Once I observed a man kneeling beside an insect. It was a butterfly, trying to force its way out of some kind of cocoon.
“Fool,” I called out. “Do you not see?”
“It needs help!” He exclaimed, a scalpel in hand. “I must free him.”
I did not question his heart, but I questioned his mind. For while insects disgust us, they can teach us much of the ways of the world.
Of life. Death.
And the pain between.
The butterfly does not start in the beautiful form we know it as. It begins as a caterpillar, traversing the underside of our world.
But soon, that form melts away as it enters a cocoon.
Chrysalis, they call it.
It’s there that it learns the lessons of life that will guide it the rest of its days, there that it learns if it is destined to fade away, or if it will truly learn to fly.
As its legs form into wings, it outgrows its cocoon and begins to tear through it. This cocoon is a part of itself, yet it must shed it fully to fly.
It’s a painful process, but a necessary one.
When this man took his scalpel to the cocoon, it robbed the butterfly the chance to reach its full potential, to learn to endure the pain and fly.
This insect would never fly.
I stamped him out then and there. Better to die than to be robbed of the embrace of pain.
Verily verily, I say unto you: Without the lesson of pain, one will never learn to fly.
The one who calls himself Dr. Death is much like this man I observed.
Gifted with the keen touch of the scalpel, the Doctor traverses Arcadia looking for insects. For the right price, he will show them just how keen that touch is.
He will heal what ails them.
He will take away their pain.
But just as with the butterfly, man begins as a crawling monstrosity. Unable to comprehend the world around him, all he can do is look up and wish.
Until life visits its harsh hand upon him.
The chrysalis that Dr. Death comes upon is not a literal cocoon, its man’s pain. And when they come to him, they’re truly disgusting creatures, thrashing and ripping at themselves to make it stop.
And he helps them, doesn’t he? He cuts through that cocoon of pain and gives them life.
But not the life they could have had, not the life earned through embracing the pain.
They will never fly.
Because of Dr. Death.
I see your heart, Doctor. I know that you are as blind as Vision, as naïve as Gemini, yet as skilled as your partner.
You refuse to let the cocoon’s of life be torn asunder by the embrace of its pain.
Instead, you slice through them, denying the necessary process.
Because of that, you will never reach your full potential.
Your pain could turn you into a magnificent creature, Doctor.
But you will never fly.
And I will do to you the same as I did to the butterfly that could not fly.
Stamp you out.