failed lesson."
"But i am not in danger now...why reveal yourself?" the man asked, his hand holding his hat to his head, beard and cowl blowing freely.
The wind calmed again and the words again became a whisper as Death drew closer; "It seems senseless to hide now that your senses can detect me normally...normally i remain undetected until their time."
Then the man glimpsed for a moment, a tiny glimmer from under a shrouded hood within the shadows.
"Though this is not the first time for you is it?" came the whisper from within.
"No." said the man thinking back. "No, i remember a few times in my life, even as a child, when i thought i was going to die and seeing you say; "Not this time.", but it was hazy to begin with, and then i'd forget about it because i didn't understand why."
The glimmer passed away as the shadows shifted, but the whisper remained.
"Because of your covenant...None shall end your time before it's time...that's not their call to make." Now Death seemed to engulf him and reform over his other side. "Those that try too hard to make that call, shall find I come for the one calling instead."
The man stood in silence as Death continued talking.
"Because of your covenant...If you fail to turn the other cheek and strike them down before it's time...You will no longer be able to bide a moment for the rest. You must then use the Keys of Death and the Gates of Hell Christ gave you to complete the last half of your journey...till the 'End of Days' and you take your seat as Judge...for it shall be the least that serves as the most to separate the sheep from the goats."
The man's head dropped. "Can you tell whether i win their hearts and convince them to stop before it's too late?"
"No." Death stated, as a matter of fact. "Free Will keeps the options open. People have until their last breath to save themselves, but most still wait until their next one to start...though it may not be coming."
The wind died down, but the whisper did not.
"The longer you walk, the greater your chances...But the further you are from them, the less they understand you. The more you seek to help them, the more they seek to kill you...It is a fine balance indeed, not an easy journey."
"No...but one worth walking." The man said, as his head raised up again to look Death in the eyes. "The further they are from me when they do understand, only brings them closer. Then the ones still further away can begin to see the light...and every one i can get to go through the doors i stand before is a victory...because i am, the last."
Here, the man paused again, as a tear rolled from his eye carrying the weight of his next words. "Though i will weep for any who did not listen, they will also be tears of joy for the ones who did."