Stepping Into Your Soul

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Chapter 1

"Can't this wait? I mean, I know my year is up, but we're experiencing an extremely high volume right now. Wouldn't it be better if this assignment is postponed to next year? Or maybe even 2022?"

"No. These are the rules and you should know them by now, D209. Every grim reaper must fulfill their duties and visit Earth every hundred years, and you are no exception. Now, take this amulet and get going. I have more important things to do. Now, if you'll excuse me."

With a deep sigh, I looked down at the amulet which is just a flaming red stone in my palm as the clicking sound of D224's six-inch heels faded away.

Well, I guess that is that. At least I tried, I tell myself. But honestly, I pretty much knew I was going to get rejected. The rules here are literally set in stone, carved into every wall in the vicinity. But I just had to try because who wants to go visit Earth during a time like this? With the massive increase in soul collection, Earth must be in chaos again. We're all working overtime right now to make sure none are left wandering. The last time we had so many souls to collect, Earth had a world war going on. I wonder if there's another one of those damn things again. Humans just don't learn.

Anyway, whatever's going on right now must be something of that measure again. Call me apathetic or even coldhearted if you want, which I really am, but who wants to go exploring while there's a freaking war going on and humans are running for their lives, and limbs are flying all over the place? Any volunteers? Not that I really have a choice but when I collect a soul, I prefer all their limbs to be intact. Spare me the gory, thank you very much.

I may be a grim reaper, and I've seen it all, but I prefer to walk amongst non-panicking and non-stressed humans. I mean, it really dampens the mood when everyone is crying around you. Am I right or am I right?

If you're wondering why we grim reapers don't know what's going on, the answer is actually quite simple. IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. We aren't allowed to meddle or linger on Earth during our duties. Every day, we get a list of souls to collect. They're all back to back and we are timed for each collection. If we fail to collect and lead a soul to its destination within the given time on the sand dial shown on our inner wrist, then we get written up and we need to send in a report explaining ourselves. Trust me, the amount of paperwork is ridiculous and so not worth it.

Pocketing the amulet, I turned to leave as well. I guess I have no choice but to prepare for my assignment. Now, if you think for a second that I don't want to visit Earth and see what humans are up to these days, then you are sorely mistaken. This is like a vacation to me. I have been anticipating this assignment since my last visit a hundred years ago. While many grim reapers find humans a bore and this whole assignment a complete waste of their time, I can't help but disagree. Sure, it's true that humans tend to repeat history and recycle their God damn awful fashion trends every two decades, making for very little change in a century, but that doesn't mean they have no redeeming qualities at all. Yes, they still haven't found cures to many of the same ole diseases, and yes, there still aren't flying cars in the air or teleporting hubs, but we simply need to lower our expectations.

You see, what humans do have is something we grim reapers lack completely, and that's taste buds. Unlike us, humans need to eat. So they have these things called taste buds that give them a sense of taste, and they're nothing short of amazing. They can taste sweet, salty, spicy, sour, and bitter. With bitterness being my least favorite of them all. While they haven't figured out how their own brains work yet, they have managed to create an enormous variety of food.

My favorite discovery during my last visit were tacos and chocolate. I can't wait to get my hands on those again and try something new too. While some of my colleagues don't care for humans' means of sustaining themselves, I'm enthralled by every aspect of eating. From the moment I see food and start to salivate, then taking a bite and letting every morsel in my mouth burst with complex flavors, to swallowing and letting it glide down my throat and into my stomach where it stays nice and cozy, filling me until I can't take another bite. So yeah, not only do I enjoy eating, but I also enjoy the satisfying feeling of being full. That's something we don't experience as grim reapers.

And aside from all the food, I also have an appreciation for their creation of art in almost all forms. All forms except for heavy metal music as it just reminds me of D224's loud shrieking. I swear that time I had to collect a soul that passed away while that genre was blaring in the background, my first reaction was to look for D224. While we typically aren't supposed to speak to the souls we collect because that prolongs the collection process, I just had to ask what in the world was that. The soul then told me it was heavy metal music and it was his favorite band playing, Black Manor. How was the soul even surprised it died of a heart attack when it sounded like he was constantly being yelled at? But then again, it was his time no matter what he was doing.

I scanned my desk for one last time, making sure all my paperwork was done and I had signed off on all the souls I collected today. That's over three hundred souls today. I usually collect less than a hundred fifty souls a day, so it's more than doubled right now. And that's not just me, but that goes for all of the grim reapers. So whatever is happening on Earth, it's got to be big, and I guess I'm about to find out what it is. I just hope I can still get some good tacos and a few bars of chocolate.

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