"Raven! You have a pick up!" Ghost calls me. He never takes off his mask. Like one of those masquerade ball masks. Black, attached to his face without a string or anything. He always wears his suit, as if he died at a wedding. Oh yeah. He did.
"Where is it this time?" I ask Ghost.
"New York City, South Elmer Street. 9474. The guy fell off the roof."
"Again? What is it with people?" I teleport to the location.
"Hello. I'm Raven. Pronouns are they/them, blah blah blah. I'm here to take you to your new home."
"Wait. I'm dead?" the man stands up from his sitting position beside his body.
"Yep. I'm just here to give you a comfortable journey to the afterlife. You ready?"
"Uh... Can I have a couple minutes?"
"Sure. I'll be on the roof. Call me when you're ready."
A couple seconds later, I hear sirens. Okay, I'm already failing.
"Time to go," I grab his wrist.
"What? No. They're going to revive me. I'll be fine. Right?" he resists.
"We can wait a few minutes if you'd like."
As we expected, in just a few minutes, his soul is snapped back into his body by the defibrillator. Thank goodness. I hate having to bring people back with me. Death's hands are always so cold and clammy. When you're still human, it's so dark at first. Now, I'm always numb.
I teleport back to the Underworld and Ghost questions me immediately.
"Where is he? Humans don't just revive like that."
"They used the defibrillator on him. He's still alive. Next time, can I wait to make sure he's going to stay dead?"
"I guess. You're excused," he waves a hand towards the door, expressionless.
I teleport back to my apartment.
"What's his problem? So what? He survived. Whoop-dee-doo. What's the big deal?" I fall backwards, my wings opening just before I hit the ground. I float around the couch in the main room, annoying Jess.
"Ghost again?" Jess asks. She already knows. She has long, dark hair, always in a hair tie. Black pants, dark red tank top. Darker skin, one blue eye, one green eye. She's blind, but her senses of smell and hearing are better than anyone's. She's a tracker. When someone tries to escape the Underworld, she leads a few other trackers to bring the escapist back. Only a few have ever escaped, and we caught them later on.
"Yeah," I confirm. I always wear a black shirt with a knot in the left side under a black leather jacket. Around my neck I wear a black dog collar with red designs and a golden chain with a charm on it. It's Our Mother of Guadalupe. Even after leaving the overworld, I'd never taken it off. Until Tiny broke it. I have big, chain hoops for earrings, and half my head is shaved. The other half is no longer than my ear. Occasionally, I put black makeup around my eyes, on my temples, and on my cheeks, making them look sunken in, but not very often.
"He's never happy. Haven't you noticed yet?" Jess laughs.
"Yeah, but I was just hoping-"
"Hoping he'd like you? Sweetie, no. That's not how he works. His own wife shot him on his wedding day. He doesn't just like someone because he doesn't hate them. You have to be the best of the best."
"One, don't call me "sweetie." Two, you're saying I have to be his pet? That's not happening." I retract my wings and sit on the floor in front of the couch next to Jess.
"I never said that. I just mean you have to be a leader."
"Oh, honey. I am a leader. I bring people down here so he can make them citizens or give them jobs."
"Don't call me "honey" and I won't call you "sweetie." And, you aren't a leader. You're a loner. You are the only one with that job, therefore you lead nobody."
"Well, I can't just change my job, now can I?" I say, sarcastically. "Wait. I can't change my job. Right?"
"I don't know. You'd have to ask. No one's ever done it before. Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to– Hold on." She touches the demon chip on her left temple, mine's on my right because I'm right handed, and starts talking into it.
Our demon chips are everything we need down here. If we need to get into a locked building, it's not a retinal scan. It's a chip scan. If we need to make a call, it's not a phone. It's a chip. We can even access our powers there. We can turn abilities on or off whenever we please. When we're thinking, the light on it turns yellow. When we're angry or threatened, it turns orange. When we're neutral, it blends with our skin. When using an ability, it turns purple. But if someone removes the chip, our senses go crazy, along with our abilities. For me, I'd teleport from place to place uncontrollably. The volume of the world would change quickly, and my vision would come and go. It's happened before.
"Get off of me!" I yelled at the man. He was pulling my hair so hard that most of it came out. I kicked his knee in, and he collapsed. He used his ability, blood control, to make me take out my own demon chip. I didn't have control over my own body. I dropped the chip on the ground, and he crushed it in his bloodied fist.
I teleported from building to building, until Jess smelled me. At the time, my vision was gone. I tried to cooperate with whatever Ghost told me to do, but with me teleporting everywhere, it was hard. For a few seconds, I went deaf, then everything got loud again. I tasted squid, but I hadn't eaten anything since before I died. I finally teleported into a room that blocked abilities. Ghost's bedroom.
His walls were bare, plain white with nothing on them except for a single dead rose in a picture frame. He soon ran up the stairs of his mansion to find me crouched on the floor, blind and deaf. I couldn't feel anything that touched me. Technically, in the Underworld, your senses were abilities. Because the room blocked abilities, I didn't feel anything until after the new chip was in my temple. He had stabbed the spike back into where it belonged, and because he had done it before, only the circle on the outside showed.
All at once, everything got loud. The world was blinding me, even when I closed my eyes. After a few seconds, I opened the abilities on my chip and put everything back to normal. It was the worst thing to ever happen to me.
"Aw, man! I got called in!" Jess goes to the backyard and gets Tiny off the leash. It's still a weird name for a hellhound a big as her. She was all black with white eyes. Even the hounds had abilities. Tiny's ability was invisibility. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Who is it this time?" I teleport in front of her.
"Zelon again. Why him?" she sighs in exasperation.
"Probably because he has the ability to phase through things." I shrug.
"I guess so. Goodnight," she leaves.