“You,” the voice whispered, “are fucking Death. That’s right. C’mon, c’mon! Take it in. You. Are. Death. The big bad God of the Underworld. Head honcho of souls, the big cheese of Hell. Mortals will grovel at your feet when you rip their souls outta their fu-“ “Hey. Are you listening to me? You have a contract to fulfill you know.” Her prose interrupted, the shadowy figures exchanged glances in the depths of Hell. On one side of the teller window sat Disnorakiin, otherwise known as “Jobman John”. His eyes were fading stars, their light diminished and dull, hanging in the shadows he called his face. His pose spoke of one who’d seen this pep talk routine many times over. On the other side stood Death Agent #7302, who called herself “Sahvozdosil”, but was more commonly known as Alice. Her eyes shone bright like newborn suns, ready to enact burning righteous vengeance on the living. Or so she said, there were many new Death Agents who let it get to their heads. Luckily for the humans, Death himself was in control of their lives. He chose carefully who to kill, running a program on Skullscript which factored in many different aspects of human life. This year’s Death did anyway – it was just a title granted to their elected leader. Some years a particularly bloodthirsty soul would be elected as Death, heralding the doom of millions on the Overworld. Others, a delicate hearted soul would kill no one. The current Death was a systematic worker and a dork but his coding kept the balance between souls and people in check. Anyway, the peoples’ names were printed out and sent to “Jobman John”, who’d then hand them out to the Death Agents. The Death Agents were tasked with retrieving their souls. “Yeah, yeah. Just give me the name and I swear, I will RIP OUT THEIR FUCKING SOUL! THEIR INSIGNIFICANT LIVES SHALL BE SNUFFED OUT LIKE CANDLES!” “There are seven thousand, three hundred and one other Death Agents who’d be perfectly happy to take this job.” “So?” “So shut up, or you won’t get it!” “Oh my god. God as in Death. President, King, Mister Death. I am so sorry. Will not happen again. So can I have the contract, pretty please with a cherry on top?” “… Take it and get outta here.” “Yay! You’re a sweetie, John.” Alice snatched the burnt piece of paper that came flying out of the teller’s window before hurriedly floating away through the depths of Hell. “Bitch.” She snarled once she was sure she was out of his hearing, a good block or two away. A bit excessive perhaps but rumor had it that Jobman John’s ears were as sharp as obsidian blades. For what mortals had to say about Hell it was actually a very cozy nook. Hot at times maybe, but then again the denizens above lived in places such as Phoenix, Arizona. They were hypocrites to write such slander about the Underworld. Some things they got right about it though, such as the torture going on (souls that hated their jobs on Earth tended to hate their jobs here more), “hellish” wails (they could blame the screamo souls for that one), and Nine Circles of Hell (a very popular band name as well as being the different districts). Alice considered herself lucky really. Hell was as boring as it could be. The jobs you got were identical to the ones you had when you were alive. There were no pets in Hell as far as Alice was concerned, as all dogs went to Heaven and cats being a rare occurrence, having nine lives. They still had to pay, eat, shit, piss and sleep – though it was more of a habit thing. Being souls, technically they needed none of that but without them they’d have nothing more to do besides float around and lament their loneliness to the world. She flew up to the Great Latch, the portal between the two worlds and flashed her contract ticket to the operator. In monotone he spoke. “Welcome to the Great Latch, the portal between the Under and Overworld. Please keep in mind that-“ “Uh, hello? Death Agent here.” He blinked for a few seconds before continuing his introduction. “That contact between humans and souls are strictly prohibited under Law #24. Furthermore-“ “Unbelievable.” “If found guilty of frater-“ With a loud sigh, Alice pushed herself through the barrier and typed in the combo needed to unlock the Great Latch. She’d only been a Death Agent for three contracts but the patience needed to withstand his robotic speech was impossible. In a flash of lights, the portal dramatically began humming and shimmering with energy. The human world could be seen faintly in the distance and Alice took a deep breath before entering, his speech still going on behind her. Hell sucked. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Alice took in a deep breath of Overworld air before remembering to take her human form. Limiting, but useful to prevent panic. In a few uncomfortable moments her shadowy form morphed and shifted to form a womanly shape standing 5’8. Her now long, blonde locks brushed her back and she put on an endearing smile before becoming visible and taking in the scene around her. The Death Agent was met with the stares of shocked, some leering, of the passer byes around her – she’d forgotten to summon clothes again. In a flash Alice zipped away to a nearby alley, their laughter echoing in her ears. After her little mishap and a tank top, jeans, socks and shoes later, she finally opened up the contract crumpled in her left hand. Upon the singed paper was written her victim’s information: Peter, a twenty year old man… and that was it. Alice frowned. Jobman John must’ve had sharper ears than she’d thought – he was renowned for making trouble making Death Agents’ jobs harder. Luckily, all Death Agents had an affinity for sensing their victim’s souls but without more information, the job would be infinitely harder. “I HATE YOU JOHN!" Stronger Death Agents were able to call upon their powers of the Underworld to help them become invisible for long periods of time, fly, teleport to the shadows of the world but for Alice, a newbie, she had the power of walking and tracking down this soul whose presence she could barely feeling tugging on her mental compass. It’d take days unless she bumped into him but the chances of that happening were nearly zero, wasn't it?