Hand of Death

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Summary

Tayler Lewis. A high school student who has a not-so-secret secret, to her family at least. Next in line to becoming Death and ruling over Tene, there's her half-human heritage holding her back from the crown. Can Tayler prove herself as the rightful ruler to the council? Or will she destroy herself with her own power?

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
Cardaisha
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
6
Rating:
4.0 2 reviews
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter 1

Hand of Death

by

Cardaisha Johnson

Tayler groaned, her bookbag thumping against her side as she ran. She was late. “You visit your dad over the weekend and suddenly you wake up late,” she mumbled to herself. She slowed down as a familiar red Ford truck stopped beside her and the window rolled down. A girl with brown skin tugged at one of her braids before grinning.

“You gettin’ in or what?” Trinity asked, glancing at the light.

Tayler sighed, walking to the passenger’s side and tossing her bag in before hauling herself up. “Thanks. Can’t believe I’m late.” She said, gripping the seat as Trinity took off. “What are you doing?”

“Getting us to school, duh. ’Sides there’s like five minutes until the bell rings, I can make it.” Trinity replied, making a left turn.

Trinity was a lot of things, Tayler realized two years into their friendship, but recklessness was more prominent. Tayler just hoped they wouldn’t get called into the office.

***

At least Mr. Hendricks just gave them a slip, probably because it was her first time being late. Tayler huffed, opening the door to the classroom as the bell rang and a few students stared at her.

“Tayler, take a seat. Open your textbooks to chapter 3.”

“Trinity drove you here?” Natalie asked, leaning forward, green eyes hazy with sleep.

She nodded, replying, “You look paler than usual, mom again?”

Natalie nodded, returning to what was in the textbook as the teacher looked at them. Tayler flipped the page, glancing at Natalie and how her purple hair was split at the edges, the bags under her eyes. Her mom wasn’t. . .the best, especially with Natalie being a half vampire and rarely visiting her dad. Tayler was almost glad she was moving in with her dad after graduation if it meant she would be taken care of properly, however, that would mean she’d have to move to Georgia. At least they had each other’s numbers.

After class was over, Tayler headed to the bathroom. She looked at her gloved hands for a moment before looking at the soap dispenser and peeling her gloves off.

“I did not think this through,” she mumbled, hearing the door swing open. “Excuse me, could you put some soap in my hand, I wouldn’t want to touch it since my hands are still dirty and—”

“We really need to work on your rambling,” Wren said, pushing on the dispenser.

Tayler blinked, lathering her hands. “What are you doing here?”

“Your father,” she answered. “he told me to come get you.”

“My next class starts in ten minutes, also, I’ll see him this weekend,” Tayler said, drying her hands and walking out of the bathroom.

“I’ll walk with you there,” Wren replied. “Least I could do before heading back.”

“It’s fine, I’ll see you. . .” she trailed off as the lights flickered and hallway traction stopped to stare as they went out. Tayler pushed away from the wall, barely making out the broken light switch. “On second thought, take me home.” The school could always think it was a power outage and not because she forgot to put her gloves back on.

“You’ll be late for class.”

“Maybe it’s canceled,” she said. Then again, she might not have been strong enough to cause a school-wide power outage with just a light switch. Students were using their phone flashlights to see and the principal came out of his office with the megaphone he always used during pep rallies.

“Alright, the generator’s down. School will be closed for the rest of this week and the next until we get this fixed.” He announced. “Call your parents or get on a bus, last class is canceled.”

Wren looked at Tayler, giving her the gloves she had on. “Ready to go?” Wren asked, moving as a man held the door open.

Tayler followed her, asking, “Did he tell you what he wanted me for?”

Wren shook her head, shoved her hands in her pockets. “Nope. Must be about your coronation.” She said. “Or studies.”

“I already have history books at home. What else can I study about Tene that—.” She yelled, stiffening as Trinity pulled her close.

“Tayler, you genius, you just got me out of a chemistry test. I could kiss you,” Trinity said, pulling away for a moment.

“Please don’t. Also, I don’t know—.”

“The generator, duh.” Trinity interrupted. “. . .that was you right?”

Tayler nodded, folding her arms. “It was an accident though.”

“Trinity,” Wren started. “we’re sort of busy at the moment. Plus, I can’t stay long.”

“Right, right, I get it. You want alone time.” She said, winking. “I have to drop Nat off before her mom gets here anyway. You guys need a ride?”

“That’s alright, Wren was walking me home,” Tayler replied, watching her friend smile.

“Okay, have fun.” She said, turning to head towards her car. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t.”

Tayler huffed, grabbing Wren’s hand. “We should go before dad comes and gets us himself.” She looked over at Wren. “Are you okay? Your face is kinda red.”

Wren blinked. “I’m fine, never been better.” She mumbled, brown skin returning to its normal golden shade. “Come on,” she continued, tugging on Tayler’s hand.

“Ya know, everyone thinks there’s a ghost at the school.” Tayler said, turning the corner as they walked. “I mean there is, but she doesn’t do anything.”

“You haven’t helped her pass on yet?”

“I don’t have a scythe yet, so I can’t. Plus, she wants to wait.” Tayler replied, grabbing her key and unlocking the front door. “Aunt Oyen is on a book tour, so I’ll call her later.”

Wren watched as Tayler took her gloves off, shifting as she knelt in front of the door. “You’re doing this in the living room?” she asked.

Tayler nodded, easily drawing a crook and flail with her finger. She always felt like they should’ve changed it. She sat back as a portal opened, standing up as it widened. “Well, let’s go,” she said, stepping in as Wren followed.

Tayler blinked, shielding her eyes against the bright light.

Tene was in between. A good afterlife above and a less than favorable one below, just as it should be depending on a person’s faith and their living actions. Where a person ended up depended mostly on Tayler’s father and a scale but that wasn’t important right now.

“Princess, let’s go.” Wren said, walking ahead and into the bustling crowd.

Tayler caught up to her, grabbing her hand. “For a bodyguard, you sure are impatient.” She said, briefly squeezing Wren’s hand.

“I’d just rather you be on time, you know how your parents get.”

Tayler nodded, looking at the white and gold castle up ahead. Her second home, what she’d rule over. If she was fit to rule was another question because she was only eighteen and was about to graduate. Or what if the people hated her? What if something went wrong during her coronation? What if being half-human stopped her from taking the throne in the first place?

“Princess,” Wren said, snapping Tayler out of her thoughts. At some point Wren had let go of Tayler’s hand to stand straight, hands behind her back like a bodyguard was supposed to when about to enter the throne room and in general.

Tayler looked at the door for a moment, wondering if what her father wanted was that important to bring her here. She stepped back at the door opened and her father stood there, pulling her inside as Wren trailed behind. Osiris was tall, dark-skin, golden-eyed and apparently in a hurry.

“What took you so long?” Osiris asked, looking at Wren instead.

Wren bowed, replying, “The Princess was in class, Your Highness so I had to wait. She also caused a power outage a few moments prior.”

“Wren,” Tayler hissed, turning back towards her father. “It was an accident, I swear. I know I’m not supposed to use my powers in school, but,” she stopped as Osiris put a hand on the top of her head.

“It’s alright. Come on, we’re already late enough, honey.” he said, turning towards the curtain.

Tayler nodded, taking her gloves off and shaking her hands out. It was always nice when she didn’t need them. She stopped in the doorway, coming face to face with a man and a woman. The light shielded the woman’s face from Tayler’s view as she quickly realized whose presence she was in. Tayler wasn’t sure what to call Him or if she was even allowed to say one of His many names, so she kneeled instead.

“Princess,” Wren said, pulling out the chair next to Osiris and walking to the door as Tayler sat down.

The man beside the woman kept his light eyes on Tayler, his face contorted in a sneer. “This is your successor, Osiris? I expected better from you to not have a child in our affairs.” He said, voice light.

Osiris blinked, folding his arms. “She’s my daughter, she has more right to be at this table than you, Satan.” He replied, setting a hand on Tayler’s shoulder. “After all, as my child, she has my powers. I can’t hand my scythe over to just anyone.”

Tayler swallowed, looking at Satan and the woman who had yet to speak. “I’ve been studying and training to take over my father’s throne for my entire life.” She said.

The woman laughed, the light around Him moving with the action. “I know, little one,” He said, voice soft and comforting in the way Tayler always knew it would be. “I think you’ll do a fine job.”

“Thank you, uhm, Sir? God? Wh, what should I call You?” Tayler stammered, looking away from the light.

“Anything you like, sweetheart,” He replied, reaching over to squeeze Tayler’s hand.

Tayler nodded, squeezing back. “So, what’s this meeting about?”

“You.” The three adults in the room answered.

“Your coronation,” Osiris continued, leaning back in his chair. “I want you to stay here for a few days while we get everything ready.”

“But I have school,”

“Ah, school’s cancelled,” Satan butt in, folding his hands together. “you should know, you’re the one who caused a power outage.”

Tayler sunk in her seat at the fact he knew this which meant God knew about it as well but had enough grace to not mock her for her blunder. “Then I’ll stay. It was nice meeting You,” she said after a moment, smiling as God’s light brightened and Satan cringed. “is that all you wanted to speak with me about?”

“I’m sure there was something else, right, Osiris?” God asked.

“About your coronation, you have your fitting, overseeing the floral arrangements. Meeting with the Council is mandatory, no ifs, ands, or buts.” Osiris said, gold eyes looking at Tayler. “Wren, make sure she attends.”

“Yes, sir,” Wren said, standing straighter at the mention of her name.

Tayler frowned. The Council was what essentially kept Tene functional, but the members of the Council is what worried Tayler. Especially Wren’s father.

Wren’s father used to be a lawyer so he knew the rules of Tene like the back of his hand, but he wasn’t the best man and Tayler did not trust him as far as she could throw him.

“Alright, I’ll go,” she said, standing up as her father ended the meeting.

Tayler left the meeting room with Wren behind her, their steps echoing against the marble floor. She sighed, stopping at the door to her room.

“Wren, can we go to the flower field?” she asked, putting her gloves back on.

Wren nodded, walking past Tayler and out of the castle as Tayler followed. Soon they arrived at the flower field full of white and red lilies. Tayler sat down on the ground, lying back as the clouds passed by.

“Princess,” Wren started, sitting beside her. “How do you feel about all of this?”

“All of what?” Tayler asked, glancing at her bodyguard.

“Your coronation. . .the meeting with the Council.” Being around my father.
Tayler shrugged. “It’s like I said earlier, I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. And once I graduate, I’ll move here.” She said, certain. “Becoming death doesn’t mean my life stops just because I have a kingdom to rule over.” No matter how nervous she actually was. The Council had to listen to her, not the other way around. “It’s just a meeting,” she continued. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“It’s tomorrow,” Wren informed, watching Tayler’s dark brown eyes go wide.

“Tomorrow? I just got here, I haven’t even had time to see Mom yet.” She said, suddenly sitting up and standing, heading back towards the castle.

Wren sighed, following after her charge. Tomorrow was going to be a long day.

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