The RookieMature

Name: Frederick Newland
Year of Death: 2013
Total Reaps: 17
Place of Residence: Seattle University
Day Job: Conman

*****

While the others talked, I took a moment to take in the kid I'd just been assigned. He had one of those non-haircut that seemed popular with kids. I might have been only about five or six years older than him, but I was an old twenty six. 

I wasn't quite sure if he was smashed or daft. Maybe both, but he seemed to be taking the whole ordeal quite well, too well, or maybe he was in complete shock, either way, it wasn't a good sign.

"I already have to team with this guy?" I asked the new boss but the look in her eyes made it clear it wasn't up for discussion. I got up and walked out the door, the guy on my heels. As soon as I hit the side walk, I light up again, letting the sweet smoke fill my lungs.

"Alright, kid. I'm the one who has to explain this gig to you so listen well." I said, starting to walk, I hate standing still. "There are a few rules and some facts you need to be made privy to before you can do anything. Listen well and you might not get stuck in this job forever."

"First thing you have to understand is that you're dead, not just the body, but the whole persona that was Alex. Second, the job isn't a paying one, either the bosses think what they give once in a blue fucking moon is enough or they still think it's the 20's. So that means you need to provide for yourself, without any legal ID too, so don't try to find legit jobs." 

He nodded passively and I stopped him in front of a store's window, that provided decent reflection. The whole deal was a bit surreal, even I never got used to it. The image sent by the reflection was completely unlike what we saw in ourselves. Instead of my old self, groomed and proper, I looked like a young punk, one that looked like he was just starting college. He on the other hand looked like he'd pulled on a few years.

"Meet the new you. You get to name him too!" I said with a feign joviality. "I'm Ellis now, didn't pick the name, stole it from the first guy I reaped, took his identity and made sure the faculty wasn't informed of his passing so now I squat his dorm room."

He looked for a moment at the image, with a sort of mix of disbelief, wonder and complete apathy. He extended a hand and touched the glass.

"Questions?" I asked, continuing our walk, with him taking a moment to realize I'd started walking again.

"What did... Trenchcoat... mean about penalties?"

"It's easy, you need to get a hundred soul to get away from this. But every time you fuck up, you get a penalty. You also get one if you try to contact your previous acquaintance, reveal what you truly do and if you off yourself. Not that you can die, you'll wake up a few hours later, all healed."

"How, when, what is a reaping exactly?"

"To reap a soul, you just sort of need to interact with it, it's hard to describe, it's more of a mindset than an action. Some use weapons to do it, others just a touch, but when you have that mindset, you'll snatch the soul away, divorce it with the body and all. As for when, whenever that little book come to life, it'll give you a name, a place and a method of death. Sometimes it's in a while, others it's just about right fucking now, but you'll always have technically enough time to get there, if you hurry, there ain't no impossible reap, just odds stacked against you."

"And where do I go now? Do I room with you?"

"Hell no." I exclaimed, almost scandalized. "I've got something not too far you can use until you're clear."

We kept walking for a while, with him asking random questions I more or less answered. Until we arrived in front of a neat little apartment building. I walked to the front door and opened it with a skeleton key, slipping inside the hallway and hitting the first door on the right, opening it too.

The inside was a fully furnished, if slightly dusty three room apartment, used as a sort of showroom for potential renters. 

"You can crash here for a few weeks at least, I know the landlord is away on vacation for the time and people around these parts don't ask much questions." I said handing him the key and digging out the wallet that I'd snatched on my previous reap, which had a little under fifty bucks in it. "Dinner's on me. More or less, the credit cards should work at least until tomorrow when they're reported missing. I'll see you tomorrow."

The End

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