The Life of Death
The neon blue stared back, casting me in a light hue. The constant hum of voices and car engines polluted the air. I never had silence except within the confines of my mind. My thoughts cleared, the mundane task of staring at the light quieting the voices.
A firm shove to the shoulder jolted me back to reality. The crowds were moving in. Without haste I dragged my feet along the sidewalk, the bottom of my bright red shoes scraping the pavement. My hands stayed deep within the pockets of my jacket. Black on black; the usual attire. It did well to conceal my movements as I strode down the next available alley in the heart of Arcaya.
It should be just about here.
A quick sniff confirmed my suspicions. Slowly I reached out a hand to the dumpster and lifted the lid.
“There you are.” An emotionless pair of eyes met my gaze. The corpse was still. Fresh blood stuck to its shirt, pooling on its abdomen.
“Looks like you beat me to it.”
My heart would’ve stopped, if I had one. I whipped around, directing my gaze to the newcomer. Sitting atop a balcony a few stories high was a man dressed in a black suit. He fiddled with his tie, a smirk tugging at the end of his cheek. His eyes were menacing, filled with raw power.
“I don’t recognize you. New in town? Logan’s the name and this is my territory.” Within a second he was in my ear. I froze, like a lamb caught by a wolf.
“So what’s your name...intruder.” Logan’s breath was cold against my skin. The air grew still. Only silence followed; the cars and voices of the bustling street seemingly gone.
“Milo.” One word. That was all I could utter with the stillness of the air robbing me of my voice. I could just make out Logan’s face out of the corner of my eye. A devilish grin had grown from ear to ear. His eyes were dark pits filled with a chilling excitement.
“You’re shrimpy for a death. Haven’t consumed a soul in some time, have you?” Logan slowly eased off. With a shaky step I faced Logan. As if to respond, a low growl emitted from my stomach. Shut up.
With a sigh Logan opened the dumpster.
“Hold this for a second would you?” Logan motioned to the dumpster lid. I made no movement, my legs cemented to the ground. With great effort I forced my legs to walk forward, taking his place holding up the slab of heavy metal. I stared down at the corpse once more. Another audible growl erupted from my stomach. Logan reached down and pressed his palm to the corpse’s chest. A faint glow of blue beamed inside the dead human where Logan’s hand touched, then slithered up and out of its throat. Logan grabbed the blue wisp as it attempted to fly away.
“Slippery things, souls.” Logan gripped the soul tightly, preventing its escape. Like a flame, the soul gave off a calming warmth, flicking playfully in his hand.
“Wha-” I was cut off as the soul was shoved into my mouth. The taste was never enjoyable. First came the burning in my mouth, then my throat, as I felt the soul snake down into my stomach. The flashback came next. I could only caress my head with my hand as the headaches started.
THUMP THUMP THUMP
Through the thin haze the alleyway appeared differently. Logan phased out of focus and two new figures appeared. One dressed in a plain red shirt and jeans, holding a jagged knife. The other was fitted with a pair of dark slacks and dress shirt, all brought together by a dark blue blazer. The corpse.
“I said hand it over!” The man wielding the knife yelled, his free hand outstretched. The man in the suit fumbled around his pocket. With great effort he fished out his wallet and shakily handed it over. In one shift motion the mugger clasped his fingers around the man’s wrist and pulled him close. The knife sank into his abdomen, a small trickle of red running down his shirt. The man’s eyes began to fade, his body slouching as life left his body. With a heave the mugger hoisted the man into the open dumpster, removed his knife and sealed away the evidence inside. I felt the familiar gut-wrenching feeling as my vision blurred and snapped back into focus. The mugger was gone and Logan was back in frame.
“You looked like you needed the soul more than me and I was in a giving mood. With that soul already off to the Underworld through your portal I guess it’s time for me to find my own to send. I am starting to feel a bit hungry,” Logan said. He turned to leave, but I snatched his sleeve to prevent his exit.
“Why? Thank you, but why?” A series of coughs followed my words before Logan could answer.
“Plenty of people die everyday. I have a large territory and I'll find another soul easily. I also have a bit of a soft spot for rookies like you still trying to get used to the job. That being said, don’t take my kindness lightly,” Logan said, taking a step towards me.
“Next time I find you trying to eat a soul on my turf I’ll end you,” Logan hissed. A chill ran down my spine from his words. The grin was back. From ear to ear it stretched, freezing my very core. Just as quickly as he came, Logan vanished. Within a few seconds the hum of the city returned and my breath steadied.
I hate this job.
From under the covers my arm shot out to silence the alarm.
“Morning already?” Rays of sunlight trickled into the bedroom, making my pale skin feel considerably warm. Arcaya traffic below the 13th floor apartment reverberated throughout the walls. It was a constant hum. I was still unaccustomed to the noise, even though it had been a month since I relocated.
My lanky body resisted leaving the bed, but with great effort I willed it to move. As my feet touched the wooden floor, shivers ran up my back and I quickly threw on the closest available fluffy pink slippers. I slugged along to the bathroom, still wiping sleep from my eyes. The green irises stared back at me in the mirror.
I look like hell.
There was a loud creak from the faucet as water rushed out. A quick splash to the face and I could feel the chains keeping my eyes from fully opening wash away. The pipes rumbled as I turned the shower knob. Reluctantly I stepped in, careful to avoid the water until it was hot. I never took long showers. Five minutes and my jet-black hair and slender body were fully cleaned. Refreshing.
After the shower I dressed in the usual; black on black on black — except the shoes, they had to be a bright red color always — and walked into my bare and bleak living room. No pictures of family or friends hung on the walls. The only decorations in the place were the expensive black leather sofa and fifty-inch TV hung on a gray wall. With a bowl of cereal in hand I took my seat on the couch. Breakfast wouldn’t fill my stomach, but at least the taste was better than a soul. My second alarm nearly caused me to lose my cereal to the floor, but with quick reflexes I saved the day.
“Alright, time to go. I want to be late, but not that late.”