Prologue- Where It All Went Wrong
Prologue- Where It All Went Wrong
I remember the night I died like it was yesterday.
I don’t know when I actually died. Time is hard now. I do know I’ve been dead for less than a year, because that’s what Jelly tells me.
I know you must be confused, but we have to start where it all began. Where my story starts.
My name is Katrina Walf. I’m sixteen years old. Or, was sixteen years old. I don’t know if I still technically have an age.
The night I died was a good one. I had gone to a party (Against my parents will, of course. What do I look like? Someone who follows the rules?) with my best friend, Rebecca Scott, thrown by the most popular guy in school, Craig Goodwill, at his house on a private island not far from the mainland.
Becca had stumbled out onto the porch of Craig’s beach house, me in tow. I didn’t want to leave with her, but I had to make sure she was safe. I had been complicit in this, after all. I had no idea how much she had to drink, but she was clearly very drunk. She walked towards the car, only walking in a semi-straight line because she was leaning on me and I was guiding her. She got in the drivers seat, and I ended up in the passenger seat after an argument where she kicked me in the shins while sitting down.
As she began driving, my anxiety rose.
“Becca, are you sure you don’t want me to drive?”
“I’m sure,” her words were slurring together and she was swerving more than ever. She’d always been on the worse side of driving, but not today. Today she was worse.
“Please, just pull over and let me drive, you’re going to get us killed.” I didn’t hold back the plea in my voice, I couldn’t if I wanted to. She continued onto the bridge that conected the Sandbar Beach District to Downtown Juniper, over the wide Cherro River.
“Good. I saw what you did.” She looked over at me, her eyes narrowed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, please keep your eyes on the road.”
“Yes you do. You know Craig likes me and me only. Why would you try and take him away from me?”
I blinked. I couldn’t say I was surprised, she always rambled about Craig. Why not when she was drunk?
“I was thanking him for inviting me, that was the only real conversation I had with him.” I said this quickly, my heart racing. I didn’t like the look she was giving me, nor did I like that she was looking at me.
“No, it was more! I saw you two together, laughing and you making moves! Don’t lie to me!” There was so much venom in her voice. Was this even my best friend?
Through my haze of tiredness I tried to remember everything that had happened. Craig had given me a more than friendly hug, but that was on him.
I tried getting this through to her, but she wasn’t receptive in the slightest.
Eventually, she screamed “Just shut up!” and sharply yanked the wheel right. We slammed into the barrier and even before the windshield shattered I knew I was screwed. I think I might’ve screamed.
The car plowed into the water. From there on, it’s a blur. I remember the car filling with water. I remember frantically trying to unbuckle my seat belt. I remember the sensation of my lungs filling with water.
I remember Becca’s limp body in the drivers seat.
I don’t know how much time passed. I don’t know what happened. I woke up with the sun in my eyes, sitting in a graveyard against a tombstone. It took me a moment to gain my bearings, and when I did I realized my sister was standing in front of me, her eyes red from crying.
I got up and grabbed her shoulder. “Vee, what’s wrong?”
She said nothing, just kept crying. I realized she wasn’t looking at me, more through me. I turned around and saw the name on the tombstone.
My heart would’ve stopped, if it had been beating. I kept reading with fascinated horror.
Died January 3rd, 2020, at the age of 16
You had a beautiful smile and lit up a room. You were funny and kind, but most of all you were a victim. You will be missed.
I looked over to the grave next to mine, and sure enough;
Died January 3rd, 2020, at the age of 16
You were a beautiful soul. You were smart and loving, but you were a victim of yourself. You will be missed.
My jaw dropped. I couldn’t be dead. I turned around and put my hand on my sister’s shoulder. It connected.
“Vanessa, it’s not funny. Come on, snap out of it.” I shook her harder with each word, eventually with both hands.
But my hands passed through her when they moved back and forth.
Panic rose in my throat.
“It’s fine. The party was a dream, this is a dream. I’ll wake up now.” I pinched my arm, but nothing happened.
“I- I’ll wake up now!” Nothing.
“I’ll wake up now!” Still nothing.
“NOW!” I screamed that and pinched my arm as hard as I could, but still I remained in the hell world of being dead.
I let a few tears slip out before wiping them away. Was I doomed to wander the Earth forever? It was all I could do to not let the tears start flowing.
As my sister wiped her tears away and walked away from my grave, a pink haired girl wandered forward. She seemed cheery for someone that’s in a place of mourning. She smiled and waved at me. I looked around for anyone else but it was just me. She gestured for me to come closer. I did. She nodded.
And then she took off.
“Wait!” I yelled, sprinting after her through the graves. I saw her pass through the gates and disappear to the left. I was fast, but not fast enough. She was far ahead of me and I still had a stitch in my side. Lucky me, a ghost that could get stitches in my side. Why couldn’t I have supernatural stamina?
I followed the path of the woman that I had seen, and saw her walking up the stairs of an office building across the street. She looked back at me and smiled. My frustration growing, I crossed the street and hurried up the stairs.
I took a moment to compose myself before opening the door. The girl was no longer there. A man with pale white skin and a black robe stood behind a reception desk. His eyes were red, almost like the red on a Scrabble box. His light blonde hair was shaved so that he looked almost bald.
“Ah, there you are, Miss.... Cassy?” He grinned at me.
I looked around. “Are you talking to me?”
“Of course! Really, are you that forgetful?” He gestured for me to come closer, but I backed away.
“Sir, I really think you have the wrong person.”
He frowned. “Cassy Love?”
“I knew you seemed more feminine. Gwen Coffey?”
“No,” I was getting more frustrated. “Katrina Walf.”
He frowned. “What?”
“No no no no no, I heard you. Just... what?” He took out a piece of paper and read quietly so I couldn’t hear.
I shuffled my feet. He was taking awhile to read, maybe re-reading to make sure he got it right. He looked back up at me.
“You’re not on the list..”
“Does that mean I get to leave?” My spirits rose.
My face fell. “Well I can’t say I didn’t expect that. If I’m not on the list, what do I do?”
“Well, I can escort you to the afterlife, but from what I can tell you don’t want to do that.”
“Are there any other options?”
“Well..” He hesitated. “..there’s one other option.”
“Go on...” I tried to fight down my excitement.
“You can be a Reaper for me, and I can help you live again..”
“I’ll do it.” I didn’t want to be a Reaper, but anything’s better than being dead.
He looked surprised. “Oh, well, one moment. Have a seat if you’d like to.”
He left the room, and I separated myself from the wall and walked over to the waiting area, choosing a seat closest to the desk. The back of my neck prickled. Was Becca on the list? Why was I dead if I wasn’t supposed to be?
He came back with the pink-haired girl and a scythe. “Come over here.”
I crossed the room and he handed me the scythe. I studied it, resisting running my finger across the blade.
“That is your weapon. And this,” He gestured at the girl. “is your Eve.”
I frowned. “My excuse-me-what?”
“Your Eve. She’ll guide you around the city, to the souls you have to reap.”
“With this? Seems painful.” I held up the scythe.
“No, your Eve will open a portal most of the time. That’s only for if they’re combative and refuse to go.”
“Now, you can name your Eve. Then she’ll get a software update.”
I didn’t even stop to consider. “Jelly. I’ll name her Jelly.”
“What, are you jelly?”
“That was a terrible pun, and no, this is Jelly.” He said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
I couldn’t help but laugh. He smiled, although it was cold, and left once again with Jelly.
Despite the circumstances, I smiled. I had a new job and whatever an Eve was, but I assumed it was more a business partner than a friend.
Minutes passed, and he came back. “Here is your new and improved Jelly!”
She smiled at me. Her pink hair was in a bun, and a black choker decorating her neck. She had on a pink plaid dress on with knee-high stockings and black flats. Her eyes were as blue as the sky outside, and the sky was gray.
“Hi, I’m Jelly!”
I expected her to be almost robotic, but there seemed to be genuine emotion in her voice.
“Hey, Katrina.” I extended a hand for her to shake, but she just looked at me weirdly.
“No, I’m Jelly. I need to know your name.” She smiled.
“My name’s Katrina.” I kept my hand out and she finally shook it.
“It’s nice to finally meet you Katrina.” Jelly smiled. “I was there when you died you know.”
I hesitated. “Uh, nice conversation starter I guess.”
She just laughed. “I suppose. I’m supposed to take you to your apartment.”
Without any input from me, she took off again. This time, I stayed close to her, but I still lost her when she entered the apartment building down the street.
The lobby was painted blue, with tall plants in the corners. Jelly was in the elevator across the the room, and the door was closing. I got in in the nick of time and she grinned at me.
We reached the third floor and stepped out into the hallway. Jelly went to a door close to the elevator (room 302) and unlocked it.
“Welcome to your new home,” She opened the door and did a little bow as I walked inside.
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