This is my old version, its unedited, but its all i could scramble together. It might be a bit confusing. :)
“I am death, the emanating darkness. I engulf the souls of friends and foes. My heart never beats. My blood never flows. I cannot live. I cannot thrive. I cannot love. But death can die.”
There is only one main danger to a human being’s life: and that would be death. Much like God, death can be everywhere at once, only that being the soul extractor is more of a job than a blessing. A spot in this line of work tends to become less and less popular as the days continue forward. Vacancy signs, in our "record" offices, are becoming a daily routine. These apprentices are frightened of what we call "the letting go face". Naïve as they are, our employees are terrified by the agonized, painful, and sometimes fairly happy, soft appearance shown through their client’s eyes. The fresh rolled newspaper finally arrived, and the headline news revealed:
"Not one human passed on yesterday, Earth is becoming an overcrowded theme park."
As I re-read this section hungrily for a fifth time an idea was forming and twisting itself in my mind. I had found the perfect candidate from Earth to help create my success in my department. We will have to switch from my point of view for a short segment of this passage, to our newest apprentice’s to really get an impression of the dangers of this job. I refer to him as the last extractor because he was the last "death-like character" to extract a soul before the rules changed due to the rising amount of lost souls. Welcome to the story:
How It All Started
"View from the Last Extractor"
The ambulance alarm wails.
And I am numb.
Nothing is clear, my eyes are dry and stiff.
Touch has no feeling.
The sound revolves, deafening.
I am too new.
My feet followed after the shiny metal gurney by reflex. The bleach white halls stung my shapeless body like wasps. I was dragged along the floor, seemingly lifeless, slithering toward the loosening soul. The one stuck-squeaky wheel led me by sound to the direct room. I quietly waited outside while the dying man was switched into a crisp sheeted bed. All nonsensical commotion stopped, when I heard the doctors vacate with one deep-toned click of the heavy wooden door shutting. I had slid as if weightless into the room before the door closed.
I could smell the blood soaked bed sheets and hear the strained breathing. Most of all, I could hear his "life chords" snapping free one by one all over his deformed body like violin strings when played to forcefully. Life chords are invisible to the human eye, but to mine I can see thin bungee chord like rope sewed onto their souls like a shadow. Faint outlines appeared in swift images before me, there was no real sight for me, this employment only consists of shadows. I searched for his face, guiding my arm across his living corpse. My hand was trembling furiously. I encouraged myself to cup his chin, feeling his sharp stubble and loose skin, to feel his humanity. I lured my hand to hover further down towards the center of his chest where his life is concealed. The magnetic pull, the drops of each sand crystal falling slower and slower, ending his life as a human. The man’s sagging arm shot out quickly, grasping me tightly, pulling me towards his face.
"You must give this to my daughter, please, in any way possible..." he said in a gruff voice. His senile wrinkly arm strained as he reached toward his chest attempting to rip off a brown leather necklace resting there. Shakily the nearly dead man set it into my outstretched palm.
Footsteps were echoing closer, halting outside the door. I snatched at his last dwindling cord that tied to his heart. My form disappeared like a mist that was blown by the wind. As I drifted away, I heard the silent shrieks of his daughter before she even uttered a word. I knew I was in trouble. I lost his soul. I murdered him, in the distance I saw him fading away quicker than me into nothingness. He was truly dead, there were no more paths for him.
This, my friends was an example of someone who shouldn’t be doing this kind of dirty work. I need someone sensitive, and willing to not leave when humans arrive. I mean really, death is invisible except to those who are the almost dead. He did not realize who this man is---was. Now, to live this man’s daughter’s mind and insight is my number one priority. For I believe she will come in handy some time soon. Let’s all take a ride and fall into her mind:
Necklace and Dreams
The tears shuttered through my body. I was rocking back and forth on the uncomfortable yellow plastic hospital chair; there was no sound, but the screaming heart monitor. My mouth was stuck in an O of silent aching and it couldn’t compare the intensity of the ripping of my insides. His bloody callused hand was clutched to my chest; his cold, lifeless hand. My tears landed upon his fist, dripping, off onto his already wet sheets. I watched the blood and water spread rapidly across the field of white. "Dad…" I choked as my whispering voice cracked in pain. I squeezed my eyes as tight as possible while grasping the edges of my chair, cutting off circulation to my fingers. My head fell forward against the side of the hard mattress. I shut my mouth, grinding my teeth together trying to conceal my true feelings. And then all went black, my tense body relaxed, the misery subsided.
We were floating on a dinghy at sunset in the ocean all alone. He was smiling and he tucked a loose wisp of dark brown hair behind my ear. His serene voice said, "I love you." Rain began to pelt upon his face, every drop left an unwelcome crevice. I kept trying to remold him, to set him back right, but he became deformed in his seat. I was alone on the boat. All that was left of my father was a pile of mud and his necklace. A menacing wave crashed knocking me into the black thunderous waters. There was nothing to hold on to. I went under, back into my wavering consciousness.
All I could see was white around me. Was it snowing? I was shivering and wet. My face was swollen, but oddly cool. I attempted to push my self up; and it was a poor attempt. I ended up not moving because my arms were too weak. The doctors found me asleep on the white tile floor with a necklace clutched in my hands 4AM that morning.
2 Weeks Later
People say it isn’t as heartbreaking when you’re older. That you will understand that people die, that it is okay. I can’t though. Their vivid faces appear in my dreams disturbing my peace. All I can think about is the hurtful words I said in the past. They only cared for me and loved me with an unending passion. Now I know what my mother meant when she used to say, "You will thank me later." My scar has been ripped open with a fresh wound joining the old. Both of my parents are gone forever, I thought as I brushed my fingers over a picture of the two of them.
There was a knock on the door. A thin white envelope shoved its way through the brass mail slot and landed on the slick cherry wood floor. My spaniel, Jasper, flew into the hallway; his unclipped nails rasping against the varnish as he bounded and slid to a stop around the corner. I ran in after him knowing the letter would be in slobbery pieces if I let Jasper reach it first. Bending down I grabbed the envelope scrutinizing the address as I shuffled back to my seat at the round glass kitchen table. The letter was unsealed; I turned it upside down and let its contents fall onto my pink flowery plastic placemat. Two sheets of paper and a large rusty key lay before me. One of the documents was clean, folded neatly, and conveyed 4 short sentences in loopy cursive.
Ms. de Mort,
My condolences to the loss of your father. He has left the family Castle in France and your entire family’s savings to you being that you are the last living relative. The key is in the envelope, do with it what you will. Directions to the castle are written on the back of this sheet.
Sir John Ramsey was my family’s attorney before they all passed. I set this letter down and picked up the other paper. It was yellowing and musty, obviously very old. The ink was almost faded but, the words were easy enough to read. It was the deed to the castle. I remember visiting it in Paris every year until I was seventeen. Distant memories of my younger years were now flooding back. Before I even reached for the key I had already decided that a visit to the castle would be a good distraction.
My red and white Mini Cooper was cramped and uncomfortable. Jasper was growling at an innocent pedestrian walking by while I was parking in the only space left. We had finally arrived at the Piccadilly underground. The hallways were crowded with bustling Londoners. After wrestling Jasper into his plastic carrier I gave him to an attendant to put with the other animals in the back carrying room. I got my ticket checked and I climbed onto the train.
The squalls of babies and the rumble of conversations were interrupting my thoughts. I was being shoved into the tiny train compartment by a frustrated attendant. The room had a row of blue plastic seats, a rectangular window, and a bed on the left wall. I slid the door shut behind me barring the noise out. Immediately I plopped myself on the hard bunk bed and was asleep.
She was submerged in the darkness of the alley, the scarlet flush gone from her face, blue eyes glassy, hands clasped as if in pleading. His firm steps were slow and hesitant against the eroding concrete. There was an object in his smooth left hand that glimmered, silver shadows reflected on his face. He found her cold and gone. Matters were out of his hands now. Raising the sparkling diamond stake to the full moon he brought it back down to his soulless heart.
The train stopped with a jolt that welcomed me back to my surroundings. "Mademoiselle de Mort, I am sorry to wake you, but we are at the station and your dog will be brought to you momentarily," said an attendant in gurgling French that opened the door a crack, but then closed it. Perspiration was trickling down my back as I thought of the eerie dream that I just had. The two hours had been swift in passing. There was a knock and the same French man brought Jasper in his carrier into the small room. I handed him one Euro and then I was alone again. Tucking the dream away for later I bent over to gather Jasper and my carpetbag.
Rain began to pour in the mid-afternoon as I sprinted over to the shiny black cab. I was disgruntled and annoyed with the expansive amount of the short drive. I was dropped off at the beginning of the winding brick road to Chateaux de Mort I let Jasper out on his red cloth leash. We ran to the overhang above the doorstep. There was no time to gaze in awe at its gothic beauty. As I turned the key, bits of rusty metal flaked off into my hand. The large wooden round-top black door creaked open and the acrid smell of decay washed over me when I stepped in. Jasper whined as I closed and locked the door behind us. I empathized with him; he must be ready to pass out with his sense of smell. There was a silver light switch next to the archaic door hinge. When I flicked it up a surprisingly new set of electric light bulbs popped on filling the long hallway with an orange glow that ricocheted off the bumpy gray-brown stone walls. The cab-driver followed with my suitcases, I had already paid him.
I dropped my threadbare blue carpetbag in the hallway on the multi-colored frayed rug in the foyer and sidled into the room down the corridor. Aimlessly my hand ran along the rough damp stone wall, making my fingertips tingle slightly. Before I took my first step, I flicked on the lights again. The brilliance compared to the soft orange light of the passageway made me squint. My mouth dropped to form a gaping puzzled expression. I had completely forgotten about the beauty of this place. The room was colossal. The library was a dome shape that reached all the way down to the floorboards. The mahogany wood floor was covered with dust. Each step I took left an impression on the wood. I bent down and inscribed my name upon the dust causing me to sneeze. Eventually I glanced up at the ceiling following the arches and loops. There was a vast captivating painting across the entire ceiling. The art was alive; I could picture the people moving, laughing. The aged volumes were so numerous encircling the whole room with their stories. Each book resided in its own home on the angular shelves. It was all horrifyingly beautiful. My eyes burned, the world was spinning. I actually owned this inhuman heaven. The salty tears brimmed over and I laughed and jumped uncontrollably. The tears landed on the floor leaving spots of happiness. This was the first time I’ve laughed since my father’s death.
Even the carved reading tables and squishy velvet chairs were warm and inviting. The fireplace looked lonely though. I decided to move two large maroon chairs on either side. Stepping backward I graded my work giving myself an approving nod. Turning around I noticed a piano with yellowing ivory keys hidden in a corner. Gliding to the instrument I wheeled it into the open.
I could hear his quick breaths and quick feet. Jasper, flopping ears and lolling pink tongue came galloping in dragging my carpetbag along the floor behind him with the strap in his mouth. He crossed the room excitedly bounding towards me. I had forgot about him in my fit of happiness. He must be starving. I jogged over to my carpet bag and took out his favorite treats. "Cow liver and pig snouts right boy, yum?" His short stub of a tail was wagging crazily. I patted his head nonchalantly already back in my other world.
I opted to move on to the next "arena." There were no electric lights in this next room, but large rectangular windows bounced gleaming rays everywhere. One part of the room caught my eye, a large spiral staircase stood behind me and I realized I had found the staircase of my youth. I remember the feeling of my hair fluttering around. I would fly down the banister laughing with childish amusement when I landed into my father’s loving arms. A sad smile flitted across my face.
The windows portrayed the magnificent rolling green acres of land. I stared out over the ledge; and concluded to open one of the smaller windows sucking in the fresh musky smell of rain. Turning around I trailed off up the stairs allowing my hand to slide up the smooth banister. At the top I straddled the rail and slid down landing with a tumble. There was a giddy feeling in my stomach and I walked up stairs and discovered my old bedchamber to the right of the staircase opening. The sunset glowed through the blotchy windows brightening the bedroom.
I chose this to be my room for the time being. There was a comfortable bed and a nice view of the garden from the room’s outside balcony. Before I go to sleep I would have to shake out the dust and mites from the untouched sheets. For now I had to leave to buy essentials for my stay. I looked for Jasper for 15 minutes and was content to find that he had been snoozing quietly under the piano. I told him to be a good boy while I was gone and gave him another treat.