Monday, January 7, 2013

Dear Grim Reaper > Death Inc. > Page 5

“So, now what.?” Madison asked. But, just as she had finished her question, a wave of black and red smoke invaded the room. The smell of charcoal and evening mist filled her lungs, causing her to cough raucously as she did her best to grasp the little oxygen left in the air.

“Wha- cough – what are you – cough cough – doing?”

  She couldn’t hear or see a thing anymore. But, this only lasted for a minute, as the clouds soon cleared, lifting the veil to reveal her surroundings. What was about to take place would be one of the most interesting moments in her life. Clearing her throat, she tried to shake off the dizziness caused by this apparent teleportation. She looked around. This was a room, not unlike the kind you’d find in European Medieval museums, which appeared to be located somewhere far from earth. The air smelt of wormwood, tea and the dampness of a country house basement. When her disorientation finally subsided, she was able to make out small details confirming the odd nature of this area. Among fifteenth century wooden desks, tables and seats adorned with gothic carvings, where digital clocks, rubber ducks, a great number of USB cords, and plenty of other miscellaneous objects from different eras. Some, she couldn’t even recognize. In the distance, she could hear a sort of clicking sound. It was similar to a typewriter. She navigated through the room, somewhat crowded with knick-knacks and furniture, finding her way towards a hallway. The sound seemed to be coming from the open door at the far end, as it emanated through the walls. Upon entering, she noticed the familiar shadow looming over a screen. Oh, so the noise had been coming from a computer keyboard.

“Um…what in the everlasting hell?...” she muttered.

“Oh hi,” the cloaked figure replied briefly, without glancing behind him. He was sitting on a large sofa, surrounded by dim lighting and sipping tea from an iron mug. There was a 1950s styled fridge in one corner, and a table with one chair. The room wasn’t all that big, causing the pre-war era television to come off as a huge space hogger. Peering over his shoulder, she noticed a social network of some sort. The Reaper was blogging.

“So, are you just going to stand there or do you want tea?” he asked, tilting the screen away from public view in mild irritation.

“I don’t really drink tea…”

“Too bad, because it’s the only beverage we have that your mortal body will be able to process. Might as well get used to it.”

“Fine! I just won’t drink,” she huffed, to the Reaper’s grand amusement. Then, on a completely different tone, the girl from the highest of valleys added: “Besides, what am I doing here?”

“Looking lost?”

“No- seriously!”

“Geez, I always have to explain everything.”

“So far, you’ve explained nothing.”

“I swear, humans… Okay, so this is my ‘living’ space. Irony intended. You are in the Underworld right now, but are still a live human being,” he motioned around the area, “You can’t access my condo without permission from me. Don’t even try to break in, there are guards up the ying yang.”

She quickly glanced around the room, noticing no presence other than their own.

“On the other hand, the castle is free of access.”


“Death Inc. We’re kind of under it right now. My house is sort of a basement. Anyway, point is, the pass I gave you functions just about everywhere in the Underworld. One of the exceptions, I repeat, being my apartment.”

He stood up, and headed for the door.

“Follow me.”

  She hurried to catch up with him, as he headed through the hallway, into what was probably the living room and out the main door. Facing them was a large flight of stairs, which he appeared to glide over more than actually climb. Madison did her best to keep up, tripping more than once over the high steps.

“So, you can teleport huh?” she panted, slightly out of breath.

“Sort of. Not all the time, but mostly here and back.”

“What? But, do you follow a linear time pattern?”

“Wow, first time I’ve heard you use actual high school level vocabulary! To answer your question, askokefrejgnlqs.”

“Huh?” Madison was beginning to severely loathe this guy. Unfortunately, she was too confused and worn out to even think of properly expressing it. They had almost reached the top, a red light shone through the cracks of a small wooden door. The Reaper slipped right through. So, on top of that, he didn’t even have to open doors.

“You’re trapped!” she heard a muffled voice say from the other side.

“Let- me out,” she panted, “damn it-”

Banging her fists on the door, she began to panic. What if the Grim Reaper had tricked her? Was it his revenge for that time she’d fallen down the stairs? She should have died, but she’d won the chess match. This was the first time she’d been to the Underworld and had actually seen anything noteworthy. The first time was the chess game in a dark room, the second a room full of dead people with no ceiling, opening up to a red sky. This was a trap. She was dead for real this time. Still in her cheerleader outfit, hair mildly wet from having previously dipped it in water as an emergency straightener, she figured her body would probably be found in the girl’s bathroom. Newspaper headlines over the state would say: “Girl dies in high school restroom with head in sink”. She began sliding to the floor, feeling the embarrassment weigh over her.

“I don’t want to die yet. Let me out-“ she begged again. Suddenly the door flew open to reveal the Reaper standing with his hands on his hips.

“Do you not know how to turn a knob?” he inquired, annoyed. She scrambled to her feet, and began hitting the immortal being with as much teenage fury she could muster.

“You need to stop jumping to the wrong conclusions,” he stated bluntly.

“I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!” she shrieked.

“You can whine about that in your diary later. Now let’s get going. We’re wasting time.”

“Speaking of time! You never answered my question. I’m never going to understand this place, because you are always busy being stupid and telling jokes to yourself and- and being  an annoying jerk ball!”

“Okay Maddy tsundere, I’ll cool it. Now we have stuff to do, so let’s go!”

  She inhaled what was considered the ‘outside’ air (a mix of antique linen and smoke), and peered at her environment.

“Smells like a thrift store,” she remarked. The air was neither hot nor cold, and the area seemed almost rather peaceful. The ground was coal black, and upon closer inspection, the sky could be seen housing clouds of different shades of red, from velvet and sanguine to borderline pink. There where no trees, or shrubberies, not much of anything for that matter. As far as the eye could see, the black hills went on infinitely.

“So, this is the Underworld?” she was far from being unimpressed. In fact, it was hypnotically awe inducing.

“Well, part of it. You’ll see the rest later.” He turned towards what had to be the central unit of the near barren land. Somehow, she hadn’t quite noticed it, or was too distraught by the scenery to take notice, which is why she felt a great shock upon turning around. It was such an impressive sight, that she almost faltered back. Catching her balance, she straightened up in an attempt to see it fully. Towering above the young girl was what truly defined the Reaper from then on: Death Inc. The largest building she had ever seen, of a height unbeknownst to any other human being, stood on the ivory earth as though it’s roots where planted firmly into the ground.

Death Inc. As depicted on Page 2

“Kind of like a tree isn’t it?” he remarked, as though reading her outrageously metaphorical thoughts.

“How did you know I was-“

He tapped a finger against his empty hood. “A little bit psychic. Not completely though, don’t worry.”

  He then motioned towards the entrance, where two guards stood. As they got closer, she realized they where dressed as plague doctors. Or, they could have been real ones, for all she knew. The two plague doctors maneuvered a lever that opened the doors. They entered Death Inc. As soon as Madison set foot in the Reaper’s realm, she knew exactly how much work awaited her.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he said, unusually gravely. “You’ll get the hang of it in time. There is this one thing…” He pondered, and stopped to face her. “Oh, yeah. Before we continue, there is something very important you have to remember at all times. There is a space, a bright wormhole in time where, if you reach it, will be tortured. No definite time is there, no one understands it and probably never will. But, time stops in that white space; it gives you infinite suffering. So listen carefully: whatever you do, wherever you go: never go into the light.”

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