‘Tickling Butterflies’ – At Death’s Door

Tickling Butterflies is an epic fantasy, containing 128 fairy tales that together create one huge story.

Here’s the story so farThe story continues:


At Death’s Door

(Containing the further adventures of Sarah O’Connell at Death’s Door.)

This story contains the exciting further adventures of the woman known as Sarah O’Connell, as they occurred a month before King John the Cute and his party returned to the palace from the River Red Continent.

Sarah O’Connell, the blindfolded woman with the broken-but-almost-entirely-mended heart, had been asked by King John the Cute to discover the secrets of the Afterdeath. And so she walked the Land of All Legends with the determination of one who must perform an impossible task.

After having spent months walking the land and learning very little, she decided to become more active. If no one knew what was on the other side of Death’s Door, then she shall go by herself, see for herself, and find out for herself.

It had taken her a month to reach Death’s Door, but reach it she did. Only yards away from the door itself, a flower three stories high attacked her viciously. At first, Sarah O’Connell was surprised and overwhelmed by the flower guarding Death’s Door, but once she had recovered her wits, she fought back. With the power of her hands alone, and without the aid of her eyes, she defeated the giant flower and broke its stem.

With her hands she felt her way to the root of the flower, then plucked it and killed it.

But during the fight, the flower had bitten Sarah O’Connell and inserted deadly poison into her body. Already weakness attacked her body. But, determined to continue in her quest and to help the man she called John the No Longer Cute in his quest, she approached Death’s Door.

It was at that moment that she realized the flaw of her plan. With her eyes blindfolded, she could not see Death’s Door or the secrets it would have to tell.

Overlooking these events from a hundred yards away stood Death himself. Still feeling the powerful pangs at the loss of his love, Sarah O’Connell, he had stayed away during the fight and watched. His arm missing thanks to the creature known only as Shadowy Secret and bereft of his power to claim others’ souls, he saw Sarah O’Connell defeat the powerful flower. With Death’s jaw still tingling at the sock to the mouth she had given him five months earlier, he wondered why her eyes were blindfolded.

Now that she had been bitten by poison, her life’s aura flickered. For the first time since he had met her, he looked closely at her life’s aura. It was then that he had seen what he should have seen from the very first moment he had set eyes on her, if those eyes had not been blinded by love. Just as he was able to determine who John the Cute really was, just as he was able to see the life’s aura of a stranger from the world without magic, so did he learn Sarah O’Connell’s secret at that second.

And it was at that exact moment on that exact day that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sarah O’Connell could never have been his. And he knew, just as clearly, that Sarah O’Connell did not need Death’s help to die on this day, for the Afterdeath was not her destination after death. Lastly, he knew that if nothing was done to help her with the poison, Sarah O’Connell would indeed die and move on.

Walking silently, he approached her. Masking his voice, he said, “Woman! What are you doing there?”

Sarah O’Connell turned around at the new voice. “Stranger,” she said. “Could you tell a young and sassy lass what that door looks like, and what, if anything, you can see lies beyond it?”

“Why do you not take off the blindfold and see for yourself?”

Sarah O’Connell shook her head. “My eyes have led me to false love before, and my heart had been broken as a result. I shall only remove the blindfold when true and certain love awaits me. Until then, I shall keep the blindfold on, lest my eyes lead me falsely once more.”

“Strange story from a strange woman,” said Death, his voice masked. “But I see that you have been bitten. Surely poison runs through you. Shall I show you which direction to go to get help?”

“The poison does not matter, kind stranger. Please tell me what you see and what you know of this door.”

“That I shall,” said Death. And for reasons that will be revealed later in this story, he told her of Death’s Door. “This is Death’s Door,” said Death. “It is a square hole that only the souls of the dead can pass through. No living creature and not even Death himself can walk through that door from here to the Afterdeath. It appears like nothing special. But its true story lies in what can be seen through it.

“Once upon a time, the dead could simply walk through the door from the other side and return to the Land of All Legends, quite alive and refreshed. But now no one walks through that door and back here. I have seen the last time the door opened from the other side. And it revealed a tall, yellow-white monster with sharp teeth and a suit. That monster guards the door from the inside and does not allow anyone to cross. It is rumored that even Death himself is scared of the monster, and so, in his shame, he tells about it to no one.”

“A tall yellow-white monster with sharp teeth guarding the door?” Sarah O’Connell whispered to himself. “So scary that even Death is frightened of it? I have learned something.” She raised her voice so that the kind stranger may hear her. “One last question, kind stranger. I have heard from a reliable source that inside the Afterdeath, there is a second door. Do you know where that door leads?”

For a second, Death was shocked. “I have never seen or heard of another door. Nor do I know where it leads.”

Sarah O’Connell stood up, reinvigorated. “Thank you, kind stranger. You have helped me to a large degree. I believe my report for the king is two-thirds ready. Strangely, I feel much healthier, as if all the poison had been taken out.”

“That is strange,” said Death. But Death did not find that strange in the least. He knew quite well that learning something new is the perfect cure for anything that makes you feel bad.

“Go in peace,” he told her, his voice still masked. And go in peace she did.

This has been Sarah O’Connell’s exciting adventure at Death’s Door. This has also been the unexpected tale in which Death learned Sarah O’Connell’s real name.


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