Between Two Worlds

4.3 A stroll in the dark

“My family and I are at the spice festival. I came over when I saw you,” Athena said a little breathlessly.

The Grim looked toward the festive lights. “Ah, what a glorious sight!” he began. “I relish festivities! They gratify the kindliest emotions from the bosom! Celebrations are testimonials and pledges of respect and gratitude! Most importantly, they emulate our succeeding times and embody vigor and luxuriance in the living!”

“That sounds…. great,” she managed half-heartedly as they continued along the path. “Right. So, there’s something that’s been on my mind for awhile. The last time we talked, you made it sound like there were more of you.”

“More of me??”

“More.. Deaths. Uh… grims? reapers?” she clarified, hoping he wouldn’t take offense at being called Death.

“Good grief. I suppose you have yet to find a governess to train you in articulation and speech,” the Grim deduced. Not this again, she cried inwardly. He must really love education.

“I was in a few schools, but they kicked me out. I doubt any school would take me anymore,” she spoke quietly.

“Ah… my sympathies to your plight! Alas, there is nothing I can do. We cannot change the fate of mortals for they must create their own path.”

“We? So there ARE more of you! – uh, reapers!”

“Indeed there are.” he replied. “There are over a hundred and fifty thousand deaths each day from humans alone. Likewise each of the other living creatures inhabiting our world has their own alarming death rates. Should our incumbent duty be assumed by one! How arduous that would be!” he exclaimed in dramatic fashion.

“I suppose that makes sense,” Athena replied. “I’ve never thought about it before – the souls of non-humans. You’re really knowledgeable. I’d like to know more, especially about Aeldrenths.” She tried shifting the conversation in her favor.

“Do you, now? I fail to see why you are deemed unfit for schooling when your inquisitive nature pleases me so!” The grim exclaimed incredulously. “Very well, young Spellcaster! Should you seek to enrich your destitute mind, my humble being shall light your path and quench your thirst! Think of me your beacon of hope, of knowledge and resource readily at your service!” The grim had a knack for silencing her. How does one respond appropriately to a person (being) who says they have a destitute mind?! And he said it with such cheeriness that she knew he harbored no ill-thoughts, but frustratingly, he must really think so since he IS more learned than she.

The reaper chortled at his good deed. “I shall take leave now. The time is nigh. I wish you a good evening, Miss Spellcaster.” The reaper crossed the road towards a secluded area under the bridge.

Athena’s memory flashed to the man in the alley. What would she find here? The festival grounds were reasonably close, perhaps no harm would befall her…

The reaper tilted his head. “You’ve followed me before. If you are so dearly curious, come along!” he invited.

The bridge rattled and wailed as trains whizzed past overhead. On their right, soft waves tickled the stationary ships whose captains had retired for the night while buses moaned and screeched to their left. The pair stopped under a graffitied column. Once she became accustomed to the white noise, she began picking up distinct human sounds – grunts and moans.

“His spirit is strong,” the grim stated. “We shall have to wait.”

“Aren’t we going to look?” she asked.

“Do forgive me.” the Grim replied soberly. “I’m afraid I would rather remain impersonal and dispassionate towards the loss of life.” Athena felt a slight tinge of sympathy for the Grim. How many deaths have he witnessed? She swallowed hard and peeked round the corner.

26 thoughts on “4.3 A stroll in the dark

    1. Ooh I’m glad you see the humor behind it. Was a little worried given how politically correct the world has become, bt he has his reasons for viewing the world (and her) the way he does. C:

  1. Oh hello gang bangers.
    I find it surprising that Grim doesn’t want to look. After thousands of years of collecting souls he must have grown detached. It would only be logical. Unless he’s a young one or something, but the way he speaks doesn’t suggest it.

  2. OH. MY. GOD.
    Was not expecting that one! Holy shit! Again, I love your portrayal of a softer Grim, it’s so endearing and interesting, and Curtis and Kian… Oh god… I hope they’re alright…

    1. He’s usually early. He was only running ‘on time’ because he stopped to hang out with Athena the last time. πŸ˜‚ lol we’re talking about Grim’s reaping schedule haha!

  3. HAHAHAHA. I seriously love this version of Grim; the thought of Death himself going through the thesaurus in his spare time is cracking me up. Athena’s reactions to him are just perfect. I’m tempted to do a crossover where this Grim runs into Xiyuan and they get into a huge argument about parsimony and word choice. Is he enough of a lunatic to tell Death himself that gratify isn’t a prepositional verb? Of course he is! Oh, man, that is the one-shot I need. Bahaha.

    Uh, I mean. Oh no! Not Kian and Curtis!

    (I’m gonna cut Grim some slack, however, ‘testimonials’ refers specifically to written or spoken media; ’emulated’ -> ’emulate’; ’embodied’ -> ’embody”; ‘to skill you’ -> ‘to train you’, ‘to educate you’, for example; ‘captains have’ -> ‘captains had’; please do stop me if this gets annoying)

  4. “I relish festivities!” Haha. I love this reaper’s personality. He/she/they? <> has an unusual but beautiful and articulate way of speaking.

    “Think of me your beacon of hope….” Not what I think of when talking about the reaper but it’s unusual and strangely delightful.

    I’m happy he noticed Athena’s curiosity. It’s a trait most people in her life seem to overlook. And then the Reaper called her mind “destitute.” I’m both amused and confused. Haha.

    Oh no! Cliffhanger again. Curtis!

  5. Ok! I believe I have found the chapters surrounding the β€œunclaimed soul!”

    Oh man, is Grim doing this on purpose? Bringing her along? How omniscient is he? Obviously those thugs are killing Curtis for defending her! Yikes!

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