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The Spirit of Death

by Shiny Pyxis

Shiny Pyxis Chen's just a casual gamer who also happens to be the Spirit of Death. One day, she goes to a convention to see her childhood friends again. Based off of a writing prompt on tumblr: http://writing-prompt-s.tumblr.com/post/160639473914/you-can-stop-time-and-see-peoples-life-bars (and written as a first draft)
Chen never really took her role as the Spirit of Death too seriously. Sure, she had her partiselves on autopilot to make sure all the deceased found their way to the Afterworld, and occasionally she’d have to step in to convince some of the more stubborn ones to leave. Honestly, what kind of a Spirit was she if she couldn’t find a way to do her job efficiently? No, Chen spent most of her life since awakening as Death just doing what a normal girl her age would do: go to school, hang out with friends, and eat dinner with her dad and stepmom. So she never once thought about using her powers for more than her job description told her to.

That is, until the day she finally met Kina again.

Kina had been one of her good friends; when Chen had moved back in 5th grade, the two of them kept in touch by messaging each other on Cosmetria every day, an MMO she’d been playing since she was in middle school. When Chen found out that the two of them were going to the same gamer convention, she’d been ecstatic to meet the other girl. The two of them exchanged numbers so they could find each other easily.

“I’ll be going as Sherringer with a Professor Crowson messenger bag!” she’d said.
“Great! Just look for the Charlotte with the pink-and-green bunny backpack!” Kina had written back. And it didn’t take long for Chen to spy her friend in the crowd; after all, it was hard to blend in when cosplaying as a bright red 9 foot tall tentacled creature with a ribbon on its head. Chen had to fight her way through the large crowd to even get to her friend in the first place, though once she did the two ended up hugging each other tightly. Well, as well as one could hug in a 9 foot tall tentacled costume.

“I can’t believe it’s really you!” Chen said as she tried to untangle herself from her friend’s costume.

Kina pat her on the head with one of the tentacles. “It’s good to see you too, Chen! Did you have a long flight?”

“I mean, it’s hailing pretty badly in Houston, but that didn’t really delay the plane for too long.”

“Well, glad you made it safe and sound.” Kina sat down, making her tentacles fan out behind her like a peacock’s tail. “But I’m starving! Wanna grab something by the food trucks? Then we can go explore the Artist Alley. I saw a really cute Crowson print, I thought you would like it.”

“Sure, sounds good to me!”

The pair went off towards the back of the convention building, where the scent of various kinds of foods filled the air. Chen felt something drop on her face, and looked up to see the sky starting to gray. Kina seemed to pause in her steps as well, before glancing upwards as well. “Did you bring the storm with you or something?” she asked.

“More like it probably wanted to join the fun,” Chen replied as she ilned up next to one of the food trucks. “Let’s grab something before it starts pouring.”

“Yeah, good idea. Lemme just get out of this stupid thing first, the humidity’s killing me.” Kina wiggled herself out of her Charlotte cosplay, and that’s when Chen finally saw it: her friend’s life bar.

Without thinking, Chen clapped her hands together, and suddenly all sound and movement around her stopped. She whipped around and looked back at Kina, and then at the empty life bar next to her. No, it couldn’t be real. But she couldn’t deny how dangerously close one of her partiselves was to her friend, and the life bar never lied.

She looked around, hoping to see what it was that could put Kina’s life in such danger. Honestly, there was too much that *could* go wrong. Maybe the tree branch above her was going to crash down. Or the food truck closest to them was going to roll over. Maybe even one of the congoers was going to snap and attack her. Whatever it was, she was going to figure it out.

She spent the next however long trying to find the source of her friend’s would-be death. It was unethical, she figured, trying to avoid the inevitable, but she was the Spirit of Death, and god dammit, if she couldn’t figure this out, what kind of Spirit was she? But try as hard as she could, she couldn’t figure out why Kina was going to die. The branch above them had no signs of wear. The truck was standing firmly on the ground. And, fortunately for everyone, the only weapons around were cardboard and plastic props put together with duct tape. So what was going on?

A part of Chen really wanted to just let everything go, to let nature run its course and to let fate dictate whether her friend should live or die. After all, her job was to ensure nobody got left behind in this world. But another part of her, the human part that had not yet been consumed by the nature of her job, wanted to fight. She wanted to fight the god who had deemed her friend’s life inconsequential enough to end right there and then. She wanted to fight fate, if only so she could spend a little more time together with her friend. But most of all, she wanted to fight herself.

After all, what kind of a Spirit was she, if she couldn’t control her own domain?

But try as she might, she couldn’t figure out how to help her friend. Perhaps she was a Spirit, perhaps she was Death, but even she couldn’t fight the inevitability that was death. She sighed, and turned to the crow-like figure that hovered next to her friend. “Do you- could you-”

Her partiself flew onto her shoulder, already knowing exactly what she wanted. It cawed softly into her ear, and she pet its head. “Thank you.” Even if her partiselves were extensions of her, it still felt too impersonal to have one do this for her. Even if they’d just met in person today, Kina was still her friend.

She lifted her eyes and looked at Kina, finally seeing her friend’s face properly for the first time. Her bright brown eyes, her orange and blue scarf wrapped around her hair, and her her joyous smile… if it wasn’t for the bar sitting next to her right ear, Chen might’ve even forgotten why she’d felt so upset in the first place. She sighed and gave her friend a hug; she knew that, in this space between moments, Kina wouldn’t even remember the moment, but at least she would feel more at ease if she thought she’d given her friend a proper goodbye.

The hug didn’t last very long, but it was long enough for Chen to feel something wet starting to pool in her eyes. She wiped them away so that Kina wouldn’t see them during her final moments, and clapped once again. She forced herself to smile, and she saw Kina smile back at her before she saw a small piece of ice drop from the sky. Right… hail.

It happened faster than anyone could think. One moment, she saw a large ball of ice falling from the sky. The next moment, she found herself tackling her friend to the ground; the hailstone broke on the concrete as it landed. But, to Chen’s horror, she felt something else crack as well. She felt Kina’s body go limp as they hit the ground, and Chen had to force herself not to break down right there and then.

Several people in the crowd rushed forward, trying to stop the bleeding form the skull and applying what first aid they knew in a futile attempt to revive the girl. Chen purposefully avoided everyone’s gaze, unable to bring herself to tell them it was already too late. She heard people calling on their phones, and, soon after, the sound of sirens blared in the distance. She took a deep breath and looked back over towards her friend’s body. She could see Kina’s soul pulsing above her heart, and reached over to grab it.

It didn’t take long for the paramedics to arrive, but she couldn’t follow them to the hospital. What kind of a Spirit was she if she couldn’t even do her job properly? She watched the ambulence rush her friend’s body away, and clapped once more, pausing time yet again.

Chen stared the Celestial Stairs that appeared before her, and realized this was the first time she’d actually seen them for herself. Around her, she saw several of her partiselves flying about, carrying balls of glowing light upwards. She took a few deep breaths before climbing the stairs herself. The soul in her hand glowed dimly as she walked up, before it blew out of her grasp and slowly reformed in front of her. A pale shadow of her friend’s figure stood on the top step, smiling down at her. There was no bar next to the figure; there was no need for one, for Kina was already…

“Dead,” Chen whispered. “I’m sorry, Kina, it’s my fault this happened” she said, not able to look her friend in the eyes, “I didn’t mean-”

The figure of Kina stepped forward and hugged her friend. Chen found herself clinging to the shadow, wishing dearly to feel the softness of Kina’s body, though she settled for the warmth of her soul. “I didn’t mean for this to be like this. I just wanted to spend more time with you. I wish-”

Kina pat Chen’s head, and Chen finally allowed herself to cry. Her tears flowed through Kina’s figure and the stairs, falling into the sky below them. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry…”

They stayed like that for a while until Chen was able to collect herself. She took a deep, trembling breath, and slowly let go of the embrace. “Are- are you ready?”

Kina seemed to laugh as she returned a questioning look on her face. She couldn’t speak, but she mouthed a question in return: Are you?

“Me? What kind of a Spirit of Death would I be if I wasn’t ready to bring people to the Afterworld?” Chen shook her head. “But no, I don’t think I’ll ever be ready. But it’s my job, my duty. I can’t just ignore my job because I have emotions like a regular human being.”

Kina nodded as if in understanding. She gestured towards the top of the stairs, as if asking if they should continue.

“Yeah, probably best to just get it over with, huh?” The two of them took the final step together, revealing a large mirror. Several other souls were there with them, each one stepping through the mirror into what could only be the Afterworld. Chen turned towards Kina, and held her friend’s hands. “I’ll see you on the other side?” Kina nodded. Chen gave one last sad smile and hugged her friend, before letting her go to be on her way.

She was the Spirit of Death, and she was the kind of Spirit who was quite the crybaby.
  1. Teapot
    Oh man, I missed this the first time around and now you made me cry. Wonderfully written piece :up:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Shiny Lyni likes this.