The Red Reaper

"We reapers find spirits, dying souls, through smell. Whenever a mortal dies, they emit a scent that reapers can detect and hunt down. We don't wield scythes or dress in dark and mysterious cloaks. We just smell you out, like a dog, and then we escort you to the end of your time." Every once in a while, a unique soul, a soul kind enough to have the potential to become an angel, would emerge in the afterlife. Eva, like all reapers that guide the dying into a better place, is responsible for catering to these unique souls. She'll meet Felix, a unique soul with a kind heart, and give him the choices that will determine his afterlife.

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1. The Fire

Fire.

     All he saw was fire. Flames crackled in all directions. They licked the walls and consumed everything around him, destroying every piece of his beloved home into ashes and fiery ruins. Acrid smoke was thick in the air, palpable on his bitter tongue. The heat was suffocating him, confining him in a scorching prison, melting him with an intensity that threatened his frail health. An anguished scream pierced his ears, alerting his attention. With fear gripping his heart and bristling his nerves, Felix swerved his head to the sound.

     Rebecca.

     The petite child was curled up in a shaking ball. She was tucked away and squished in a corner, avoiding the flames that were eating away at her cherished belongings and memories. Her expression flickered with heart-rendering sorrow. Her doe amber eyes, gushing with tears, widened at the sight of Felix.

     “Felix!” she screeched, her high-pitched voice grating against her throat. Adrenaline coursed within his body, urging the boy to rush over to her side. He had come back for her. He seized his sister by the shoulders, placating her frenzied fright with reassurances.

     “I'm here. I'm here, I'm here, it's going to be okay,” he whispered, barely sputtering out the words. He pecked her on the cheek and quickly scooped Rebecca up. Scrunching his features in effort, he lifted her body with all of the strength he could muster in his scrawny arms before bolting. He burst out from the room, his frantic breaths coming out in jagged pants as he ran for their lives. Sweat soaked his cheeks and brow, drenching his clothes with dripping stains. His feet burned from evading flaming planks and collapsing debris. A rumble shifted underneath his fleeing feet.


     Everything was falling apart.

     A curtain that had been set ablaze nearly enveloped Felix and Rebecca in a horrific sheet of death.

     “Felix!” Rebecca unleashed an earsplitting shout, a cracked note at the end of his name. “We're almost there!”

      It took Felix three seconds to process what she had said.

     The door.

     The door was closing in on his line of sight. His energy was draining, the world a spinning blur, all of the smoke he had inhaled squeezing his lungs with agony, but none of that didn't matter. He needed to rescue Rebecca.

     Felix charged out through the exit, with Rebecca still in his trembling hold. The cold night air smacked the black splotches of soot splattered across his face. Sirens wailed in the air, blaring out shrill cries. Two firefighters came to their aide and assisted Rebecca down on her feet. While the firefighters were escorting Rebecca and Felix to safety, a painful spasm of coughs erupted within Felix, assaulting his diaphragm with punches. The sudden eruption snatched everyone's attention.

     Felix dropped to his knees, his legs caving in to terrifying defeat. His throat stung with each cough that exploded from him. Voices resonated all around him, all distorted and inaudible to his ears.

     The last thing he witnessed was the horrified expression on Rebecca's tear-streaked face.  

     Then, darkness cloaked him in a painless sleep.

     And he never woke up after that.

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