Chapter 0:

The Reaper

Backward Steps

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

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.

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...

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.

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:

"Where am I?"

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

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.

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

"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.

"Who are you?", I ask.

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


"Yes, the existence above all the others."

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

"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.

I'm afraid.

"Then... Am I dead?"

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...

"Well, I don't think so."

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

I ask it to him.

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

"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.

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

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

"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."

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.

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.

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

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon