When Alice leaves, I trace over the word she etched into my skin. “Coward”.

‘Why do you threaten me, but never carry them out?’ her words play back in my head. I grit my teeth at the memory of her voice. She knows damn well why I don’t. A horrible feeling hits me as I remember offering Jaska her soul. I guess that’s the one they call guilt. I curse Jaska again and wipe the word “coward” from my skin, my lips pressed together in a thin line. I watch through the necklace as she harvests about nine hundred and something souls. I don’t bother to count each one. I can do that when she gives them to me.

I wait for her to return, but she takes her bloody time. Hurry up, I tell her through the necklace. Still laughing at the news reporter’s words. I close my eyes and wait for her.

‘Here.’ She lays a hand on my arm and pushes the souls into me. I fill with the energy, but I don’t enjoy it – I have to give it away. I add the new souls to the ones I collected in the underworld, silently counting. I have a total of about one thousand, three hundred now. I sink wordlessly into the underworld, collecting another hundred or so lost souls on my way to find Jaska. I find him quickly, he felt me coming. I hand them over as fast as I can and wait for him to count them.

‘Another four thousand to go.’ Jaska smiles. I don’t bother to correct him, I handed over one thousand two hundred. I don’t owe him four thousand.

‘Why did you give me human emotions, Jaska?’ I demand. He laughs.

‘You think I was gonna make it easy for you?’ He keeps chortling away to himself and I snort, disgusted. ‘Jet, I’m going to be killed if I get found out, I might as well enjoy myself while I watch you. And for the next lot, I expect you to have gotten them yourself, instead of sitting on a bus sulking. Be quick about it now.’ With that I’m rejected from his space and I drift back to the bus, collecting souls the whole time.

‘We need to find a place where there are four thousand souls for me to take on my own.’ I mutter sullenly as I reform in my seat. Alice gives me a sideways glance. ‘Jaska is...’ I pause and try to think of a word for him, but come up with only expletives. ‘Bastard gave me human emotions.’ I tell her as she shoots me a questioning look.

The End

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