The Other Side

Killing people gets exhausting after a while. The first few were interesting, even amusing as I increasingly became one with my creative side. When the death toll reached the triple digits… Yeah, that was when I started to get annoyed. I mean, I just wanted to get the girl and get out of there. Don’t we all?

I was a shy kid, you know, the kind that likes to dig up worms and read books while cramped between tree limbs; especially the kind who can’t explain to you what it’s like to make proper use of a see-saw.

Eve was my opposite. She had been the fire of my youth, expanding into the spaces I could not fill on my own. She lived a few houses down the street, and when we were both four, she rode her bike all of 40 yards to where I was, ringing her bell the whole time.

She picked up some chalk, drew a sky to complement my my field of green, and that was that.

The rest of our love story went just like in the books. As children, we were content with being inherently different – I was the handle, and she was the blade and together we were absolutely perfect. As we grew so did our understanding of each other. Gradually we  became one: inseparable, finishing each other’s sentences, reading each other’s thoughts. Although we never dated each other, we were so close that neither of us could imagine ourselves with anyone else. I proposed during halftime of the Super Bowl game while our families huddled around the TV as was the tradition. She chuckled, said yes, and went back to enthusiastically abusing her vocal cords as soon as the third quarter began.

Eve. Oh, my Eve.

Look at the life I’m living to get you back, if only you could get close enough for me to kill.

I woke up one morning with Eve-less arms. I was in a stark white, polished, harshly geometric room. It was barely furnished, and what little furniture existed in the room represented an interrogation scene. I blinked blankly at the man in front of me resting in a white armchair, spinning a glass paperweight on the table. He was wearing, unsurprisingly, a bright white suit. I closed my overly stimulated eyes.

“Where’s Eve?” No response.

I opened my eyes, weirdly calm. It was as if I already knew where I stood with this powerful man, that there was no way out. There would be a deal made – an unbalanced one – or I would be destroyed. I asked a more reasonable question this time, one that seemed to impress the man: “What do I have to do to get her back?”

He introduced himself as Lucifer, although I somehow couldn’t put two and two together until our meeting was over. He simply told me that I had been hired, “My assistant said you were right for the job, but that question you just asked confirms it. You got practicality, kid.” I was in a sort of stasis between life and death, my body alive but my essence had all but vanished from the Earth. I was to be a killing machine.

“Try to kill everyone you come across. The ones who are ready to go will die, others won’t. Over time, you’ll figure out your powers. You’ll learn to distinguish between humans that are ready to die and those that still have life in them. I’ve made your wife your key. When you find and kill her, you are free to resign. Here’s my card,” he handed me a banal business card with contact information. “Talk to my assistant if you have any questions. I’m late for a meeting and frankly, these talks tend to bore me.”

I later found out from his assistant that once I killed Eve, we would both be reincarnated, sent to the afterlife or whatever there was to do after death – it didn’t matter to Lucifer. All he knew was that he had been given the tedious task of providing the right balance of evil in the world, and this included death. He hired people like me, generation after generation, finding those of us with the right kind of psyches to do the job. None of us were innately evil; he just found something within us.

So you can call me the Grim Reaper, if it sits with you well. The Angel of Death. Abaddon. There are myths of my brothers and me, folklore in every culture. I am the personification of death, that’s right. I kill people day and night, relentlessly. Say what you want, think what you’d like, but I am not a monster. I refuse to believe it. I am tired, and I just want one thing.

Please, please let me know if you’ve seen my Eve.

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