By Emily Chance
It’s a curse: wandering the world reaping souls. The old ones are the easiest. They let go easier. Sometimes they don’t put up a fight, because they were ready to go years before when I took their friends away. It saddens me, but it is the way of life. You reap those that need to go. It is their time. The natural order of the world. The worst ones are the fighters and the young.
One would think that death would get used to her job, but it isn’t so. Having to take a child from their mother is the worse. The mother is screaming, hysterical to hold her baby, unable to hold them in her arms again. I gather the child in my arms and it smiles up at me, unaware of the dangers it doesn’t have to face, unaware of the bliss they would have had. Unknowing that their life could have been great, or that it could have been poor.
The strong ones are the hardest. You try to reach out to them, but they smack you away. Sometimes this battle goes on for days. Their stubborn soul refusing to part. They may be the hardest to reap, but they’re the ones who put a smile on my face. They know what they want. Eventually though, they let go. Whether they mean to or not, they let go.
Each time I get ahold of a soul old enough to speak, they always ask me the same question. “Why?” I’m sorry. I have no choice in who dies. I am just doing my job. What is worse is when I am asked, “where am I going? What happens next?” Because I want to be able to answer them. I want to be able to reassure them and say everything will be fine. But honestly, I have no idea what happens next. I lead their soul to a path. It is up to them which direction to choose. I am not allowed anywhere past the path. Will you meet God? Will you be born again? I have no knowledge of the afterlife. I am merely a guide.
There is one soul that sticks with me. A five-year-old who died from a freak accident. She asked “why?” I answered that I was just doing my job. Before I reached my hand out to her, she grabbed it and said, “that’s okay, don’t be sad. Sometimes bad things happen. Like when you had to take my mama away.” I led her to the road and told her to follow the path, “okay!” she smiled up at me, “I’m going to go see my mama now.” Her name was Nina. She was the only soul I met that reassured me instead of demanding questions or fighting me off, and her soul was the most beautiful and the hardest to let go.
Edited by: Corinne DiOrio