The first shot of the battle rings out and with a dull thud it strikes me hard in the chest, taking me clean off my feet. I twist to the right and fall face down into a heap on the floor, my lungs are empty, void of all air. I’m winded and my eyes are next to useless, gummed together with a mixture of moisture and dust. Breathing in hard now, sucking up dirt in the process, I struggle to catch my breath. My stomach is tensed as I’m hunched down on the floor, my mouth is dry and gritty from all the dust and it tastes like failure. The air can’t get into my lungs fast enough and my heart is pounding. I try to open my eyes but all I can see through the mess is the fading light as my hearing distorts and everything fades to black. The only sound I can hear now is the beating of my heart, slowing now, and showing signs of giving up altogether. As my heart stops beating I softly exhale a final time and become aware of just how cold everything has become. Is this what death feels like? My senses slip into nothingness and my thoughts clear. I guess this is the end. It’s not so bad, I’m actually ok with this.
After what felt like an eternity, my chest starts to expand and warm air rushes into my lungs, I open my eyes and all I can see is white, it’s so bright I cant focus. The air’s warm and the sun feels amazing on my skin. Blinking a few times my eyes start to adjust, details and colours appear on the blank canvas. I’m sat down on the floor and a hooded figure is stood in front of me, robes flowing in the warm wind. I can’t make out any details because the stranger is a silhouette to me, the sun’s just too bright. Although the figure appears menacing, I remain calm, and take stock of the situation. Motionless, the figure continues to stand as I look around. I’m in the middle of nowhere, a desert. The ground is dry, dusty and cracked, the vegetation is scrub like. It’s beautiful but hostile. I pat myself down, checking for signs of injury. Nothing. Why am I here and who is this stranger?
The figure leans forward and extends a hand towards me, appearing to offer me help to my feet. I reach out and grab the mysterious strangers hand, it’s hard and cold, like stone. I grip tight and pull myself up. I nod at the stranger as a show of thanks and the figure steps to the side, pointing to a table that was previously obscured from view. Light now floods the stranger and I realise who it is. Makes sense, it’s Death. I laugh under my breath, such irony that the character we depict as death, is actually death. A sun bleached skeleton in black hooded robes. The stranger grunts, I guess he wants to know what’s so funny. I ask him where his scythe is, he tuts and gently flicks his wrist, gesturing me towards the table.