My Life As A Teenage Grim Reaper

Teenage Grim reaper

My Life As A Teenage Grim Reaper

by Megan W., 10

A March 2024 Monthly Story Challenge Winner 

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3AM. Burning paper strewn across the floor.

Screaming.  Coughing. A beeping fire alarm. Smoke, smoke, SMOKE.

I never thought that my first mission would be SO stressful and smoky. I pictured over and over again in my head my dad taking a very well deserved vacation, and picked up my scythe. It was half the size of my dad’s, but I was determined not to disappoint him. I slowly walked down the smoky hallway, to the master bedroom. 

There was a coughing woman crouched in the corner of her bed, and I slowly approached her. Her straight dark brown hair was a mess, and she was crying.

“Ya know, you’re pretty unlucky,” I told her. “This is my first day, and I’m REALLY sorry if anything happens to your soul.” I knew it was a joke, but I still tightly gripped my scythe, which I had decorated with brightly colorful water bottle stickers and painted a bright shade of blue. My dad had said that he was too busy to make his scythe anything except practical, but he didn’t stop me from decorating mine. I made sure that there was nothing that would fall off on the way back to the underworld. At this point, FINALLY the woman died, and I had more stuff to do than stand awkwardly in a burning room. I swirled my scythe, and it produced more smoke, but this time it was purple.

“A….are you death?” The woman stuttered. I groaned. I knew that she was looking at my cute and colorful hoodie and trying to wrap her head around how a grim reaper would dress like this.

“Well, I’m his daughter, to be exact, but close enough.” I cut the soul from it’s body with my scythe and lots and lots and LOTS of care, and led it to the portal.

Hi. I’m Nicola! Today is my first day on the job(being the second grim reaper), and guess what? I fell flat on my face while exiting the portal I just made. The cool underworld air was refreshing, especially after being stuck in a stuffy, burning house. 

“Nico!” Mom looked like she had been worried sick. Her hair was in a loose, messy bun, instead of her usual high ponytail. She looked like she had thrown on some random clothing that she grabbed from her closet when she heard me come home. She wore a old dark green tank top, a pair of pastel bunny slippers, and a black Sailor Moon skirt.

“Hey, mom, uh, me, umm, busy?” None of my words came out the way words were supposed to, but I gestured to the soul, who was looking at both of us like it couldn’t believe what the heck was happening.  

Next, we had to go through the forbidden peach forest. I gazed up at the magenta mountains and down at the crystal clear water, then I led the soul through the peach tree forest, and explained to them that they needed to get to Quinn and her boat and sail to another part of the underworld and then…… I wasn’t really sure what was gonna happen next.

Finally, we were at the pier.

“How was your first day?”

“Well, the job ain't over yet.”

Quinn, the boat captain’s, curly, ultramarine locks bounced up and down as she practically shoved the soul onto her cruise ship. She was the most bubbly and adventurous person I have ever met. Her hair was naturally blond, but she had dyed all her hair bright blue.

I watched the ship sail away, before I celebrated. “I DID IT!!!!!” I knew I was overreacting, but I had just almost successfully completed my first soul! Uh, almost. If I hadn’t fell out of the portal, it would have been completely successful.

The next 2 hours on the job went pretty well. Hospitals. Trains. Water. More fire. But one problem persisted: I did not ONCE go into or come out of the portal successfully, without falling, tripping, accidentally leaving the souls behind, etc.

My mom was there only the first three times, but she was still a great help. On the third time she brought me a buddha bowl in a takeout container for dinner as I rushed to my next job. I usually didn’t eat vegetarian, but I still liked the grain, veggies, & tofu. Both of my parents recommend me to eat 100% vegetarian when I’m on any job. It was a rather large change; my favorite food is tako sashimi. Tako sashimi is sashimi octopus, raw or poached.

As I ate my food, I thought about all of the changes that had happened recently. It first happened one Saturday, 3 days before my birthday, when I was reading a textbook for school (which I now hate). Dad walked into my room, which was strange, because more people tend to die on weekends. Mom came in too. She had looked like she was going to cry. They explained that the human population was getting too big and that they needed a second “death” to collect all the souls. At first, I had no idea how this had anything to do with me, but slowly I started to understand. “ME?!” When I first heard the idea, I freaked. What was I supposed to do? My whole life had just been thrown up in the air. You see, I WAS supposed to pass a test when I turned 25 and then inherit the title of the grim reaper, when I was wise and mature. But now, I’m not even inheriting it. I’m working at the same time as my dad! Also, I started learning at 16!! I believe that right now I am a bit Un-wise and UN-mature…

    I soon learned that the process to find where to collect souls was rather…curious. First of all, I never thought that the deities of death would communicate through, uh, TEXTING!? Second, I never thought that I would fit in, but I did. There was a large range of ages; from 6 to 100! I knew that they could shift their appearances, but dad said that they most usually vowed not to, so I figured that these were their real ages. Heck, there were even some 16 year olds like me. Third, I cannot believe that there are SO many deities. There are deities for all kinds of things, such as animal lives.

In no time, dad started teaching me all of the communications. So, apparently, we operated like this. First, one of the deities would send a text that said something kind of like this: “Mission 🛝 Atlanta Georgia, burning building, lady -Fire Deity.” LET ME EXPLAIN. So first, the text would contain the word mission, and then a random EMOJI. I know, I was REALLY surprised too. Next, it would contain the reason of death, and then a vague clue of who to collect. After THAT, I would text back something like: “mission 🛝 claimed.” Then, I would go to the burning building in Atlanta Georgia to take the lady’s soul. CRAZY, right?

    Back to reality here, I got a large stream of texts. “Mission 🍃, San Diego California, Earthquake, 33 Year Old Man -Earthquake deity”, “Mission✨, Tainan Taiwan railroad station, shoved onto railroad track, single woman -railroad deity”, and “mission🧽, Lima south, drown, man -drwon diet” The last one was just messed up, because I didn’t have the faintest idea where Lima was. I saw a text from dad pop up that said “I have claimed mission🍃.”, so I wrote a text that replied “claimed mission✨”. I swirled my scythe and sighed. Sometimes, I kind of wish I never had this job.

As I crawled into the portal (if I did anything else I would fall) , I thought about how I would react when I saw the remains of the body. Last time I went to a train station to collect a soul, I was with my dad. For a while, I would go around with my dad to his jobs so he could teach me how to make portals and pick up souls. My first and only time in a train station was a bit… rough.

    I had been so excited for every mission I went to. Even this one. I didn’t know how hard the job was until I got it, and dad always made it seem so easy. When we had first arrived, I ran around the train station, because I was not that good at locating the body and soul yet.  Dad led me to the track where the body was. There was a large commotion gathered by the tracks. Dad slowly walked over, as I eagerly ran over. I nudged myself between the gasping bystanders. I knew that someone had just gotten ran over by a train, but I was stupid enough a few months ago that I didn’t think it would be incredibly gory. Turns out I was wrong. VERY, VERY, wrong. Dad had almost caught up when I ran out of the train station screaming and throwing up.  I really, really hope that will NOT happen this time.

     It turns out, hoping isn’t enough. As soon as I saw the track, I stumbled and almost fell in myself. I wouldn’t get hurt or run over by a train, but I was still really scared. I whisked out my scythe and dragged the incredibly dizzy soul over, away from the bloody rail track . The soul was definitely not the only one who felt dizzy. I, too, spun around and then the worst kinda just…happened.…I threw up.

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