The Children of chaos
For the past few weeks my back’s been hurting.
Sitting in the old chairs of my mom’s dining room, I wondered what was wrong with it.
A strikingly beautiful woman with long black hair and deep blue eyes stepped through the archway “Mi Amor” her liquid voice echoed through the room.
“Mom” I whispered
I stood up and met her halfway across the dining room in an embrace “I’ve missed you so” she whispered, her breath brushing against my ear.
“I’ve missed you too mom” we both let go and sat at the table. She smiled at me with her perfect white teeth. Sometimes I wondered if I was really her daughter. Like her I had straight black hair, but mine was wild and never laid flat. Another difference between us was that while her eyes were a deep blue, mine were more of a bright green. I would never be perfect like my mother; curvy but skinny, talented, beautiful. I was none of these things. But that was okay; because as it turns out, I was something she wasn’t…I just didn’t know it yet.
I had just come back home after years of schooling and hadn’t been home since I was 13. I had missed my mom…she had tried her best to get my dad to let me go to a public school. But he wouldn’t allow it “A public school!?” he had said “Do we look like common street rats!?” and that had been the end of that. I had attended Lady Vanessa’s School for Young Girls for five long years. And now I was home.
My mother’s house was right on the border of the Sky Region and the Sea Region. If I looked out the right window, I could see where the water and the sky kissed one another. I looked there now…so beautiful.
“You must be tired, go on up to your room and rest”
I followed my mother’s advice and curtsied before I went up to the room I hadn’t seen since I was young.
The walls were the same perfect white and the floor the same perfect wood paneling. Nothing had changed. Which meant that if I looked behind my bookcase…yep, it was still there.
I pulled out the old storybook that I had read so much as a child. I opened the old book and began reading the story of the Death Reapers.
‘In each Region was a village where your soul traveled when you died called Soul Villages. Death Reapers guarded these villages. These creatures could have three types of wings: Angel, Bat, or Dragon. Each one had significance to sin. For the only way to become a Death Reaper was to have sinned. Angel wings meant that you had small sin such as lying or stealing. These wings were the most common. Bat wings were the worst, meaning that you had either killed, maimed, or raped someone. And lastly Dragon wings were a sign of loyalty. These were only given to soldiers who were ordered by their king to sin.’
I giggled. I hadn’t even thought of this book for so long. I had never met a Death Reaper, although I knew they were real. We had never gone to visit a Soul Village. I looked back down and kept reading.
‘These wings are colored Black, Gold, or Silver. Black wings represent a sin-tainted soul. Gold means you sinned in order to save someone’s life and silver means you sinned to save your own life.’
At the bottom of the page was a note that I read out loud: “White angel wings can only be acquired by a Death Reaper passing their powers to an unborn child. This child is spared the repercussions of being a Death Reaper for they are pure”
I remembered that when you became a Death Reaper, half of your soul became the wings on your back and you gained immortality. But it came with a price. While your wings grew in, you lost control of your body and whatever you had sinned for to save…you destroyed. The guilt of this act ate away at the soul you had left and was why Death Reapers passed their powers to a new generation.
I skipped a few pages and read some more: ‘Death Reapers pass their powers on by whispering a saying into the new person’s ear. No one but the Death Reapers know this saying. NOTE: a black winged person can only pass their powers to someone whose soul is just as tainted as theirs were when they were changed. This makes it difficult for black wings to pass on but they seem to manage…’
I heard footsteps outside my door and closed the book. As the doorknob turned I slipped it back into its hiding place and wiped the dust off my hands.
The door opened and my father walked in.
“I see you’re back”
I nodded “Hello father”
I looked up into the angry green eyes of the tall man before me. He had never liked me. He had wished for a son…but he ended up with me.
“I hope you learned something at that school. I paid a lot of money so that you wouldn’t be a stupid wench working on the streets and trashing my family name”
He was always like this. I told myself not to cry and waited for him to finished letting his rage out.
“I hope you understand that you’re only here because of your mother. You’re worthless to me and as soon as I figure out how, I’m getting rid of you again” He turned on his heel and left the room, slamming my door behind him.
After his departure I sat on the edge of my bed and hung my head. I felt the tears start sliding down my cheek.
Suddenly there was a sharp pain in my shoulder blades. I heard a tear of fabric and felt unimaginable pain in my upper back.
What’s going on?
I felt myself falling…falling…falling into darkness.
I opened my eyes to see my familiar ceiling above my head.
I fell asleep?
I sat up and looked around my bedroom. My back didn’t hurt anymore. I must’ve been tired.
I stood up and began walking towards my bathroom. As I did, it felt as though I was carrying a backpack with at least four textbooks in it.
I closed the old wooden door behind me and went to the basin. I splashed some cold water on my face and looked into the mirror.
What I saw there shocked me.
Two large white wings were sticking out of my back.
The first person to get to me was my mother’s personal handmaiden. She stopped in the doorway unable to move.
I fell to the floor and curled up in a ball. I cried…I cried like I’d never cried before. I didn’t want to be a Death Reaper.
A cold sensation overcame me as I realized that half of my soul had just ripped out of my back and I still felt the same mentally.
More voices came to the door.
I heard my mother’s voice “Oh dear Lord…white wings? She was born one?” my mother broke into sobs.
A hand grabbed my arm. I looked up to find my father lifting me off the ground. “Get out of my house Reaper” he spat.
I couldn’t stand…I couldn’t do anything.
He picked me up and carried me through the house. I caught glimpses of my childhood as we walked through the familiar halls.
I could hear the maids trying to control my mom.
“Mom” I whispered
It was the last word I spoke in that house. My father dropped me at the foot of our stairs and walked back inside.
I laid in the green grass and couldn’t find the strength to move.
I knew that as a Death Reaper I was supposed to report to the nearest Soul village. But I didn’t care. I was on the border and didn’t know which one to go to anyway. I stayed curled up in the grass for longer than I thought I would. I had finally run out of tears when someone kicked my leg. “Hey.” Came a female voice “white Reaper! Stand up; we’ve got to get moving”
I didn’t even move a muscle.
Hands grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me to my feet. I found myself staring into the hazel eyes of a petite girl with purple hair that stopped just below her ears. “Don’t make me have to tell you again…let’s go Reaper”
A hand was suddenly on her arm “Calm down Bell…she’s a white Reaper…she’s done nothing wrong…she’s just confused”
The words came from the mouth of a tall boy with green hair. He found my green eyes with his blue ones and smiled “chaos wants to meet you…we’re here to escort you”
The girl let me go and this boy held his hand out to me.
What did I have left to lose? I took his hand.
The world was spinning as he used a simple trick all Death Reapers could use—teleportation.
When I felt my feet hit the floor, I opened my eyes.
I was standing in a giant room that had only two doors to it and a throne in the center of it.
Other than me and the green-haired boy still holding my hand…there were no people.
“Where are we?” I heard myself whisper
“In the oldest Soul Village still standing. The fourth one in creation”
I looked at the boy…I saw no wings. This meant that he was an old, very experienced Death Reaper. Only they could hide their wings among their on kind.
I was trembling. I had studied Death Reapers since I was a small child. And I was afraid of them. Now I was one…and that didn’t sit well with me…I felt like I was losing who I really was. I decided to treat it like a learning experience instead and asked “Who is Chaos?”
The boy smiled “Not who…what. chaos is quite literally that; the incarnation of chaos and destruction. He is our leader, our father…the first Death Reaper in existence.”
Death Reapers had lived for thousands upon thousands of years. The guilt hadn’t killed him yet?
Seeing the question on my face he answered “He cannot die just like the rest of us cannot but he cannot give his powers to another like we can. He will be and always has been, our leader”
Whoever this guy was…he must be highly depressed.
The guilt of whatever he did must even now be eating away at whatever’s left of the half of his soul he still owns.
The door behind the throne opened and a man with hair as read as blood that seemed to flow just short of his shoulders walked into the room.
His deep voice reverberated through the large, empty room “Many thanks Requiem…you’ve done well”
The green –haired boy let go of my hand and walked up to the man as he sat on the simple throne. As he took his place at the right side of the throne the girl with the purple hair from earlier appeared on the left side.
They were his personal Reapers. They were there in case he wasn’t…they ran everything he didn’t.
He smiled “Don’t be afraid. You’re the first white wing born in over 200 years. We won’t harm you.”
I felt myself immediately relax. It was the effect that his voice had on me.
chaos looked to the two Death Reapers at his side “Requiem…Belladonna…give me a moment”
The two Reapers nodded and teleported out of the room. chaos stood and walked to where I stood. I looked into his face. His eyes were the color of the bluest sky. He was gorgeous…like a statue come to life.
“Tell me your name” he whispered
I could have told him, I could have refused, and I could’ve said so many things in that moment. But I realized that I wasn’t who my name said I was anymore “I have no name”
He looked surprised “Everyone has a name”
I shook my head “Not me”
“Would you like to guard this Soul village instead of the ones in the Sea or Sky Region?”
I didn’t even hesitate “Yes”
He smiled “Welcome to my Kingdom” he stepped closer and kissed my forehead. He walked back towards the door he had stepped from.
“Let us go” I turned to Requiem’s voice
I took his hand once more and he teleported us to a small room “this is your room”
I looked around the room that was about the size of my closet back home “I like it”
Before he teleported away he let me in on a fact here in the Death Reaper world. “You don’t have to keep your human name. I didn’t keep mine. I chose something that represented my crime”
I gave him a questioning look.
“Requiem” he smiled “means mass for the dead”
In an instant he was gone and I was left alone.
The calm feeling from earlier disappeared and I curled myself into the corner of the bed. I had never worked a day in my life; I didn’t know how.
At some point I fell asleep because when I woke up a ray of light was shining through my window.
The girl with the purple hair—Belladonna—was standing in front of my door.
She spoke in a low voice “I’m here to guide you through your duties for today”
I followed her as she walked from my room. This building was obviously a palace.
I’m staying in the palace?
Belladonna took me to a post on the outskirts of the village “Alright. If any souls appear, you simply guide them to the village…it’s really simple”
“In exactly six hours, your shift will end and you just teleport back to the palace. All you have to do is imagine the place you want to go and you’ll be there”
Before I could ask exactly how to do that, she vanished.
I was alone at the edge of the woods.
I sat on the ground and tried to teleport to a spot of grass a few feet away. It worked!
I did it a few more times before I realized that someone was watching me.
I heard his voice before I saw him “Did you know there is a way for Death Reapers to become human once more?”
When I turned around, the first thing I saw was the blood red hair.
He smiled and continued on “Either you must fall in love with a white reaper or they must fall in love with you. Then the one who has fallen in love must give up the half of their soul they still posses to the other. This kills the one and humanizes the other”
I stared at him. I hadn’t known that.
He stepped forward and grabbed my hands between the two of his pulling me to my feet. His hands were smooth unlike most of the men’s hands I had touched before.
He knelt down on his knees “Let me fall in love with you”
I jumped back “What!?”
He stayed on his knees “You want to be human again and I want to die…everyone wins. Only one person has to be in love…not both”
He stood “Tomorrow will be our yearly census to see how many of each wing we have…be prepared”
He teleported away
I went back to my post.
Fall in love with the leader of the Death Reapers? Become human again? Did I want to?
I pondered these questions for the next five and a half hours.
When I finally made it back to the palace, dinner was being served. I only ate enough to stave off hunger and went back to my room.
I laid in my bed until I calmed myself enough to fall asleep.
When I awoke the following morning a maid was in my room “All Reapers have been summoned to the throne room”
I stood and dressed in the Grecian robe the maid handed me.
After lacing up the sandals I teleported to the throne room.
A human man was there with a book—obviously the census.
I stood next to Requiem and watched as Reapers unfurled their wings to be tallied.
Once the man reached Belladonna and I could actually hear what he was saying to everyone, he asked “Name?”
“Belladonna” she replied
The man sighed “We’ve been through this…the name you had while you were human”
“Victoria Keen” Belladonna spat as she spread a pair of gold angel wings.
The man wasn’t fazed by their beauty “Reason?”
“I lied to my counties king to save my friend’s lives”
The man made a few marks in his book and moved on to Requiem “Name?”
“Alexander Prescott” he unfurled a pair of black bat wings and I shifted where I stood. He had done something really bad, multiple times.
Requiem grinned “I slaughtered an entire village of men, women, children, and livestock”
The man made more marks and moved onto me as I shifted some more “Name?”
I stayed quiet for a moment…I had renounced that name.
“Name?” the man asked again
I sighed “Rosella Chamberlain”
The man’s eyebrows rose “Chamberlain? As in the daughter of the king? In the human world I mean?”
Suddenly everyone’s eyes were on me. I hung my head.
Please stop staring…just forget I’m here…let me be invisible.
“Reason?” he asked
“I was born one” I showed him my white wings
He made a mark in his book and walked on. Everyone stared…judging me silently. Until the man got to chaos that is.
“And because you’re the king…or the first…you have no human name…nor do you have a true classification…”
chaos stood “I was once human”
there was a collective gasp among the group of Reapers.
“You’ve never said that before” the human said
“No…but…I feel as though it’s time it was said”
The man looked as excited as a kid at Christmas “Name?”
“Kione Myers. During my life I broke every commandment there was to break and so I was punished. Cursed to walk upon this land until I found a way to redeem myself”
The man jotted down what the king of the Death Reapers had said.
The room was silent and even later on in the day, not a word was spoken.
That night while I lay on my bed looking up at the ceiling I made the most difficult decision of my life. I was going to fall in love with chaos itself and give up my soul dot make him a human.
I couldn’t go back to my father. There was nothing left for me in the human realm. chaos only said he wanted to die…he could do that as a human it would just take longer.
He said his true name was Kione…I’d never heard of such a name. Was is Latin?
“It means ‘one who comes from nowhere’” I turned my head to find him standing on the far wall.
I wanted to save this gorgeous man’s soul because he’d been cursed for so very very long. I got up off my bed and walked over to him. I stood so close to him that without lifting even a finger, I could touch him if I wanted to.
I leaned up and kissed his lips. He didn’t resist and instead put his arms around me and deepened the kiss.
I pulled at the shirt he was wearing but couldn’t get it off. It was stuck on his wings.
I broke the kiss and looked at them. His wings had no specific shape…but they were black.
I looked into his eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes.
“Don’t fear me” he whispered
“I won’t” his lips captured mine again and I told myself I was going to do this. I was going to save his soul…even though it meant I would die.
I felt the fear grow inside me, the fear of true death. The fear of the darkness that consumes the body when the soul no longer is with it.
I had originally feared what I had become—a Death Reaper. But now the only thing I feared was the darkness of death.
“Let me save you” I whispered as he laid me upon the bed
He nodded, probably thinking I meant what he had asked for before.
Love can such a simple thing. There is deep love, true love, familial love, sibling love, friend love; so many different types. I loved this man…not as a lover, a brother, or even a friend…but as one being to another.
And as I felt the last half of my soul flow from me, I smiled.
The last thing I saw was his confused face as he became human.
I didn’t try to fight it and my strength finally faded away and I gave into the darkness I feared so much.