Ephemeral–a myth

I return again to the marble halls of Death. The great throne is empty but the dog, Cerberus, is there lying on the steps before it. With one head he watches my approach, his other two heads are asleep.He rouses himself as I near, and steps down to meet me. The look in his six eyes, lies somewhere between curiosity and fear. I squat down in front of him and slowly extend my right hand. He sniffs my hand and then steps forward to let me scratch his ears and neck. His fur is very soft.

He startles slightly at the sound of footsteps behind me. Death returns. I stand and turn to face him.

In his left hand he holds a single long stemmed red rose. It has just opened. Wordless, he holds up the rose before me. It opens fully as I watch and then it begins to wither. The petals blacken and turn to dust before my eyes. A slight breeze stirs in the room and blows the dust away. Then the stem rots and begins to disintegrate. At length, Death stands before me with empty hands.

He curls his dark translucent fingers beckoning me; I step forward steeling myself against his cold embrace. Instead he turns and leads me from the room down a darkened hallway. The walls fade and fall away as we walk. We step into the night; overhead stars shine dimly through low thin clouds.

We enter an ill-kept cemetery and proceed to its center. There, beneath an old liveoak, I see a headstone. It is very old and heavily weather stained. The lettering on the stone is indistinct, worn by the passage of time, but the name is mine.

I look down at the patchy mixture of weeds and grass beneath my feet and sigh. Death motions me to sit and then lowers himself beside me onto my grave. We begin to meditate while a dense fog closes in around us.

I breathe deeply. Somehow I begin to find peace; it is a wonderful deep peace that I have never felt before. I look up to find Death watching me intently. He pats my knee gently and then rises to leave.

I remain there alone, beneath the oak. Where else would I go?

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