Chapter 1:

Into the Night

A Letter From Thanatos

It was a simple "goodbye," but it carried a weight that seemed to deepen with the setting sun and the rising night sky. The silhouette of your figure lingered behind a rustic fence, etched against the darkening horizon. When I found you on the ground, lifeless and alone, reality and dreams blurred into a surreal experience.

"But this can't be real, right?" I whispered to myself, tears welling in my eyes. It was hard to discern the line between reality and a haunting dream. My legs turned to ice, and I couldn't escape the memory of the tears I had shed that fateful day.

"No, it must be a dream. Please, let it be a dream," I pleaded silently.

"But when will I wake up?"

Sleep eluded me ever since that day, leaving me to wander in a daze, searching for solace in the dark corners of the night. My life had been upended, leaving me grappling with a profound tragedy's aftermath. It felt as though my very cells had hardened, shielding me from a future filled with uncertainty.

A month later, a call from HR startled me. Uncertainty gnawed at me as I walked into that meeting. I wasn't accustomed to trouble, and my unease grew as the HR representative broke the news.

"The company has no intention of pursuing legal action," he began, offering a cup of coffee as if to soothe my unease.

"Okay," I replied, sipping my coffee with trembling hands.

"Mr. Smith, we've spoken to your colleagues," he continued, and I could feel my heart racing.

"It seems you've been facing some challenges lately," he stated, a touch of sympathy in his voice.

"Yeah, a bit," I replied hesitantly.

The pamphlet he placed before me piqued my curiosity. The pamphlet painted a picture of compassionate listeners and healing, leaving me intrigued.

"This group of doctors has had a long-standing relationship with us," he explained.

"Doctors?" I asked, genuinely surprised.

"Yes," he continued, "They are exceptional."

"Yeah?" I replied hesitantly.

"I could schedule an appointment for you to address any issues you're currently facing," he offered.

"Okay, yeah. It looks... It actually seems quite impressive. Appears like they're excellent listeners, right?" I noted, pointing at a picture in the pamphlet.

"They truly are," he assured me.

"I understand this is a standard HR response, but... you're not alone," he said.

I felt a lump in my throat, a sense of vulnerability surfacing. "Yeah. That's part of the issue, isn't it?" I admitted.

As I prepared to leave, he asked, "Do you have any company property on your person?"

"No, I haven't taken anything. I swear," I stammered, attempting to reach into my pockets. Only my house key and cell phone met my searching fingers.

The HR representative pointed at the name tag on my left breast pocket. I reluctantly removed it and returned it to him. I feel like a piece of my identity had been stripped away, yet it was just a small piece of metal and plastic.

As I returned home, I gazed at my reflection in the mirror. My heart, fragile and wounded, was hidden beneath a worn t-shirt. The memory of the day we met, the rain on the rooftop outside the railing, lingered in my mind.

We grew closer, forming a bond. Back then, we liked to be jealous of others, and angry at something we couldn’t see. We also like to spend our evenings on the rooftop.

I wanted to understand you better, to know why you frequented the rooftop. Instead of words, you handed me an envelope with 'An invitation from Thanatos' written on it. The letter inside was blank, and you explained it wasn't meant for me... yet.

Now, facing the world alone, I longed for the connection we had shared. Then suddenly, under the moonlight, you appeared before me.

"I'm looking for you," you said, and I embraced you with a mixture of relief and yearning.

"Michelle?" I asked, hesitantly.

With you, the darkness held no fear. Under the screen of darkness coming to get us, you were always capricious. Without spending any more seconds, I just hugged you right away. Your physique and your scent. I was sucked into you as you beckoned me.

"Miss me that much?" you asked, and I could only nod, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks.

"Want to follow me?" you inquired.

"Yes!" I responded eagerly.

I take your hand as you extend it towards me.

"Alright, but before we meet with Thanatos, first, let me show you how to embrace the nightlife," you explained.

"How?" I asked.

"By becoming night itself," you whispered.

With that enigmatic promise, you pulled me from the rooftop, and together, we plunged into the abyss, where night and the unknown embraced us. The following morning, a distant scream pierced the air. Police cars arrived at the scene, only to discover the second "suicide" at the same location with another empty letter.