Name: Beatrice Tanner (alias: Sixpence)
Year of Death: 2014
Total Reaps: 0
Place of Residence: None
Day Job: ???
Late. I would be late, wouldn't I. Promising to meet up with my girlfriend for video games and sugar based snacks, and my cat vomits in the middle of the kitchen floor. Lovely, just lovely.
I took shortcuts and dashed across roads, anxiously checking my watch constantly.
"Come on, come on," I urged the traffic lights, willing them to change. It didn't make any difference.
My phone buzzed. I looked at it. A text from Jessica.
"Beatrice, where are you?" I muttered as I opened it. I was right on the money. I hovered at the keyboard, wondering whether to send a reply or hurry on, when something screeched very close by.
I barely had time to look up, and-
Wham. That was the noise it made.
I'm not religious. I don't believe in gods or heaven or hell or anything. I certainly don't believe in life after death at all.
Or at least, right up until some arse ran me over, I didn't.
Somehow, it didn't hurt. Probably shock or something. Well, being hit by a car was pretty shocking. Everything was everywhere. I saw the car, the road, the sky, weirdly myself, all broken up in fragments, and all in the same place, and it didn't make any sense at all. I couldn't even get my thoughts together. I felt like I'd been torn to pieces and thrown to the wind.
So, not painful, just confusing as hell.The first thing I managed to think was that I was screaming. Disembodied, yes, still screaming.
Then, that someone else was there, and not a passerby.
Then it took me a moment to work out how to speak, given that my mouth was no longer there.
"Who are you?" I managed, in the mental equivalent of a hoarse gasp. "Where are we going?"
"To get a cup of joe, and to meet our new boss," she replied. I think. I couldn't hear very well, and I was still working out how to hear.
It took me a moment to process these two. Joe. Who was Joe? Why was he in a cup? And boss? What boss? Did I have a job I'd forgotten about? Was I employed by a man called Joe who lived in a gigantic cup?
Wait. Joe. Joe is coffee, isn't it. That made more sense. But boss? I didn't recall having a job. Managing school was enough right now.
"Boss?" I asked weakly. "What boss? ... Who are you?"
"She's called Hekate. I'll tell you more soon."
Boss... Like a boss battle? No, that's not the right thing...
Hekate did kind of sound like an end-boss, though...
Before I figured out how long it took, the person I was following opened a door and went in. I couldn't help but follow.
The house was, to put it plainly, crap. The floor was littered with bits of roof, the stairs had holes in them, and one of the chairs looked like it was growing mould.
"You live here?" I asked, somewhat disgusted.
Well, I guess you don't really need a longer answer...
"Milk? Cream? Sugar?"
"What?" I asked, completely out of it.
"In the coffee. Milk, cream, sugar, black?"
"Um, I don't really like coffee, so..."
The woman apparently ignored me, and put cream and sugar in a cup, and passed it to me.
"Oh, uh, thank you," I mumbled, not wanting to be rude. I took a proper look at the woman over my cup as I wondered how to drink it.
She had long, deep red hair, which couldn't be natural, and bright golden eyes, which couldn't be either. Was she in fancy dress?
"What's your name?" she asked suddenly.
"Beatrice. I'm Beatrice."
"Mm, yeah, full name?"
There's no need to answer like it's obvious...
"Since humans might be around, call me Rouge for now. We have to go by aliases in the presence of humans. You might want to pick one too."
"Wait, go back. Humans? Like I'm not?"
"Well, I guess you aren't properly a reaper just yet. But yes, start getting used to it. You ain't human anymore. Sorry about that. Can't be helped."
Rouge sighed. "You died, right? So I'm the reaper. I help you on your way. Lucky you, getting to be a reaper too, eh?"
"... Are you being sarcastic?"
"Only at the end."
"Why am I a reaper?"
"Perhaps you got the dead king's shilling. Or should that be sixpence, Ms Tanner?" Rouge laughed a little.
"That joke is really old," I muttered into the coffee, which had too much cream in it, and tasted a bit bland.
"When you've finished your coffee, I'll take you to meet our boss. Don't hurry."
I sipped at the weak flavoured drink and hoped that my body wasn't in too bad a state. I really hoped Jessica didn't cry too much. And I prayed that somehow, this was one big stupid dream.