Chapter 0:

The Reaper

Backward Steps

I don't feel like I'm awake; but I'm not sleeping, I guess.Bookmark here

Looking around I can't feel any presence, it's just me, surrounded by the very sound of my silence, deafening, like it always tends to be. I try moving, and walking is possible, but I don't feel my legs touching any type of ground, not even a soil or something.Bookmark here

My head spins with my confusion. I'm definitely not awake, right? Before me, the endless darkness extends to the horizon, and the same for my back and sides. In all the definitions, I'm alone. I cannot feel any sensation through my body, neither pain nor heat or cold, and that sounds to me like a strange way to respond to a... Wait...Bookmark here

I search my memory for any clue to where I am, and what comes to mind makes me dizzy and steals my breath: I see myself in a traffic accident with my bicycle.Bookmark here

Was that a dream...? Thinking about the possibility of being hit by a red car, more than a mile from my house, is devastating. My broken voice cut my throat to get out:Bookmark here

"Where am I?"Bookmark here

"If you allow me, I imagine that we are inside your mind."Bookmark here

Without any warning, a second voice is audible right beside my ear. Startled, I look for the voice's owner, in the direction I thought it should be, and my eyes meet an old man, wearing a top hat with a tuxedo, both black with purple details, which make him look much younger than he probably is.Bookmark here

The old man looks directly in my eyes, turning his head but not his body. There is nothing friendly in his expression.Bookmark here

"Feeling guilty?", he asks, like it was simply normal, to appear beside me in one second. His eyes are blaming me hard, but I don't know what I did with this man, and I don't have any regret words for him.Bookmark here

"Who are you?", I ask.Bookmark here

"I have no idea", the elder answers, "probably I'm God."Bookmark here

"God?"Bookmark here

"Yes, the existence above all the others."Bookmark here

"You look more like a reaper to me", I say, trying to get apart from him.Bookmark here

"Yes, maybe I'm here to reap your soul", he replies, and my features suddenly harden. Moving my facial muscles becomes more difficult, and I feel my heart racing, showing, for the first time, a sign from my body that I am alive.Bookmark here

I'm afraid.Bookmark here

"Then... Am I dead?"Bookmark here

It makes sense. My last memory is an accident; I have no idea of where I am, or when it is in time; I'm encircled by darkness above darkness; and an old gentleman is beside me, saying he is God. I'm surely dead, that's the final answer, following my little logic. But...Bookmark here

"Well, I don't think so."Bookmark here

These words surprise me. If I'm not dead, then... A dream?Bookmark here

I ask it to him.Bookmark here

"It looks too real to be a dream, don't you think?"Bookmark here

"I don't feel like I'm dreaming, too", I say, turning my face to my front. The fear I felt before is now going from my head. Thinking better about this idea, the idea of being dead, I, strangely, don't feel any bad emotion anymore. Maybe because I was, on first sight, afraid of the mysterious man that is looking coldly to me even now, my first reaction was to get scared, but, in this moment... To be dead doesn't give me goosebumps like it'd be supposed to do.Bookmark here

Maybe I feel a little relieved with this...?Bookmark here

The old man finally stops facing me, which makes me feel much lighter than before.Bookmark here

"That's strange... I thought I would see a lot of guilty in your eyes, but it doesn't seem so", he says, not looking for me anymore. "Maybe your mind is avoiding your sins."Bookmark here

Well... I can't understand nothing of this. I'm not dead, I'm not dreaming, so what is actually going on? I don't know anything about sins, and reasons to feel guilty, I don't have any of them in my head.Bookmark here

He keeps looking for our horizon, for a time that seemed just like an eternity in my conception. His voice is harsh, it's not as if I like to hear it, but his silence is way, way worse; mine was already enough to handle.Bookmark here

"You are probably in a coma", he finally says.Bookmark here

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