Shads eyes painfully flickered open to a red sun and a murky gray sky. He quickly sat up when he realized he was laying on his back.
'I-I can't breathe!' He thought coughing violently.
Frantically, he found himself scanning his area for some kind of answer. Upon turning to his right, he noticed a man with a one bullet shot through his head. He might have assumed the man was sleeping, but the bullet wound assured him that the man was dead. His skin would have been the next hint. It was discolored and the blood around the wound was brown and dry. It wouldn't be long before Shad realized this man was not the only one dead...
Spread all across the black desert wasteland were millions of deceased bodies laying all around him.
'This desert is made of... ashes.' He had ran the black sand through his fingers before continuing a long fit of painfully dry coughs. 'Something isn't right... I'm not breathing!' At this time Shad had been looking at his surroundings long enough for the average human to suffocate. 'This is well over five minutes, and yet, i'm still not breathing.' The feeling obviously didn't bode well with Shad.
Perhaps if someone else had entered the same situation they might react differently. One person might feel a little amazed to be alive without breathing, but for Shad, remaining conscious almost felt wrong. Maybe another person would be a little interested, but for Shad, interest is not exactly a good word to describe his feelings about waking up in a desert of ashes. Bottom line is, different people will react in different ways.
He was not going to be the person to look around asking himself where he was. Shad was the kind of person who asked himself things like 'How the hell am I supposed to get out of this place!?'
So, as he continued another series of long and violent coughs, a hooded figure appeared to appear out nowhere. The moment Shad had caught a glimpse of the figure and his scythe, he had already crafted a solid idea of what he might be up against. The long black cloak was almost unnecessary because his identity was certainly no secret. This hooded figure must have been none other than the Lord Death himself.
"Take a deep breath." He said calmly lifting a bony index finger in Shad's direction.
'Wait a minute, what!?' Shad did not really want to take survival tips from something infamous for murder, but he was still unable to break his chain of coughs and he was well aware that his coughing was probably how the reaper was able to find him to begin with.
"Yes, it sounds ridiculous, seeing as your lungs don't work, but you will get used to it..."
"H-How the hell am I supposed to get out of here!?" Shad demanded prior to taking the reapers advice.
"You don't... You are dead, child."
"No, this isn't right, how is that possible? I was just at my wedding."
"Heart attack, 3:45pm. You were doomed before you even set foot in the ambulance... You were confirmed dead five minutes before arriving at the hospital and that was about a week ago, mind you."
"Well, what about all these bodies laying around me..."
"What about them?" Death questioned.
"They are dead... Just like me... Is that correct?"
The reaper was silent for a moment before merely nodded in response. He was aware that Shad was referring to the vast millions of corpses spread out among them. Let's face it, there were just too many unanswered questions and that alone made accepting death that much more difficult.
"... Why are the deceased here unable to move like me?"
"... I don't know." The reaper said looking off into the distance. "Most humans that get killed by the reaper lord simply die, but sometimes a human will rise as a reaper... Even I do not know why."
"Woah, slow down." Shad said coming to his feet. "Are you saying that I am a moving corpse right now because I was killed by a reaper lord?"
"You're not a corpse, you're a reaper. And you were not killed by A reaper lord you were killed by THE reaper lord... There can only be one reaper lord."
"And that's you?" Shad said as the reaper nodded slowly. "YOU killed me!?"
"Is it really that big of a deal?" The reaper said, carelessly continuing his stare into the distance.
"Well, it was to me! I had a horrible upbringing and I worked hard to climb the ladder and fall in love..." Shad found himself pusing again. "Why would you just come in and kill me on one of the happiest days of my life?"
"Oh, Spare me! I already know all about your shitty past and your stupid wedding."
"So then, why me?" Shad hissed.
He could only see half of the reapers skeleton face through the hood. The rotting bones had given him a stomach churning revulsion. Aside from being gross looking, the only really terrifying thing about a skeleton face was the way it hid away his facial expressions. It prevented anyone from being able to tell if he was really as emotionless as he sounded.
"As the reaper lord, I do depend on human lives, but killing people the same way gets boring. I figured a wedding death would be fun to watch. I mean, if I didn't make it fun, I wouldn't be able to slaughter and we certainly cant have that."
"I-Is that so..." Shad replied clenching his fist as the reaper nodded. This guy was really starting to piss him off.
"Indeed it is... My scythe can see the threads that bind all lives together. I simply cut your connection to the living and let fate create the scenario. But, to be respectful, I did decide to attend the wedding. I came in disguised as your father."
'This bastard.' Shad already knew that he wouldn't let him talk for much longer.
"You had very little faces in your memory, so I was stuck disguising myself as your father. But it was definitely worth the effort! That death was like watching a grand performance in the theater! Fate really did out do herself."
"Y-You sadistic shit." Shads eyes had begun to water. "So because you're In need of lives to take, you'd go the extra mile to kill someone in their prime!?"
"Whoever said death was fair? You humans know how life works, but continue to insist that death is different. Your willful ignorance is astounding."
Blinded by frustration, Shad found himself ignoring the reapers words. 'For this guy to understand the painful memories of each person he murders and harbor no remorse... I-It's unforgivable!'
"Old people don't add much to my life span, but I kill them too." The reaper didn't even care that he was being ignored. He would have continued rambling if he had the chance.
"Y-You Heartless piece of..." Shad's eyes were watering. He couldn't hold it back.
"It's just business, kid."
"In all this misery, That was my one shot! My one shot at being happy!"
"Damn... It's not fair I have to keep living with these horrible memories! I-I died before I even got the chance to make it all better. You took that away and you think that's okay because of protocol? My family never loved me, but Carey..." Shad couldn't carry on another sentence as tears began to rush down his face. "Carey is alone." He sobbed. Everything hurt and Shad could hardly take it. "H-How could you?" He cried. Sad as it was, the reapers body language said it all - he was bored with Shad's whining.
"Oh, shut up. Your bride wont have to live a life of loneliness... Heh, I killed her as well..." He said swatting a bony hand at a woman laying in the ashes. Who wpuld have thought that Carey's corpse had been laying a few feet in front of him. "I was surprised to see you awaken as a reaper. Most people never wake up. You're very lucky you didn't end up like your wife."
'Is this what he called lucky!?' Shad had found himself feeling nauseous as he hesitantly crawled over to, Carey, the corpse Death had so carelessly swatted at.
"See? I'm not that heartless after all... You're a free man, Shad. No pregnancies, No widows, or miserable kids. I did you a favor and pretty much spared you from all the drama, and to be poetic, I made sure that she died in her sleep... From a broken heart."
"N-No..." Shad could hardly keep himself together. He wanted convenience himself it wasn't her. He would rather have a widowed wife than a dead one. Everything in him had become empty. He felt completely drained upon seeing the beautiful woman laying in her elegant wedding gown now stained by black ashes. 'I don't want this to be real.'
His nose was running with the tears on his face as he gently caressed her brown hair. His heart seemed to ache thinking about how she talked about straightening it just right for the big wedding.
'Shad's anger was building in the core of his mind. 'He knew exactly how much she meant to me... And he watched!'
On the inside he was beyond furious, but on the outside he just couldn't stop crying. Every detail on Carey brought back a good memory and her current condition tore his heart apart. He lifted the veil and his mind had flashed back to the woman with happy hazel eyes. It hurt him to know that he would never see those sparking eyes open again. In his misery, he fell onto Carey crying in the same way he remembered her crying for him.
"She's dead and you can't stay here long. I suggest you get over it." The reaper was pretty sure he was speaking loud enough, but Shad didn't give two shits about anything he had to say. "I hate disrespect more than anything. I'd cut you in half, right now if I could."
'Fuck off!' -It was only thought. Hedidn't have the willpower to actually say it, but Death would figure it out when he didn't move. Far as he was concerned, Death had said quite enough and he was not going to let anything screw up his last possible encounter.
'This is all my fault... I'm sorry, Carey! You were always there for me. Always loving me on my bad days and building me up on the good ones. We did everything together and I wish it could have stayed that way. Your parents didn't like me, but somehow, we won them over... I have no idea how I am supposed to keep going without you. What will my life be like without our late night discussions and nerdy days with Alan? This whole disaster is my fault. Never meeting you guys is the only way this could have been prevented. I failed. At the end of the day, I couldn't save any of you... If never meeting you was an option, I would endanger you all over again. I deserve every bit of this curse because I am selfish.'
"Fine, I will move you myself..." The reaper said slowly moving towards Shad.
'I would go back in time to meet you all over again. I would relive every wonderful memory you gave me and fall in love with you all over again. I would work hard all over again if it meant seeing you again. Knowing the end result, I would do it if it meant I could just see you alive and happy one last time... I love you, Carey.'
The reaper had tightly grabbed Shad's wrist and was now pulling him away. He had only a few thoughts left.
'You died knowing that I love you... But I know that you're never coming back... I can imagine you in peace and I don't have the heart to force you into this mess i'm in right now... So, that's why I'm making a promise... A promise to kill the piece of shit that took you away from me! For you, my best friend. I am going to kill death himself!'
The reaper didn't see it coming when Shad came to his feet. He didn't understand why he couldn't pull this newborn reaper and before he could think any further, Shad had clenched his fist and punched the grim reaper clean into the center of his skull.