The Grim Reaper (The Grim Reaper Duology - Book 1)

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“Thomas,” Lucy whispers. “Wake up. I think I just found it.”

I jolt upwards. “What? The news article?”

“Yeah,” she says. “Halloween Homicide in Eventide.”

She zooms in excitedly on the dated news archive on her phone. I scoot closer and peer to the screen as she begins to read it. “Prosperous business man, William Kendall from Eventide passed away last night due to arsenic poisoning at a Halloween party hosted by the Mayor, Craig Burton. The death is being treated by the Police as a murder and are currently questioning all who attended the party.

Mayor Burton has expressed his deepest sympathies for the victim’s family, stating, “I wish to publicly offer my condolences for William’s family and articulate my own shock and sorrow at his death, given that he was also my business partner, and a close friend too. With all of us being part of the community in the small town that is Eventide, I want to encourage all residents to be on high alert. There is a killer among st us, and until he is brought to justice, we must be watching out for each other.”

“Well,” I say. “I guess he knew exactly how to divert suspicions from himself. Bastard.”

“Thomas,” Lucy says. “He was your great great--”

“I don’t care,” I state. “I hope he’s rotting in hell.”

She nods. “Well, at least we’ve got a lead now.”

I raise my eyebrow at her. “We know the Reaper lives in Castlerock,” she explains. “And now we know the family surname, Kendall.”

I look to her and lean forward. I kiss her tenderly and pull away. “You’re a genius. I can go and ask around for any Kendall’s in the town.”

"We can ask around.”

I open my mouth to object and she raises her eyebrow. “Don’t start this argument again, Tommy. I’m coming with you.”

With a hint of reluctance, I nod. I’m fed up of fighting with her. It’s too draining. “Okay,” I say. “Let’s go.”

Lucy grabs a refill pad from her bag and jots down a quick note, telling Lenny and Cole where we’re going. She approaches Cole, who’s outstretched on the ground. She places the note beside him. She takes my hand as we walk through the forest’s opening together.

Lucy places a packet of chewing gum in front of the shopkeeper. “Are you local to the town?” she asks. “It’s just, my boyfriend and I are staying here for the weekend and I was just looking for some information.”

The shopkeeper smiles. “I am, yes. I’ve lived here my entire life. What can I help you with?”

Lucy sighs. “I’m looking for some long lost family members,” she professes. “I don’t know any of their first names apart from one of them who actually died years ago. I’m looking for a family living in this town by the name of Kendall.”

She furrows her brow at Lucy. “Well, you won’t find them in this town. I know no Kendall’s. Sorry. That’s a pound please.”

Lucy looks to me with a perplexed expression, before drawing a pound from her purse. “You’re sure?”

“Positive,” she responds. “Maybe the family you’re looking for were here years ago and have since moved.”

“Okay,” I say. “Thanks for your time.”

I guide Lucy from the shop and she turns to me as we step out under the light shower of rain. “Thomas, that doesn’t make any sense. Why would they move from Eventide to Castlerock and then move again to another town?”

“They didn’t,” I say. “When the Reaper sent me that note, he told me to meet him in the woodland bordering Eventide and Castlerock. Why would he do that if he didn’t live in one of these two towns?”

She thinks quietly for a moment, as do I. “What if--”

“What?” I ask.

“What if they changed their family name?”

I narrow my eyebrow at her. “With everything that’s happened, do you seriously think that’s that crazy?”

“I suppose that could be true,” I say. “But if they’re going by a different name, we’re back to square one.”

A man brushes past me and enters the shop. I catch a quick glimpse of the side of his face and gasp in terror. From the part of his face I saw, he bears a striking resemblance to the man I unmasked after Matt got stabbed. “Thomas,” Lucy asks. “What is it?”

My breaths unsteady. “I think that was the Reaper that just entered the shop.”

Her eyes widen. “Let’s approach him, while he’s busy.”

“No,” I gasp. “I need to make sure its him first. I need to get a good look at his face.”

I lurk in the doorway, waiting for him to pay for the drink he’s just placed on the counter. He turns around, and the first thing I notice are his eyes. His piercingly blue eyes. It’s him. It’s the Reaper.

“Thomas,” Lucy whispers. “It’s him,” I tremble.

He steps out of the shop and Lucy calls him. He turns to face her. “Excuse me?” she says. “Do you happen to be related to anyone by the surname Kendall?”

An expression of consternation spreads across his face. He looks me in the eye and begins to dart away on foot. “Hey,” I call, chasing him down the street. Lucy follows swiftly, one footstep behind me as I continue to sprint after him.

He turns down into an alleyway and I pick up my pace. I can’t lose him again. I’m only a few steps away from him now. I push myself and grab his arm. I twist it around and slam him at the wall. I spin him around so he’s facing me and look him in the eye. “Hello again.”

Lucy steps closer to me, and reaches her into her pocket. She produces a small knife and my eyes widen at her. “Time for answers, Mr Reaper,” she whispers. “And if you start making my boyfriend swelter again this time, then this blade goes right through your chest. Do you understand?”

He quivers. “Look, there’s been some kind of misunderstanding. I’m not.. the Reaper, okay? Whoever you’re looking for, you’ve got the wrong guy.”

Lucy narrows her eyes at him. “You see, if somebody attacked me twice, I think I’d recognize them if I saw them again. My boyfriend here did, so we know we’ve not got the wrong guy. You better start talking.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he trembles.

“Stop lying,” I tell him. “I know it’s you, I pulled your mask away, remember? You look exactly like him.”

“Wait,” he says. “If you’re looking for somebody who looks just like me, you’re probably looking for my twin brother. And if it’s because of something bad he did to you, then that’d explain it.”

“Does this twin brother of yours live in Castlerock?”

“Yes,” he says. “But on the very edge. He lives in a small hut on the edge of the forest just outside town.”

I dart my eyes towards Lucy. “Is this forest bordering Eventide?” she demands.

“Yes,” he quivers.

I look to Lucy with tears in my eyes. “Luc, I was wrong, we’ve got the wrong guy. Put the knife down.”

She lowers the knife. “You’re going to take us to that hut and then you can walk away.”

“Okay,” he trembles. She nods. “Walk in front of me and behind my boyfriend so you’re between us at all times. Try escape and you’re dead.”

He nods and I step forward so that he can walk behind me. Lucy tightens the gap between us by nudging him toward me. I follow his directions and step back out onto the street.

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