You are alone. The snow blankets the entire Earth, an endless sea of crystalline white. A steamy mist rises from your face, warming the crisp air for a moment; it isn't enough, nearly enough, to be comfortable… but it is enough to breath. Enough to live.

Your hands should not have seen a day of work in their life, but here they are, calloused… weathered and beaten, torn and scarred; paler than the individual spiraling crystals of snow. You still remember when those hands had been white as the snow, running across keyboards with the speed of experience and confidence… but those were different times that the white plain has forgotten.

Your shoulders, tense and cramped, are weighted with layers of white. Layers and layers. A black rifle, slick with sweat and grease, springs from your hand, clashing painfully against the blank ocean. Your head turns away and your eyelids slacken, shying away from the garish contradiction. You are ready; ready to jump up and run, ready to spin around, ready to listen. Ready to steal the life of another human being—a creature with just as much right as you to live. Ready to perform the ultimate act of judgment, of iniquity. You are prepared to sin at another's command.

You remember staring at these men, these soldiers whose eyes hold nothing but a single order; you remember laughing. The perfect solider obeys without question, and have not you always been faultless?

They are your enemies; therefore, by definition, their death ensures your survival.

You need to rip them to shreds, to tear them down so they can realize just how far beneath the darkness they have dragged you… to carve a passage of blood and bone through a wall of living adversaries. All to reach him.

You once questioned the existence of gods and of demons, and thought them foolish notions nursed only by the superstitious. You do not think them foolish anymore, but it is too late, too late for that, as snow falls from the sky lazily, languidly, adding pound after pound to the load on your shoulders. It comes faster, then, like the whirring of angry hornets on a windy day.

You wipe the flakes from your hair and feel an explosive rush of stinging, jagged air. Breath, oxygen… Two frozen, crimson flakes sit on your palm, taunting, jeering. The rest melt into a pool of blood—streaming over your face, your eyes, into your ears, your mouth. Down your arms, down your hands. Your burden is melting from your shoulders, saturating your clothes, dripping from your fingers, your bloody, bleeding fingers. Bleeding fingers, bloody hands.… Pooling at your feet, dripping from your hair.

Your white world turns red in the briefest of moments and your silent grave becomes a screaming mad-house. Shrieks of silent pain and cries of desperation echo in your head, beating, throbbing in time with the bells. Broken voices, haunted mutterings… shadows of pain. Always the pain and the bells. The church bells, the stained-glass windows. Stained windows…. They are stained, too, like your hands, like your mind. Those damnable bells! Another scream—from your mouth? You can't tell—rings in tune with the others, forming a chord. A chord, a minor seventh—D minor, D minor. Ravens fly, feathers fall, scattering black across the ivory—crimson?—snow.

Another scream, another rush of air. With the air comes the truth—your scream, your pain, your blood. Those are your bells ringing—your bells. You are going to die….

With the one sound that makes all movement still and sound cease, the madness stops. The one sound you hear every day, every hour, every minute, every second, waking and nightmaring. The movement of a piece of metal, propelled high into the air, fast into the air, up into the air, down into the air. Your heart stops, the blood flows. From a chest—your chest?—rips the bullet… And the pain. It has to be your chest. Your heart.

Dimly, the irony catches hold of you, then pushes you down into the abyss. Dark; why is it always so dark?

You turn.

Dark eyes, black eyes, ebony eyes meet yours, sparkling and cold, icy and sharp as the purest midnight obsidian. Calculating eyes, knowing eyes. You need to see the hands, to see the face—the eyes say nothing; the eyes are blank. A window to the soul indeed—a vast, empty, uncaring soul that will never again see the light of day.

You have to see the hands as your blood flows, drips, rushes… streams onto the unblemished white canvas of frozen tears.

You see the hands.

In that moment you know you are in hell, for they are your hands, jaded and broken, fractured and mutilated, that hold the gun.

Mors vincit omnia. Death conquers all.

The voice of a child, a child of death and of the dying, seems to smile as it utters those very words, each one an echo of the great revelation thrust upon you.

The voice is right.


Author's Note (September 2011): Firstly, I would like to note that this fic was begun five years ago (we posted belatedly). So, there's a lot of... progress... made in the writing style and technique.

Also, second person isn't the operative POV, so if it gives you a headache, you should still read onwards. 'Cause it's a mix between first-journal and third-omniscient, for the most part. There are just sporadic demon-induced dream interludes in second person...

Author's Note (2009): Fanfiction eats my poetry alive. This fic will, in general, involve a large amount of war, despair, and blood. L will become a main character as the tale progresses, but it begins with Light...

Disclaimer: My beta owns Death Note, actually. Yes. She's offered to trade it to me as soon as I finish this.

Co-writer's Note: I'm taking lots for L.

A SPONTANEOUS REVIEW POEM by The Carnivorous Muffin

I like gore

I wish I had some more

But alas I want T for the rating of Mors

I wish I had some smores

And I wish I could rhyme

23/05/10 - FFnet is a bitch. They stole our formatting breaks. This is being remedied... As-is, though, transitions are not marked.