That had fucking hurt. I'd been stabbed, but a gunshot wound was a new experience. It was way worse. The shooter hadn't had the decency to shoot me in a lethal part of the body, if they had I would have just came back to life on a body slab by the end of the night. instead, I'd been shot in the guts.

The shooter started running past but froze when it saw me. She was dressed differently but I recognized her easily.

"Cole? For fuck's sake what was that for? What did I ever do to you?" I said, holding my bleeding, ripped open guts.

She just swore a bit and seemed panicked.

Then I saw behind her.

It really wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t like in the movies where all you got was a nice and clean red dot and a fine red mist. It was closer to chunky salsa.

“Oh God.”

Before entering the bathroom I’d felt a tinge, the same that happened when a reap was about to happen. I’d decided to go in until and then I’d gotten shot preemptively. I knew why. Cole was doing some volunteer reaping, a big no-no as far as reapers were concerned. 

You took the assigned people nobody else, even if two people were dying, only the one you were supposed to get got the reap. The other was to be left to whatever happened to them. I knew because I’d been penalized for taking both the husband and the wife in an accident when only she had been assigned to me. Freelance killing would get far more than a five reap setback on your goal, and Hecate was a vindictive bitch by the look of it.

I don't think Charlotte knew what she was supposed to do. She couldn’t kill me or harm me for good and we’d recognized each others. I maintained as much pressure as I could on the wound, but the internal bleeding was probably the worst.

“Don’t you fucking leave me here.” I grunted out in pain. “Or I swear I’ll tell Hecate. You know how much of a bitch she is, she’ll skin you alive.”

“And if I help you won’t say a word?”

“Fuck me, knowing her, if I tell, she’ll punish me for not stopping you. Fuck... it hurts… I hate you so much...”

Regardless, she grabbed me and dragged me through the club. It was dark and busy enough that nobody seemed to notice anything. She put me in a car and started to drive. The whole drive was a blur, it was clear this wasn’t the walk it off-kind of gunshot, especially without any kind of aid. Reaper regeneration didn’t kick in until you died and even then it took a while. If I was to guess, it was to avoid being too conspicuous.

I vaguely remember being dragged inside, lots of swearing on her parts as she brought me somewhere, then laid me on my back on something hard and cold.

“This will be faster.” She said before putting something cold on my forehead.

Then everything went dark. You don’t have any consciousness when you’re dead… Or at least reapers don’t. I don’t know if shades do before they truly form. You just have a vague impression of blackness for a split second then you wake up.

The first breath of air is always a shock, it burns the lung and you can’t help but be in a panic. I looked around and saw Cole.

“Took you long enough.”

The End

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