Warm sun, the sound of birds, traffic and shouting school children.. Yeah, it’s a pretty ordinary day. My name is Lup Fujiwara, an unusual name for someone as ordinary as me. My father once explained to me that the name comes from the English word loop, he never really told me why he named me that.
I’m 18 years old and in my final year of high-school, I’m reasonably tall and pretty skinny I would say. My hair is naturally grey so I dye it black because I got bullied in middle school, the fact I wear glasses probably didn’t help.
One thing people know about me is that I love music. I always have and I always wear my headphones. I don’t play any music though, in fact I don’t think you could say I do much. I have normal, ordinary hobbies like sleeping and playing video games.
The thing about me is I don’t want to stand out, I don’t want to be famous or anything like that. I want an ordinary job, I want an ordinary life like the one I have right now.
I want this moment to last forever.
I guess I should stop talking about myself, you know the basics.
The house I live in is also pretty ordinary, not too big and not too small. It’s perfect for a family of three like ours; me and my parents. I don’t have any siblings, hell my parents probably didn’t want children in the first place.
"Hey Mum, I’m gonna make some instant ramen and eat it in my room. I’m not really hungry” I shouted, I think that’s my most used phrase.
My mother always complains that I don’t spend enough time with her or my father, It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with my family, I just can’t be bothered with it right now. I’m just going to eat this ramen, study for a little while and then go to sleep like I usually do on a Thursday.
The house has two floors but there is only two rooms on the second floor; one being the smallest bathroom you’ll ever see and the other being my ordinary-looking room. A bed, a T.V, a desk and bookcase filled with everything I need to get me through my studies.
I’m considered weird because I’m in my last year of high-school yet I have no real ambition to do anything, my father is pushing me to take up his offer; he wants to send me to America so I can get a law degree from one of the top universities there. A law degree isn’t something I want…
Like I’ve already said…
“I just want to be ordinary”.”
Lup finished his ramen and threw the plastic cup into the bin. He sighed as he sat in the chair facing his desk “Ordinary… I say that too much”. The boy messed up his short, fading black hair pulling his headphones on, the music was already playing but he stopped it to change the song. “I’m not really in a dubstep mood” he thought.
After scrolling through almost 9000 songs he gave up, this wasn’t like Lup at all, he usually had no preference for what music he’d listen to, but this time he didn’t want to bother. He pulled the headphones back down around his neck and stood up, only to throw himself into his bed.
“Really, what am I supposed to do? Ugh, perhaps I should just give up, hide in a hole somewhere and wait for the Reaper..” he laughed at the thought of reapers actually existing, he wasn’t a fan of folklore or manga.
Lup knew it was an odd thing to think at the best of times but for some reason his thoughts began to drift toward death and how someone had actually come up with the idea of the Grim Reaper or 'Shinigami’ as they were known in Japan.
It didn’t matter to him, Lup was fast asleep before he could think to too hard about it.
“It’s too cold. Why do people have to die when it’s cold out?” a man wearing a long black hooded cloak asked himself. He was sitting on the balcony of a large building smoking a cigar, in his left hand resting on his shoulder was a large black scythe wrapped in a golden chain. The man cracked his gloved fingers and tossed the scythe into the air, catching it by the chain and spinning it around as if it were a lasso, he laughed as he pulled it towards him and grabbing the blade in-between a single finger and his thumb.
He was a Reaper. The personified character of death.
“Enough playing” he said quietly spitting out the still lit cigar onto the street below. He reached inside his cloak and pulled out two things; the first was a book-sized piece of black slate, the second was a cheap plastic mask of a fox’s face. He put the mask on, covering his sadistic smile and looked at the slate. His hidden smile grew tenfold. “Finally some work, I’m itching for a fight” he crunched his neck.
A single name was etched into the slate: “SATOSHI FUJIWARA”.
The man silently fell from the roof calmly and landed feet first on his cigar. “This guy’s close” he said “I remember seeing a sign that read Fujiwara here before”. The man began walking through the same street Lup had previously walked through earlier although the street was less crowded. The occasional person would completely ignore the masked man and a single dog barked at the man’s shadow. It appeared that nobody could see the fox-faced Reaper.
“Here.” he said loudly, pointing the blade of his scythe in front of him. He was facing an ordinary-looking house, on the front gate was a sign which read “Fujiwara” in a fancy, golden italic font. The masked man passed through the gate like a ghost. He followed the stone path to the front door but rather than passing through it he stopped before the doorway, crouched down and jumped to the second floor window above the door. He used his scythe to 'hook’ the ledge and pull himself through the open window.
He was now standing on a small futon grasping his scythe above a young man with faded black hair, who was asleep wearing headphones that were currently blasting heavy metal music.
“Satoshi Fujiwara, your soul is mine” the Reaper called out before slicing the blade across the boy’s chest.
“Oh dear, oh dear~” called a faint but cute sounding voice of a woman “Foxy really messed up this time, I wondered why he hadn’t returned to the guild but…”. The voice was coming from every direction surrounding Lup who was still asleep. The voice was unfamiliar, originally he thought it was his mother but the voice was far too youthful. He decided that on the count of three he would open his eyes.
Lup opened his eyes so quickly that he was blinded by a bright yellow light. He was afraid at first but the light was warm and welcoming once his eyes adjusted. It was hard to explain.
Once the light had faded Lup looked around, it appeared he was in a wooden shed laying on a hospital bed which looked out of place. There was nobody else in the room so Lup assumed the voice was his imagination.
“Where the hell am I?” he asked himself sitting up from the peculiarly placed hospital bed.
“I’ll get right to explaining that!” the same cute voice from before called, the voice was coming from all directions which confused Lup to no end.
A large puff of smoke appeared in a corner of the room and from the smoke stepped a young woman. She was beautiful with her short brown hair and nurse outfit. The woman slowly walked towards a stunned Lup. “Hi, I’m Harper. I’m here to explain the fact that you’re dead!”
“As I expected” she sighed looking Lup up and down, he was still stunned but now it was for a completely different reason. The nurse took a deep breath “Unfortunately, there was a mix up with one of our reapers and instead of reaping the soul of his target; Fujiwara Satoshi, he accidentally took your soul; Fujiwara Lup.”
Lup was really confused, this was the most realistic dream he had ever had. He even tried pinching himself to wake up, which despite hurting him, didn’t confirm the fact he was awake “You’re telling me I’m dead?”
“C'mon Lup, wake up! Wake up! Wake u-”
“Sorry, this isn’t a dream Lup~” Harper said softly “You’re currently awaiting a hearing with an Archangel and the Reaper Lord.”
“You can laugh all you want, it’s our fault you’re dead. But that won’t change the truth of the matter.” the young girl disappeared into another cloud of smoke before Lup could even acknowledge what she had said.
“Sh.. She’s gotta be lying.” he told himself “There is no way this could be true..” As he stood up out of the bed feeling shaky, two large doors which he hadn’t noticed before flew open.
Inside the room they led to stood two large thrones; sitting on one was a beautiful brown haired man who looked similar to Harper, sitting on the other was a large man wearing a black cloak and a cheap-looking plastic skull mask.
“Lup Fujiwara, please enter.” called the brown-haired man, his voice boomed through the room. Lup did as he was told, the sooner he woke up the better he thought. The doors slammed shut behind him and faded into the walls as though they didn’t exist.
“Where am I?” Lup asked, fearful of what may happen if he accidentally interrupted one of them.
“Right now, you are in the Court Of Souls. This is where your fate will be decided.” the brown-haired man answered peacefully, not that this actually helped. “My name is A. L. David, I am an Archangel, right now I am the “judge” in this courtroom. Next to me is Gutz, the Reaper Lord and Governor of Souls.”
Gutz waved at him, Lup couldn’t tell whether he was mocking him since he was wearing that mask but he was still tempted to wave back. He didn’t, instead he opted for a nod.
“I believe my subordinate Harper has explained your current situation?” David gestured with his hands as he spoke.
“That I’m dead?”
“Yes. You are dead.”
“I won’t take too much of your time.”
“Not that time matters anymore” Lup rolled his eyes sarcastically, this made David chuckle. Lup was unaware Angels had a sense of humour.
“Quite the character aren’t you? Anyway, on to business” he cleared his throat and shuffling a stack of paper he had sitting on his knees. “What I have here is your profile. It clearly documents your entire life right up to the moment you died, I’ll just skip to the end.. Your final chapter reads: Lup Fujiwara, son of Tomo and Makoto Fujiwara. Soul mistakenly reaped by Reaper Foxxx causing his death and the elimination of Reaper Foxxx”
“Mr Fujiwara; one of our Reapers murdered you.” Gutz told him in a rather demanding, gruff voice.
“Due to the contract created upon the birth of a 'Reaper’…” David snapped his fingers, in front of him appeared a large scroll “According to the Reaper Code, when a Reaper mistakenly kills a non-targeted individual. The individual will receive the Reaper’s power.”
“So, what’s a Reaper?” Lup asked, knowing he would regret it. He began to understand the situation was bad. But of course, there was nothing Lup could do.
“A Reaper is a monster in human form, or at least that is what some humans believe. Heh” It sounded like Gutz was getting some kind of sick pleasure out of taunting Lup. Rather than let him continue, David decided he would butt in.
“A Reaper collects the souls of those on the brink of death. The original Reapers were humans that were hand picked. Until they became rogue and began targeting humans. To ‘refund’ these humans we had to create a contract for them, as well as the Reaper Code I mentioned before. Nowadays most are like you.”
“We call those Bottom-Feeders” Gutz commented.
“The higher class Reapers are my own personal squad, The Knights.”
Lup had stopped listening, he had finally snapped. The seriousness in David’s tone told him what he wanted to know. He asked anyway. “So, I’m going to be reaper?”
“Shit.” Lup folded his arms, this really had happened, he really was dead and he really was standing in a court room being interviewed by an “angel” and a cosplayer.
“I take it you accept your fate?” David asked
“Well then, Harper will be here in a few seconds with your equipment”
Another cloud of smoke appeared, standing next to him was Harper. She was a pile of things wrapped in a torn black cloak.
“Hi, uhm… Where to start? Okay, well this here is your Reaper Cloak and it’s the standard uniform for every reaper, this piece of slate here is your Reaper Slate” she said handing him both items still kind of wrapped in the cloak. She still had hold off one thing. “The slate shows the name your current target although that is the only information you receive, hence the mix-up. And finally this, this is your Reaper Scythe which enables you to do your job” she handed him a bangle, Lup put it on with a confused look on his face. When he shook his wrist a large, bone-white scythe appeared in his hand “Impressive! It usually takes a few hours for people to actually learn how to use that bangle. You will be able to summon it with pure thought eventually.”
“Great..” he sounded less than impressed, the foul look on his face upset Harper causing her to disappear back into another puff of smoke.
“Of course, there are some perks” David continued, ignoring Harper’s disappearance. “For one, you’re currently immortal. Only another Reaper or an Angel can kill you.”
"I don’t care about that!” Lup shouted shaking his wrist in an attempt to return the scythe “Is there anyway of returning my life?”
David laughed “Right, the contract. In your case, you have to reap 300 souls for us. Once you do your life will return and none of this will have ever happened. Being revived also increases your life span largely.”
“300 souls sounds easy enough.. But, what will happen to my human body now?”
“What body?” Gutz said following with an evil laugh “As of the moment you formed the contact, Lup Fujiwara never existed”
The sound of this made Lup kinda of upset, he wanted to think about how he had affected peoples lives but he didn’t actually have an impact on anybody.
"From now on, you will be referred to as Reaper Lup.”
“So I’m set now?“ he asked, the sarcasm and wit had left his voice. He sounded quite sad despite the fact he wasn’t.
"For now, please assume we will meet again Lup.” Lup nodded "Keep an eye on the Reaper Slate, you’ll receive your first name soon enough.” David said, and with a snap of his fingers Lup was engulfed by a white light.
He woke up in a different bed.
He didn’t waste any time getting out of this one, as soon as his feet touched the ground he rushed to the nearest window. He was back in his house!
“Perhaps it was a dream?” he thought with haste, but as he looked around his happy thoughts were quickly trampled on. He was in his room, that was true. But it wasn’t the room he remembered: there was nothing but a bed and a couple of boxes in the room. He opened the door and called out for his mother but there was no answer. Lup continued to the staircase to explore the house which, to his surprise, was completely empty.
“What’s going on?” he asked himself out loud slumping down onto the floor in a depression.
“That’s what I’m here for!” called a voice which sounded familiar. It was Harper’s voice, as Lup turned around to see where the voice came from he jumped with fright as Harper had appeared directly behind him.
“AHH!” he screamed “W… W… Why’re you here?”
“I’m your partner silly~”
“Partner? For what?”
“Psh~ Did you think David would send you out on your first Reaper missions alone?”
“I actually thought it was a dream too” he sighed “What happened to my house?”
“Nothing. Well, I mean technically nothing happened to the house. In this time line it’s always looked like this”
“What do you mean, in this time line?”
Harper snapped her fingers and two chairs popped out of a cloud of smoke, she gestured for Lup to sit down. “Okay, like Gutz said ’As of the moment you formed the contact, Lup Fujiwara never existed’” she imitated his gruff voice perfectly “You know what he meant by that right?”
“Well, yeah. But what happened to my parents?”
“Since they never had a kid, there was no need to move out of the apartment they lived in prior to your birth~”
“This is insane” he dropped his head “So I don’t exist, my parents never moved.. What else has changed?”
“Crap, what now!” he asked himself throwing his head into his hands again.
“The theme park your father helped fund was never built.”
“What? Don’t look at me like that Reaper-boy!” she laughed.
“Harper, can you be serious?”
“I am being serious, I really liked that theme park” she almost fell off her chair as Lup’s expression went from mildly upset to angry almost instantly “Okay, okay~ Y'know the world changes a lot when a Reaper accidentally reaps the wrong soul. Even the tiniest thing related to the Reaper changes. I heard that overseas one Reaper was actually the cause of a President’s death!”
“It can be that serious?”
“You sound far too happy about this Harper.” Lup got up, he stared intently at his bangle and then shook it. Of course, his bone-white scythe appeared in his hand.
“Y'know, that scythe of yours is special” Harper called, not even turning around to look at it. “Most scythes have a name because, well, in a way they are alive.”
“In what way?”
“Each scythe has a separate soul, the soul can be two things. Either a human soul that had escaped from a Reaper, or in your case; a piece of your future self’s soul.”
“But why doesn’t it have a name?”
“I thought you would’ve explained it, hence why you brought it up”
“Tee-hee” she giggled, was she stupid or was she just winding Lup up? Either way he was getting annoyed. Harper handed him his Reaper Cloak and he pulled it on, inside the breast pocket was his Reaper Slate, he pulled it out to see if he had received a name. He had.
“Harper, what am I supposed to do when I receive a name?” he asked staring at the name written on the slate: GUY LEE.
“You need to track him down and slash-slash him with your scythe” she motioned a slash as she explained. She was far to excited for such a thing.
“And how exactly do I track him down?”
“That’s up to you! The last few Reapers I was with had a sort of sixth sense about it.”
“Well, then let’s go…” he ran out the door, Harper followed him and as they both passed through the front door without even thinking about it she grabbed his collar.
“Wait! I need to explain something!”
“What!” he choked, she was stronger than she looked.
“Ooh… No need to yell” she smiled “Ahem, for every death two Reapers are sent.”
“So, you need to get there first and if you don’t, the other Reaper gets the soul. However, if you both get there at the same time, the other reaper is likely to attack you.”
“What?” he was worried, Lup hadn’t won a fight since he was 4 and that was with his female cousin who was 3.
“Reapers have a special power that comes from their scythe’s soul. It’s called a Reaper Charge and it differs for every Reaper. For example, Foxxx’s Charge let him control his scythe with his mind.”
“Yeah, it comes naturally during a battle so there’s no need to worry. You just need to hope that your Charge is offensive because there is no way someone like you could win a physical battle..”
“Ugh, come on. I don’t want to have to fight anybody on my first day” he shouted as he started to run into the crowded street. Nobody could see him despite the fact he was carrying a large scythe. “Hey, Harper. Why can’t they see me?”
“You don’t exist remember! Think of yourself as a ghost, the only things that can see you are your target and two breeds of dog.”
“I don’t actually know.. Weren’t you running somewhere?” she laughed. Lup pulled on his headphones which he hadn’t removed since he had died, the battery was still pretty charged so he could still listen to music.
He had no idea where he was going but he had a feeling in the back of his head that he was going the right way. “Sixth sense huh?”
“HEY! LUP~ SLOW DOWN!” Harper called from behind him, he didn’t understand why she was running when she had already demonstrated that she could float. He had been running for about 15 minutes straight but Lup finally arrived at a large apartment building.
“This… This must be it”
“How do you… know?” Harper panted looking upwards toward the top.
“I just do!” he snapped running into the large building and heading for the first floor. Upon arriving he saw a young man with a bowl cut, he was wearing a cardigan and a pair of beige pants. He shook his head and looked at Harper “Hey, if he’s the target he should be able to hear me right?”
“Okay” he cleared his throat and called out to the man as if he knew him “Hey Guy is that you?”
The man turned around to say something but as soon as he saw the scythe in his hand he began frantically looking for his key. “No! No! C'mon” he shouted.
“GO LUP~!” Harper punched the air “Get 'em”
Lup quickly ran towards the man and sliced him across the chest, reaping his soul. There was no blood, just a white vapour that came out of his mouth and wafted towards Lup.
“That’s his soul~ Or rather, it’s your soul now.”
“And I don’t have to fight any other Reaper now?”
“I guess not.” called a sad, monotonous voice from behind him.
“Huh?” Lup and Harper turned around at the same time to see another Reaper who had apparently arrived seconds too late. He was wearing a brown Reaper Cloak and holding an orange scythe which was on fire at the bottom. He was also wearing a cheap-looking pumpkin mask similar to Gutz’s skull mask.
“Hello…” the Pumpkin called out waving gently. He tossed himself limply towards Lup attempting to slice him with his scythe, despite his rag-doll movements he was immensely powerful and the heat coming off of the man was intense. Somehow Lup was able to block the attack with his scythe and push him away, impressed by his own power Lup didn’t notice the Pumpkin had backed off and thrown his own scythe onto the ground, as the blade hit the carpeted floor of the apartment hallway it burst into bright orange flames and disappeared.
“Hey, Lup try that!” Harper happily called out completely oblivious to the fact the pumpkin-faced rag-doll had just attacked her partner.
“Don’t you think there’s more important things to be saying like… KILL THAT OTHER REAPER!”
“No, no, no. There’s no need to fight.” he called out in his soft, sad voice, he began waving awkwardly again, to Lup he looked like a lost child “Hi there, they call me Fawx. I’m a Reaper, like you. You must be…” he stopped and stared, he had no idea who Lup was and was hoping for a response. He didn’t get one, “Sorry, I was waiting for you to continue for me..”
“I’m Lup, this is Harper.”
“Well… This was pleasant.” Fawx said “I hope we can meet like this again.”
"What, no wai-” before Lup could finish his sentence Fawx had already disappeared into a a fiery mist. The area where Fawx was standing had been burnt to a crisp and Lup was still feeling it. He started questioning why he gave off such an extreme amount of heat in his head. “Could it have been his Reaper Charge like Harper mentioned?” he asked himself.
“Harper… Was he..”
“Yeah, he was also here for that 'Guy’s’ soul..” she smiled “Get it?”
“That was terrible..” Lup pulled on his headphones. He was smiling inside though, or so Harper thought.
"Lup if you’re going to be like that…” she called out pulling Lup’s scythe from his hands and making it disappear, “Then let’s go home!”.
He sighed and followed her out of the building.
"I can’t believe this…”
Thank you for taking the time to read this chapter.
If you enjoy our work, why not consider sponsoring The Chestnut Cottage on Patreon?