Friday, 4 October 2013

500 Word Challenge: A Grave Error

Today's Challenge: A character becomes attracted to someone during the story. During the story, a character discovers someone has been pretending to be them. The story must have a boatman at the end.

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    It’s against protocol to be attracted to someone marked for death. Especially if you’re the one who’s supposed to take her.
    But I couldn’t help it. She was a beautiful creature, weaving through the Halloween party towards the river where I waited. She was dressed as a simple angel. White dress, white sandals, white halo, white wings.
    She couldn’t see me yet. That would change soon, and that was when Death arrived.
    He carried his bone scythe and through the shadows lithely. She couldn’t see him either, but he wasn’t supposed to be here. This was my pick up.
    Behind the woman came a drunk, angry mortal man. They began to argue, and I saw the light of her aura slowly start to fade. I walked towards the Reaper.
    “What are you doing here?” I asked.
    The Reaper looked at me without expression, because his face was a fleshless skull.
    “Oh, nothing,” he replied.
    I sighed. He was a new Reaper, collecting souls for the last few centuries. I had a millennia of experience. I crossed my arms, frowning.
    “Let’s see your papers.”
    If the Reaper could have frowned, he would have done so. Instead, he made an exasperated noise and rifled through his cloak. I looked over. The fight had become murderous. The angel on the ground, being strangled by the man. She kicked and fought, but her aura was becoming dimmer.
    The Reaper handed me his papers and I skimmed over them. I looked at him angrily. “You used my name?”
    The Reaper held up his skeleton fingers and backed up a step. “Look, if I don’t fill my quota, the Bosses will get pissed. You know how the guys Upstairs and Downstairs are when they don’t get souls.”
    Indeed I did, but this idiot didn’t need to know that. I drew on my power, making my body increase in size until I was ten feet tall and the width of a pickup truck.
    “This soul is mine,” I said, my voice booming. “She has been marked for me. Leave now.”
    I pulled back on the power and shrank to my normal size, but the intimidation still worked because the Reaper was speechless.
    “And get your damned paper work sorted out.”
    The Reaper nodded, vanishing into the shadows. I looked at the angel. Her mortal body had been destroyed, her pale, ghostly soul now hovering next to me. She watched the man continue to strangle her lifeless body.
    “That son of a bitch,” she said bitterly. “I dumped him, and he kills me? How is that fair?”
    She was feisty. I liked her. Her glazed, undead eyes met mine. “So, are you the Grim Reaper?”
    I almost laughed. “Not exactly, but I am here to take you to the other side.”
    She squinted, curious. “If you’re not the Grim Reaper, who are you?”
    “I’m Charon,” I said. “The Boatman.” I placed my foot inside my boat and held out my hand to her. “And your escort to eternity.”

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Death has long been considered just this mythical thing that happens, but I always love it when people consider it a bureaucracy. I'm currently reading the Black Wings series by Christina Henry, and the main character is an Agent of Death, whose job is to escort souls to the other side.

As an addict of Greek mythology and someone who's interested in mythology from all over the world, I thought it might be fun to have two deaths from different cultures bumping in to one another. Who knows- if I'd had more words to use, I might have used them to get the Deaths talking fashion. They probably use the same tailor, after all.

Charon, the Boatman


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