Read Grim Love - A Novella Online

Authors: Grae Lily

Tags: #romance, #paranormal romance, #paranormal, #love story, #young adult, #afterlife, #grim reaper, #new adult, #novella romance

Grim Love - A Novella

BOOK: Grim Love - A Novella
2.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Grim Love

by

Grae Lily

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2014 by Grae Lily

All Rights Reserved

Smashwords Edition

 

Chapter 1

Evangeline had been warned not to wander, but
still coming to terms with what she'd lost, she couldn't help
herself. Even though she’d never felt the urge to travel in life -
in death, she wanted to travel more than anything. Death wasn’t
going to stop her. She knew that. Dying at nineteen meant it would
be inevitable that she'd spend eternity behaving as she had in
life.

Being chosen as a reaper didn't fit into that
equation. How it came to be that the often elusive, but terrifying
nonetheless, Lucius, would need assistance, still baffled her.
Three in all had been chosen. Evangeline, the only female and the
only one to be of such a young age. The other two were much older
than she and had no time or interest in the girl they deemed as too
young in death and too inexperienced in life.

As she walked through the streets, she tried
not to think about the others and their cold eyes. During their
choosing ceremony, they stared at her as though they knew she'd let
their master, Lucius, down. Maybe they were right, but always
having been a rebel, she'd do her best to ensure she wouldn't fail.
He'd chosen her when there must have been others who were better
suited. She struggled with that, knowing that she'd be expected to
prove herself at every turn.

Being allowed to walk the Earth would be a
privilege she never felt possible. Although her new position
strictly prohibited any such notion, having the ability to move as
she had in life, gave her something to hold on to and that eased
her transition into this new realm. Death changed everything. She’d
been chosen by Lucius for reasons she hadn’t quite gotten her head
around yet, but she hoped with time she would. Although, time would
be an item she'd soon discover she wouldn't have anymore because of
the job she’d been chosen to do.

How did anyone get chosen to be a reaper? Had
Lucius wandered through the afterlife choosing people he thought
would be best for the position? She couldn’t ask him. When he
looked at her, she could see more than she wanted to see. He’d been
alive for a millennia in the afterlife, working as the reaper until
it'd been decided that the world had changed and he could no longer
do it alone. He had to choose three people to help him. She’d been
assigned to North America and told not to go anywhere near the
places she’d known in life. Given her personality, that wasn’t an
easy rule to follow.

At least, her first job had been easy enough.
Evangeline could be grateful for that because she knew each
subsequent death would be more difficult than the last.

It would have been easier for her to have
turned down the position, but that wasn’t possible, not when Lucius
looked at her with eyes that had seen all the ages of man. She’d
wanted to run in the opposite direction, but found herself agreeing
to help him. The smile he’d given her told her he knew what she'd
been thinking. That, made him more terrifying than he'd been before
in her mind. She hoped he couldn't read minds, telling herself
that, if he could, he wouldn’t have asked her in the first place.
He'd know she'd be terrified of him and he would have chosen
someone else. Someone who could do the job without hesitation.
Someone unlike her.

Evangeline knew there had to have been a
reason she’d been chosen, but she wasn't sure she wanted to know
the answer as to why. Lucius must have seen something that made him
think she'd be the right person. That, in itself, made her uneasy
and caused her to question all she'd said or done in life. He’d
chosen her above all the other spirits available to take on the job
of gathering souls.

Kane and
Brick were obvious choices. Their Earthly lives ended decades ago
and they'd earned the right to serve Lucius. They were just as
taken aback by Lucius' choice to bestow this coveted position to
her.
Why
her,
they
wondered.
What's different about her?
There were too many questions that no one had
answers to and no one felt it'd be their place to ask.

Evangeline wondered if Kane and Brick were having the same
difficulties.
Were they trying to figure out why they’d been
chosen?
She shook her
head. It seemed unlikely. Both of them had stepped into the role as
though they were meant to be reapers, while she tried the
impossible task of understanding the motivations of those in
power.

Being confused proved more irritating than
anything because it would have been so much easier if she could
just accept what happened the way everyone else appeared to be
accepting it. Her curious nature and penchant for rebellion didn't
allow for her to take things in stride.

How could they have done that? How could Kane and Brick
look at the immortal Lucius and think they're qualified to be
reapers? Perhaps, because they were chosen? Could it be as simple
as that for them?
Evangeline wished it could be that simple for her, but it
wasn’t. Dying had been difficult. She hadn’t been ready for it and
she remembered screaming at the unfairness of it all as Lucius
stood there grinning at her. The first words he’d said to her had
been: “Life isn’t fair, so why did you expect death to be?”
Quirking his eyebrows up, he added, “You made a stupid choice and
you ended up dead. Deal with it.”

It didn't surprise her that the reaper
responded with cold words. She’d expected him to be evil, but she
didn't expect to look into his eyes and see time passing. In them,
she could see the souls of the dying calling out to him to guide
them to their eternity. No words could describe those images and
the haunted feeling they gave her.

She
couldn't help but stare. She allowed her mind to delve into the
abyss and see pieces of what he’d experienced and what others were
experiencing. Perhaps a newly dead had more insight or maybe it
boiled down to the fact that her destiny called for her to be a
reaper. Lucius had never been one for answering questions. She
thought she caught a glimpse of him smirking as she bombarded him
with her questions. Evangeline wondered if there had ever been a
time when he asked the same questions of the one that came before
him.
Did they
leave those same questions unanswered?

Lucius knew he shouldn’t, but he watched
Evangeline as she walked through the city she'd been told to avoid.
The look on her face told him she'd been replaying recent events in
her mind. He knew she had questions – they all did in the
beginning. The answer as to why such a young soul had been chosen
would be one Evangeline would have to figure out in time. For now,
allowing her to become familiar with her new role would be his only
concern. He couldn't explain to her that some spirits were meant to
be reapers and she, by her choices and the lessons she'd not
learned in life, had been chosen to fulfill a destiny in order to
come to terms with her own mistakes in life.

Her young soul would prove to make her
transition difficult. It hadn't been long since the beautiful girl
once lived. She'd spent an insurmountable amount of time worrying
about petty things like keeping her red, curly locks coiffed to
perfection and maintaining an ever-expanding social calendar. Her
life had been one filled with one raucous adventure after the next.
Nineteen years had been filled with egocentric behaviors that
became more risque with every new year. While most toddlers learned
to crawl and walk, Evangeline became adept at sprinting and
jumping. When girls her age were taking ballet lessons, she spent
her evenings giving chase to prepubescent boys, hoping to win their
affections. As her nineteenth year approached, her once slender
build transformed into a voluptuous figure that garnered the
attention of men and boys at every turn.

It wasn’t going to be easy for her to come to
terms with what her calling meant. Young reapers, as Lucius knew
from experience, would always do the unexpected. That explained why
he felt it necessary to watch her. He waited to see what would
happen on her first mission, so he’d have some idea of whether or
not death had changed her.

In life, Evangeline lived on the edge. Never
being one to follow any set rules or standards, she'd often be
found engaging in questionable behavior with equally questionable
companions. Deeming herself a free spirit and throwing caution to
the wind paled in comparison to most of the activities she allowed
herself to partake in while amongst the living.

Reapers of legend were rare. Lucius wondered
if it could be possible for her to be one of the legendary. Reaping
souls wasn't for the faint of heart. It required patience and a
certain discipline to accomplish. While the existence of Grim
Reapers made for fascinating myths and mystery, the true calling is
far less sinister.

Lucius had his doubts as to whether or not
Evangeline could tone down her self-indulgent inclinations in order
to act as a spirit guide. He wondered how she'd separate the myths
from the reality of her new position. Given her rather minimal life
experience, he considered the inevitable and waited for her
reaction to what would now remain hidden under a red cloak. In his
experience, the newly dead always had difficulty recognizing
themselves, but reapers often had more trouble identifying with
their shadowed existences. When he'd been chosen, his predecessor
warned him of the marginal numbers of the living that, for reasons
unknown to them, did have the ability to see the reapers in a
life-like form. He'd not yet encountered one and had no definitive
plan to explain any such occurrences if that were to happen.

For now, he'd wait and hope that when the
former reigning beauty queen of Blue Grove City did see her
reflection, she wouldn't let it distract her from her mission.
Lucius knew how taken aback others had been and he had hope that
some of Evangeline's infamous feisty nature had followed her into
the afterlife, considering how angry she’d been at her own
death.

Realizing all the years she'd never have,
devastated her. No one believes their lives will come to a complete
stop at the age of nineteen. Everyone lives with the delusion that
time will never cease. Procrastination had become a way of life for
the living. Lucius spent days on end watching the pitiful souls on
Earth rest on their laurels, waiting for a gentle push from the
universe before moving forward to take the next step.

She thought she had her whole life ahead of
her when her final moment as a member of the living came. Lucius
wondered if her last fateful decision would cause her to be someone
who tried to save those destined to die? That wasn't unusual, but
he always grappled with how to set firm boundaries for those not
well-suited for this role. Through the centuries there had been
occasions when others would be called to action, especially in
times of famine and clashes between the peoples and countries.
Those called to serve would have difficulty allowing certain souls
to pass.

Knowing people as he did, Lucius believed the
young reaper would fit right into that obscure category. As he'd
stared into her eyes, he’d seen the compassion she didn’t realize
had been a part of her. Had she lived longer, she might have seen
it herself and wouldn't have been one of the chosen. A life lived
to extremes clouded much of the good that Evangeline possessed.

Even though Lucius always told himself not to
have favorites, he couldn’t help it sometimes. When he compared the
rambunctious Evangeline with Kane and Brick, he knew she'd be the
one. He believed her to be the special one who came along once in
an infinite number of lifetimes. Something told him she would turn
his eternal life upside down before moving on to the next step in
her journey.

His eternity had been determined long ago.
He'd reached the last leg of his journey. He’d been created for one
job, long before the population of the Earth had exploded, and
until life on Earth came to an end, he was expected to remain in
that position. With so much change in the universe, he did harbor
hope that he’d be able to pursue other interests in time. All
things changed in time.

“Ah, there it is.” Lucius smiled. There,
stumbled a homeless man about to be run over and he knew that
Evangeline's death sense wouldn’t have kicked into full gear yet.
She looked between the man and the car, uncertain as to what she
should do, and in that moment, Lucius walked away. He didn’t want
to know what her decision would be, but he’d be able to find out.
His status allowed him to see all the goings on in the world of
those who's lives hung in the balance. Committing the homeless
man's face to memory, he let Evangeline wrestle with her
decision.

BOOK: Grim Love - A Novella
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ads

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