The roar of his motorbike echoed in the fresh, crisp morning air as it slithered through the back alleyways.
For some, their day was just beginning. But for Joshua Kim, he was just thankful to finally be on his way home. It was seven in the morning and he had been working throughout the night. The last twenty-six hours had been a nightmare. Rushing around from hospitals to crash scenes, to retirement villages and back to the hospital again; he seriously couldn’t remember the last time he had so much work placed upon his shoulders. When Austin, one of the Elder Reapers, handed him his package yesterday, Joshua had to chuckle at the other male. The package was heavy even for Joshua – someone who worked out daily.
Well, it seemed as if Reapers don’t joke anymore. Because every single soul in that package delivered to him was a soul that he had to personally deliver. Of course, there were some days where his job wasn’t as bad. For example, those deaths where people have been held hostage and they get their revenge on the criminals through acts of self-defence. They were freaking brutal and Joshua loved seeing that justice is served. But then there were those days like today where he was reminded that his job as a reaper was a curse; that he was being punished for something that he had done in his past life.
His list for the day had been an array of different characters. Starting off with a stillborn child at the hospital, moving onto a massive car crash in which he managed had to meet up with eight other reapers who were also there to guide those lost souls. He then moved on to a couple of different retirement villages where the good old people took their final breaths around their families (or some of them, sadly, were alone). And finally, returning back to the hospital to guide the soul of a seven-year-old child who had lost her battle to cancer. He was emotionally, mentally and heck, even physically drained after today.
As he arrived at the house, Joshua parked his motorbike at the front before taking a moment to just sit there and… well, reflect. A deep, heavy sigh fell from his lips as he stared at nothingness. What did he seriously do in the past that lead him to here? What horrible crimes did he do? Surely, there were far worse people out there than he. His dark eyes travelled from the nothingness that he had been starring at before and began to travel around his surrounding area. He could hear the sound of someone’s footsteps in the distance coming closer. Well, it really didn’t matter, did it?
He was wearing his reaping clothing; it meant whoever it was, wouldn’t be able to see him. Just like his motorbike and the house behind him. Everything was covered making it invisible to the human eye. Well, that’s what he had assumed. Never once had any police officers pulled him over for speeding or not wearing a helmet (he was dead, after all; how could he die again?). Nor did the families of those who were dying ever notice him in the room. He was invisible to all humans. Well, that’s what he was told at least.
sofia's life had settled into a routine; each day blending into the last until she seemed lost within time itself.
Though admittedly, Sofia wasn't able to discern if it was something she enjoyed. Hadn't she always been cursing the change thrown into her life, erupting into chaos and causing everything to fall apart? Yes. Yet...
The thought was interrupted when a shivering sensation shot down her spine, and her eyes became suddenly alert, glancing around the people are her. She felt death. The female was quickly overcome with dread; despite everything, she could never escape it.
There was a time she'd seek out the individual, perhaps offering her gift as a service — allow them to reconnect or communicate with someone. But often, she was ridiculed, or she couldn't feel anything when she tried. Claiming it was a blessing was something met by quick agitation and anger on Sofia's part. She was tired.
And so, she brought her eyes back towards her goal, a shopping list clutched in her hand, dashing in and out, sighing at the feeling of the morning sun on her skin. She'd intended to go for a run, but had woken up later and found that her apartment was lacking severely in food. And food was a top priority. Sofia began strolling back, however her pace continuously increased the more her stomach growled.
Something seemed to call out, existing just beyond her peripheral vision. The kind of thing that's not truly there, alike to the feeling of a word being on the tip of your tongue, or a thought being just on the edge of your mind. She understood that feeling, spinning on her heels to the right.
Looming up ahead was a house she'd never seen. But she walked down this street often. And she hadn't even seen any construction happening — how had it gotten there? She bit her lip when she noticed someone resting with their motorbike just outside. Her body froze up, as her mind screamed she simply had to go and asked.
Sofia walked up, the world seeming to fall still as she took each step along the pavement. She paused about two metres away, pursing her lips before craning her neck to ask, "Excuse me? Do you live here?"
His dark eyes gazed up to see a female walking nearby. Well, that would explain the footsteps he could hear prior. His eyes lingered on her a moment, beginning to wonder what she was doing with her day. Was she on her way to work, or maybe she was just out for a morning walk? Either way, he prayed for her sake that her name wasn’t written down for the day. She looked way too young and pretty to feel the cold touch of death on such a beautiful day as today.
Running his fingers through his locks, Joshua brought his attention back to the bike he was sitting on. I suppose it was time to hand over his papers to the golden reapers (what they liked to call the older, elder reapers as they worked as mentors to the younger ones) and hopefully hit the sack. Even though he was technically dead and a spiritual being, he was still hit with hunger and sleep deprivation. He needed to recharge before he could go out and do his reaping duties once more. Maybe even get in a work out before having to continue his duties? After all, it wasn’t like there was a person dying every second in this town. He still had free time up his sleeve.
Joshua was just in the process of swinging his leg over his bike to stand on firm ground when he heard a voice. Wait – where they talking to… him? Curiously, he looked over to see where the voice was coming from. Low and behold, it was the girl from moments before. Standing there. Looking at him. Wait, she could see him? But… he was wearing his reaping clothes? No one could see him in his reaping clothes. Unless… oh dear, was this a lost soul that one of the other stupid younger reapers forgot to bring all the way to the gates?
His brows furrowed slightly in confusion and before he could stop himself, he had completely forgotten that he was in the process of swinging his leg over to stand. And due to his forgetfulness, he ended up losing his balance and having his foot stuck on the bike. It was just a big old mess. In a state of confusion and having his pride brought down a peg or two, Joshua found himself on the floor once he managed to free his leg. What the hell, you idiot he cursed himself before quickly standing up and pretending like none of that had ever happened. And if she said that it happened, he would just call her a liar because there were no witnesses around.
He wiped the dust off his jeans before slowly looking back up at the girl. “Uh… yeah…?” well, that sounded more like a question than a statement. But he was curious about this girl. Was she a lost soul? Or maybe there was something wrong with him because she could see him? Slowly, he began to take a few steps closer to her. “Did you… need help?” he slowly asked. Well, there really wasn’t any point asking a lost soul that. Most of the time they don’t even realise they’re lost. They get so confused and just keep repeating their routines over and over again until they’re finally found and brought to the gates.
However, there was something different about this girl. Normally with a lost soul, they had a particular aura about them. The same with humans. But, as he stood before this girl, he was struggling to sense her aura. It was almost like hers had been thrown into a cocktail mixture of sorts. Hmm… interesting… he thought to himself as he crossed his arms in front of his torso.
sofia had not expected a simple question to end with the male on the floor in front of her.
Nor was she prepared for his truthfully confused sounding answer. Did he forget that he lived here? Or was he lying? Sofia supposed it didn't matter all that much; it's not as if she'd be seeing him again. Though, she could help with his memory if he needed. At least, as far as she was aware she could. With such little practice, Sofia didn't fully understand what it was she could do, nor how to do it. Truthfully, the female had convinced herself out of trying, after one horrid interaction.
As her thoughts ran, the male landed with a soft thud against the pavement. Sofia was momentarily taken aback, though she instinctually stuck her hand out to help him off the ground. He didn't take it. "You should be more careful on your bike." she whispered, hoping he didn't hear the moment after the words left her mouth. Her eyes landed on the motorcycle once more, lingering for a short moment to process that the slight skip of a heartbeat.
Need help? The passing, worrying thought that Sofia looked out of place crossed her mind, but the more likely situation was that she'd caught him off guard. "No, not particularly. I'm just surprised a whole house was somehow built here without me even noticing the construction." She shrugged, making nonchalant comments, hardly taking notice of the intrigued spark glinting in his eye. Sofia leaned a little to the left, craning her neck to get a better look at the house, "It's really gorgeous!" Her brown eyes lit up, a large grin across her face, before her eyes flicked back to the male, still standing there, and her grin fell.
First impressions, as her father had always said, were the key to success. It was no wonder Sofia hadn't amounted to much as of yet. "Right! My name is Sofia. And yours is...?"
Joshua looked from the female to the house behind him, and back to the female once more. She could see the house? An involuntary frown formed upon his face as he tried to pierce things together. She could see him… even though he had his reaping clothes on… And she could see the house… even though it was shielded? Most people didn’t even bother to look at it twice considering how dilapidated it looked to the human eye. Then again, humans only ever really saw what they wanted to see.
But how did she see the house? How did she see him? His brow rose as his interest only peaked. Was she… was she dead? That was probably the only option he could think of. That she was dead, and her soul was absolutely lost – and that she had completely forgotten that she was dead. Oh man, he was hoping that he could go to bed. Now he was going to have to finish off another reaper’s sloppy job? Well, I suppose he could just let her go and continue to wonder? Huh, yeah, and get in trouble with the big guns for not doing his job properly. He didn’t want to get into any sort of trouble because another reaper couldn’t do their job properly.
And then she mentioned her name. Sofia. What a pretty name. It fitted her; a pretty name for a pretty girl. Oh man, why do all the pretty ones die at such an age? I suppose the best thing he could do was be nice and help her find the gates, right? “My name is Joshua.” he responded with a small, comforting smile. What a poor soul he thought as his sad eyes gazed at the girl. It was one thing to help the soul of a baby or child, but helping souls that had no clue that they were dead was the worst.
Okay… right… it was down to business.
Joshua’s eyes trailed back to the house before looking at the female before him. He was going to have to find her paperwork before he could bring her to the gates. Great. All the paperwork was inside the house. If he left her here by herself, she would probably runoff. After all, she didn’t know she was dead, right? Running his fingers through his hair, he tried to come up with some sort of plan.
“Did you… want to come inside to see the place?” he asked her. Oh wow. That didn’t sound creepy at all. “I mean… You said it yourself. It’s really gorgeous. A uhh… a lot of time, love and effort went into it… You should come in and have a cup of tea.” Yeah, a cup of tea. It was last cup of tea that they gave to lost souls before bringing them to the gates. It helped them transition from their living life into their afterlife. Okay, now how to sound less creepy about inviting her into the house? “I just moved to the area from Australia so… I don’t really know many people. It’d be nice to get to know someone who lives around here. Make some friends.”