Ghost 15 – The Grim Reaper

Grim Speak: Medling Wizards. I was just sitting down to a curry sandw-

06-14-16_9-57-04 PM

The dark voice, which reverberated in Julia’s bones, paused. Hooded and dark, she couldn’t see anything more than it was a figure. Smoke rolled off the figure and drifted across her floor. When it touched her, it numbed the skin.

Grim Speak: You are not-

The figure looked over at Julia. A part of her brain, the part that wasn’t panicking, was fascinated by her panic. What did you think would happen? That part asked. Did you really think it wouldn’t work?

Grim Speak: This is not-

He cleared his throat.

Grim Speak: Wrong universe

Looking around he saw the candles and the sticks. Although Julia couldn’t see his expression, she could tell he was thinking. She just wished she knew what he was thinking. He hadn’t sounded happy to be summoned.

06-14-16_10-05-45 PM

Grim Speak: I did not think this particular ritual was known here

He looked up at her and Julia felt his gaze pierce her soul. He didn’t even have eyes and yet she was caught speechless. Her mind was frozen, trapped in a loop. Death. Death. Death was in her bedroom! He sighed. And the smoke around him rippled and wavered filling the room again. Wait, was he leaving?!

06-14-16_10-09-32 PM

06-14-16_10-09-45 PM

06-14-16_10-09-58 PM

When Julia could see again there was a very different figure in her bedroom. No longer hooded and cloaked in deadly mist. A young boy, pale and fragile looking with large clear eyes. She made the mistake of looking into those eyes. She quickly looked away. Nope, still Death, her mind said.

“Um,” the boy held out his hand. “I am Tad Dustpine,” he said brightly. It almost sounded like a question. Or a plea.

06-14-16_10-27-10 PM

She found her voice. It was too high and she could hear the panic clearly, but it worked. “You’re the Grim Reaper?”

“I go by many names,” the boy replied. He looked at his hand. Julia didn’t dare touch it, even if he was wearing gloves. He frowned and lowered it speaking almost to himself. “I thought I was doing that right. I will have to ask Amelia.”

He looked up at her, his too-large eyes hinting at the universe beyond. She avoided his gaze this time. “As I was asking before you panicked, how did you find that spell?”

She glanced at the book on her bed. He followed her gaze and saw the book lying on her bed. He crossed the room and picked it up.06-14-16_10-30-51 PM

He studied the cover. “Ah, that explains it,” he said turning around. He held the book in one hand. But then, in a puff of dark smoke, the book vanished.

“That was a library book!” Julia protested without thinking. Her mom was going to kill her for losing a library book. She’d have to pay to replace it.

06-14-16_10-50-47 PM

“Yes. It was my library book. I had not realised it was missing.”

They stood there staring at each other for a few moments. Julia wasn’t sure what to say. What did you say to Death? It’s not like he would want a cup of tea.

He cleared his throat again. “Well, since you went to all this trouble, what do you want?”

“What?”

“No one summons me just to chat,” he sounded almost sad at those words. “You have not lost anyone recently,” he paused and then a smile lit up his face. “Ah! The ghost child. I was just talking to him.”

“You said you couldn’t help,” Julia couldn’t help but throw his words back.

“And I cannot. The rules of this universe are very clear. Unless someone is written in my book, I cannot take them.”

06-14-16_10-53-35 PM

“There has to be something we can do,” Julia protested. She couldn’t – wouldn’t believe that there was nothing. She turned towards James, hoping he would speak up. But the room was empty. James wasn’t there. “Where’s James?” She asked looking all around. What if something had happened to him?

“Be calm,” Tad said. “I thought it best if we speak alone. As for your previous question, there is nothing I can do,” he stressed the pronoun.

“I knew it wasn’t helpless!” She could do something. “But, what can I do? Oh! Is it the book of life?”

06-14-16_10-56-29 PM

She had read about a book of life in the tome the Grim Reaper had taken. Something about it bringing ghosts back to life. She couldn’t quite remember the page. Why did he have to take the book? And why hadn’t she thought to copy the pages?

“That would work,” Tad mused. “But I am afraid it would not work for the ghost boy. The book of life can bring a ghost back to their former life, but James has forgotten his life. He only remembers remembering them.”

Julia frowned. She wanted to argue that James did remember his past life. She’d heard all the stories about him and his family. But she remembered all too well the first time she called him James. He had protested, quite convincingly, that he wasn’t James. Even after she’d proven it to him, he had been uncomfortable with the idea.

“Is there something else I can do then? Some magical lamp or wishing well?” She leaned forward. It wasn’t so bad talking to this boy. He seemed only slightly older than she and as long as she didn’t look into his eyes, she could almost believe he was normal. Almost.

“No, no,” Tad interjected. “That would be absurd.” He paused a moment. “You are quite determined. Very well, there is ambrosia-”

06-14-16_10-58-32 PM

“The food of the gods?” Julia frowned.

“The Greeks called it that. But it is not easy to make. Nor is it quick. It might take a lifetime- ”

“That’s okay,” Julia said quickly. “How do I make it?”

“As I said it is not easy. The first ingredient is a Death Flower.”

Julia had read about Death flowers in the book. They were right next to the entry on the Grim Reaper. Why didn’t the book mention anything about Tad? “You use the flowers to ward off death. Er, ward off you,” she remembered. The book said that if you handed the flower to the Grim Reaper, he would spare you. Or was it that if your loved one handed the flower to the Grim Reaper he would spare you?

“Hmph, yes,” Tad replied. “The flowers used to be very common, but once their properties were known…” he shrugged. “It caused all sorts of problems. Now the oracle protects the secret.”

“The oracle?”

“Yes, the oracle of the falls. You’ll have to ask them about the Death flower. I am not allowed to know.”

06-14-16_10-56-17 PM

As Tad finished speaking, his face drew blank, eyes unfocused. Julia stilled her own question and waited. It looked like no one was anywhere near home. It was disconcerting. Then within seconds, he returned and smiled sadly. “I must go.”

“But – ” Julia said.

It was too late, the Grim Reaper vanished in a puff of black smoke and Julia was left alone in her room.


Credits

* RipuAncestor’s wonderful Tad Dustpine is crossing worlds to join us over here. You should read about Tad’s adventures in her story Chrysanthemum Tango. He’s an awesome character.
* I really should have pointed this out before, but I am heavily depending on…stealing?… from Terry Pratchett’s Death character – who also speaks in all-caps. In this chapter, I also steal his Rite of AshkEnte that the wizards of Discworld use to summon Death.
* Outside from Julia’s mysterious purple cc bed, the only other mods used here were the Pose Player and Special Effects Players and the Teleport mod.
* Challenge details: CitizenErased14’s Ambrosia Challenge

22 comments

    • Yay! Tad, yup. I’ve been beside myself for the last week when I realized that I could borrow him! I wasn’t sure how many of my readers read Ripu’s stuff – but since it’s awesome, hopefully I can point a few curious readers over there.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Unfortunately it’s one of the stories that I’m very behind on. I think this is just the kick in the butt I needed to run over there and catch up!

        Yes it might be confusing to those that haven’t read it but dang I love crossovers!

        Liked by 2 people

  1. sfslvjsdlkjsdlfjad I mean eeeeeeeeee I’m again so honoured! 🙂 ❤ 🙂

    Oh, Julia, Tad would LOVE to sit down for a cup of tea. I think he is starting to find a preference in chai. Maybe. At least in my head he is.

    Also I loved the Discworld references in the beginning. Heh, wrong universe… Disc!Death is always so adorable! And I thought I recognised the Rite of AshkEnte, or at least figured you used it for inspiration, and I was right! Now I kind of want a curry sandwich. But I don't think I have the proper ingredients for it. Unless I just took a piece of bread and poured curry on it. That… probably wouldn't work. Yeah, I won't even try.

    And Julia's "That was a library book!" makes me chuckle every time I read it. She's got some serious courage to speak up against Death like that. I mean, sure, Tad's a nice guy, and I have to admit that every time I risk getting a library book late or damaged I totally freak out too – thankfully it doesn't happen often. Accidentally spilling blackcurrant juice on a library book was an absolutely terrible moment in my life. Luckily the book had sticky-backed plastic around the covers and got away with only a couple of permanent purple stains.

    To conclude this ramble: I loved this chapter, and not just because I'm so honoured that you wanted to use Tad for it. 🙂 I loved the atmosphere in this. It was very otherworldly and even kind of uncomfortable in just the right way at times. And Julia is so awesome! I do hope she and James can figure this out. And so does Tad :D.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes!!! I’m so happy to have him here.

      He totally would have had some tea I know, but Julia wasn’t really up to making it so he didn’t ask. Plus I don’t think he’s quite up to snuff on if you can offer tea in someone else’s house to help calm them down!

      Yeah – Julia’s mom is a librarian so she is super paranoid about books, enough to forget for a moment he is Death. I have a feeling she would have said something, or at lease squeaked audibly if the hooded reaper had taken it! Tad is def. more approachable.

      Mmmmm curry bread. When I lived in Japan you could get Curry Pan…a nice little pocket of bread filled with (a slightly more solid) curry. Cries. I was delicious.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the story and THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for lending me Tad. He had the perfect blend of personality that Death needed to help calm Julia. And both Discworld Death and Tad have universe crossing abilities. Since she use Discworld’s rite, she got that personality first. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • The rules of offering someone tea are indeed very tricky. Especially for someone who is more used to dealing with universe-steering rules instead. He could have probably just told the universe to have cups of tea appear into the room, but that would have been a horrible waste of very strictly regulated universe-meddling. And it would probably taste like tar and dinosaurs. Somehow.

        Ooh, pocket bread filled with curry sounds delicious. I remember eating some really, really good curry in Salzburg once. It was amazing.

        Tad-form is much more approachable, but the Reaper form definitely gets more respect and is taken more seriously. I wonder why… it’s still probably the lime green pants. 😀 Even when he’s not wearing them. They are forever ingrained into his being now. That or he’s still rather shy and awkward in Tad-form. Maybe that’s it.

        Heh, Discworld-rite for Discworld personality makes total sense. I should probably start devising some rituals for my story-universe, because I’m going to need them eventually.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yeah, tea suddenly appearing probably isn’t very calming.

          I agree the pants really don’t help his credibility, ah RIP lime green jeans. I wish I had the time to figure out what went wrong last night. But perhaps that would have been too much for Julia.

          Take a look through the the book of ancient gods, or whatever I called it, pretty sure it’s got all kinds of rituals in there. And only when you’re looking for them, of course. Although no guarantee the rituals aren’t cross dimensional!

          Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t even express how happy I felt to see Tad’s gloves. 🙂

    This was so seamless… it really felt like stepping from one room to another, inside the same house–not even from one world to another, for it’s all the same world and universe!

    Masterful crossover!

    I’m really excited that Julia got to meet Tad–imagine the effect this will have on her life and her understanding of all-that-is!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yup. All one universe. death has many faces but realizes that the Tad face is sometimes more approachable! I need to start figuring out what she does now and how this affects her actions. Cuz it must.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t read Ripus story yet so Tad wasn’t familiar to me, but I did like that death took on a more easy to talk to form.

    I disliked that he took the library book!! Darn it Death!!! That book was probably old and expensive to replace!

    So sad that James has forgotten his life. I do hope the oracle can help Julia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had hoped that even not knowing Tad, the character would come through, and sounds like it did. Yay. Sadly, he couldn’t leave the book there, it didn’t belong in this world. Plus it would probably make her quest too easy, it shows you what you’re looking for. And it’s nots supposed to be easy to bring back the dead. Messes with the universal balance.

      James has a very fragile ego. His sense of self is not strong at all. I kind of imagine that he was in the darkness for a long time before he saw the memories of his life and made his way back to the house. But right now, he accepts he’s James, but he can’t remember what it felt like. He can only imagine being a ghost…

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes perfect sense! With having only been lost a few “hours” having been 4 or 5 human years he could have been wandering for decades and having only 8 or so years as James and no way to mark the passage of time I can see losing all sense of identity.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, that’s what I imagined, it’s been 200 years ish since he died as well. (I did the math…in case you didn’t know James is in the generation 3 of my Pigglewiggle legacy, Julia is generation 11). I haven’t been able to put those details into the story, about how long he was lost the first time, or how long he haunted the house first. But it might still get in there. I probably won’t bring up the related bit…that’s a bit too odd.

          Liked by 1 person

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