The rain of the sun shower drizzled down around them.
An amber glow radiated among the forest surrounding the area they had found themselves in.
The woman was turned towards the sun, her red hair being weighed down by the weight of the rain.
The man was right besides her, but facing the opposite direction, his brown eyes fixated on a spot in the woods in front of him.
“So this is it, isn’t it?” The woman began.
“Not right now, Theresa,” he snapped back, not moving from his position whatsoever, “we’ll discuss it later. You have to focus.”
“It? You can’t even say “Us?” Is that how broken our relationship is to you?”
“I don’t need this right now. You and I both know that this is neither the time nor the place for you to be behaving like this.” Theresa turned around quickly to face his backside, her face riddled with heartbreak.
“If this is neither the time nor the place then why would you tell me on our way here that you were breaking up with me?!”
“It was on my mind, okay? I know I should have told you later but you need to stay focused at least for now.” He turned his head slightly to face her, “And turn back around! You’re leaving yourself wide open and I don’t want to have to save you again like last time!”
“No! I’m tired of you telling me what I should and shouldn’t do! If you felt the need to tell me you were breaking up with me now, then we’ll discuss it right now!”
“This kind of bull crap is exactly why I’m breaking up with you in the first place...” He finally turned to face her, standing a little under a foot over her head as he looked down into her eyes, “You never take anything seriously, you always let your personal life interfere with the task at hand. I should have never gotten involved with you! All you are is a selfish, whiny brat!”
“Well I wish I never gotten involved with you! All you ever did was cause me heartache!”
Meanwhile, a little bit into the distance, was a tall, thin man wearing a plague doctor mask. Next to him was a short, stubby, pug-faced man holding a notebook, and behind them were dozens of regular looking men and women.
The Plague Doctor shook his head in disbelief, and turned to the other bystanders before speaking with a strong French accent.
“This, children, is precisely what you should not do while in the field. As Little Red and Ecco brought out rather unintentionally, mixing personal lives with work will always end badly.” The short man beside him began to write down a few notes before looking up at the Doctor and awaiting further information.
“Thankfully, this is only simple training. If these two were actually on a mission, they’d probably be dead. To be a true, efficient Reaper, one must have the ability to remain calm and focused at all times, and switch from a person with feelings to an emotionless hunter in a matter of milliseconds. Failing to do so will result in the death or injury of yourself, your team, or your client, and that’s not something you want on your hands.”
The group of people looked at the Doctor, some with interest, some with slight disagreement. The Doctor more or less ignored all of their reactions and turned back to the fighting couple in the field, and with a megaphone materializing seemingly out of nowhere, he called out to them,
“Ecco, Little Red, you have failed the test. Please return to the group, and for the love of all that is good, please stop fighting!”
Later on in a classroom,
“You must understand something, children. There is nothing in the world more valuable than life. Our job is to protect all forms of life to the best of our ability, even the lives of the seemingly soulless monsters we detain.”
A hand shot up from the back of the large classroom, and the Doctor pointed to the young man who it belonged to.
“You have a question, Ali?”
“Yes sir.” The boy stood up, dark eyes focusing on the empty black orbs in the Doctor’s mask. A girl beside him whispered something, and he whipped his head quickly to scowl at her, unintentionally tossing his long black hair that was tucked inside a loose ponytail. He then turned back to the Doctor and continued.
“After detaining a monster, is it not then executed at a later date?”
“Depending upon the nature of the monster’s existence, he will either be humanely executed or rewritten. For example, a monster with the nature to kill all who stare into it’s eyes is not considered a safe or rewritable monster, and he or she must then be executed. A monster with the nature to kill because they just want to kill can be easily rewritten and trained to work for the Academy, just as many of our teachers and office workers have been.” Ali, seeming dissatisfied with the Doctor’s answer, was about to open his mouth to say something in return, but the girl beside him had already raised her hand and had been called on before he had the chance to, so he simply sat down as she asked her question.
“P.D., were you a monster once?”
“No, Wingsly, I was never a monster. I’m just a very strange man. Now then, let’s move on to a very interesting subject, Tranquilizers.”
The Doctor continued on in his lesson, but Ali was fixated on something else. His eyes were glued to the pen and paper in front of him, but all he could write was “We are killers” over and over again.
The girl next to him, the one that P.D. referred to as Wingsly, seemed just as intrigued by Ali’s repetitive writing as he himself was. She watched him intently with her almond tinted and shaped eyes, her tiny finger wrapping around a single strand of her curly dirty blond hair.
She had a crush on him, if that wasn’t obvious enough. But her heart ached, because she knew for a fact that he found her incredibly annoying.
Later on in the day, the young students of the Fauxwurth Reaper Academy were on their way back to their lives outside of the classroom.
Some were heading to parties, others were heading home. A small group, which happened to include the bickering couple featured earlier in our tale, had headed to a coffee shop called “Two Beans in the Palm,” a sort of hangout spot for most of the students in the academy.
The arguing duo had settled their dispute among the company of their friends, and were now cuddling together on one of the shop’s many comfortable couches.
“I’m sorry I ruined our mission, Edgar.” Theresa sighed into the man’s chest, a pale coffee cup holding the hot brown liquid rested lightly in her two hands as she sat upon his lap.
“It’s fine, Terry.” He said, a slight tingle of exasperation in his voice due to the fact that this was the twelfth time she apologized to him within the last ten minutes.
“You guys are too good to break up.” A cheerful girl, known as Latisha, exclaimed, her round face beaming with excitement at the reunion of her two friends. Her bright eyes darted behind her to witness her own boyfriend, Todd, a handsome young man of Asian origin, ordering them both a cup of coffee.
She watched closely to see if he was ordering her favorite, a Triple Shot Espresso with half Vanilla Chai, sweetened with stevia leaf, topped with whipped cream.
Oh, and a donut on the side.
As she waited for him to return, the other two members of the group, Paul and Sean, were playing some game together on a tablet.
The twin men were mostly only there for the free Wi-Fi, and kept their association with everyone in the group at an all time low.
“No, you need that gem!”
“No I don’t, I have plenty.”
“Paul, I’m telling you, go back and get that gem!”
“It’s just one gem! I have thirty seven others!”
“You need forty to get past the Dragon on level four!”
“I’m still on level two, chill out Sean!”
Latisha watched them with interest, trying to imagine the game in her head, but she was soon interrupted by her boyfriend coming up behind her and handing her a drink and a donut, looking just the way she wanted it.
“Oh, thank you babe! You remembered the stevia leaf?”
“Stevia leaf?” He asked rather confused.
Latisha nodded her head. It was almost the way she wanted it.
“You know I always take my coffee with stevia leaf.”
“Oh. Well I remembered everything else.” The man scratched the back of his head nervously as he came over to sit down next to her.
“It’s fine, I won’t be picky.” She said with a sort of happy sigh as she took a sip.
“So, what plans does everyone have for the weekend?” Todd asked, hoping to get these seemingly antisocial people into a conversation.
“Oh, we’re probably going to spend the weekend in, watch some movies, cuddle up on the couch.” Theresa replied as she looked to Edgar with a smile.
“Um, well I was hoping to get some studying done, honey.” Edgar said as he readjusted himself, forcing Theresa to not lean on him anymore.
“Oh, well that’s fine, we can study together.” She leaned her head on his shoulder in an attempt to get him to agree. Edgar sighed through his nostrils and gave out a defeated “Okay.” as he put his arm around the girl and gently pulled her close.
“Well, I’m trying to get a group together to go to the beach tomorrow, it’s been a while since I’ve taken out my surf board and tomorrow the weather is going to start heating up again.”
“You surf?” Paul asked, looking up from the tablet for what was nearly a hole second.
“Yes, Paul. Since I was thirteen, actually.” Latisha answered. Paul didn’t really respond back, he may have said something, but it was muffled out by his incessant mumbling to his brother about the game.
Unaffected by the video game addicted boys, Latisha turned to her significant other.
“What about you, Todd?”
“I’m probably going to join you Saturday, but Sunday I have to visit my mom. She’s been concerned about me being in the academy and I wanted to let her know what exactly we’ve been doing.”
“Isn’t that confidential information though?” Theresa asked.
“No, I can let her know what we do. I just can’t show her anything like homework or our textbooks.” Todd took a sip of his girlfriend’s coffee, and quickly cringed at the sweetness.
“It’s true. The reason for it is because if an outsider gained access to our level of knowledge on the situation, things might spread and it could be used against us. But, I personally don’t see how showing your mother some of the stuff we research will be of any danger to any of us, maybe showing her something will lessen her anxiety, take the mystery away from the whole thing.” Edgar added his two cents in, receiving little more than a glance from Todd, who wasn’t going to pay him any mind.
He knew the rules he signed below when he decided to become a Reaper, and he wasn’t going to break them, even if the class “nerd” told him it was alright.
A ding was heard from the front of the cafe, and Ali, decked out in a leather jacket and black army boots, waltzed inside and straight up to the counter. He ordered a simple drink, a small coffee with cream, paid with exact change, and left, not even trying to notice his classmates sitting in the lounge as he walked past the window.
Surely they noticed him, everyone noticed Ali. But Ali truly didn’t care for many of the people at school, and he, much like Paul and Sean, ignored them as much as he could.
Ali walked a mile back home, just as he did every day. A chilly wind came upon his uncovered face, so he took a sip of his coffee and flipped up the sides of his jacket to give at least some form of protection to his pale cheeks.
He reached his house and wiggled his fingers into his pocket to find the keys, then he quickly unlocked the door and stepped inside. He placed down his coffee on a table by the door, and took off his jacket, revealing a white tee underneath as he put it away in the side closet.
A small black cat came up to greet him, and gave out a tender meow as he sat down in front of the skinny lad.
“Sillo, my little friend.” He said in a near whisper as he reached down to pet the small animal. The cat flopped down onto its side and welcomed the gentle petting of his owner with a soft purr.
Ali got up and made his way into the kitchen, ensuring that his cat had food and water before grabbing a half eaten sub sandwich from the fridge and proceeding into the living room to eat it.
He flipped through the channels on his small TV set, finally settling on a nature documentary of sorts.
“-as you can see, the female cheetah is completely ruthless in her kill of the young male antelope.” A British man narrated, “Her family must eat, and showing any mercy, especially for a creature she has only known as food her entire life, would prove senseless. Her children come first, and despite this antelope having a family of his own, and having done nothing to deserve this brutal death, she knows her bloody act has been justified by her own animal instincts.”
Ali looked down at the tomato and salami sticking out of his sub, and discreetly pushed them under the bread before taking a huge bite.
After his dinner, Ali jumped in the shower, undoing his long black hair from his small blue hair tie, and resting the object down on his soap holder.
Little did he know, though, that just outside his bathroom window, up in a tree looking in at his nightly ritual, was the love stricken Wingsly.
Knowing she would never be granted the pleasure of touching his porcelain skin for herself, she took to the trees in desperation, wishing that this wasn’t such a perverted thing to do.
But she had been doing it every single night for nearly two weeks now. Never taking pictures or anything, of course, but simply observing his strict routine of showering every single night, at the same time, give or take a few minutes.
Wingsly imagined herself there with him, her small frail body beneath his strong, fit one. She desired him, every scar, every scratch, every bruise, every imperfection that she found simply perfect because it was a part of him.
But the moment he turned off the shower, and he fetched his towel and wrapped it around his tiny waist, blocking off her view for good, she was dropped back into the reality that Ali would never love her the way she loved him.
The heartbroken girl climbed down from her tree, and just for a quick moment, she ran towards his bedroom window, observing what would take place next.
Ali took a yoga mat and laid it on the ground, and proceeded to do some of the most advanced yoga she had ever seen with her own eyes.
His toned muscles proved their power in supporting him through each of the twenty poses he performed, each one exclusively viewed by an audience he had no idea was present.
Wingsly was completely entranced by his powerful stature, her eyes moving from his core to his legs, up to his arms, and his gorgeous soaking wet locks.
Beep beep, beep beep, beep beep, beep beep-
The girl jumped in place and quickly ran away from the window, trying to silence the alarm on her phone as she did so.
Thankfully, Ali didn’t notice the loud noise coming from outside his window, so Wingsly had gone unnoticed in her nightly adventure as a peeping tom.
The girl ran through the street, sweat gathering around the nape of her neck as she headed down the road to her house, adrenaline running through her.
She finally slowed down once she realized she was far enough away from his house, and she then made her way back to her own home, which was a little ways away from where she was.
Wingsly looked up at the large apartment building, and turned to the intercom on the side. She pushed the button next to her last name, Ross, and waited for an answer from her mother.
“Becky?” A woman replied, “Is that you?”
“Yeah, Mom. I’m home.”
“Alright. There’s someone here for you, by the way.” She opened the door and Wingsly walked in, curious as to who could be waiting for her in the apartment.
She walked up a flight of stairs and turned to a door labeled 163, knocking on it twice to alert her mother to her presence.
Her mother opened up, and smiled at her, pointing to a huge box in the living room.
“He’s been waiting for you all day.”
“Go see.” Wingsly slowly walked up to the open box on the floor, and looked down to see a large, jet black puppy, probably around three months old.
Wingsly watched with a mixture of confusion and tension as the puppy jumped up to the side of the box, soon tipping it over and lifting to his hind legs, laying his giant paws on the front of her thighs.
“Where did he come from?”
“Your uncle dropped him off for you, he’s a German Shepherd mix. He thought you might need a friend.”
“Mom, you know I don’t like pets.” Wingsly took a step back, causing the puppy to fall back to his feet. He whimpered and sat down in front of her, wagging his tail in expectation of his hopeful acceptance from his new owner.
“You loved dogs as a little girl.”
“Yeah, as a little girl, when I thought they were cute and useful. Mom, I have no time for a pet right now, he’s just going to get in the way.” Wingsly looked down into the innocent puppy’s eyes, and winced as he began to whimper loudly and hop around the room, looking for a toy to offer his master.
“Well, I’ll see if your uncle can come back next weekend and pick him up. For now just take a test run, okay? Maybe you’ll find that you like him.”
The stubborn girl gave out an irritated sigh and headed for her room, closing the door quickly so that the puppy who was following closely behind her heels couldn’t get in with her.
The sad creature laid down and cried, giving out audible mixtures of whimpering and wailing, barking and heavy breathing.
It was nearly unbearable, but Wingsly managed to ignore it with a pair of ear buds and an MP3 player set to high volume.
She sat down at her desk, and brought out a sketch book from her back pack on the floor. She then took her artist’s pencil and began to draw, her strokes flowing to the music she was hearing as she created the outline of a person.
A few more swift strokes here and there and soon she was defining a certain masculinity in her sketch, the long jaw bone, dark, narrow eyes, thin lips, strong muscles, and long dark hair of a certain man.
She shaded in his features and sighed longingly, but was soon interrupted by a wet feeling leaning against her leg.
She looked down and grimaced at the puppy who had somehow gotten into her room, and she looked up towards the door to see her mother.
“The poor thing wants attention, Becky.”
“Mom! I’m working!” Wingsly embarrassingly covered up her drawing with her arm, her cheeks turning strawberry red.
“I don’t care. He can’t be out here with me, he’s driving me nuts, you need to deal with him until your uncle can come take him back.” With that, the woman left, and Wingsly was left to deal with the hyperactive, eager-to-please puppy.
“What do you want, mutt?” She hissed, staring at the creature with a furrowed brow.
“Don’t go getting any ideas. The moment this week is through, you and me are done, you hear me? I’m not your owner, so don’t get attached.” The puppy barked in response, then laid down in front of her, his tail wagging like mad as he dropped his tongue and tilted his head.
“Now leave me alone.” She turned away and continued her drawing, displeased to find that her arm smudged the picture a tad bit. But she could still see her darling Ali in the features, so she wasn’t too upset.