Death's Promise

by Lyle Dagnen

Death rides a black horse, a mighty animal, glowing blue black in the light. Death is warm, strong, and tender; a gentle lover, a good friend. He is lonely, no one wishes to speak to him or claim his friendship for fear that he will snatch away life before it is time. He's not like that. He is compassionate, he has time to lend. Some days he whispers in my ear, he plays with my hair, I feel his breath on my neck as he caresses me. His voice is so sweet and comforting. He makes me promises, promises that one day he will keep. Death lends me time, he's willing to let me borrow the time. He'll never ask for repayment. Even thought I borrow time, it is a willing, loving gift from him because he knows that I need that time.

Twice he has held me in his gentle embrace, whispered in my ear, nibbling at my neck. At our first interlude he was so kind, telling me that he would release me, that this was only a brief visit. He held my face in his hands, kissing me good bye. His passion never runs cold. Some days I long for his touch, his embrace, his smiles. The second time he came to hold me he was not so willing to let me go. We had grown fond of one another. We had spent many hours in a dark place where he held me close so that I would not be frightened. When we parted he held me for a long time, With a final kiss, he held my hand until our fingers parted as I returned to my life.

Now and again he rides that marvelous horse of his and watches me from a hill top. He calls to me in the dark of night when my heart is breaking, he whispers his promise “I will come for you.” Each time he has held me he has given me a choice, he asks “Do you wish to stay with me?” Twice I have refused. The last time he whispered this promise to me “When I next come for you, I will not let you go.” One day I will turn to him, he will lift me in his arms to sit with him in his saddle. He will wrap me in his cloak, hold me close to his heart, and take me with him.