Nanny looked up from her cup of tea at the dark hooded figure standing in the middle of her kitchen and blinked once. “P’raps. Who’re you?”
Death removed its hood and were Nanny Ogg not already dead the sight surely would have killed her “I AM DEATH.”
Nanny gave a compulsory look at her hands and arms just to make sure they were where she recalled leaving them last time she looked and sure enough she was all there. “I believe you have the wrong Gytha Ogg good sir.”
Death shook its head and if it had the eyebrows to do so would have scowled. As it was every look on Death’s countenance resembled a vague scowl though lacking in menace when surrounded by the particularly lively kitchen in which it now found itself “YOUR BELIEFS ARE IRRELEVANT. NOW IS THE HOUR OF YOUR DEATH.”
Nanny pop a sweet in her mouth but lacking many teeth was content to suffocate the candy until it gave up and agreed to be a liquid “Well if I’ve got the whole hour is it all right if I tie up a few loose ends?”
Death shrugged “WHAT LOOSE ENDS COULD YOU POSSIBLY HAVE? YOUR DEAREST FRIENDS AND ALL YOUR FAMILY HAVE LONG SINCE PASSED AWAY. ESME WOUNDED FATALLY BY A BROKEN HEART, MAGRAT IN THAT UNFORTUNATE INCIDENT WHICH REQUIRED HER TO SACRIFICE HER LIFE FOR ALL OF DISC WORLD, AND OF COURSE YOUR OWN FAMILY, INCLUDING ONE VERY FOUL CAT, DISPATCHED BY THE PLAGUE OF TWO SUMMERS PAST. NOT EVENT THE HARDY JASON LASTED LONGER THAN A WEEK IN ITS CLUTCHES.”
Never one to dwell on the melancholy even Nanny felt a twinge of bone deep hatred for the figure standing resolute before her for thinking it was necessary to dispatch such a damning reminder of all that had been lost. Her once proud chin quivered and her breath caught in her throat snatched away by the thieving grief she could never fully repel as of late.
“There remain one or two things. I would have tended to them earlier but I didn’t realize I’d be dead by this hour of the day, you see?” Nanny answered stoically determined not to let the suddenly baleful dam of tears welling up in every corner of her insides burst forth in front of this wretched hateful creature.
Death shook its head “THERE IS NO MORE TIME GYTHA. YOU ARE BEYOND THE REALM OF THE LIVING. YOU MAY NEVER RETURN. YOU MAY NEVER AGAIN INFLUENCE ITS SPHERES OF ACTIVITY. YOU ARE BEYOND EVERYTHING AND REMAIN HERE IN THIS PLACE OUT OF SUSSERANT LONGING AND NOTHING MORE.”
A single tear squeezed out and ran uninhibited down the cracks and ravines of Nanny’s no longer existent face. “Nothing more then? I see. Where to now? What comes next?”
Death shrugged its shoulders again “I AM ONLY THE MESSENGER, THE HARVESTER OF THE LIFE WHICH SPRINGS FORTH UNENDING. IN TIME WHAT I AM CONVERSING WITH NOW WILL FADE OUT OF EXISTENCE JUST AS SURELY AS THE COLLECTION OF MOLECULES AND ATOMS YOU LEFT MOULDERING UPSTAIRS IN YOUR BEDROOM. THIS IS THE END. THERE IS NOTHING NEXT, I COULDN’T MAKE THAT ANY CLEARER.”
Nanny’s face was becoming a miserable flood of tears as she thought of Magrat’s children growing up without their mother and only the partially effective King of Lancre as a tutelary, Esme’s decade old school for the magically inclined crumbling under the weight of soft ineffective leaders and bureaucratic corruption, and mostly for her own family. She felt quite certain when her time finally came she would be greeted by all of them again, even the wives of her many, many sons. Now it seemed all that was a pointless fantasy.
A fairytale for old women.
Nanny felt overwhelmed for the first time in her whole life. She felt helplessly out of control of the dangerously careening architecture of her cascading emotions, and just as her ethereal self was about to implode into a beautiful point of light, before being snuffed out of existence completely, she recalled a spell she’d discovered as a very small child. Esme would have called it a poem and Magrat would have sniffed at its decided lack of proper gothic vocabulary, but Nanny had known better. The best and most prolific magic is the one you believe in with every particle of your being and it just so happened Nanny had all such particles at her disposal presently.
Death, just as it was about to disappear back to wherever death goes when it’s not around, turned and was captivated though only for an instant. After all it was the cycle; life from death, death from life and so on into infinity.
Nanny did indeed disappear in the next instant and where she had stood a seed fell to the ground, rolled to a cup of spilt tea, reveled in the moisture and exploded forth with the abundance of a thousand roiling forests. Within seconds gargantuan roots dug in even as stratospheric limbs obliterated anything in their path as they shot skyward. The stone, mortar, glass, sweat, tears, and blood which had made Gytha Ogg’s house a home, since time immemorial, seemed to evaporate around the growing tree giving way to its far reaching branches and jubilant leaves without putting up much of a fight. When the fuss and commotion passed, when the house had been soaked up and swept aside completely, what remained of Gytha Ogg and her legacy of love and laughter was a tree tall enough to see for hundreds of miles if you happened to be tall enough to see that far.
At its lowest point nearest to the ground embedded into the hoary swirls of mottled and impenetrable bark was the impression of a very old, very kind, very toothless face that seemed to everyone who saw it to be smiling eternally.
Cogent Ascending is the writer of a blog by the same name. He self-describes as “The waste management facility of the gay intellectual.” I see him as intelligent, friendly
to me and to a few others as cool as me, sardonic beyond believe, and my eternal ray of sweet dark sunshine.
Note: Terry Pratchett’s views on fan fiction—according to Discworld FanFiction Archive—“If it is done for fun and not for money and not presented as if it’s some canonical work by the original author, then it comes under the heading of ‘What the hell’.” I [Magaly, the Wickedest Witchy Darling of Them All] am archiving this wonderful post, under the ‘What the hell’: Terry Pratchett in my Mind… heading.
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11th Wicked Darling Guests’ Digest
- Witchery Grove – “Witches in Fiction and Folklore” – This post made me feel like I was watching the evolution of the witches in fiction archetype evolve in front of my very eyes; you should take a look-see.
- The Whimsical Cottage – “Witches in Fiction” – A post about three of my favorite witches with a painting that enhances the reading experience. Danni did
Today’s Giveaway (April 25th)