By: S.H. Cooper & Manen Lyset
There is the beginning and the end, and in the middle, there is the Flow.
An endless river of time and space and lives lived and lives lost, within its shimmering depths reside all mortal beings playing out their temporary parts. It is at the center of Everything, but also of Nothing, depending on how you approach it, and once Lady Life places you in its current, there’s only one direction to go until her dear sister pulls you out again.
It is one of the few things across all planes of existence that remains constant, a universal, unfailing truth that churns ceaselessly, unstoppable and eternal.
It also makes for a lovely picnic spot.
Unfortunately, the sisters had not come to enjoy a light lunch at its shore.
Life had always been shorter than Death, with dark hair shot through with a silver streak, which was completely different than Death’s light hair shot through with a dark streak, thank you very much. To look at one was to know the other’s face, both round, both warm in their own ways, and both wearing identical frowns as they gazed down at the rushing stream.
“I feel them vanishing like tiny pinpricks, lost to me. Where are they going? What’s going on?” Life asked, gripping her sister’s hand tightly in her own.
Death had always been the more certain of the two, but now, she looked decidedly befuddled. “It’s not the right time, not for any of them,” she said. “This isn’t my doing; the Flow is being disrupted.”
“I don’t know. Something I can’t see,” Death’s voice had taken on an edge that would only sharpen as her temper swelled. “We must go.”
“To the mortal realm? No, darling sister, you know we can’t! Not after last time,” Life trailed off into an almost sheepish silence and they traded a glance.
Brief flashbacks of decay and overgrowth, razed cities and rebirthed societies, impenetrable darkness and blinding light crossed Death’s mind, and she couldn’t help but smile. Now that had been a vacation. Her good humor lasted only seconds.
“What do you suggest then?” She demanded.
“We send the envoys.”
“You don’t mean –”
“Yes,” Life inhaled deeply. “Them.”
Elsewhere, blissfully unaware of any cosmic strife, a small crow sat atop a tree branch, his head tilted to one side. Something at the base of the tree had caught his attention and he bounced along the branch until he was at the very end, where he ruffled his feathers, tilted his head the other way, and released a single, curious, “Caw?”
Below, another crow, this one larger and darker, paused in his attempt to tear a chunk out of the corpse sitting up against the tree trunk, and looked up.
“Don’t judge me,” he said, and then promptly sank his beak back into body’s flesh.
“Caw,” said the smaller crow, and he sat over the larger one and watched him eat.