Death and Roses

RosesI had always pictured Death as a golden thing, an angel of stern and heroic visage whose eyes glittered with reflected stars. She gathers up the deserving dead and carries them forth into the halls of peace. I had always pictured my father this way, enfolded in the arms of Death, gone to a proper rest. Not left to burn in an inferno of his own making.

“What justification,” I said in a low voice, “could there possibly be for burning an entire world to ashes?”

Jax said nothing. Captain Morrow looked away, an awkward compassion in her eyes. She cleared her throat. “Let’s stick with the matter at hand for now, shall we? A man died in your room today. What, exactly, brings you aboard the Dragon?”

“This,” I said, crossing the room and opening my trunk. I pulled out a small silk-swathed bundle and handed it to the Captain.

She weighed it in one hand before unwrapping it and letting the fabric fall away. Nestled in her palm was a polished brass sphere. An intricate wreath of roses was etched along the surface, with a tracing of silver inlaid along the flowers like dew. It was one of my finest pieces, and I was glad I had placed it on top. A tiny key protruded from the top. I motioned for the Captain to wind it.

“I make these,” I said simply. “And other baubles. I am going to Oas to apply to the Academy there.”

Morrow released the key. The sphere whirred softly and opened, bloomed in her hand like one of the flowers carved along its meridian. With a puff of air, the mechanical rose released a sweet perfume.

The airship shuddered and a klaxon began to blare. Morrow strode into the corridor. I heard her barking commands, and a moment later she returned. “Four of my tiller crew are dead,” she said, her voice flat. Four more deserving souls to be scooped up, or not, by golden Death.

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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. It follows Ephemera, and was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt:

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

1a : a permanent cessation of all vital functions : the end of life
b : an instance of dying <a disease causing many deaths>
2a : the cause or occasion of loss of life <drinking was the death of him>
b : a cause of ruin <the slander that was death to my character — Wilkie Collins>
3 capitalized : the destroyer of life represented usually as a skeleton with a scythe

10 thoughts on “Death and Roses

  1. Annabelle says:

    That’s a lovely vision of Death. I’m very interesting to see where this detail about the father goes; it seems like there could be a whole world of trouble lying under that one.


    • Christine says:

      Thank you so much! It is so hard to manage the pacing in a serial piece like this. It’s nice to know that somebody thinks I got it right in one place, at least.


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