Chapter 1:

Soul #6^7

A Fleeting Soul

Thanatos lives.

Known as Grim Reapers in children's fairy tales. Or Shinigami, or simply, Death. From hundreds of cultures and through hundreds of gossips the people learned that Thanatos is a shapeshifter. 

He can be a lightning strike today, and a tsunami tomorrow.

Or a human.

In this world where technology and nature coexist as friend and foe, people from a variety of backgrounds will have different things to say about Thanatos. 

They say he acts as a beacon of hope for those given an unfair chance in life. To those barely breathing be it body and or mind, he is a savior. 

Yet to those fawning over Eros’ beauty, the depiction of Thanatos is invasive. He is illustrated in ways that infiltrates gullible minds, seen as a monster or a demon who encourages fear. Some individuals knocking at Thanatos' door would challenge him in a game of chess, hoping to be one of the lucky winners who can escape fate. 

But ultimately, all of Eros’ creations will come to an end.

Leaving Thanatos alone.

"So, what do ya think?" asked the girl with a beanie too big for her head. She was only a high school student, yet wore a face more suited of a woman going through menopause. 

I sat next to her, my eyes glanced at the horizon in front of us. We had gone through this conversation so many times, but somehow the passion in her voice remained strong. 

"For the eighty seventh time, please don't overthink it," I said, "Your friends are looking out for you. Telling you to stop talking about Thanatos this Thanatos that... cuz now it sounds you long for suicide."

"If I am, what of it?" she pouted, "Heh, I'm surprised ya aren't the type to say why finding the idea of death interesting makes me mentally ill."

"Cuz I'm all too familiar with this, love. You don't think I get depressed too after hearing your spill?"

"Oh. Well, double suicide?"

"Not funny."

She poked my face. "Eh? Now you're backing out? Somebody out there making your life worth living? Better be me."

She attempted to remain flirtatious despite us dating for who knows how long. And despite the longevity of our relationship, her obsession with free falling never dissipated.

Call me stubborn, but when I first laid my eyes on her, I tried to be an "I can fix her" guy. But this turned to the both of us in need of fixing. 

I stood up and wiped my hands on my pants to rid the penetrating dirt. School ended several hours prior, and it was our daily thing to sit at the rooftop admiring the sunset. It was her way of finding a reason to live, to marvel at the smallest things. 

To have enough air to breathe and the energy to find herself dancing in a field of flowers tomorrow, she'd say. 

Poppies were her favorite. The row of plants resting at the rooftop left by the garden club were by coincidence, poppies.

She got up and headed towards them. The garden club had lousy members, and perhaps they had forgotten about the flowers. Sometimes, I'd accompany her to water the poppies during lunch hours. We could've been honorary members. 

"Awh man," she kneeled in front of them, "looks like they've seen better days."

She took a deep breath and adjusted the beanie, which proved to be futile as it sunk back to its original position. I giggled and adjusted it for her, ending it with a forehead kiss. 

"And you will see better days too," I smiled, "I know things are tough. I know people don't see things the way you do. Lectures don't mean anything. They can say all they want about saving yourself and why everything has a reason, but whatever you do, I'm here. Talk to me."

"And yet, double suicide isn't an option."

"Except that."

"Man, can't even let a girl's dreams come true."

"Sorry, love."

She fixated her gaze towards the sunset. The wind was chilly and had she not reached for my arm I would've assumed the cold to her became nothing but numbness. Even with hoodies, the both of us huddled for warmth. Yet despite the need for my comfort, she subconsciously dragged herself and I towards the edge of the cliff. 

A short concrete wall being the only barrier from setting her free.

"I don't want him to be alone," she closed her eyes and embraced the zephyr.

"Please, I promise things will be better. I'll try harder. Whatever I can do to make you happy, just tell me."

"You know, everyone has an interesting way of trying to save me."

"What do you mean?"

"My friends think a lecture on life will change my mind. Ya avoid that but in exchange, ya took it upon yourself to act as if becoming my hero will keep me alive."

"Would it not?"

"I suppose that's a good question."

For many days, I told her my pleas. Many days, my words rung with subtle desperation. I needed her to hear it. If it took a hundred times in the past and another hundred in the future of the same ol' sayings I'd do it. 

To hold her hand again and pull her away from freedom. 

But no matter the nudging, she hadn't moved. Before I could speak, she let out an audible sigh and released my arm. With one foot on top, she pushed herself up and stood on the barrier with confidence. T-posing even.

Had this been someone else, a soft gust of wind would've sent them falling already. 

Then, she turned and reached for my hand.

"I know you feel it too," she bit her lip, "nobody would spiral mentally on purpose. I've seen how you look at things. Worrisome, distant, it feels all too familiar."

"You don't understand."

"Sure I do."

"No," I begged, "You mustn't. I want you here. A few more days, please? You have time, I promise."

"Well, aren't ya selfish," she lowered her head, "and here everyone calls me the selfish one. Suffering for the expense of others. I only want us to be free."

The thought of losing her became a reoccurring what-if scenario. 

But freedom sounded nice. For every time I faced a scenario similar to this one, I wished for my ending. 

"Do you really believe that?" I asked.

"That you’re selfish?"


"No," she kneeled to pat my head as if to bid her farewells, "I'm sorry."

I took her hand and kissed it. Defeated, I stood next to her at the edge of this forsaken school.

“Know this isn’t your fault,” I squeezed her hand, “sometimes it can’t be helped. But at least, you’re not alone.”

Words struggled to escape her throat. “Thank you,” she finally whispered. 

We admired the skies while the sun disappeared from view, never to be seen by the eyes of my dearest again. The girl closed her eyes and I followed. 

We heard nothing. 

As if the world died. 

As if nothing mattered.

"Hey," I said, to clear this unbearable silence, "I love you.”

"I love you too."

We embraced each other as the air carried us away from the rooftop. Her eyes glistened with tears as do mine. 

Before the trees attempted to catch our fall, I held onto her tightly. I had done this with thousands of lovers, knowing I'd be doing this again with thousands of other beings I'd hopelessly fall in love but cannot have. 

I'd have an eternity to grieve, and another would come. Names and faces became a blur as memories of them fade with time. Yet whenever I accompanied a lover to their end, I'd swore to myself I'd engrave their very being into my core.

Gazing deep into her eyes, I cupped her cheek. A cold comfort. 

The ground greeted us as we kissed the earth. 

I blinked, and it was all over. 

Tomorrow the sun will rise again.

I was at the mercy of the desolate evening air as I stepped away from the scene. Overwhelmed with ambulance lights and caution tape, several onlookers claimed witnessing her leap. Another one to the stats, the officers always say. 

Eventually, everyone will become part of a statistic. 

Except for me. 

Thanatos lives. 

A Fleeting Soul

A Fleeting Soul