I spent a lot of the day with Bell; after the arcade we walked around the city until it got dark, he showed me a lot about this world.
It’s even more unforgiving than I could have ever imagined, for a moment there I thought Death was putting me into a haven of a world – a place free from the darkness that had once plagued my existence.
But I was wrong.
Everyone here needs to work to stay alive, money is their life force, and it drives people to do everything. It makes the whole world turn.
People liked money in my world, people loved money. But really all one needed to get by was some food and a place to rest their head at night, for me that was especially easy. I would hunt around the towns to find adequate victims; towards the end there I was trying to only target criminals out of a silly sense of justice.
My mind is flooded by images of that girl, that girl who did nothing wrong yet was about to meet her demise just because I was hungry.
It’s not like a hadn’t killed thousands before her, it would have been but a blemish on an already mangled record.
Thinking about this, I realise maybe I didn’t deserve to be reincarnated. I got one title at the very end for sparing one single person, and that was enough to warrant escape from the eternal void of nothingness.
I don’t even have that skill, I mean, at least I don’t even think skills exist in this world – I’ve never been able to pull up my status screen and Bell seems to think it’s only a concept in fiction.
Yes, over the course of this day I have figured out a lot – namely, Bell isn’t a Demon Lord!
I know, surprised as I am?
One second I think that I’ve met a kindred soul, maybe even a nice person. But no, the first conversation I had in this world was a complete lie.
I mean, I guess it wasn’t intentional. Bell is a fan of entertainment in this world that includes a lot of stories of reincarnation, he was just putting on a bit of a show to humour me a little, thinking I was a part of the bit.
I still don’t think he fully believes my situation, but I don’t think it really changes much about how he views me. Maybe.
“So, Mr. Reincarnation, what do you do for work?”
We sit along two wooden logs at the end of a pier, looking out over the water, a blue reflection of the moon’s light.
A part of this brings me back home, this doesn’t look too foreign in itself. I just can’t avert my gaze so far from where I’m looking – lest I see buildings at least the size of over a dozen – hell - maybe even two dozen giants standing on top of each other.
I start to open my mouth but before I can say anything, Bell speaks up again.
“Oh yeah, I mean – what did you used to do before you were reincarnated here?”
I sit and think about this for a moment. What was I doing before this? All I can imagine is just an almost cartoon version of myself happily sucking the blood out of the people of my old world with a smile on his face.
Nom nom nom nom nom.
Maybe this is what they call “rosy retrospection” – I know it wasn’t like that, but it’s honestly hard to really remember the full extent of the pain. That only comes when I think about ‘her’.
“I dabbled here and there from town to town, always trying to find a new place to eat where I could find new meals that people wouldn’t miss that much.”
Bell sits cross legged facing me, his hands balled up into fists held together below his mouth as if he was a child hearing a story about legendary dragons.
“Well, I mean – I sort of was a vigilante in a way I guess you could say.”
In that same childlike vein, his mouth opens wide in shock. He coolly regains his composure once he notices this though.
He seems impressed, a part of me forgets about my looming social anxiety and focuses solely on entertaining him.
“I used to hunt those who I caught doing illegal things at night. I figured it was a public service of sorts, I get food, the world becomes better. It’s a win-win really.”
I know it wasn’t always like that, but I guess I can leave the total innocent body-count a secret for now, it’s not the sort of thing you discuss with someone you only met today. I don’t even know why I’m discussing this at all really.
I get nothing out of this interaction, it’s just kind of nice seeing someone else entertained by something you say. I don’t really know how to describe it.
Bell pushes brings our social tangent back to the original topic.
“Okay so, no job. I’m guessing you still live with your parents then?”
I look at him with a blank stare, I don’t remember my parents or if I ever had any. As the years turn into hundreds, into thousands, you sort of forget all those kinds of things.
Multiple lifetimes worth of memories, yet no capacity to remember it all.
“Uh, nah. I don’t really know my parents, if I do have any, it’s been so long that I have no idea of their existence.”
Concern laces Bell’s face. I can tell he thinks this is a sort of traumatic memory for me, I don’t understand why though. Not knowing my parents should mean that there would be no pain from losing them; yet he doesn’t seem to realise this.
“Do you need a place to stay or anything? I don’t have the biggest apartment or anything but if it will help you get back on your feet-“
I interrupt his proposition with a menacing stare.
The mood of the conversation shifts.
I see a resolute sadness in his eyes; the kind I used to have upon my victims. This is how you look at lesser lifeforms.
“Do you pity me human?” Disgust drips from my mouth as I spit those venomous words. “I do not need your pity okay, nor do I need friends.”
I feel naked.
“I never assumed you needed a friend, nor do I pity you.” His expression has not changed, it’s aggravating and fills me with loathing.
I couldn’t even finish my sentence before he forces a pained smile and puts his warm hand on my shoulder.“I’m just asking because I need one.”