Chapter 1: The Departure
Eliot sighed and watched another stray cat dart from the bushes and into the busy motorway. One day, she mused with a small frown, someone was going to get hurt on that dangerous motorway. Eliot let out a loud yawn and ran a hand through the thick curls piled upon her head. It was way too early to be alive, she moaned to herself, as her feet shuffled on.
Eliot turned a corner and watched as a little girl walked herself to school in the same direction. Eliot assumed she went to Emerson Prep, judging by the crest on her sweater. She frowned again as she looked beyond the motorway at the towering building that was Emerson Prep and wondered why they could afford brand new Lacrosse Uniforms and equipment every year-because honestly who played Lacrosse?- but couldn't afford a crossing guard.
Eliot stumbled and looked down at her untied sneakers with a roll of her brown eyes. She could stop and tie her laces and risk falling asleep in the middle of the road like some kind of homeless person or she could keep walking, trip and fall on her already flat nose and make it even flatter.
Eliot decided that no, her nose was already flat enough and knelt down to take her laces in her hands. Eliot vaguely registered the little girl's continuously dragging feet and she mechanically tied her shoes and tried not to drift to sleep.
She felt another frown curl the corner of her full lips as the screech of a speeding car zipped passed her. Raising her eyes to glare at the back of the loud car, a gasp left her lips as she watched the car begin to turn the corner of the motorway without any intention of slowing down as the little girl mindless walked in the middle of it.
Eliot felt her throat tighten as the seconds slowly slipped by and the car came closer and closer.
Before she knew it her legs were pumping, eyes, chest and throat burning with sweat and tears as the girl began to be in arms reach. Eliot could almost touch the flyaway's sticking out of her pony tail and used and extra burst of speed to grab hold and yank her back onto the sidewalk behind her.
Eliot watched the car grow larger and more menacing, closed her eyes to shield herself from the onslaught of crippling pain.
Lights flashed beneath her eyelids as the burn of breaking bones resonated through her body. The screech of crushing metal and the sound of a child's sobbing deafened her ears before her world became nothingness.
Eliot snapped her eyes open as the sound of sobbing continued to echo in her ears. Her eyes flickered back and forth as she took in the bright morning sun, the singing birds and the cool breeze. Immediately, she began patting her self down for injuries, bruises and scrapes. Eliot sat up in amazement as her body functioned with no pain or difficulties.
Hadn't she been just hit by a speeding car? Eliot turned around as a wailing ambulance came to a stop behind her. Eliot gasped as she watched her broken body lay across the motorway.
She almost couldn't believe it, but it was like looking into a mirror horror. Her dark brown skin was covered in blood and bones protruded from almost every limb of her body. Mindlessly, Eliot let her legs carry her to the edge of the sidewalk to get a better look at herself.
"I'm dead" She whispered quietly to herself, uncaring of the tears slipping down her face.
"Actually, not yet."
Eliot whipped around and stared in surprise at the stranger standing behind her. Wiping her eyes, she took a step back from the hooded man who held the scythe.
"Who are you?" Eliot asked, knowing very well who this man was.
A scoff came from under the hood as the man shook the scythe in her face.
"Oh come on. A hooded man shows up at the sight of your death holding a scythe and you're going to ask who am? I think we both know you're smarter then that."
Eliot swallowed as the sun glinted off the scythe and shined in her eyes.
A hand came and pulled the hood down, revealing a handsome, full lipped man who held out a gloved hand to her.
"Yeah, but call me Than."
Eliot gingerly let her hand be engulfed in the warmth of Than's before speaking.
Than dropped her hand and lent his scythe against a tree. "Yep, short for Thanatos. You know, The God of Death."
Eliot was slapped back into reality as the ambulance zipped past her and her new friend.
"Oh my god, I'm really dead!"
Than shook his head before pulling out a small notebook and pen. As he flipped through it Eliot watched and couldn't help but notice how Than's brown eyes glinted red like blood the deeper she looked.
Than suddenly looked up and locked eyes with her and for a few brief moments, her heart stuttered in her chest. He suddenly smiled and Eliot looked to the book in his hands.
Than smiled at her again and shook the book in hand.
"It's your almost completed death certificate. Just in case. Eliot Gabriels. Born May 19th. Age at death: 18. Cause of death: struck by a speeding vehicle. Internal injuries too severe. Time of death: undecided."
Eliot shot Than a confused look at the listing of her time of death.
"What do you mean undecided?"
"It means you're not dead yet. You're dying. That's why I'm here. I was sent to collect your soul and guide you through limbo and help decide if you want to continue living after the accident or let soul walk into the afterlife."
Eliot looked at Than' with disbelief written all over her face.
"Decide?! Of course I want to live! I'm only 18! I can't be dead! I'm an only child; my mother can't handle loosing me! Put me back!"
Than' rolled his eyes and slipped the notebook and pen up his sleeve.
"Do I look like the angel of life? I can't put your soul back. You'll have to come down to limbo like everyone else and go through the procedure. You're not special, you don't get a pass."
Eliot stood and watched as Than' retrieved his scythe and let the hood hide his face. She couldn't believe this was happening to her. 18 years old and almost struck to death trying to save the life of a little girl.
"The little girl!" She suddenly blurted out.
Than' turned around and a confused sound came from beneath the hood.
"The little girl I pushed out of the way. Is she alright?"
Than' nodded and pointed the scythe to the sidewalk where the little girl was sobbing into a woman's chest. Her mother, Eliot thought distantly, thinking of her own mother who probably heard the siren drive past their house, not knowing her daughter was fighting for her life. She couldn't leave her parents.
She had to get her soul back to her body.