Dying is different than I imagined it. I figured our bodies would just stop working and that would be that. I’ve never truly believed in the idea of a Heaven or a Hell; when you die it’s over, there’s no afterlife. I guess I was wrong, when I died I was given a second chance, I was killed accidentally. I was given the chance to become that which killed me. You see, death isn’t just something that happens. It’s caused, not by disease or failure, but by creatures of the night; Reapers.
From what I’ve learnt, Reapers aren’t noble Gods or anything, they are just hired guns working to return to their normal, ordinary human lives. To do this they must collect the souls of dying humans. When a Reaper collects the wrong soul, like in cases like mine, the victims entire existence is removed. Anything that revolved around them never happened. You are revived in the shoes of a Reaper and a contract is formed.
Once the objective of the contract is completed you are returned to your life. I remember my “guide” of sorts, Harper, once told me that many Reapers spend thousands of years trying to complete their contracts, most never actually returning. Not me though, I won’t let that happen.
I will return.
My name is Lup Fujiwara, a not-so ordinary teenage Reaper.”
“Lup! Wakey, wakey~” Harper called out, she hovering above Lup like some sort of spectre watching him sleep. She didn’t want to admit it, but he was kind of cute in her opinion. “It’s time to wake up~”
“Ughhhh~” he moaned stretching himself out in his bed, it wasn’t really a bed. He had found an old mattress and a blanket in the attic. He had only had an hours sleep to escape from the trauma of yesterdays events. In his defence, had reaped the soul of a dying man and fought against a depressed pumpkin. “Harper, could you go away for like… Five minutes? I’ve only been able to sleep for like an hour..”
“I know~ Still your Reaper Slate has a name on it! Now get to work!” she demanded, if you could even call it that.
Lup rolled over to the slab of slate sitting next to his mattress. A name was etched into it where the previous name was. Lup read the name out loud “Erina Murakami? Why does that sound so familiar?”
“I wouldn’t know, I’m not well versed in Japanese pop-culture. I prefer to watch over England, I just adore how the Queen speaks~”
“Shh.” Lup was stripping his memories for where that name came from. For some reason he remembered an old, annoying J-Pop song that had been stuck in his head months ago. The chorus looped around and around in his mind. It was a one-hit wonder song that he had downloaded onto his MP3 player as a ‘joke’. “God, I hated that song… Erina Mew was such a- Wait, the name on the slate was Erina Murakami, right? That song was by Erina Mew, Murakami was her real family name!” he applauded himself for remembering such a thing, that was until he realized “I’ve got to kill an idol?”
“Well, technically Reapers aren’t actually obligated to reap souls. You’re pretty much immortal and as long as you don’t kill any unmarked humans or disrupt the human world too much then there really aren’t any rules. Of course, an eternal life is pretty pointless once you’ve done everything. That’s why most Reapers continue to collect souls even if they don’t want to.”
“I see. I don’t care about that stuff Harper.”
“I just want my life back.”
“I know~” she repeated, she didn’t really know what he was saying though. She had been staring at Lup’s hair for the past few minutes.
“Is there anything else you need to tell me before we leave?” he asked her sarcastically, he obviously knew there was.
“Well…” Harper debated telling him. “Would it hurt his feelings? Maybe I shouldn’t tell him now… It can wait right?” she thought to her self. but of course she told him. “Lup, wasn’t your hair black?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your hair is grey!” she burst out laughing “Ha ha ha~ You look like an old man!”
“What happened?” he looked in the mirror and started ruffling through his hair, searching for the missing hair dye.
“So, this is the natural colour?” Harper was currently rolling on the floor, somehow she missed this before.
“Yeah, I got bullied in middle school for it but.. Why?”
“Oh, did I forget to mention it? Human cosmetics like make-up and hair dye don’t affect Reapers or Angels, we had to make our own.”
“So, if I dyed it now what would happen?”
“Well, when you wash the actual dye out it would stay grey~”
“Oh, that kinda… sucks.”
“You really don’t like your hair that much?” Harper asked him taking the Slate from his hands. He really didn’t like it but he decided to stay quiet about it from now on, just in case he was annoying her.
“C’mon, we have to go before someone else gets to Erina first.” he said calling for his nameless scythe just to make sure he could still summon it. He could, but he still couldn’t figure out how to return it. Rather than even attempting, he just opened the door and went to find his target.
“As far as I remember.. Erina Mew was a local-ish idol.” without thinking about it Lup jumped onto the roof of a large building like a professional. “And she lived in a large apartment to ward off any fans. So.. where is her apartment building?”
It had been almost ten minutes, Lup dropped from a large building to the street below, he landed on the remains of a half-smoked cigar. Lup had been jumping from building to building in order to find the apartment. There were only two in his area; a medium sized one which is where he had to go to find his first target, and a larger one which he suspected was where Erina Mew resided. He wasn’t too sure though but since he hadn’t spoken to Harper for the entire time he had been looking, he didn’t want to ask her.
He started to walk but he bumped into a man in a black tank top, he didn’t catch his face but they both apologized at the same time. Realizing that he shouldn’t have been able to touch any human, let alone bump into one, he turned around sharply. His eagle eyes scanned the area but there was nobody wearing a tank top behind him. He shrugged it off and continued to walk in the direction he assumed was correct.
“Another successful mission” he thought to himself as he opened the door, not only that but he had now figured out how to return his scythe to where it came from.
“Well done Lup!” Harper said, she hadn’t really spoken much to him during this mission but she did direct him on how to reap Erina’s soul without her noticing, something that was easy since the other Reaper decided to not show up. “I guess you can take a break now~”
“Finally.. I’m so tired” Lup turned a key in the lock but the door was already open. “Odd” he thought to himself, “I remember locking the door..”. He pushed the door open and inside was a family of three; a mother with short blond hair, a father with a bald head and a little blond boy around the age of five. A tall, sinister looking man popped from behind the father. He was talking but he was too quiet for Lup to hear him, he continued to sneak into the house despite knowing the family wouldn’t be able to see him anyway.
After sitting in on their conversation Lup figured out that the sinister looking man was trying to sell the house to the family, but if that happened then Lup would have nowhere to live. His evil side began to take over and Lup began plotting. As his ideas formed the little boy wandered away from his parents for a better look at the house, Lup smiled an evil grin. “Helllllloooo~” he whispered in the most haunting voice he could muster.
“Hellllllllpppp~ meeeeee~” Lup was never a good actor, even in school, but this time he aced his ghost impression.
“Mommy~!” the boy called out “This house has ghosts!”
Lup burst into laughter, but quietly so that the rest of the family wouldn’t hear him… Yet.
“Don’t worry Hyou.” His mother said attempting to reassure the frightened child “There’s no such thing a gh-”
Lup was standing behind her, breathing on her neck. He flicked her fringe and she screamed reducing Lup to tears. “Pahahahaha” he laughed “Harper did you see that?!”. But there was no response as the family and the salesman quickly fled the scene.
“Harper?” he called again. Lup was a little worried, he wandered over to the kitchen to see if she was there, but she wasn’t.
He opened the fridge and then, from behind him, Lup heard the words “Behind you~” whispered into his ear. He almost jumped out of his skin.
“Dammit! You got me~” he chuckled.
“It’s what you deserve!” Harper was rolling on the floor again, those were the only recognisable words she spoke through the laughter.
He sighed, in all the excitement Lup had forgotten how tired he was. “Okay Harper, I’m gonna get some sleep”
“Sleep? Oh! Yes, of course…”
“Crap” Lup did not like the sound of this. “What is it?”
“Reapers can only fall asleep once a week and only for an hour a time”
“WHAT?! How am I supposed to survive on that?” he yelled.
“Immortality has it’s perks..”
“You know me well Lup~” she said, “Why don’t you just take a walk?”
He looked at the door and then looked at the cute yet smug expression on Harper’s face. He reached for his headphones around his neck but they weren’t there. He had forgotten them this morning hadn’t listened to any music since then. A first for Lup. “I’ll get my headphones and I’ll be off.”
Harper snapped her fingers and his headphones and MP3 player appeared in her hand. Lup took them and put them on his head, “Thanks.”
“Not. A. Problem~!” she replied shooing him out of the door. “Have funn~”
It had become night rather quickly, Lup must have only been out for an hour but it was already pitch-black bar the occasional street lamp lighting his way. It was cold out, really cold and Lup was only in a T-shirt, he started shivering as soon as he stopped walking. “Maybe I should turn back” he said to himself, it was the smart option however he continued to walk. It’s not like he could die from the cold.
As Lup reached a turning he realized where he was, he was on the street he used daily to find his way to school. He decided to see what was different now that he didn’t exist; nothing. This fact disappointed Lup a little but he was too busy remembering his first few days, memories had begun to flood his head. Lup’s first days in school, the first time he fell asleep in class, when he met his first girlfriend; Rei.
He smiled to himself and looked down at the garden he was standing on. He had stopped shivering, although it wasn’t the memories keeping him warm. A powerful heat was coming from behind him, he shot around and flying toward him was a large fireball.
Lup dodged the ball of flames which set the garden on fire. He looked up to where the attack had come from and floating in mid-air was a man with long red hair. He was wearing a black tank-top, “Was this the same guy from before?” Lup asked himself. He didn’t care, he was too fixed on surviving. Lup summoned his scythe and jumped with tremendous power toward the man, he readied his attack but the man dodged easily, barely moving at all.
“Hmm, no charge?” the man asked himself “Perhaps I’m too early.”
“Who are you!?” Lup shouted at him, still floating in the sky. He didn’t know he could do this, if he did it would’ve made the last few missions easier.
The man smiled, he had been waiting for a moment like this, a moment to truly introduce himself.. “Ahem, my original name is Guido, but you may now me as Guy.” He was engulfed by flames and when they began to die down Lup could see the man was dressed differently, he had now donned a brown cloak and a brown ‘wizards hat’. He reached into the cloak and pulled out a cheap, plastic pumpkin mask. “You may address me as Fawx.” his voice had also changed, it became monotonous and creepy.
“Why did you attack me?”
“I got bored.” Fawx disappeared, only to reappear in front of Lup to punch him in the face. He flew straight down into the floor, Lup felt his face, it was so hot from Fawx’s power. Fawx dropped from the sky and easily summoned his scythe. “Fight.”
“Dammit!” Lup stood up and without even thinking summoned his scythe and slashed at Fawx. But he was still far too powerful, his scythe wouldn’t even budge. As much as Lup forced the only thing that changed was the heat coming off of Fawx’s scythe.
“Use your charge.” Fawx said with little enthusiasm. “Or I will.”
“Shut up!” that was Lup’s way of saying he couldn’t.
"Too bad.” Fawx began to push back, it was like he wasn’t even trying though. With very little effort he was able to throw Lup backwards. Lup was waiting for the final blow however there was none.
“What are you doing?”
“Why didn’t you attack me?”
“I’ve done what I came to do” he said throwing his scythe away, once again it burst into flames and disappeared.
“What?” Lup felt his wrist bleeding, he looked at it and the bangle that Harper had given him to summon his scythe had been damaged. “You were just disarming me?” he said panicking.
“No, look.” he pointed to his other arm, Lup’s nameless scythe was still in his hand for some reason.
“But I thought you needed that to summon your scythe.”
“No, of course not. Reaper’s are supernatural God’s.. Why would we need such limitations?”
"..Then what was it?”
“I’m a high class Reaper, a knight in fact. I’m here because that bangle was detected on you. The first time we met was for me to profile you. But we had targeted the wrong one.”
“Who do you mean then?”
“You see… The bangle is a charm created by ‘Fallen Angel’s’ in order to give them power. It takes the soul a Reaper reaps and feeds it to them, allowing them to survive.”
“Is he listening?” Lup thought, “So when Harper gave me it, why didn’t David notice?”
“Harper hmm? So that’s her name? We’re not sure why right now.”
“So, you mean that..”
“Hold on, let me deliver the final blow.” Fawx said lifting his arm up to punch the bangle. He was stopped however, he had been stabbed through the chest by a feminine hand.
“Awh, I thought I would have a little longer with this one~” the cute voice of Lup’s partner filled his ears “I didn’t take into account the famed ‘Pumpkin Knight’ to actually get involved though.”
“D.. Damn, you..” he dropped to the floor and spat up blood, with his final few movements Fawx was able to summon his scythe. However he was already too weak to use it.
“Looks like I’ve been thwarted.” Harper’s voice changed, it sounded more malevolent now. She smiled a wicked smile, “It’s a good thing that bangle wasn’t removed.. I don’t think those two souls you collected were enough to feed me.”
“How long what Lup? How long have I been a Fallen Angel? How long have I been planning to steal the 300 souls you need?” In her eyes Lup was no longer cute, but pathetic and useless to her. She wanted nothing more than to kill him for failing, but then she would have nobody to feed her.
“So this bangle was all part of that plan?”
“Yes, Fallen Angel’s need a Reaper to feed them souls, we can’t harm humans but we do need to eat. Foxxx failed me, so I got you to replace him.”
“But not only that, it also limits your combat abilities and makes it impossible for you to use your Charge. Sad really, I’ve never seen a nameless scythe’s Charge before.”
"Heh..” Lup looked at Fawx’s scythe, the blade was standing up. Lup figured out what Fawx’s final plan was. “Don’t get too down about it.”
“What?” she called out as Lup used the blade of Fawx’s scythe to cut off his hand, the hand with the bangle. To finish it off he stamped on it, breaking it into multiple pieces. “N.. No!” she shouted.
"Thank you, Fawx. And I’m sorry..” Lup was filled with energy and strength, he felt incredibly powerful like he could fight and defeat anyone. He felt an odd tingling sensation in his right arm where he had cut off his hand. The bones were beginning to grow back. “What?” he thought as both muscle and then skin began to cover the bones. His hand had grown back, as if it was never actually cut off. "But how?”
"So.. Your Charge is regenerative? Damn…” Lup tried to attack but he wasn’t fast enough. By the time he had managed to get to her she had disappeared into a flurry of black feathers.
Lup sighed and walked over to Fawx’s body. He took off his saviours mask and Fawx opened his eyes slightly, when he closed them again it was for the final time. To prove it, his scythe disappeared, as did his cloak. Lup sat down next to his body and thanked him again
“Dying is different than I imagined it, I figured our bodies just stop working and that’s that. I’ve never truly believed in the idea of a Heaven or a Hell, if you die you die and that would be the end of it. I guess I was wrong.”
A black fog appeared and began to flow over Lup’s feet like running water, all of a sudden rain began to fall from the sky and two large reapers wearing similar skull masks to Gutz appeared, both wielding large scythes. They saw Fawx’s corpse and grabbed Lup. In unison they both said “Lup Fujiwara, you are under arrest for the murder of Reaper Code: Fawx.”
Thank you for taking the time to read this chapter.
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