"A white raven, a very rare sight indeed! Often mistaken for an albino crow, but as one would suspect is a completely different creature. As the average raven is known as a symbol of death, this type of raven is known as the spirit bird. But some suspect if you see either type of raven, Death Is Near! Bla bla bla."
I sighed as I looked up from my book, Rarest Creatures, to look out my window. It was a great day, I thought. The round, decorative window let in tons of natural light for me to read by. I smiled longingly as I watch a couple walk down the street with a stroller. My smile faded as I noticed a black van pull up beside them, the double doors opening.
I turned around to find a white bird. I could identify what kind of bird it was. I quickly looked back to see the man and woman leaning together upon a blue, blood stained fence and a black figure scooping up the child in the stroller. Once more, I turned towards the raven. To my surprise, I found a man in a white suit with a raven shaped helmet and a corrupted looking knife, in the bird's place.
"The price to live is payed with another life; two lives were taken: two get to live. It's a shame you get live."
And with that, he vanished in a hurricane of feathers.
Later that day, I decided to hit the bar, to clear my mind with a couple of drinks. As I approached the bar, I tapped on the wooden counter to get the bartender's attention and called for a beer.
"I'll be with you in one moment, mam."
I widened my eyes as I recognized the owner of the voice. I looked up at the bartender with a glare and confirmed my suspicion. With a heavy sigh, I breathed, "What the hell are you doing here?"
The man in white turned forward and glared back at me. I could have easily have mistaken him for just a normal bartender if it wasn't for the hat he had worn earlier.
Despite my animosity, he replied calmly. "Why I'm just making an honest living as a lowly bartender in case you couldn't tell by my outfit."
I grunted, unamused. I snatched the beer he had just placed before me, and after I took a sip, I asked, "Why would you be taking a minimum wage job; you already have one, right?"
It was clear that I had struck a nerve, and to my satisfaction, I could see him struggling to keep his cool. Suddenly, he calmed down. I mean, he just suddenly went from shaking in his skin to an eerie calm stature. After a moment, he suddenly snapped, "Do you really think being a reaper is easy?"
"And if I do?"
"Well it's NOT! It pays literally nothing, but someone has to do it." He quietly said through his clenched teeth.
"Really, now?" I commented skeptically.
After a deep breath, the "reaper" suddenly had a smile on his face. Shivers were in competition with my heart as it raced down my spine.
"Tell ya what," he began, "how about we make a bet?"
I raised an eyebrow with interest. "What kind of bet?"
"How about you choose someone, aside from me, and decide how they die. If you can with stand having the responsibility of being a reaper, I will grant you one wish. If you can't, you have to do something for me."
"It's like getting away with murder," I sneered,"I wont lose any sleep over it."
The reaper held out his hand and I shook it. Then he told me to choose someone in the room and their cause of death. Maybe it was the beer but I was feeling a little sadistic. I choose a shady looking man near the back, probably a homeless man (nobody would miss him). I told the reaper that this man would die from bleeding out after being mauled by a pack of dogs.
The reaper pulled out a small notebook and scribbled into it for a few seconds, then the notebook just vanished into thin air. After that, the reaper said that the man will die in the next 24 hours, felling tired, I left the bar and took a cab home. Then I passed out on my bed.
I sat up in bed, quivering violently, as I recalled an image that had suddenly appeared in my head.
A man was being dragged away by a large dog. The dog was dragging the man by his neck, his vertebrae were exposed from... mauling? His left forearm was being carried by a smaller dog, which trotted next to the large one. The man's legs were nowhere to be found. But this man was somehow still alive, despite his horribly mangled form. I could see his eyes turn towards me, as if he was asking why and I knew why he had to die.
I covered my mouth in an attempt to prevent any additional vomit from covering my bed sheets. My dinner won anyways.
As I sat idly, with my own stomach contents all over my bed, breathing heavily with only one thought in mind.
"What-the-hell-was-that?" I struggled to speak without swallowing some stomach acid.
Suddenly, I noticed a white feather gracefully flutter before me. The room had gotten significantly darker than before. Instinctively, I slowly turned towards the round window, my favorite reading spot, and there sat a man in my place.
The visor of his raven-like helm kept his face well hidden in a veil of shadows. He sat in the arc of the window like I normally would when reading a book. He fiddled with his corrupted knife, which stood out from his white attire. Stiff shoulders and decorative collar; dress pants and sealed cuffs. He was a dog of the military, dressed to impress. He was a reaper.
"Hm? Whats the matter? I thought you said you wouldn't lose any sleep over this."
His tone was not of mockery but of sorrow and something else... Irritation, maybe? With the strength I had in reserve, I said,"What was that?"
"Remember your comment at the bar and the bet we made?"
I stared blankly at him.A bet? When-Oh, right...
"That vision," the reaper continued,"was what had become of the man you picked for the rope. After all its only fair, right? This is the price ALL reapers pay. If your only broken after one vision, think about having 5 of them. 10 of them. Multiply that by 10-Now 20! And now you only have half of what a reaper sees!"
I stared at the reaper stunned with sympathy and sorrow at the news. To think a reaper has to experience so much remorse every time they go to sleep, it would be impossible to get any sleep at all. My heart began to race with tears. What would it be like to experience this alone. No one to help you-to comfort you-to talk to. Alone and dependent on only yourself to deal with grief. Such isolation would be such a lonely fate.
"I've won the bet. Now you must fulfill my request."
I looked up at the reaper with a dizzy gaze, only to find him suddenly standing near me, which made me yelp. From the look he had in his eyes, I immediately knew what he had wanted. He walked closer to me and held his hand out. Despite being a shipwreck of emotions, I gladly reached outwith my hand to meet his.