Chapter 18:

The Promise We Shared

Second Chances

“I meant what I said. I can give you three chances. No. You know what, four chances. Four second chances for you to redo it. Your pathetic life. Since you defied fate so much, why not succumb to it this time?”Bookmark here

“Who are you?”Bookmark here

“I’m Grim Reaper, I lead people to the gate of their afterlife.”Bookmark here

“Reaper.”Bookmark here

“That’s me,” he pointed at himself. “So do you want it?”Bookmark here

“Say it again.”Bookmark here

“Say… what?”Bookmark here

“The contract. In details. How can I go back and save them?”Bookmark here

“Oh, right, right,” he clears his throat. “The contract starts here: if Shin, the human standing in front of me is able to save his loved ones, one by one, before their death, and all at once, at the last hour before the New Year’s, his life would be restored, in the timeline of which he managed to accomplish this in. He is to be given three chances of four days, and a final chance of three days—all before the New Year. If he were to fail, he would have forfeited his life to me, and is to serve as a Grim Reaper for eternity.”Bookmark here

Reaper knocked the end of his scythe to the ground. “Choose, Shin. For either a mundane afterlife, or a race against death itself. This shall be your path to salvation, to redemption, and to love. Do you want to have second chances? Yes, or no?”Bookmark here

I took a deep breath, as I stood myself up, “Yes.”Bookmark here

“Extend your right arm.”Bookmark here

I put my right arm out.Bookmark here

He rotated his scythe and made a small slice on one of my fingers.Bookmark here

My blood dropped onto the dark ground.Bookmark here

He knocked his scythe again. “The contract ends here.”Bookmark here

I looked at him. “That’s it?”Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s it,” he quickly patted my back. "I've got your promise; we are sort of bonded by this contract now. Do you have anything else to ask me before your first trial?”Bookmark here

“Why would you help me?”Bookmark here

“Help you?” Reaper chuckled. “No, no, no, Shin. I’m helping myself. You see, when people die, they emit this sort of negative energy. Aura, you can call it. Those who died peacefully had less of them, but those with regrets, they were bursting with them."Bookmark here

He cleared his throat. "Now, people with deep rooted regrets who died cannot make it to the afterlife. Once they reach the gate, they will be decimated and crushed by their own feelings. They will not be able to be reincarcerated but to wander the realm between life and death for eternity. Mindlessly. If sometimes they accidentally stepped across the realm of life, then that’d be what you humans called ‘ghost’.”Bookmark here

“Soooo,” he continued. “Then these ‘ghosts’ wouldn’t be our problem anymore. What they manifest into, what they possess, they are out of our control. It’s the other division that handles this. Some call them the ‘demon slayer’, while some call them the ‘cursed sorcerers'. Meh, they went by different names in different eras.”Bookmark here

“What’s your point?”Bookmark here

“My point is, I cannot harness the negative emotions this way. I needed to find ways to gather some; I’ve searched for centuries until you appeared. You, and your attitude towards your life. You are the perfect choice. What would be better to see someone who doesn’t believe in second chances, to redo their life, to suffer again and again just to defy fate with their second chances. The amount of despair that you will have—ho, ho, ho, it’s going to leave God of Fate himself in fear.”Bookmark here

“I’m a pawn, then.”Bookmark here

“Oh, Shinnn. Don’t look at yourself like that. You get to save them; I get to have some power. Win-win.”Bookmark here

“Fine, send me back. I’ll save them all in my first try.”Bookmark here

“Oh… I wouldn’t be so hasty if I were you, else, you get God of Fate’s eyes all over you.”Bookmark here

“Send me back.”Bookmark here

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”Bookmark here

“Send me back!”Bookmark here

He smiled. “As you wish, Shin.”Bookmark here

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“Shin.”Bookmark here

I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at my watch.Bookmark here

11:59AM.Bookmark here

No premonition or anything. Great. I got caught off guard the third time when a truck hit me. It was a paradox in itself, where I was trying to avoid being on the street, but I ended up on the same street, and was hit by the same truck. The fourth time around, I chose not to move anywhere and so I didn’t have any vision.Bookmark here

“Shin,” Reaper appeared, sitting in front of me.Bookmark here

“What do you want?”Bookmark here

“This contract of ours, Shin,” he said. “It’s no longer our little secret anymore.”Bookmark here

“… What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“Those 10 children that you saved from despair, they made it to their afterlife peacefully.”Bookmark here

“So? Isn’t that a good thing?”Bookmark here

“Precisely. That’s why it has created a tiny abnormality in this timeline. Even though the 10 deaths were replaced, the end results were not the same.”Bookmark here

“So, you’re saying someone would come and interfere?”Bookmark here

“Not someone, Shin. Some god. God of Fate. Your vision, it’s been masked. Those invisible strin—”Bookmark here

My watch beeped.Bookmark here

Beep.Bookmark here

Beep.Bookmark here

12:00PM.Bookmark here

I felt an electric jolt across my entire body.Bookmark here

I calmed myself down, and started to take deep breaths. My mind seemed to have suddenly swung and rotated at a dizzying rate.Bookmark here

I stopped the alarm and checked my surroundings. There was barely a single person that I could see, but me. Only one librarian was placing the books from the trolley to the shelves, while listening to her earphones. The sun shone in from the window, it’s a clear and blue sky out there.Bookmark here

I turned my attention back to whoever’s in front of me, but he/she was already gone.Bookmark here

The seat in front of me remained empty.Bookmark here

Wait… who was I talking to again?Bookmark here

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