The story goes that three demons, Darkness, Silence, and Loneliness, are sent by Death to retrieve one man who has been evading death all his life. The man was 120 years old. He was asleep when the demons showed up. Loneliness stared at his face.
“He looks good for his age. How has he made it to this long anyway?” “We could wake him up and ask him,” Darkness said. His pale eyes glowed in the dark of the room. “What do you think, Silence?” Silence, small and gray, nodded his head. Loneliness reached out a claw and tapped the man. His eyes fluttered open, and he sat up in bed. He fumbled around for the light and with a click, the room was illuminated. He put on his glasses and gazed at the demons that stood before him. He blinked, rubbed his eyes, and blinked again. They certainly seemed to be real.
“Hello,” he said, jovially. “I'm Archibald. What can I do for you?” Darkness looked at him bemused. “You're not afraid of us?” Archibald smiled. “Should I be?” “We're demons! We have been sent by Death to finally claim your soul,” Loneliness explained. “But, most people succumb to his clutches without us physically needing to intervene. Tell him, Silence.” Silence nodded. “Ah,” Archibald clapped his hands together. “So, the little one is Silence, but who are you?” “I am Loneliness, and the third one is Darkness.”
Archibald stuck out his hand and shook each demon's hand. “Well, it certainly is a pleasure to meet you all. Would you like tea? Or whatever it is you demons drink? A brimstone concoction? That may be a challenge...”
“No, sir, we're fine,” said Darkness. “What we want to know is, how have you lived so long?” Archibald let out a hearty laugh. “You know, I often get asked that,” he chuckled. “You said you never physically claim a soul, right? And you work for Death, so I take it you are the embodiment's of loneliness, darkness, and silence, correct?” Silence nodded, surprised that this human could catch on so quickly. “Well,” the old man began, “the secret is, I've never succumbed to those things because I've never felt them.”
Loneliness looked surprised. “We have gazed upon your past. You sleep alone now, as you always have. And yet you've not been lonely?” “Oh, no. I have many neighbors, and friends, and the ducks down by the pond. I have all the love I could ever want!” Darkness was confused. “But has your life never been cloaked in darkness?” “No, again, my friend! There have been times of uncertainty in my day, where I was unsure of what to do. I was afraid, but no matter how dark the world seemed, I held my head high and was my own torch.
” Silence walked up to Archibald's side and poked him, with a quizzical look on his face. Archibald chuckled. “And how could I forget you, Silence? After a long day of work, I relish in the silence. It comforts me. I turn the silence into poems and art and stories! But... I suppose 120 years is quite a long time for a human to be alive. Your master wants me because my time is up?” Darkness lowered his head. No one had referred to him as a friend before.
“Yes... Archibald. The Master likes to do some... spring cleaning now and then. Out with the old, in with the new is an expression I believe you should be familiar with.” “Well, if my time is up...” Archibald murmured. He climbed out of bed and slipped on his fuzzy slippers. “I suppose it is time to make way for the new generation.” He spread his arms out on either side of him. He closed his eyes and smiled a peaceful, yet sad, smile. “Well then, take me away, boys! This shall truly be a great adventure!
Em Hotep - Patrick Gaffiero