Beginning of the End

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  1. [BCOLOR=transparent]It had started as nothing but a simple feeling, really. Just the nagging sensation that something was wrong and danger was approaching. She thought nothing of it at first, brushing it off as residual paranoia from the day before. But as time passed, Eve found that feeling, not leaving, but growing until she was looking over her shoulder ever few minutes and jumping at shadows.

    Eve knew she was being ridiculous, because even if something or someone was following her, it wouldn't be a big deal; she knew very well how to defend herself and being immortal meant she was extremely sturdy. Still, she was on edge. That's what caused the Autumn spirit to call on the one person she trusted more than anything. She knew he would come- he always came unless it was past sunset and he was on a job.

    That's why the young woman found herself sitting atop a swing set in a currently deserted park. Waiting was never something Eve liked to do, yet she constantly found herself doing so because she had no other choice. She wondered if the Fates were screwing with her or she just had that bad of luck. Though given that one of her friends was the very embodiment of luck, she doubted the latter possibility very much.

    "Evelyn Halwood, do tell me why I can practically taste your unease from three miles away?"

    Eve jumped when the silky British voice appeared behind her suddenly and she fell off the metal bar, managing to catch herself just before she hit the ground. The spirit sent an accusatory glare the speaker's way as she righted herself. Jett Black, spirit of Fear and pretty much everything that was attached to it. Eve had known him for as long as she could remember and yet she still found herself surprised when he popped up without warning. "Hello to you, too." Eve huffed, noting the way Jett's yellow-green eyes glinted with the smirk his mouth refused to form.

    When he spoke though, the light was gone like it hadn't been there in the first place, replaced by a slight frown. "What's wrong?"

    Eve tugged at the hem of her brown shirt and sighed. "That's the problem, I don't really know."

    Jett raised a thin brow and Eve released her clothing in order to shrug. She knew Jett was likely irritated a bit by her vague answer, but she also knew he wasn't going to push the issue until Eve was ready. If there was anything either of them had learned in the past four hundred years of knowing each other it was that Jett didn't like information being withheld, and Eve didn't like being pressured into speaking until she was ready. The spirit knew she would end up sounding like an illiterate if she didn't get her thoughts together before speaking and had to release an airy chuckle. It was funny how easily she could run her mouth when she didn't have to put thought into her words, but the moment she actually had something important to say intelligible speech ran far away.

    Eve ran a hand over her shirt to smooth the already few creases in it before pulling her knees under her so she was sitting midair. The woman tried figuring what exactly it was she felt, because saying something felt off wouldn't be enough to impress the gray skinned man. No, she had to put an actual description to this... feeling. This feeling that she was in mortal danger.

    It wasn't until Jett cleared his throat that Eve realized she'd been quite for too long and the woman released her breath in a loud huff, deciding to just go with whatever came out of her mouth first.
    [/BCOLOR][BCOLOR=transparent]"Alright, I... feel like something's wrong. Like I'm being watched, but I see or hear anything... I don't know how to describe it, and I've been feeling it all day."

    "Fear of the unknown." It wasn't really a question and Eve quickly shook her head, causing Jett to raise a thin brow. "No, it's not that... not exactly..."

    "Unless you want me to go probing around, you're going to have to tell me what exactly it is." Jett raised his palms in the general direction of her face and Eve quickly shook her head. It wasn't that she didn't trust Jett in her head, it was just... having him sift around through all her different fears -and there were a lot- just felt very invasive... intimate in a way she was only fine with on special occasions.

    As it was, the Autumn spirit didn't really want to share what her fear was because she didn't want to worry her friend. Although Eve would have been very surprised if Jett told her he hadn't sensed at least a bit of mortal terror; he was usually very good at picking those things up.

    "Jett... it feels like... like I'm going to die."

    The man stiffened briefly before he gave a sharp nod and walked toward the nearest patch of shadow. "Wait here, I'll be back."

    Before the fear spirit could disappear Eve shot to her feet, "Wait! Where are you going?"

    "To get a protection spell from Patrick." And with those words in the air, Jett shrunk into the darkness, leaving Eve on her own.
    #1 BadonKaDank, Aug 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2016
  2. Even while stepping through the rift Aaron had opened, Miranda's nose remained in her book. With one foot in the gateway and the other on the ground, she looked up once hearing a bird caw. A black raven swept down and perched on top of her head. Miranda giggled while it tickled her hair.

    Got the pages, the raven said, bending down so that Miranda could untie the paper tied to its legs.

    Miranda took the papers. "Thank you, little raven. I wish I could carry food with me so that I can give you a treat."

    "Miranda, stop messing around with the raven and come on."

    Aaron's voice made her turn around and stare into the rift. Already inside the dark vortex, Aaron crossed his arms at her while twirling his scythe between his fingers. "You can go play with the messenger ravens later. We've got a job to do, remember? Sydney's already waiting for us on the other side anyways."

    Miranda groaned. "Fine."

    She waved goodbye to the raven that flew off as she stepped through Aaron's portal. For a second she felt like she was nothing. The ground left her feet and her senses numbed. It wasn't until she heard the familiar fwunp of the rift closing did her sights come back to her.

    Aaron stood besides her and in front of them Sydney hung from a swing set. Her brown hair swayed lazily as she flipped herself over. "Fuckin' finally. What took you guys so long? It literally takes like, half a second to step through rifts."

    "Miranda didn't want to leave until the raven with her pages showed up," Aaron replied, brushing his black hair out of his face.

    Miranda stuck her tongue out at him and opened her book again. "Hey, this person's gotten around a lot. It's not my fault they never got near us until now."

    Based off of whomever had written the pages in her hand, Miranda knew that their target soul belonged to an Autumn spirit called Eve by most. Miranda's silver eyes blinked at the picture, watching the misty countdown above Eve's portrait. It was almost up.

    "That her over there?"

    Aaron's voice snatched up her attention again and Miranda looked up. She saw Eve, the spirit in question, alone by another swing set in the park.

    Sydney tossed her scarf back. "No, Aaron. That spirit is clearly some emo Tim Burton wannabe who came here to pick flowers and feed some ducks--all alone, right where your rift through the Veil led us"

    Aaron rolled his eyes. "You know, for the older reaper here, you'd think you would be more professional about this."

    "Ah, don't be such a wet blanket. Oh, wait, that's literally what you are. How depressing."

    Miranda smiled at Sydney's snark while Aaron ignored it. Same old same old.

    "Just be ready when I take the soul out," Aaron told them. He walked over to the Autumn spirit, knowing that these sort of jobs had to be done quick. Everyone was always looking for a way to cheat death, and if any souls slipped through their fingers, it'd be the Fates they would answer to.

    As Aaron drew near the spirit, he couldn't help but to see something familiar in this one. The feeling was not something he liked, and as he swung his scythe forward for its harvest, he oped the feeling would leave with the spirit's soul.
  3. Eve shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself when a cold breeze blew her sepia hair into her face. Jett hadn't been gone for more than three minutes, but already that unsafe feeling had doubled in size and was threatening to suffocate her. It was silly of her to be so scared because she was hundreds of years old and pretty damn indestructible from what she could tell, and yet... she was scared- terrified, even.

    Besides, Jett had gone to get something to protect her, and Eve knew he would succeed. Heck, he'd probably bring Patrick back with him and the Luck spirit would drag out that long saber of his and follow her around until Eve was sure she was fine again. That was just the kind of person Patrick was, and that knowledge was enough to put a little of Eve's mind at ease. In addition to being protected by a spell and Patrick being her bodyguard, the brunette knew for a fact Jett would always be nearby, lurking in the shadows and keeping watch until danger was no longer an issue.

    The incident from last week played out clearly in Eve's mind. Those damn pirates, threatening to rip her limb from limb if she didn't give them her necklace, the filter for her powers, the thing that kept her control in check so she didn't go overboard. Patrick and Jett hadn't understood why the thieving sea-dogs would want something only a seasonal spirit could use, but they hadn't asked any questions when Eve had come to them for help. The two men had taken turns guarding her while they tried to get to the bottom of everything, with Patrick acting as the middleman, the one who spoke to the pirates, and Jett acting as defender and watchman.

    Eve still wasn't quite sure how that whole thing had been resolved, but she didn't really care to find out. Patrick and Jett were the unstoppable duo and had been for... a long time, and they'd made their position in the world known. You didn't mess with those two unless you planned on being bedridden for a month. Eve didn't know if the same went for messing with their friends, but she wouldn't be surprised if it did. Still, she wasn't sure if the boys had killed the pirates, hurt them, or scared em off. Either way, they'd stopped harassing her, and Eve had been grateful.

    And yet, even with the knowledge that her friends would do everything they could to protect her, Eve couldn't shake the feeling that they might not be able to this time around.

    That was probably why she'd heard them before seeing them. The with the wind had been on her side and brought her the sound of footsteps in the soft mulch that surrounded the playground, alerting the spirit that she wasn't alone. The woman didn't dare turn around when she heard them come to a halt behind her; she didn't want to let them know she knew of their presence as she reached for the knife in her boot.

    The sound of a blade cutting through the air was the only warning Eve got that this person wasn't a friendly, and the woman gasped as she dove forward onto the ground, just barely dodging the blow that would have resulted in a nasty cut on her back. Eve quickly rolled onto her back and sprung into the air, hovering several feet above the ground and holding her blade in clear view for the male. She didn't particularly want to fight, but that didn't mean she wouldn't, because if this guy was the reason she'd been on edge all day, Eve would be more than happy to show him she wasn't going to take crap.
  4. When the spirit swung around at him, Aaron stepped back. He put his hands up and held his scythe horizontally. "Whoa, calm down."

    Dealing with spirits were always trickier than normal mortals; they had special powers, and when it was magic against magic the conflict usually lasted a lot longer.

    Behind him he could hear Miranda stepping forward. Sydney held her back, though, probably fighting back a smirk of curiosity at the sight.

    "This doesn't have to be hard," Aaron said gently. "I'm just here to help you get somewhere else. That's all."
  5. Eve glared at the boy and bared her teeth at him, showing off her sharp canines in what she knew to be a threatening manner. The way he was addressing her was irritating. He spoke as if he hadn't just tried to take out a chunk of her back with his scythe. Seriously, how stupid did she look to him? And what was he talking about, needing to take her somewhere? He was the real fool if he thought she would ever go anywhere with him.

    The spirit noticed the two girls a little ways away behind the male and brought her weapon higher up, letting him know she was not going to "calm down" when she was outnumbered and likely out-weaponed. Where was Jett when she needed him? He should have picked up on the fear coming off of her in waves, so what was keeping him away?

    Eve made sure her voice was clear when it came out and carried a threatening tone to it. "I don't want your help, nor do I need it. Now get away from me before this gets violent."
  6. While watching Aaron, Miranda glanced above Eve's head. Her reaper eyes could see the sands in Eve's hourglass begin to run out.

    "Better hurry up, Aaron," she called over. "She's gotta go. Now."

    "Yeah, just hold on, okay?" Aaron focused back on Eve. He observed the weapon in her hand. While he wasn't much of a master at swinging around a scythe a little taller than him, if the spirit started a scuffle with him there would be nothing to worry about. The only thing on Aaron's mind right now was how he was supposed to harvest her soul if all she wanted to do was stab him.

    "Alright, I don't really have time for this, but basically you probably know that you're going to die soon so that's why we're here."
  7. At the mention of death Eve's brows shot up involuntarily. So these were the people who had caused her to feel off all day... had they been following her and she could only see them now, or...? The spirit narrowed her eyes and closed her mouth, no longer snarling as she observed the young man.

    He seemed completely unfazed despite the fact that she had a knife pointed at him, and in fact, he almost seemed bored, like her resisting was nothing but a small inconvenience. To say it aggravated the woman would have been an understatement, but Eve also found herself curious as to how he could be so relaxed. He didn't seem like much of a fighter, but Eve knew not to underestimate him based on that fact alone, because some people just had that air about them.

    Still, his words were still pounding in her ears. They were here because she was going to die? That was ridiculous! There were other spirits way older than her, if it was anyone's destined time to die it should've been them! But, maybe he wouldn't kill her yet if she could keep him talking. Eve figured she could do that in order to buy herself time in waiting for Jett to get back.

    "Well that's a load of horseshit if I ever heard it."
    #7 BadonKaDank, Aug 20, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  8. Aaron sighed. "Yeah, well, I don't make the rules."

    He figured he's wasted enough time talking to this spirit. Aaron flipped his scythe down and cut a rift in the ground beneath him. In an instant he stepped down, dropping from another rift behind his target.

    A small distance away Miranda sat on a swing while Aaron swung his scythe at Eve. She watched the spirit's sand in her hourglass deplete little by little. Miranda mouthed a countdown and Sydney unclipped her lantern from her belt right as the blade of Aaron's scythe ripped through Eve's chest.
  9. Eve gasped and jumped back when a portal-like hole appeared in the ground from where the male's scythe had hit and found her breath catching in her throat when he disappeared into it. What had just happened? Eve looked at the girls that had previously been behind the guy and frowned at how calm they seemed. The younger of the two's mouth was moving, and even if Eve couldn't tell what exactly was being said, it was enough to make the spirit whirl around in time for a flash of silver to fill her gaze before a blade was planted into her chest.

    The spirit expected a horrible burning pain to accompany the attack, but nothing could have prepared her for the shear agony that tore through being. It felt like she was being turned inside out, and even as a scream was ripped from her throat Eve grabbed the pole of the scythe, trying to push it out. When it refused to budge and if anything seemed to make the blade dig deeper, Eve gritted her teeth and blinked back tears as she brought her attention to the weapon in her, expecting to see blood pouring out of her wound and being shocked when all she saw was a glowing light.

    Who were these people? No weapon in this realm was supposed to be powerful enough to do such harm to a spirit with a single blow, so what kind of creature was he?! Eve gasped when the blade shifted and sent more pain rippling through her. The woman wanted to cry out and ask the man why he was doing this to her, but nothing would come out, it was like her vocal cords had been cut.

    "Bloody hell, Eve!"

    "What?! Eve what's wrong?!"

    The panicked and confused voices of her friends cut through the haze that had been taking over her head and Eve just barely made out Jett and Patrick's forms less than ten feet from her. Why were they asking what was wrong? Couldn't they see she had a blade embedded in her chest?
  10. With the spirit's soul hooked on the end of his blade, Aaron pulled his scythe back as the body in front of him went limp and fell.

    "If you suddenly feel light-headed or have some sort of existential crisis, that's normal." When he stepped back from the soul, leaving it floating a few inches above the body like a ghost, Aaron looked at the two men who had just arrived. "Oh yeah, and your friends can't see or hear you now."

    "I got it from here, Aaron," Sydney said, patting him on the shoulder as she walked up with her lantern. Miranda was at her side, grinning from ear to ear.

    Before Eve could say anything, Miranda ran over to her and pulled out a party had from her bag. She plopped it on Eve's head and her hand returned to her bag only to resurface with a handful of shiny confetti.

    "Surprise!" Miranda threw the confetti into the air. It soon faded into nothing seconds after leaving her tiny hand. "Welcome to the afterlife! You're dead now."

    "Oh my God, Miranda." Aaron pinched the bridge of his nose. "What did I tell you about the confetti?"

    "I'm just trying to lighten the mood! And maybe later on, instead of having a funeral, Eve can have a corpse party! That sounds a lot happier than crying around a dead body anyways. There can be fun things like balloons and streamers and--"

    "This is why only me and Sydney do the talking," Aaron said quickly. He looked at Eve, the freshly harvested and most likely confused soul in front of him. "I'm just going to go ahead and apologize for whatever my partners do or may do while you're with us."

    Sydney snorted. "Ah, c'mon, Aaron, let her have her fun."

    While Aaron rolled his eyes, Sydney turned to look at the two men standing around the spirit's body now. "I mean, it looks like Bellatrix Lestrange here just left behind Sirius Black and the guy from the Lucky Charms cereal box."

    Miranda took her attention off of Eve to turn to the two men around the body. Her eyes picked up their life essence and she read the names the invisible energy spelled out to her.

    "That one's Jett Black, and the other one is--"

    "'Jett Black'?" Sydney smirked with her head tilted at the man. "Wow. And who's the other guy? Rainbow Connection?"

    "Ahem." Aaron cleared his throat and caught Sydney's attention. "We've got a job to be doing, in case you've forgotten."

    He had already cut another rift besides him in the time it had taken Miranda to read the men's names and for Sydney to comment on them. It stood open, ready for entry, and Sydney placed a hand on Eve's shoulder.

    "Alright, Eve, let's go. You can't really touch or speak to anyone else now, so you might as well let me show you the only other place you have left to go."
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  11. The minute Eve felt the pain disappear she thought Jett or Patrick had saved her, but when she felt an unusual weightlessness surround her the spirit took a moment to look down and what she saw had her freezing in shock. On the ground, at her feet, chest no longer rising or falling, was... her... or her body at least.

    The woman barely registered everyone around her- the new people at least. Her focus was solely on the two men who were crouched over her limp form, shaking her shoulders and yelling for her to open her eyes. Even if Jett showed nothing but panic, Eve could see the tears building up behind Patrick's mismatched eyes as he told Jett there was nothing they could do. The darker spirit ignored his friend and continued roughly jostling her body, ordering her to open her eyes.

    Eve went to place a hand on Jett's shoulder and tell him it was fine, because she was right there, but when her slightly transparent hand passed through his shoulder a thrill of panic went through her. Eve felt tears of her own build up and she wiped at her face quickly to get rid of them. The three newcomers who'd done this to her were chatting casually with each other, as if they hadn't just killed her in front of her friends and left them to wonder just what had happened to her. What was wrong with these people?

    Eve caught a sob in her throat and swallowed it down, letting the only other emotion she felt take over her entirely. The rage that made the woman shake from head to toe was so much more welcome and Eve turned away from her spirit friend to focus on the woman that was telling her to come. It wasn't until then that Eve realized the girl had a hand on her shoulder and Eve snarled and shook it off before turning to the one the little girl had addressed as Aaron.

    "You!" Eve lunged forward and before any of the three could react, brought her fist down hard against the man's jaw. "Why would you do this?"
  12. "Oh shit. She's pretty lively."

    Sydney stepped back when Eve punched Aaron in the face and sent him back. He put a hand on the area of impact and looked back at his attacker.

    "Hey, we're just doing our job here. Collecting souls and stuff is what we're supposed to do."

    "Excuse me," Miranda tugged timidly on Eve's arm, "I know you're probably upset and all, but we're reapers and we're just following Natural Order."

    She stepped back from Eve and rummaged around in her satchel until she found her leather-covered book. It was small, no bigger than maybe seven inches tall and five inches wide, and Miranda turned it in her hands so that Eve could at least see the cover.

    "I wrote about you in my notebook after I got some more information about you. I write about people's lives. It's kinda fun." She pointed at Aaron. "And he's the one that gets the souls out of their bodies and Sydney takes you to your place of rest so that you can be happy and not turn into a crazy ghost."

    "It's better that way," Sydney added. Dealing with hysterical souls was nothing new to her. Whether it was a reckless teenager or a decrepit old man, a soul full of grief was usually expected.
  13. Eve swallowed hard at the information being given to her and even though she wanted to keep being angry, she couldn't when the little girl was addressing her. But still, that didn't mean any of this made sense to her in any way, shape, or form. What the hell was this about Natural Order? Why couldn't she be a ghost? What was so bad about that? And who the hell wrote about people's lives in a notebook? Was "reaper" life really so boring that writing about other people was a fun pastime? Kind of sad, actually.

    None of that changed the fact that nobody had asked her if she was ready to die, nobody had given her warning, nobody had thought to say "hey, five more minutes with your friends", like, what the hell... Eve knew humans never had a choice or a heads up, but she'd always figured spirits were different. She'd thought they got more than a funny feeling. It wasn't fair. She... she didn't want to...

    "I'm not ready to die," Eve whispered, refusing to meet any of the reapers eyes. Her hands remained clenched at her sides, but Eve knew she wouldn't be attacking any further today. Actually, if this went how they were planning, Eve would never be hitting anyone ever again. How did they think they could send her to a place she'd be happy when the place she was happy was here, alive with her friends? What was better than that?

    Nothing. Nothing was.
  14. "You're already dead," Aaron said, bitter about the soreness in the side of his face. "Your corpse is seriously laying on the ground right in front of you."

    Sydney moved closer to Eve again, once again giving the deceased spirit a gentle touch.

    "No one is ever really ready to die," she said gently, "but I'm afraid that's just how these sort of things are. There's no going back now, anyways."

    Even though she couldn't force Eve to come with her, Sydney figured no one needed to know that. Eve seemed desperate to be resurrected, judging her attitude towards death.

    While Sydney was busy consoling Eve, Miranda stepped up to the depressive-looking men and Eve's corpse. She stared at the scene blankly, feeling no remorse or guilt. Not even a hint of sadness over the tears being shed.

    "We've got to get going soon," she said. "There's still some people left on my list that we've gotta reap."

    "Eve, you've got to come with me." Sydney grasped Eve's hand. "I know you don't want to, but it'll just be a bunch of shit staying here. Whether you like it or not, you're dead. And as a ghost you'll forever be tied to this sad little park, never able to escape or go off on some adventure with your friends. At least let me show you some bliss."
  15. Eve gaped at the reapers utterly disbelieving that anyone could be so cold and heartless toward something so... huge and terrifying. It may have been their job to deliver death, but that didn't mean they had any right to treat the person they were killing as nothing more than a thing. And that was exactly how they were treating her. To them she was nothing more than another job, something they had to finish before they could move onto the next thing.

    The woman was right in assuming Eve didn't want to be a phantom, because being tied to one spot for the rest of her life didn't seem like a good idea, but... that didn't mean they couldn't be a little sympathetic with Eve, given the fact that the spirit didn't know what she'd done wrong. If the balance was being restored to the world, that had to have meant she was being replaced, right? That's what usually happened when a spirit died... they were replaced with a new one.

    That thought made Eve bite her lip. She didn't want to be replaced; she loved her job. But... if she was going to die... well, at least the world was going to be staying in balance, right? There was some comfort in that knowledge. Even if she didn't want to leave Jett and Patrick... they still had each other. And aside from those two, Eve really didn't have any family to worry about. It took everything in her for the spirit to not look back at Jett and Patrick, but she managed it.

    Eve looked at the hand holding hers and then at the rift Aaron had created for her to go through. Eve didn't want to go, that was true... but Aaron had said she was already dead, so it's not like she could go back. It wasn't like her death was even that big of a deal in the long run; Her friends would get over her, somebody would take over her duties, and the world would continue turning, unaware it had lost someone.

    Eve sighed quietly and gripped the reaper's hand a little tighter before giving a sharp nod. "Fine. Let's go."
  16. Sydney smiled. "Good."

    She accompanied Eve through the open rift. As they stepped inside, they entered a sort of tunnel with stone walls. The only light in the sea of darkness came from the lantern held in Sydney's hand, that way if a soul was lost along the way all they would need to do was follow the light.

    "Your door should be coming up soon."

    For a while they walked alone in silence. Escort Reapers were never supposed to grow attached to their cargo; sentiment made room for errors. And as of now, Sydney's emotions were as blank as any other reaper's.

    "Here we are."

    She stopped in front of a heavy wooden door. Her hand traced along the carvings, seeming to unlock some sort of pattern that unlocked the metal rings on the door. Sydney set her lantern down to grasp the metal ring, heaving open the door.

    "Okay, so now you just go in and--" Sydney stopped when she noticed a lack of white light streaming from the open door. Something's wrong.

    Peering inside, Sydney was met with orange tongues of flame.

    "That's weird. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to go to Hell. Maybe there's a--"

    A pillar of fire launched itself out in a wrathful howl. It rammed into Sydney, tossing her back against the wall with a grunt. The pillar warped into a sort of hand, swinging over to Eve and wrapping its warms fingers around her soul.

    "Shit!" Sydney scrambled to her feet. Had she opened the wrong door? No. In all her years Sydney knew how to differentiate the doors, and she knew for a fact that she had not opened a door to Hell.

    The flaming hand around Eve dragged her back through the door. Surrounding flames died down into embers, and those embers swirled into ashes that condensed into a humanoid figure. Sydney could only catch a glance and the form before the doors slammed shut in her face.

    "Oh, I am so fired," she muttered, trying to latch open the doors again. But it was no use. The door wouldn't budge. She couldn't even grasp the rings for that long since they seemed to burn an angry red that scorched at the skin on her hands.



    When Sydney hopped back through the rift, Aaron and Miranda were waiting for her outside. The Jett Black and Lucky Charms guy were still there too, still upset over Eve's corpse in the grass.

    "Something happened," Sydney said sternly. "I don't know what it was. Something was. . . I don't know, waiting behind the door I was supposed to lead Eve's soul into, and--"

    A glowing white light overshadowing her figure made Sydney turn around. She and her partners gaped at the rift. Light was seeping through it like water.

    "Crap." Aaron surged forward and swung at the rift with his scythe. Usually, that move alone would have closed any rift he made, except this one was persistent.

    "Get behind me." He stood in front of his partners, who watched him try to close the rift again only to be thrown back when it shot out a bolt of fire at him.

    "That's the same kind of fire I saw!" Sydney pointed at the flame as it retracted back into the rift. The light only grew brighter and brighter until it was blinding. A rumbling shook the earth, and then everything melted into white.
  17. Eve was silent as the reaper woman led her through the dark stone tunnel, hyper aware of any sort of noise that jumped out from seemingly nowhere. Thus far the spirit would say the afterlife didn't seem all that promising; if the "bliss" the reaper had spoken of was anything similar to this black nothingness, Eve would change her mind about cooperating.

    The sudden sight of a huge wooden door made Eve halt abruptly, which apparently had been the right thing to do since the reaper was tracing some sort of design into it. When she pulled the entrance open, Eve jumped back and stared at what was beyond the doorway in horror. The fire in front of her shook Eve down to her very core as terror kept her frozen in place. She didn't belong there! What had she ever done to belong in hell?

    The spirit gasped and clenched her eyes when the flames launched out, preparing herself for a blow that never came. At least, it didn't come in the way Eve had expected. When she watched the flames form into the shape of a hand, the spirit couldn't help the slight curiosity that pushed through the fear. Even when it grabbed her, Eve didn't feel too scared, because it didn't burn like she expected it to, but rather almost seemed to caress her.

    Eve closed her eyes as she was pulled through the door and into the bright room of fire. Even after the flames released her, the Autumn spirit stayed that way, enjoying the warmth all around her. If this was what hell was like, then maybe she wouldn't mind staying here after all. Eve couldn't even bring herself to be mad at the reaper for bringing her here, not when the sudden presence in front of her allowed her to relax.

    "You're enjoying yourself."

    She hadn't expected the voice and Eve's eyes flew open to find one black and one red eye staring at her. The woman couldn't make out anything else of the figure due to the shadow-like cocoon around them, though the figure was clearly feminine. When Eve looked closer, she realized aside from the eyes, everything else seemed to be made from the ashes of the fire. How interesting. Was this person a demon?

    "I'm not, but I understand your confusion."

    Eve blinked in surprise and tilted her head. "How in the world did you-"

    "Call it one of my many talents."

    Eve huffed and crossed her arms over her chest, finding with some wonder that there was still a beating heart there. At least that hadn't left her even if her body had.

    "Ah, ah, don't stay too attached to that."

    The confusion on her face must have been clear as day because the figure chuckled darkly and shook her head. "Oh, Evelyn, you have no idea the plans we have for you."

    Eve opened her mouth to ask what that was supposed to mean, but the hand that suddenly embedded itself in her chest and wrapped around her heart had the spirit once again screaming. The woman squeezed harder around the organ and Eve found breathing become harder as her head grew fuzzy and limbs heavy. "You're almost perfect. I just need to make a few adjustments..." The figure squeezed harder and Eve's scream cut off abruptly as her vision went black.


    "Jett, let's get her to Iris." Patrick tried once more to get his dark friend to release the limp husk that was Eve. It was obvious to anyone who passed by that the woman's soul was long gone, leaving the vessel that once contained it behind like something unimportant.

    The luck spirit had long since forced himself to stop weeping in order to try and get Jett up and functioning again, but the effort was for naught. Patrick would be surprised if he got the man to move in the next day. He had no idea how far Eve and Jett's bond went because he'd met the girl in the short amount of time Patrick hadn't been speaking with him, but Patrick knew it was deeper than the black haired man would ever admit. Patrick knew his friend loved the young woman, though in what way, the luck spirit had yet to understand.

    Patrick knew his friend was blaming himself, hating his very existence for not making it in time, and no matter what Patrick said, it didn't help. The leprechaun knew if he could get Jett to Iris though, she would be able to help put him back together, even if Jett hadn't said or done anything to imply he was broken... well, aside from grip Eve's body tight enough to leave white prints on her cold skin.

    "I promised I'd protect her." When Jett spoke it was with a monotone voice that hid any and all emotion the man may have been feeling, which served to do nothing but frustrate Patrick even as sympathy washed over him.

    "I know." The redhead wasn't going to try and say something like "she's in a better place" or "it's okay" because he knew Jett would strangle him for saying something so shitty and untrue. It wasn't okay, and it wouldn't be for a long time. And Eve may be at peace, but Patrick would be damned if he thought there was any place better for her than right there with them. He knew Jett felt exactly the same. "You did you're best, Jett."

    "But it wasn't enough!" Jett snarled and whirled around suddenly, dropping Eve's body in order to glare down at the man. Patrick sighed and cautiously placed a hand on the gray man's shoulders, giving them a small squeeze. "Jett, I don't-" The luck spirit cut off when the air beside them began buzzing and the ground started shaking hard. "The hell?"

    It was the only question Patrick got out before a sudden blinding white light erupted from out of nowhere and enveloped everything. The spirit barely registered Jett's pained hiss before he felt himself fall into the realm of unconsciousness.
  18. Sydney woke up with a groan. A constant thumping in the back of her head scrambled her senses. Was the earth spinning or was that just her?

    She felt the grass between her fingers as she sat up. Her lantern remained intact; it rested lamely on its side by her leg. When had she fallen on the ground? Sydney looked around her and saw the rift that Aaron had made was gone--so was its blinding white light. Upon further examination, Aaron and Miranda were also lying in the grass with their eyes shut. So were the two men that were crying over Eve's corpse a few minutes ago.

    As Sydney got to her feet, she noticed the lack of one body. Where had Eve's body gone? There weren't any signs it had even been in the grass. Everything was in the norm except for a few blades of yellow grass that hadn't been there before.

    When she looked back at her partners, Sydney saw that they were still passed out but otherwise remained unharmed. Not even the freaky fire from behind the wooden door in the rift seemed to come back for an encore. But Sydney still felt like something was wrong. She felt. . . odd.

    "Hey, Aaron, get up." Sydney prodded Aaron's side with her boot. "I feel like some strange shit is about to go down."

    When her partner made no response, Sydney kicked him in the side as hard as she could. That seemed to jolt him awake.

    "Ow! Sydney!" It was bad enough that he had already been slugged in the jaw by that Eve spirit, but now his partner had rammed her foot into his stomach right after they all passed out.

    Aaron sat up, ignoring the soreness in his stomach. Right now he had his eyes on the ground while he rubbed the back of his head.

    "Why'd you even kick me?" he asked, sparing Sydney his glare.

    Sydney shrugged. "I needed to wake you up."

    "That's why you have a voice! You didn't have to use me as a soccer ball to wake me up, you know."

    "Yeah, but that wouldn't be as--" Sydney froze the same time that Aaron did when he turned to face her. His eyes . . . they were brown. The foggy silver color that all reaper's carry in their eyes was gone.

    "Why are your eyes brown?" Aaron asked her. He steadily rose to his feet, leaving his scythe on the ground. "Hold on."

    He left his scythe where it was, knowing that no one else could pick it up except for him, since he was the owner, and walked over to where Miranda lay in the grass.

    "Miranda, hey, wake up." Aaron shook her shoulder. When that did nothing, Sydney joined his side. The sneaky grin on her face did not bring any good news.

    "Watch this." Sydney knelt down and pulled back just enough of Miranda's white blouse to reveal her pale stomach. Without a second of hesitation, Sydney blew the loudest raspberry she could into her smaller partner's belly. Miranda's eyes snapped open with an obnoxious squeal of shock and laughter. Her legs kicked and she started to giggle uncontrollably.

    "Sydney!" Miranda pulled the hem of her blouse back down, still grinning.

    "Oh, so you wake up Miranda like some kind of baby, but kick me in the stomach," Aaron said flatly. He crossed his arms at Sydney. "I'm starting to sense some bias here."

    "Ah, hush. At least I got her awake." Sydney looked at Miranda's eyes. "And her eyes are brown too. Well shit."

    She stood up and looked at the men who had been with Eve. Neither of them had opened their eyes yet, but the delightful sounds Miranda had made was bound to have pulled them back into consciousness.

    Sydney approached the man with the ginger hair. Both of the men, as lively as they are, never saw any of them during Eve's reaping. But with the new eye colors she and her partners posses, Sydney had a hunch.

    Her hand reached out and tousled the ginger locks on the man's head. Sydney could feel every follicle that brushed against her skin. She hadn't just phased through him like usual.

    "Alright, we've gotta go." She turned back to her partners. "We're not supposed to be able to be heard or touch anyone here, and now I just ran my hand through the Green Giant's hair."

    "But just a few minutes ago everything was fine," Aaron said. "You think the light that came from the rift could have done anything? And there was also that fire that came out of it."

    Miranda looked at the men on the ground and then turned back to her partners. None of them looked like reapers; they all looked and felt . . . physical.

    "What do we do?" she asked. How were they supposed to collect souls now? Busting in on someone seconds before their deaths was what their invisibility was for. And if someone's supposed to die instantly in a car crash, how the heck would Aaron even be able to reach the soul in a speeding car packed with people if the driver could see him?

    Aaron picked up his scythe and twirled it in his hand before slashing open a new rift. But this one didn't glow. It didn't do anything. It just looked like he had just cut a tear to nothing.

    "What the hell?" Aaron tried cutting open another rift but the it was the same result. Nothing but an entrance to darkness.

    "Put your hand in and see if it gets eaten off," Sydney suggested.

    Aaron stuck one hand through the narrow rift and felt around. Upon touching nothing, he stuck his whole arm in until everything up to his shoulder was swallowed up by darkness. Everything felt cold inside the rift.

    Behind him Sydney sighed.

    "Yup. Just like I said. Some strange shit is about to go down."
  19. The first thing she was aware of upon waking was that the ground she was lying on was uncomfortable. The second thing she noticed was after she sat up. Five bodies lay in awkward positions around her as if they'd suddenly collapsed. The three farther from her looked to be a group of sorts, going based off the color combinations of black and whites they all wore. The other two, however, the woman found herself recognizing, though she wasn't entirely sure why.

    The first of the men was face down and the girl took the time to brush a hand through the red hair streaked with green. The soft jaw spoke of youth, but somehow she knew he was older than appearance let on. When the woman let her hands travel to the dark green suit vest, even before the skin came into contact she knew the fabric was silky smooth. How she knew... that was another thing entirely. The girl turned away from the first male and turned to the one that at first glance, seemed to just be hunching over his knees. He had jet black hair that was spiked back, though she was sure if he stood up half that hair would fall loose and curtain his yellow-green eyes nicely. Wait, yellow-green? Just another thing she had no clue the answer to how she knew.

    "You're name is Evelyn Halwood."

    The memory echoed in her mind and Eve blinked slowly and stood at an equally sluggish pace. That was right, she was Eve Halwood, the spirit of Halloween, that's what the woman had told her. It had been confusing at first, but the figure had assured all would make sense in due time and that she could trust the first people she saw upon waking. So... these five... she trusted them. Eve had already gotten that vibe from the redhead and the lanky dark man, but hadn't gauged anything about the other three... perhaps she hadn't known them long?

    The young spirit's head still buzzed lightly from everything that she'd been told. The woman had said she had extraordinary abilities that not even she knew they extent of, and as Eve finally took in her surroundings, she realized enhanced hearing might have been one of those "abilities" mentioned.

    The sound of someone running in the distance made the woman jump and Eve gasped when her feet didn't hit the ground. The spirit looked down slowly and gaped when she saw she was hovering several inches above ground. Flying too, huh? Eve tried and failed to suppress a grin as she eased herself higher into the air without any real effort. "Haha!"

    The sudden desire to find out what else she could do was almost overwhelming and Eve forced herself not to shoot off right there and then; she had to wait for her friends to wake, right? That's what courteous people did anyway, and even if she didn't remember everything about herself, Eve liked to think she was. Though when that little curious voice in her head suggested she at least see what she looked like, Eve found she couldn't resist. All she had to do was find a reflective surface, see herself, then head back. It wouldn't take to long, and given that she was already in a park, the spirit figured a fountain or pond would be around for her to check.

    With that in mind, the Halloween spirit took off with a small whoop of delight.


    A shrill laugh pulled Jett out from the black of his mind and the man groaned, pressing a palm to his forehead when his head began pounding. What the hell had happened with that light? The man opened his eyes and searched for the cause of the noise, his focus zeroing on the two girls that were standing with a scythe wielding male. The three seemed to be staring intently at something beyond his line of vision.

    A whine uttered to his left alerted Jett of Patrick's rousing and the spirit waited for his friend to open his eyes before he pointed out their company. He never got that far though because the second the leprechaun opened his eyes Jett realized something was very wrong. Instead of the green and gold heterochromia he was used to seeing, Jett was greeted with green and brown. Wait, what?

    "Jett? What happ- your eyes are green." Patrick's own were wide with what appeared to be shock and Jett rolled the eyes in question. "Of course they're green, they've always been-"

    "No, no, no! They're normally green-ish yellow, like a cat, but... your eyes are, like, newly mowed lawn green!" Patrick got to his feet in the middle of his rant and helped Jett to his feet before pulling out a handheld mirror from his pant pocket. "Look."

    Sure enough, Jett found his eyes to be the exact bright shade his friend had described. "Well you're no better," The man muttered and turned the reflective piece Patrick's way so the redhead could see his own change. Patrick frowned and took the mirror back, pocketing it without a word and biting his lip. "Well... this is... odd."

    The word jolted Jett back into reality and the spirit quickly gestured for his friend to turn around so he could face the three newcomers. "Speaking of odd..."

    Patrick frowned and turned as directed, and upon seeing the three he gaped and said a little too loudly, "What the hell are reapers doing here?"
  20. Hearing the voice mention them made all three of the reapers jump. For a second they all froze, Aaron with his arm still deep in the rift and his partners exchanging wide looks. Sighing, he pulled his arm out and closed the rift.

    "Well, this can't be good." Aaron looked at the two men who were now able to see them. He turned to Miranda. "Anything?"

    Miranda was flipping through the pages in her book. She looked stressed.

    "No, nothing." Her book snapped shut. "I don't get it. Their life spans are still pretty long and aren't supposed to end for at least another decade or so."

    The men looked just as confused as they were, so obviously no one here had planned for this to happen. In all her years of reaping, Sydney has never seen anything like this.

    She looked at the man with the black hair. "Hey, Tim Burton, you were friends with that Eve chick, right?"

    All of this had started with Eve. The flames, the light, the rift. A strange feeling in Sydney made her think this was all connected somehow.

    She wondered what happened to Eve's soul after the door had shut itself with the flames inside.
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