The Rest is Silence
Mark lay on the ground whimpering, his hand trying to press on the gaping wound in his side that was being held together by an Ace bandage. He flinched as Dark approached, tried to reach for his weapon… but, alas, he didn’t have enough strength left to close that distance.
Dark knelt in front of him. “Shh,” the Hellgod said. His voice, though still demoniacally deep and echoing with power as it always did, was also strangely gentle and soft. “The pain will be over soon. It was useless to fight Me; you could never have won, though it was noble of you to try.”
Mark whimpered and Dark, seating Himself on the ground, took his head into His lap. The succor of a parent to an ailing child who will never recover. “Fate is a cruel mistress. It should not have ever been this way. You and I… we could have done great things together.”
Mark tried to speak, but the pain was too much.
“I never stopped caring for you. I have always considered you one of My own. My protégé, My son.” His hand gently ran through the younger being’s hair to comfort him, and Mark stopped fighting, no longer having the urge to get up. “Your time in this world is done, My child. You only ever had the few short decades bequeathed to you. But I will mourn for you always.”
“Dark, please…,” and here Mark found the strength left within him to speak. “Tell my mom… that it didn’t hurt. That… that it was quick. And… I wasn’t scared.” His body trembled however, showing the lie for what it was. The young man was terrified of his swiftly advancing end.
“I will tell her you died a hero,” Dark replied. “And that she should be proud of her son… and how very brave you are.”
“I’m not scared, I’m not scared,” Mark repeated between gasps, clearly trying to convince himself.
“You are indeed and truly a brave boy,” Dark replied. “To face that which frightens you is true courage. You will dine with heroes in the Great Hall of the afterlife that awaits you.” Dark smiled sadly. “And your father will be there to embrace you. I only wish that I too could be there to see it.”
Mark’s breath became progressively more laboured, until a final hitch of empty breath, and his strong, loving heart beat for the last time.
Fighting back tears, Dark placed a kiss of benediction on the young man’s head. Laying the deathly still body of the young man on the ground, Dark knew only one set of words to come to mind.
“Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince. And let flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”