Disclaimer: This story is purely a figment of my imagination. Any similarities to actual people or events is purely coincidental.
Did you know that Life and Death were sisters? There is a reason why they cannot exist together. You see they had to make a sacrifice or at least rather, one of them. Let me tell you about the story of Life and Death. Many people often think that life and death were one but, they were actually two, twins actually. Yeah, yeah, I know not that original, right? But, that’s the way it was.
Back in those days, there was no concept of life and death, you see, because no one died so there was no need for labels. Everyone lived forever. All twins were a gifted a power from the gods. They were gifted a power that they became: Fall and Spring, Winter and Summer, Health and Sickness. The list could continue. No one knew what Revecca and Miriam would be so, everyone just waited for that time to come.
Growing up, they were loved by they parents and their village. They were adored for their beauty and kindness. No one knew that the future would end the way that it did. So…tragic.
At the age of sixteen, Revecca met Samuel. He was the most handsome man she had ever met. Anyone could tell that Revecca loved Samuel. He hung the moon and the stars to her. Of course, she tried hard to get his attention through merits. She participated in the discussions that he was interested in and showcased her intelligence. She showed her athleticism in horse races. Nothing seemed to work to get his attention. Every night, Revecca would unload her grievances to Miriam who would console her and help her to devise a plan to gain Samuel’s attention for the next day.
Unknown to both sisters, Samuel did notice Revecca. In fact, he did return her affections but could not let her know. He had a secret that he needed to hide. That was the reason he fled to this town. He never expected to meet his soulmate. But, just because you’re soulmates that doesn’t always guarantee a happy ending. That’s the sad part about soulmates. It was best to let her continue thinking that he was oblivious to her efforts and that he did not return her feelings.
One day after two years, Revecca got tired of waiting. She decided to confront him. She knew that he always did his writing by a large tree by the village tavern a couple of hours after sunrise. She marched over there with determination to see him laying under the tree’s shade with his eyes closed peacefully.
“Samuel!” He jerked at the sound of his name. He opened it to see Revecca staring down at him. He could see a determination in her eyes. That’s when he knew he would have to break her heart further today.
“Is there something wrong with me?” She questioned almost angry. Angry at what? She didn’t know.
“Why don’t you want to court me? My father even says that you avoid his conversations now.” She demanded.
“I am in love with someone else. I only here to work for a little bit.” He lied.
“You’re lying. I can sense it.” For some reason, she could always tell with him. He turned away from her.
“I just cannot be with anyone right now” It wasn’t a complete lie. Hopefully she could let that go for now. But, she wouldn’t be his Revecca if she did.
“I’ll wait for you”
“No!” Samuel Panicked.
“Why not?” Revecca insisted.
“Listen, I cannot tell you. You’ll be happier never knowing” Samuel said solemnly and because he was turned away. He didn’t see Revecca kneeling to sit beside him.
Meanwhile, Miriam was helping her mother make dinner. She couldn’t help but feel that their lives were going to change forever. She brushed it off as it being because her twin was probably going to leave her to get married soon. It would be both a sad and a joyous thing. She wished she would find love too.
She had realized that Samuel loved Revecca back about a year ago. She caught him staring at Revecca with such a longing look that it almost made her cry. Even if Miriam did find love, she didn’t think she had the bravery to even tell him so like her sister did. She would probably shy away and accept that he didn’t love her she thought to her self as she knead the dough onto the wooden table. She was such a coward sometimes.
She was so lost in her thoughts that she was completely startled by the most horrifying cry. The cry reverberated through her and it was almost like she lost a part of her very essence. It was so desperate.
“Miriam, go get your father to check on what happened outside,” her mother advised her.
“Yes, mother,” she obeyed.
She went to the farm shed but, her father was nowhere to be seen. She heard another cry that sent a shudder through her spine. Samuel. She froze.
“Revecca! Please wake up!” A chill ran through her spine and she ran into the forest. There at the end of the forest by the village tavern was Samuel and her sister. She looked different. Gone was the very essence of her being. She looked so dull. Different from a sleep.
Now, when I said death did not exist. I meant it but, other things ailed the people back then. It was endless sickness or sleeping curses.
Miriam was in shock. Samuel was crying.
“I told her to leave me but, she didn’t want to. I told her. I told her. I’m cursed, I’m cursed,” he chanted over her still body.
“What do you mean?” Miriam probed angrily. What did he do to her?
“I am a twin. I got the curse. My brother got the power, he cried hysterically. Miriam could tell he was in pain but, she couldn’t help but be angry.
“I am Sickness and he is Health. This is why I left. Everyone I touch becomes sick,” he continued.
“Where is your brother?” I interrogated. The only way we could get help is with his brother.
Samuel cried harder.
“He is not on this land.”
“I can’t!” He yelled. “I never learned to access my full power because it hurt too many people. I cannot connect to anyone outside the regular human way, Miriam.”
That very statement is what made Miriam fall to her knees. Then, she felt the wind command her. She didn’t know what it was but, she stopped crying. She got up and knelt next to her sister. She wrapped her arms around her sister’s limp body, cradling her.
Soon, Samuel noticed something miraculous. Revecca was gaining color again. The grass around her started to grow and almost simultaneously, Miriam started to lose her color. The grass around her began to wilt. Miriam did not know what she was searching for but, she begged the gods to bring her sister back. She would trade anything for it. She felt herself pull onto an entity. She kept pulling and pulling until there was no more.
That’s when Samuel realized that she was taking the sickness but, it was different from the way his brother did it. It never affected the nature around him.
Revecca woke up gasping for air and when she did, she was more beautiful than before. There was so much color back in her face. Those eyes held so much more fire. It made Samuel both relieved and sad. They could never be together.
When Samuel processed the situation, he questioned what Miriam’s power was.
When Miriam opened her eyes, she knew that something was different. She could feel it in both her and her sister. The gods had answered her prayers but, what did that mean? She got up then, helped her sister up.
“Revecca, I’m so glad that you’re okay,” Miriam sighed in relief.
“What happened?” Revecca asked clearly confused and scared. She looked at Samuel with different eyes. It was like she knew but, needed confirmation of the end of their possibility of a future together.
“I am Sickness.” Samuel answered still on the ground and she understood. Tears began to escape from her eyes.
Behind them both, Miriam smiled sadly. “This is not your end. This is my gift for you, my beautiful sister. I took away the sickness and gave you my life. He can longer affect you. In turn, you will give life to all others.”
Tears of sadness became tears of joy.
“Oh, Miriam! Thank you!” Revecca rushed to hug her sister only to have her back away.
“You are Life. I am Death. I love you and tell mother and father that, too.” Miriam whispered turning away from the lovers and walking away. As she walked away, Revecca noticed the wilted grass where her sister’s footprints had been.
That’s how Life and Death came to be. A story of love and tragedy between sisters.
© 2018 Shika Tamaklo