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"Because I could not stop for Death - He kindly stopped for me - The carriage held but just ourselves and Immortality." - Emily Dickinson

Marise was sitting on her bed, knees pulled up to her chest, with her arms wrapped around them and her chin resting atop of it. She stared blankly at her toes, the bright red polish seeming to have caught her attention. She had come up to her room with the excuse of doing her homework, though this was the least likely cause of her departure from family recreations.

For a short moment her dull eyes turned to that of liveliness, her ears perking, as though she heard the sound of the sea breeze. She quickly shook the thought of such absurdity, for their house was miles away from such a place. Her thoughts slowly wound back to her previous subject, and she pondered for quite some time.

With the clock ticking away.

It wasn't often that she thought of it. In fact, it happened on rare occasions. But the topic was just too intriguing to ignore, it was the thought that any human being turns to at some point or another in their life. Nay, not only was it subject to humans, but every form of the universe, the living and the dead. For what else is there to think of for the dead but their current position? It was a subject of infinite possibilities, so beckoning, so powerful; Mari could not avert her attention elsewhere.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Her mind was a blank canvas, aside from the single thought that played throughout her meager brain. It danced around, teasing her, as though seeming to say, "I am better than you. I will always be one step ahead of you." Not only was it playful, but at times it could be so cruel as to provide some hope, with His mocking tone! "You will meet me one day, I am never far away. I am always with you, around you. I am in your thoughts and in others'. You cannot escape me, will not, for I will come for you soon. So do not fear, little child."

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Marise always seemed to find comfort in this. Even without any physical companions, ones that she could reach out and touch, she would always have Him with her. He was a guarantee, there were no loopholes, no way to divert it, we will all meet Him someday. What reassurance! Her eyes grew soft as did her smile, her countenance instantly turning to that of tranquility.

For you see, Mari had never even met Him through other people. It was such a mystery to her, and she was such a curious little girl! What a delicious thought it was, something so powerful, so infinite, the path to immortality, it could not escape her, would not, she'd never let it!

What wonderment, better than any fantasy or fairytale! You cannot see it, cannot hear it, touch it, smell it, or taste it, but you know it is there. How would the senses perceive it? Mari wondered.

It must be some dark color, unimaginably so, much darker than black. The kind of darkness that is both frightening, yet gives you a sense of calm. I think it would be completely silent, for it is when there is no sound that our thoughts are loudest. The silence bounces back all of the screams wracking through our heads, making it all the more true. It must feel like silk, so elegant, rich and refined! Though I suspect it to smell pungent, no, it must be a mixture of smells both good and bad. Or maybe it differs depending on the indivdual. It seems it would taste lovely, so sweet, so savory, so satisfying! A meal worth waiting for...?

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

No one has come back to tell her what it was like, oh, the cruelty of it all! How was she to squelch this persistent curiosity eating away at her mind? It was an itch she could not reach, a thirst she could not quench, a material she could not have! She could never get enough of knowing more about it, but she wanted to experience it for herself. But alas, if she were to know what it would be like, how would she be able to tell others? A secret is only good if one is able to share it with the world. And who better than Marise to tell it!

Oh, you are so devious! Yet so clever! She thought, feeling a subdued respect for the Trickster, the Tempter, the Hope, the Desire. And to receive her respect is a very rare, almost unimaginable concept to grasp.

What I wouldn't give to see you, to feel you, to be with you! Mari screamed in agony, silently, as though she were pleading to a lover. Will you let me come back, to tell the entire world about you?

Is there anything to fear? Do we approach it with dignity or try and fight back with everything we own, with every last inch of energy that is left in our withering bodies, our emaciated souls? Mari was unsure; she didn't know how she felt about it. She rarely knew how she felt about anything anymore.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

She imagined the ride with her gentleman caller. She smiled to herself as the first thought that came to mind was the little tune she had heard when she was a child. "Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go..."

I wonder if He'll show me a good time? Will He let me see all I want to see? Do I get to choose where we go?

They went through a city paved in gold, a town scattered with little clusters of houses, a site with buildings reaching up toward the sky, grassy plains, snowy mountains, through the waters, over bridges, under the earth, around and around, circling it over and over, but without the passenger feeling the least bit of dizziness or nausea. He knows how to treat His passengers better than any man could, He will lavish you with all that you desire.

He's only playing a game though. You see, He's much smarter than any of us, yet we don't realize it. Mari definitely doesn't realize it. Oh, but who could be smarter than our little goddess, hmph! Oh, but how He deceives us so. And especially Mari, the poor soul, she will be amused by the simplest of things, one shiny object and she is already trapped. Her mind remains fixated, and she will want the object of desire with a longing so tremendously powerful that it should be questioned whether even He could divert her! Oh, but He can, and He will, and He has been doing it since the beginning of time.

Every second, of every minute, of every hour, day, week, month, year, and so on. And the clock keep ticking.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

Hmm? How many has He gotten by now? Far too many to count, dear friend! Ah, a number incomprhensible, the social butterfly He is! A little scoundrel, the rascal, the playboy, having so many lovers! Having met so many people, of all different kinds. It matters not the race, ethnicity, social status, He does not judge. He welcomes any and all, and what a good host He is! Mari was all too eager to meet Him, as there was no one as intriguing, no one that had piqued her interest more than He had. Her time would come. It was torture to Mari though, having to wait so long. What a surprise it would be though, ever so unexpected, and yet, He will always be on time.

And the clock struck one.