It is said that there is a thin line between heaven and hell known as earth. But, there is a gray area between these three sections, a place known as purge. From there we get the sinister creatures known as reapers.
“Good morning everyone. Well I think its morning, its another beautiful day. So wake up and get your grim on. Today weather is the same as yesterday sunny or at least what we are calling sunny in this place. Traffic well no traffic there aren’t any cars here so lets skip that and get to the request. This is number 823 asking you reapers whats your song of the day?”
In purge there is no sun, no clouds, or wind. The dimly bright orange sky never changes. Time has no place in purge it forever stays stuck in one moment. But oddly enough the world looks and feels like the world of the living, a prop meant to be used to keep ones sanity.
Number 475 turned of the alarm clock. Looked at the time and realized there wasn’t any numbers displayed. Got up and went to take a shower, brushed his teeth and was kinda startled to see his skull wasn’t the bleached white it used to be. He then went to the drawer only to realize there aren’t any clothes. 475 imagined he was wearing khakis a white shirt and a sky blue sweater vest. It appeared for 15 seconds only to vaporize and his robe to appear with his number etched where his heart used to be.
Although reapers don’t need to eat 475 felt compelled to eat a bowl of cereal. Today he imagined corn pops, not being around when they where invented he presumed that they were mini puffs of corn. He would have to have a chat with 2,225 to see if he was right. He then open the door to walk outside just to be in a office type room. The secretary greets him in a non nonchalant manner.
3,009: hello 475 your late!
475: well who to say its late there is no clock to display time so there is no such thing as late. One can surmise that since there is no time here that early and late never exist. There is only the here and now.
3,009: I’m saying you late and I wish no to be here. So don’t give me that b.s again. Anyway 125 wants to have a word with you.
475: well my dear, no one wants to be here is how they say the way the cookie crumbles.
475 walks to the end of the hall to tall heavy black door with church-like paned glass with a depiction of a reaper. It opens slightly to let 475 in the room was no different than an office of the living. A window outside showed a garden of roses with a Victorian house behind. The desk was black marble with silver trim,seats where black leather and had the appearance that they where hand sewn . 475 took a few step as the door dematerialized behind him. 125 approached him a jovial matter.
125: 475 it is a pleasure to see you
475: like wise wise I hope
125: you hope? Now what gives you the idea that this not a cordial visit.
475: that fact that all our other meetings have been more on the negative side than the positive.
125: well this will be the exception. There is a grim missing number 509. She was last seen near a portal. But there have been no testimony that the portal opened. If you here or see anything please let me know.
475: very well,but don’t you think its odd that the portal didn’t open for her?
125: if its wasn’t her turn it wont open. You are one of the few exceptions to the rule.
475: say no more if I see here or anything off I will let you know.
The door slowly appeared , 475 slipped throw the crack to appear near his cubicle next to the break room. He walks in just to here a conversation begin
5,050: hey 4,099 how is your day?
4,099: well lets see.... had a dream last night about me being dead and woke up to realized I was dead. Went to go take a shower and forgot to imagine a bathroom. My robe materialized backwards and I went to go feed my dog and realized I have no dog. So what kind of day do you think I am having?
5,050: Geez, chill I was only asking a question. No need to be all hostile.
4,099 : Well I was only giving you an answer if you didn’t want to here it then you shouldn’t have have asked.
475: it seems like everyone is on edged today.
4,099: no I am just having a crappy day. What about you?
475: just had a talk with125 about one of us missing.
5,050: yeah 509 is not accounted for. I heard she de-robed and is going rogue. I don’t know anyone who knows her so I cant really ask around. Your number is close to hers have you ever had a run-in with 509?
475: No she was however staying with 669. I heard a rumor that they both were lesbians in the mortal world. Maybe she still with 669?
4,099: How do you know all of this
475: I think I used be a reporter as you would say in the mortal world. Or something of that nature.
4,099: you could have been a talk show host in you past life
5,050: you dumb-ass there where no TVs during his lifetime, it was in its infancy stage when we died. I here they now have color.
4,099: hey don’t call me dumb-ass you narrow eye socket loser. Where you a tranny in your past life?
475: alright enough of this stop acting like children and get back to work.
5,050: yes dad!you take the fun out of being dead.
475 goes to his cubicle where he categorizes every person, animal and living entity. The job would be easy if it wasn’t for the tragedy of 9/11. the poor souls came in like tsunami waves on a beach, year after year the piles get smaller, the end is in sight. Not it is time for the fun part. The seminar.
The hardest thing to do is tell the dead person that they died. It comes in stages, first denial followed by crying and more denial followed by some acceptance which gives reapers hope , then more denial. This goes on for what seems like forever until eventually they ask the question. Where an I going? Normally there are enough reapers answers these questions one-on-one but during war times all of this has to be done in groups, that’s when all hell breaks loose. It just so happens that’s where all of these souls are going. 475 opens the door just to see the chaotic mess in his wake.
In a room not fitting to even host a small conference thirty people of all ages race and gender have decided to have a all out brawl. In the mortal world blood would paint the walls a crimson red, but since they in the world of limbo it is not the case. No one seems to notice this little fact until the reaper walked in the room. In unison everyone in the room turned to a ghostly white. an award silence stirred the room for a brief moment before a brave soul asked the first of many questions.
Madeline was a thirty-two Polish- American. Born and raced in the Georgetown community of Washington DC. At first glance she seemed to be a bright well rounded woman with multiple masters in finance, political science and marketing. But the truth was it was all a lie. A con-woman by day and a pimp at night Madeline kept herself business as the second madam of DC. She learned her lessons from her competitor about keeping her mouth ( as well ass her legs) shut when her little black book leaked out and for a while she became front page news to a dying media. Even though it damage her reputation and lost some girls, Madeline's competitor still ranked at number one, a spot she wanted for herself.
Late night on Saturday night are busy for the madam. With her girls on the streets and her muscle collecting unpaid debts Madeline is all alone at home but not for long. In the shadows lies a gunman, to asked who hired him would be left to the police who still don’t have a clue. As she walks into the shower the assailant picks the lock and heads to the computer room, he sits and waits. After heading out of the shower with her curvy body glistening like a golden statue, she calls one of her friends with benefits over to help her scratch an itch. After finally persuading one of many in her black book she heads to her computer room to check her accounts. By this time her live in muscle should have made his quota and arrive soon, he will come too late. When she sits at her desk and turns on her computer the glow dimly light the room, enough for her to see in her compact mirror the stranger behind her. Before Madeline can react a loud bang echoed in the room, then silence. As of right now the assassin is unknown and still at large.
Madeline raised her hand as is she was in preschool. 475 surprised at how quiet and motionless the room was wanted to desperately break the silence.
475: you there in the red lingerie. What is your question?
Madeline: Did you know that its January and Halloween isn’t until October?
Stranger 1: I thought I was October seeing that we all look like we wearing cheap ass costumes. I guess for you the sluttier the better.
Madeline: I thought you learned your lesson from last time to shut the fuck up. Perhaps the steel rod in your head needs to be place deeper into your skull.
475: where you are time and place means nothing and where you will be going it wont matter either.
Stranger 2: What do you mean time means nothing? I died on my birthday as far as I'm concern its Valentines day.
Madeline: sorry to disappoint you but its the fourth of July weekend.
Stranger 1: I thought it was the day before Thanksgiving?
475: As I said before time and place means nothing. You all have died at different dates during the year?
As soon as the word died spilled out of his skinless mouth the crowd went into a uproar but not surprising not tried to look for an exit or any other means of a way out. The first wave of denial begins.
Stranger 2: there is no way in hell I'm dead, I was having dinner with my girlfriend and fell asleep on the coach.
475: You would not be here if you weren't dead. Take a look at the man next to you. That is not a fake bullet hole in his head, and those stab wounds on you are very much real.
475 remembers reading this man's file, the one thing he hates more than a coward is a coward that devalues a woman. Stranger two is Kyle Richardson. A son of a Texan Oil billionaire. His dad never owned a oil rig but rather made money on the equipment and the knowledge of retrieving it. Kyle was a spoiled brat and the youngest of five. He was the apple of his fathers eye Kyle skated throw life doing nothing. Anything he wanted daddy always gave him including women. His recent and last girlfriend was among the many women he had at his beck and call. When one wanted to leave the abusive relationship he made there lives a living hell until they changed there minds. To Kyle all women are trophies and should be grateful to be one of his.
The night of his death he demanded his latest trophy fix him a birthday dinner. While he brings a stripper home to entertain him( and later her while he tapes, to watch and for blackmail) his girlfriend spikes his food with rat poison. After the dancer was fulling naked Kyle placed a collar on her and walked her to the table.
They all ate in silence... well not all of them, the dancer was placed under the table and was ordered to keep his dick hard for later tonight, but tonight will never come. The funny thing is that Kyle did not die from the rat poison, but rather his mashed potatoes. Unlike his other trophies his new one didn’t know Kyle was allergic to garlic. Even though she didn’t put enough poison if his food to kill a cock roach he heavily seasons everything else with garlic.
After eating Kyle felt hot and dizzy. Thinking it was the wine taking effect took the stripper and his new girl to the coach where he hid the camera. He sat down and gave the both orders to suck his dick. Twenty minutes later Kyle goes limp in more ways than one. The stripper leaves before the cops show up leaving the other girl to spin a bizarre tale.
Kyle is rushed into a ambulance EMT s do there best to keep Kyle alive. However fate has destined him to die this day. Four blocks from a police station the ambulance is slammed by a fire truck. Kyle soon to be lifeless body is flung out while large pieces of glass penetrated his body, he dies in seconds. Kyles farther had thought of sewing the girlfriend and anyone else he could think of but thought against it. The lifestyle he left Kyle live would put the whole family under the spotlight. Since he has a few women of his own and is embezzling from his own company thought it best to play the grieving farther. 475 wanted to rub in his face where he will end up but thought better of it. There is a time and a place for everything.
Kyle looked around and saw what the reaper was talking about. A man with his lower body blown off. A pregnant woman missing her lower jaw. A man in a pinstripe suit with multiple knives in his back. He went into a cold sweat and wishes he can sink into nonexistence, all in due time.
No one was sure what to do, the glances in the room cast fear and a wave of chaos ensue. Everyone simultaneously decided to look for an exit. 475 knew this effort was futile but he allowed them to try, a weakened and tired crowd was better to deal with then one full of energy. After some time has passed the last person finally gave up and flopped somewhere on the floor. 475 waited for the last hopeless soul before continuing his seminar, he dared for someone to interrupt.
475: Lets start from the beginning, shall we? I am reaper 475 and I am here to inform you all that: a) you have all died for various reasons and b) for some reason the live you chose in the living world has deemed you worthy for hell. No this is not the place where you repent for your sins and go to heaven nor is this purgatory. It doesn’t matter if your christian, Jewish or whatever you all end up in the same place based on the lives you lead, which is why your here. Now if there are any questions lets all be civilized and raise our hands. Yes, you?
475 realized who the man with a steal rod sticking out his head was. His life and death was so funny that he had to share it. Stranger 1 Johnny Bucks but is real name was John Doe. His life was filled with highs and lows. First his name caused him trouble. For instance at the ripe age of 23 he was involved in a hit and run. Johnny lead a car chase all over Montana until he hit a moose going 90mph. He hits the moose, goes through the windshield and over the carcass before landing head first on the pavement. At first glance the police thinks hes dead. Johnny thinks he home free and tries to play dead,but a sudden gust of wind tosses dirt in his eyes causing him to blink. A keen eyed officer sees it and aides him in the ambulance while also reading him his rights.
Once at the hospital a doctor unwittingly put john doe on his chart, a formality until he knows his real name. After a few days the man is released to a corrections officer. One of them asked for his name. He told the truth and said John Doe. The CO flagged the doctor down and asked for his chart. John Doe was written on there with no other name.
A psychiatrist was called from the mental ward to have a chat with Johnny. It was his time to shine and lay on the water works. He played the part of amnesia patient really well. Watching cheesy soaps with ma paid off after all. He was allowed to stay for observation. Just what his court appointed lawyer needed for his defense. Johnny's lawyer stated that a man incapable of remembering his last name was incompetent to stand trial. The judge agreed and he was released.
However after doing some digging the prosecutors found out that John Doe his his real name just as real as his mom's name, Jane Doe. Instead for appealing the case they waited a few weeks. The day after his victim died they charged Johnny for murder. The amnesia stunt did not work a second time and he was suppose to spend the rest of his life in prison, key words suppose to. About 10yrs in a group of inmates had come up with a plan to bust out of jail. The plan was fool proof with one problem, they where missing a fool, they don’t have to look far for one. The group convinces Johnny to distract the guards they didn’t care how he did it they just wanted it done, big mistake. The day of the break out and the gang thought they where home free but just at the sweet smell of freedom crosses there noses did they realized that they've been had. Tear gas and smoke bombs surrounded the men. Guards closed in on the men cuffed them the started there long walk to solitary confinement.
An hour later Johnny uses there escape route to gain an early release. He then calls some old friends to falsify some document and made a new life in Canada as Johnny Bucks. You may cheat fate but you cannot dodge death. After enjoying freedom for seven years, a chance happening puts the final nail in his coffin. While loading construction steal rods onto a sling a young woman with looks that could( and eventually would) kill crosses Johnny's path. Instead of holding the guide rope he smoothed talked his way into getting her digits. Yelling from above alerted the girl in time to move away far enough to spare her life but not Johnny's. A rod enter the middle of his head and came out through his mouth. He didn’t have family in Canada so his body was never claimed. His remains are buried in an unmarked grave with a marker that simply says John Doe.
Johnny lowered is raised hand and for a moment had nothing to say. An awkward silence washed over the room. He coughed a started to ask a question.
John: S..So your saying we are all dead?
475: Yes. Yes you are.
John: Now from what I heard we all died at different times. I ain’t saying in the Juiciest apple on the tree, that being said how did we all get here at the same time?
475: this is a question rarely asked and many still never comprehend the answer. But I will try to water it down for all of you. When you died and say the like that was you going to purgatory. Since you arrive where time stands still you all appear to be here all at the same time to you but to me days if not weeks apart, but the truth is you might at be further than that.
Stranger 3: Wait, wait, wait a god dang minute.
475: god has nothing to do with why you are here and I can wait for an eternity, seeing that I have been here for seems like forever.
Stranger 3: some of us are not the same religion or even affiliated with one. Who gets to decide our fate?
475: I do.
Hearing that sent a roar of outbursts. If 475 had skin he would have a smug look on his face. The truth is that religion was a ploy to get different people to live peacefully. The idea had some unexpected results as other religions and subcultures popped up. I guess it was some way to make a reapers job easier when in fact in the long term it just made it much more difficult. So a criteria was set for all( key word all ) are judged by. Each reaper has there own scoring method but the method that is used are the same for all. Before a reaper goes to a seminar there results are giving to a panel of unbiased reapers and is either approved or rejected. 475 has only had one reject in all his time as a reaper and has never had one since
475: If you all are done chattering we can continue.
Stranger 4: I am pregnant what happens to my baby?
475: the reason why you are here my dear is what happen to your baby.
Everyone stopped there idle chatter and looked at stranger 4. Not because of what she did but the amazement that she could speak without her lower jaw.
Stranger number four was Issa Landry. A honor roll student by day and a rebellious goth kid at night. Her need to please other people starts a conflict in her mind. At the age 15 her mother pediatrician thought is was best to put her on medication.
Instead of using them Issa sold them to her friends. She then use the proceeds to buy other drugs. If she didn’t have to cash she would used her body to make the difference. In one such occasion she met a young thug she knew as D-Train. Contrary to his name he was a suburban slacker who mooch off anyone around him. D-Train has been eying Issa for a while and has fantasize about taking her. One day she just was a couple hundred dollars short, just what he needed.
About three months later D-Train is dodging her calls and begins on moving with his dad in another. Issa mother is at a lost for words it never ac-cured to her that Issa was having sex. Her parents put Issa on lock down. They drive her to school, pick her up and make sure she never leaves the house. This drove her mad, for once Issa looked at the bottle of medication.
After a few hours of feeling tired she went to her fathers “prize room”. Her farther works with explosive and often makes his own fireworks. His latest prized possession is called the F4. It was a small device that packed a punch that had a remote detonator than a fuse. Issa grabbed it and went to her room. After taking a few moments to gather her thoughts she finally wrote her suicide note.
To all whom wishes to read:
I am trapped between two worlds. A place where I want to be and a place where a place where I should be. Neither place feels suited to me. It is no one fault but my own and none should be sad for me. There has to be a better place, a place where I don’t feel trapped and confined in such a claustrophobic prison such at my life.
I give all my clothes to my sister and my shoes to my mother. My computer will go to my males bff Blake. Dad the room itself its yours to use as you wish. For everything else I don't know, charity? Well whatever isn’t drenched in my blood the poor people can use.
And with that final written thought Issa press the charge button. The energy of the bomb sprayed the room with brain matter while turning her lower jaw into shards which also killed her child. Suicide in the reaper lingo is know as a neutral offense providing no one else is injured or worse in the process. If she had chosen another way to die Issa story would be different. Instead she chose a process with deems her a murderer, an unforgivable offense. As for her unborn child, she did not get a chance to live so her soul goes back to earth for reincarnation. Perhaps she will get a chance to have a mother that will love her.
475: your child is safe and will be given a second chance in life considering your took if without permission. She will be birth into a family where they truly love her. Other than that there isn’t much I can tell you.
Issa: so what will happen to me?
475: the same at everyone else here, your going to hell.
Issa: No I mean what will happen to me when I get there?
475: that is up to your tormentor. If he wishes to keep you as a pet or slave that’s up to him. But your situation will be no better than the rest. Its just that they will have the luxury of it ending sooner than you.
What color was left in her body left the instant she realized that there was no way for her to charm her way out of this. Even if she did it would mean that her torture would be longer and more painful than the rest. Home now feels more inviting and she wished for her old life back. It is a shame that that day will never come. She could pray to whatever god she was when she were alive to make her nonexistence be painfully quick, in fact they can all prey for that
Stranger 5: When our suffering ends then what?
This is the part of the seminar that 45 dreads. It is the realization that forever doesn't exist. Infinite is a word that mortals use for a time that seems to never end. The truth is that everything has an ending. Time and life is one and all good things, and bad for that matter, must come to an end.
475:Nothing. You suffer until you fade away into nothing. There is no bigger hell for a finite life than nothingness. Your energy will be used to create chaos on earth to create bad behavior which will continue the cycle.
Stranger 6: We will never be reborn? The only think I can hope for is nothing?! How can you say such a thing? Are you here to tell us there is no hope for salvation?
475: Yes. That exactly what I am here for. You die, come here, suffer, then fade away. My job is to tell you what awaits. I am not a reaper that sugar coats shit so it can go down easier. Reality hurts, all of you are here because of your own actions not because of me.
A burst of tears flooded the room, many tried another feeble attempt to leave the room. Others just sat and cried filling the numbness with sorrow and grief. Finally the time 475 has been waiting for, the retrievers. The retrievers are reapers who take souls to there destined area. 475 remembers his brief moment as a retriever, the constant kicking and screaming when on hell duty never got old , just annoying.
At the end the the room a door appears. One of the lost souls try to open it. Just mil-seconds from opening the door she notices the design of the handle. The door itself could be described as a plan heavy black door that arches as if it belongs to a castles or church. However the handle itself seem to be the purest of white with cracks at random seeming to connect. Upon closer inspection she recognizes it to be the top of skulls with one having a whole directly in the center. This lost soul may know who skull that is considering that the whole is there because of her.
Vivian Marks was for all purpose a highly educated black woman. Honor roll society since entering school. Everyone had high hopes for her when entering college. Her dream of working for a pharmaceutical plant seems just around the corner. Vivian graduates with honors and has just about every company lining up at her doorstep.
She ends up working for Cytron, a company that is often has contract with the government for medical supplies. After only been there for five she she had been promoted three times. During her last promotion she meets a young woman named Maria Convent. A very little known secret to the world was as much as Vivian loved men, she loved women just as much.
For three years the two of them had been intimate having tryst in her office, the parking lot and even in Vivian boyfriend's house. It made no difference to her, when she wanted you she took you where ever whenever. Maria though has had enough of being the booty call. Enough time had been invested in the relationship to nowhere. It was time for the ultimatum, either me or nothing. For Vivian the price was too high so another compromise must be made.
One night after having dinner alone, Maria called an ex-girlfriend with an eerie message:
Hey Katie its me. I know your mad at me still but I wanted to tell you that I love you and always have. I never stopped thinking about you and still can't. I know your married now and I hove the woman your with makes you happy as you made me. If anything should happen to me just know that my biggest regret is letting you go.
I just e-mailed you some documents. If I am missing or for some reason no one can contact me please give that information to the police and to a lawyer. I am sorry to do this to you but your the only one I can trust with this and the only one that will believe me. And I do mean this from the bottom of my heart, I love and no matter where I am I will be watching over you.
About two weeks later the a little boy fishing with his dad finds a bloated woman's body floating stuck on some drift that has collected by one of the beams on a bridge. At this time no one has reported Maria missing, not until there was a funny smell coming from her apartment. The Landlord finally after a few too many threats of suing about living conditions or calling the health department went to check on Maria. When opening her door a mixed of sour milk and road kill rushed over him. Blood had painted every inch of the apartment, but still there was no one in sight. He entered the bedroom and found the cause of the smell. A young woman, platinum blonde hair(which was the only place she was blonde) breast the size balloons filled with water. She would be a mans dream if it wasn't for the fact that her body were riddled with bullets. Later that day the bloated woman was identified as Maria Convent. Police were dumbfounded, who could have done this and why? Katie heard what had happen on the news, she then calls the cops then went to go see a lawyer.
The package Katie had not just contents of the affair but also of the money laundering scheme she was apart of. The other main character in this scheme was non other than Vivian herself. Even though she was named she was still just one of the little guys and the police wanted the big fish. With her charm she convince the police that the affair was still going on that the whole fuss was over a bigger cut. She took the hit since she was promised a promotion later that year.
The police went after the C.E.O, V.P, and the executive supervisor the Murder of Maria and money laundering. The later charge was easy with the assistant of Katie, however the Murder charge didn’t stick and all three where declared not guilty. A few years later Vivian was charge but her lawyers place reasonable doubt in the juries mind and was also declared not guilty. The truth was Vivian did do but not with some help.
Vivian went to talk to Maria with the guise that she was going to leave her boyfriend and wanted to plan a life with her. More than excited about the fact Maria forgot about the blonde in her bed. When Vivian arrived she was not alone. Just out of sight where hired men, ousted from the mob for there reckless behavior. Maria lets her in seconds later the goons rush in. giving her chance in to respond bashed her with a club. The blonde hears the commotion and runs in. shock and anger boils within Vivian as she sees the other woman. Her plan changes from hurting her to just killing them both. “ Do what you want with the two of them just make sure that you take care of them when your done.” Vivian walks to the blood drenched Maria, “ It wasn’t suppose to go down like this, but you leave me no choice. You got greedy and didn’t follow my rules. Now you pay.” Vivian leaves and hopes into her Lexus not wanting to get blood on her Armani suit and not wanting to see what those thugs where going to do with her.
The ex-soldiers took there times raping the girls. Fulfilling there sick fantasies. For Maria her death was slow. With blood gushing out of her head with every thrust. Hours later she was no longer breathing but just to be sure one of the cons puts a bullet through her head. Then it was the blonde's turn. Hours after Maria's death the blonde dies with thirty bullets in her body, she dies in seconds.
Vivian never gets caught, but her life was never the same. The moves out the country and changes her name. She ran a pharmacy on the outskirts of Paris, gets married and has three kids. They then go to college in the states and become successful in there fields never knowing what there mother has done. Eventually Vivian returns to the states. On her death bed she tells her children why she left the states and her real name. She never tells them everything but just enough to gain sympathy from her children. She dies of natural causes at the age of eighty-seven.
The door starts to open and everyone runs. A response 475 has seen and yet doesn’t understand. There is nowhere for them to go, correction there was one place for them to go. A flash of light passes through the opening and freezes everyone in one spot. They all turn in a zombie motion towards the door and in silence all go towards the door. There is one that wasn’t hit by the light and has to be dragged by the retrieving reaper. The door closes and just like that all is over. 475 walks through the hall to make sure there are no hiding souls. Satisfied that there are none he makes a door for himself and transport back home. With the long day behind him he takes off his robe, imagines a steak dinner and heads to bed. Calming his mind he falls asleep and dreams of a simpler time.
© Copyright 2016 Coco Lovan. All rights reserved.
Book / Horror
Short Story / Horror
Short Story / Flash Fiction
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