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THE BETWEEN


Time. Seldom is there ever enough. For there is a finite amount of sand within the hourglasses of our lives, and it trickles down without pause or disruption. Once it finally runs out it marks the end of a life. Some people last the full length of a life well lived, their existence overflowing with happy memories, relationships, and experiences. Meanwhile, other’s time on Earth is unfortunately cut short. Tragedy strikes in the form of the unexpected, accidental, unfair, or cruel. ____ is a woman doomed to endure such a tragedy.

____ was in the peak of her prime at the height of her life. From the moment she was born she felt that she was destined for greatness. Ever the go-getter, she aimed for the most monumental goals and aspirations. And, more often than not, she achieved them. It didn’t matter who or what she had to sacrifice to get there either. In her mind, it was more than worth it. Then, just on the precipice of getting the crown jewel that would’ve solidified everything else she could’ve ever hoped for in life, she died.

Before one passes from this life on to the next, they must first journey through the Between. Very little is known about the ever-changing expanse separating Life and Death except for its treacherous perils. It can morph into anything from cosmic space to a labyrinth to an optical illusion to a moment of regret from the life of the soul traversing it. And, as if that wasn’t harrowing enough, dark creatures lurk throughout the shifting worlds. They were once souls seeking eternal rest themselves but were lost along the way. Eventually, the Between maddened their minds and transformed their bodies into nightmarish things with the sole desire to mislead others, condemning them to the same fate. For this reason, all newly deceased souls – ____ included – are assigned a guide. A guardian. A Grim Reaper.

While stories like to insinuate there is only one Grim Reaper, there are in fact many. Booker is one of them. And, unlike tales of an otherworldly omen, he was once an ordinary person who was simply presented with an extraordinary opportunity. At the end of his journey through the Between, Father Time – seer of all things Past, Present, and Future – offered him Eternity, the chance to become a Grim Reaper. This proposition is only extended to those who led truly good, selfless lives before they died. Booker, like many others, was chosen specifically for the task because he was best equipped to understand the wide spectrum of human emotion and handle it with grace, compassion, and care. The plan was that it would allow for easier transitions when he needed to guide someone who may have died young, unexpectedly, or painfully.

But plans change.

When ____ awakens in the Between to meet Booker, he is far from the warm, reassuring presence that a Grim Reaper is meant to embody. He is cold and harsh, hardened by what he has had to endure during his time ushering souls to their final destinations. Keen to find a way back to the land of the living and seize the reins on all the promising things life had to offer her, however, ____ is determined to break him down and enlist his help by any means necessary. Never mind the fact that it goes against every law of nature; some things are bigger than Death.


story details

~This is intended to be a romance.
~Feel free to change the gender, backstory, and/or personality of the character to whatever works for you. I left it vague on purpose. The only necessity is that they’re not ready to die and they’re therefore motivated by the need to find a loophole to keep living.
~The Between is a pretty open-ended world, so we can make things up as we go along. I do not have a concrete idea in mind, I’m just working off pure vibes here. Dark ones. Such as these.


rules

~This roleplay is for ages 21+ only. Mature themes will be used throughout.
~Illustrated pictures please.
~Proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation are all expected, but I’m not gonna flog you if you make a mistake here and there. If I’m not trying to decipher a coded message in your posts, we’re good.
~Paragraphs of posts are preferred. I generally tend to write around 600-700 words on average, so I’d appreciate something around that in return. There are, of course, exceptions during active dialogue between characters, so it’s a good general rule of thumb to just offer enough to work with – whatever that means to you.
~Apart from my character’s backstory, I don’t have too many fleshed out ideas regarding where this story may lead. So, let’s talk! Collaboration will no doubt benefit the both of us as well as the story, so please reach out with any ideas, thoughts, or opinions on what we’re doing. Or, just surprise me! Also very fun.
~There is no pressure to post here. Whatever your schedule is works for me. If I haven’t heard from you in over a month or so, I might reach out as a courtesy checkup, but there’s seriously no rush whatsoever.
~If you find somewhere down the line that this roleplay isn’t for you anymore, just let me know. We can tweak or drop it right then and there, no questions asked.
~PM me with a character skeleton filled with whatever you wanna tell me in order to join.
~Please don’t steal this idea. I can’t stop you if you do, but it’d deffo hurt my feelings.
Video ChatKumospace [Everyone]Gather.town [Everyone]

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FushenBooker Freeman   150d ago

[size15 It was a gorgeous day to be in the park. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, just the brilliant sun casting its warm rays toward the earth below. In the sunlight, the green of the grass and trees seemed more vibrant. A gentle breeze rolled through the area as well to gently jostle both. All around, people took full advantage of enjoying their Saturday afternoon. Children chased one another in some game of their own design while their parents kept a watchful eye on them from the comfort of their picnic blankets. A group of young people took turns posing and photographing one another to show off their fashionable outfits near one of the public art sculptures. Two elderly men walked along the sidewalk in merry conversation as they enjoyed some fruity popsicles they’d purchased from a nearby vendor. Life thrived in this park.

And alone on a bench taking it all in, sat Death.

Well, not Death incarnate exactly. For Grim Reapers were not harbingers of death, but rather followers of it. They merely appeared wherever it took place. Thankfully, there was no death in the park either. The Grim Reaper in question simply liked to pass the time between deaths observing life.

If anyone could see Booker, it would’ve been quite the jarring sight indeed. Amidst the light and color of the world around him, he stuck out like a sore thumb. He was a large, imposing man with dark skin that was only paled by the inky black cloak he wore around his person. Prominent features of his face included his heavy brow, wide nose, and full lips – all of which seemed to be etched into a permanent glower. And even more striking still was the long weapon he held in front of him that stretched skyward approximately six feet before ending in a shining curved blade. A scythe.

But no one took any notice of him at all. That much was made clear as soon as a dark-haired woman sat beside him, pulled a book out from her purse, thumbed through a few pages, and began to read. Booker considered her silently for a few moments. He noted how she gently chewed her thumbnail as she read. How her hair kept curtaining her face as her eyes drifted from one page to the next. How she’d look up every now and again whenever there was a particularly loud shout from a nearby child. The woman would smile to herself, shake her head almost imperceptibly, then return to her book. Realizing that he was becoming too drawn toward the woman, Booker pushed himself to his feet and stalked away.

Watching life go by was all well and good, but only ever from a safe distance. Too long lingering on minute details could very well be his undoing. It only served as a stark reminder of everything he lost and all that he had to endure. After all, he could only move through and observe the world of the living, not interact with it. He’d never again be able to feel the warmth of the sun’s rays, or the crisp pages of a new book. Instead, he had to settle for living vicariously through others who were still alive. And it hurt. Yet he far preferred it to the other option: residing in the Between instead. If he wasn’t forced to escort a soul through it, he wanted to keep as much distance as he could.

Booker settled himself beneath the shade of a nearby tree with a sigh. He crossed his legs in front of him and rested his scythe on top. The man leaned against the bark without feeling it behind him and closed his eyes. No sooner had he done so than there was a sudden tightness in his chest. Dark orbs flew open, and Booker grit his teeth against the sensation. It was as if his torso was collapsing in on itself, crushing the bones and organs beneath. Then, a pull promptly replaced the press. An invisible fishhook looped itself in his ribcage and began to reel. Booker felt it calling him to a new location, a new death soon to occur. It was a common sensation, one that was experienced by all Grim Reapers within range of someone who was about to die. But the familiarity didn’t dull the pain.

The man tried to fight against the feeling. Surely, someone else was in range and could take over in his stead. He’d been avoiding taking on new charges lately. The Between, cursed place that it was, had claimed nearly all the past half a million or so souls that he’d had in his care. Perhaps it wasn’t even the place that was cursed. Perhaps it was him. Either way, he was of no use to anyone. There wasn’t any point in adding yet another name to his growing list of people he failed to protect. But still death called to him. And he had to heed its cry.

Against his will, Booker was whisked away.

The world shifted beneath him, slow at first, but then rapidly picked up speed. Everything became a frightening blur of color and sound around him. It spun sickeningly, nearly nauseating him. Just as suddenly as it had started, however, it stopped.

The sun was instantly replaced with an overcast sky, a torrential downpour. Though it was still early in the day, it looked as dark as night. Sheets of rain came thundering down from overhead, making visibility near next to impossible. Booker pulled up his hood against nature’s onslaught even though the howling wind could not stir his cloak. He eyes scanned the area from beneath the covering.

The greater forces at work appeared to have placed him at a city intersection. The road that ran from east to west had a yellow light, but a pair of headlights still a hundred feet away did not slow. A sportscar was coming up fast. Too fast. There was a harsh squeal of brakes as the light changed to red, but the car had too much momentum and the road was too slick. A small sedan that had inched its way out into the road at the beckoning of its green light was right in the sportscar’s path. Booker turned away.

Behind him came a deafening crash as one car collided with another. The crunch of metal on pavement. The scent of burned tire. The panic of people emerging from nearby stores. Booker looked over his shoulder just in time to see the sportscar speed off dragging its front bumper behind it. The sedan did not fair nearly as well. The passenger side looked like a crushed soda can from the initial impact, and the rest of the vehicle sustained far worse from flipping and rolling through the street. Gasps and cries for someone to call 911 echoed from the small crowd that had gathered. Had humans always been so optimistic? To hold onto hope that someone might be alive even in the face of unimaginable devastation. It seemed too long ago now for Booker to recall. He almost wished it were true too. At least that way, he’d still be in the comfort of his park.

Long, dark tendrils began to leak from the middle of the wreckage. They oozed outward, thick as tar but moving like wisps of smoke. No one seemed to notice. The substance snaked over everything, covering car, street, and person alike, freezing each object it touched. It did not touch Booker. The man took a steadying deep breath. When everything stood paralyzed in time, he approached the upside-down car.

With the environment existing on the same plane as him now, he had the ability to manipulate it. The driver’s door was firmly shut thanks to the metal folding in on itself, but with a swift swipe of his scythe, Booker managed to get it off. He crouched down with a groan, peering into the debris. Pages of paper littered the vehicle along with scattered glass, a smashed laptop, and an unconscious woman dangling limply from the driver’s seat, her seatbelt still fastened. Booker inserted himself into the crumpled car so he could reach across her body and unfasten her. He half caught her, half lowered her down when she came loose. Dragging her unceremoniously by one arm, he walked her a few paces away from the vehicle before fully laying her down.

Booker stood over her, examining his new charge. She was young, he realized with a small pang. He didn’t allow himself to feel as sympathetic as he might have when he first started the job, but he could at least admit the tragedy behind a life that ended before it truly began. After all, he had only been afforded a handful of years himself. Even with the injuries she sustained from the crash, he could recognize that she was attractive too; no doubt she would be missed and mourned.

He lowered himself to her level, his eyes almost willing her to wake up. They couldn’t stay at the scene for long; they needed to get moving. As if in response to his thoughts, the world around them rumbled menacingly. Booker looked around in all directions, the grip on his scythe tightening. Clenching his jaw, he dropped his gaze back to the unconscious girl. Ignoring the cuts and bruises she already had across her face, he raised his free hand and slapped her across the cheek. Although the dead kept the bodily harm that might’ve arisen as a result of their death, it couldn’t cause them pain any longer. Harm inflicted while dead, however, could still hurt. And Booker did not hit her lightly.

When finally she opened her eyes, he immediately recognized the fear and confusion within them. In his earlier days he would’ve done everything in his power to calm and reassure those feelings. Now, however, all he said was, [b “Sorry,”] in a deep voice that didn’t sound sorry at all. [b “But you died. And now it’s time to go.”] He stood, spinning his scythe around a few times before swiping it in the air. It instantly tore where he slashed as easily as if it were a piece of fabric. Beams of bright white light shone through. They were soft and inviting, promising peace and prosperity. But Booker knew better by now than to believe it; their journey was likely to be anything but that. He turned his cold gaze back to her, motioning with his hand for her to hurry up. [b “Haven’t got all day. C’mon.”]]
Lovely_PoisonFaith   148d ago

[center Today was the day.]

[center Today was the day that Faith Lawson would finally step over the finish line and achieve her dreams. She was so close that she could taste it. She could practically see the fans at the book signings, could hear the movie pitches, could even see who would be bringing her characters to life. She’d worked too hard, had come too far, to watch it all fall out of reach now. [b “Today is the day,”] she said, a smile on her face as she watched her reflection in the mirror.]

[center Her hair was pulled back into a half-ponytail, leaving a good bit of it to cascade down her back while a dark shade of red painted her lips. For once, she had eyeliner and mascara on, along with a light blush. Nothing too heavy but just enough to help bring out her features. She was excited, and confident, which was perfect for when she reached her destination. She would walk into the publisher's office, give them the manuscript, and she’d be set for the rest of her life.]

[center The idea had already been enough to get her this meeting, had done well when she’d thrown the first few chapters online to get the attention of some of the public, and had read well when she’d given a preview down at the local library. She had no doubt that she would finally be able to become the writer that she was destined to be. She had always achieved whatever it was she wanted, no matter how hard or impossible the goal was. This would be no different.]

[center Hurrying out of the bathroom, she hurried to her room, made sure that she had everything in her bag, including her phone, wallet, and keys, grabbed the stack of papers bound together, along with the laptop, and rushed out the door, making sure to lock it before she made her way to the car. According to the watch on her wrist, she still had forty-five minutes. Plenty of time to get where she needed to be, even at this time of day. Hell, she could stop for coffee if she really wanted to and still be a good ten minutes early.]

[center That was Faith, though. Always early. Never late. She couldn’t afford to be late if she wanted to be successful. It just didn’t work that way. Taking a deep breath, she would remind herself that she had this in the bag before she pulled out of her driveway, making sure her GPS was working before she left, following the blue line on her screen. Some eighties music played in the background, a little quieter than she normally would play it, though she sang along nonetheless. She’d grown up around it too much to not enjoy it when [i Journey] or [i Bon Jovi] came on.]

[center [i Today is the day.]]

[center If only she had known that those words would have a different meaning. If she had only known that she wouldn’t make it to that meeting, maybe she would’ve called in sick or tried to reschedule. Surely the publishing company would’ve been more than understanding. She, however, couldn’t tell the future, had no reason to believe that her life would be cut so short. Then again, no one ever thought it would be them until it actually happened.]

[center She’d been patient at the light, waiting for just a second or two before she’d decided to go, truly believing that doing what he mother had taught her over and over again would be what kept her from getting into an accident. It had worked every other time before, so why, [i why] had she missed it when the sportscar sped through the light, tires screeching right before it collided with her car.]

[center It had all seemed to happen in slow motion; the way her car rolled, sending everything tumbling about inside the vehicle. The way her head would collide with the steering wheel, sending colors across her vision, and the way it all seemed to grow quiet, the music fading away without any reason why. Darkness was quick to take over, leaving her limp inside the car without much time to even process what had happened.]

[center The sudden pain in her cheek was enough to cause her eyes to snap open wide, quickly staring at the man that was too close for comfort before she started looking around, wondering why she wasn’t in her car anymore. Was this some bad dream? Was it because she was actually nervous about the day? So many things were running through her mind and she could barely hold onto a thought.]

[center Hearing the man’s words, she looked back at him, just as confused as she had been a moment ago. Watching him, her eyes would widen again, quickly shaking her head. [b “I’m sorry… what?”] His words didn’t sound right. She wasn’t dead. Just asleep or… in a coma. Maybe that was it. She was in the hospital and this was all some weird thing her brain was doing to help her cope.]

[center With one last quick look around, and the realization that she had no choice but to follow him, she finally stood, pressing a hand to her cheek before she forced herself to walk towards him, taking in the lights that came through where he’d cut. They were pretty, she would admit that, but it was just another thing that made her believe this was all some sort of bad dream.]

[center [i Today was most certainly the day,] she thought to herself.]
FushenBooker Freeman   146d ago

[size15 [b “Dead,”] Booker repeated simply in answer to the girl’s question, as if that was the only explanation she needed. His stare didn’t waver from her as she slowly rose to her feet, rubbed her cheek, and began to walk towards him. [i [b Cooperative… good,]] he thought. Sometimes the deceased would waste precious time by bombarding him with one too many questions or trying to desperately scramble back to the bodies they’d left behind. She didn’t seem to fall on either end of that spectrum, but Booker still sensed her hesitation even before she stopped in front of him. His dark eyes slid from her to the gateway and back again, his way of encouraging her to continue moving. When she didn’t move fast enough, however, he exhaled in mild agitation. Then, he helped her along by placing the flat of his scythe blade on the small of her back and nudging her through the entry brusquely.

Once she’d gone, the man took one last look around at the land of the living, still suspended in time. Idly, he wondered how much more time would pass before he’d have the chance to revisit. Each journey through the Between was unique, and therefore had varying durations. He’d have to simply hold onto the perfection of the park in his mind until his return. Which would hopefully be sooner rather than later – whether by successfully navigating his charge to what lay beyond the Between [i or] by losing her to it. Not that it mattered. Booker had become so numb to the latter of the two, that neither outcome affected his mood much anymore.

The world rumbled again, even more alarmingly than the first time. Taking the cue to leave, Booker followed the girl through the tear in time. There was a brief second after he passed from one threshold to the next where the split shimmered. In that moment, the pair were privy to life resuming beyond its boundaries – the torrential rain continued to fall, traffic cautiously weaved around the wreckage, and still people scrambled to save the girl who was already well past the point of being saved. Then the tear quickly stitched itself back together and shut them out.

It took a moment for Booker’s eyes to adjust. Rather than the gloomy darkness of a thunderstorm, they found themselves surrounded by the same bright, white light that had streamed through the portal. It came from everywhere all at once, illuminating the space, but revealing nothing. Likely because there was nothing to reveal. The place was an endless, empty void.

Without sparing the girl a glance, Booker wordlessly swept past her and began walking. Though the environment was devoid of any objects that could bounce sound, his footsteps still echoed softly throughout the space. It mimicked the same rhythmic [i tap-tap-tapping] of shoes on tile. Based on the second pair of echoes trailing behind him, Booker knew that the girl chose to follow him as well. While she must’ve had a billion questions buzzing in her brain, she did not voice any of them immediately; no doubt she was still in shock. Similarly, Booker did not offer any answers.

Aside from the resounding footfalls, the two walked in silence as endless as the void.

In truth, the man preferred the quiet. There were only so many times – so many [i decades,] for that matter – someone could answer the same questions over and over again before it grew tiresome, after all. Who are you? Where are we going? What is happening? Where are we? Always the same. Not that he could fault the dead for their lingering curiosities about the afterlife – something of which humanity knew frighteningly little about. They took stabs at theories, though; they were ever intent on trying to explain the inexplicable. But they didn’t even come close. There was no omnipotent god welcoming them to a set of pearly gates. No violent jettison into a new reincarnation of a different life. No scattering of the soul’s essence into stardust amongst endless galaxies. None of their imaginings held up to what really awaited them. The nearest they’d come to getting it right was envisioning a bright light at the end of tunnel, one that came with a forewarning to avoid lest death entrap them. But even that fell short because in reality there was no tunnel. And if they saw the light – the very same that encompassed Booker and the girl – it was already too late.

Although the circumstances assured death, there was nothing inherently foreboding or threatening about the void. Quite the opposite. There was a certain calmness in the air. And soon enough, like ambient music in a waiting room, more sound began to fill the space. It was quiet as first but grew more noticeable the longer the two walked. The rush of ocean waves sweeping across smooth sand. The shifting turn of a page in a book. The soft mewing of a housecat. The crinkling of a candy wrapper being unfurled. The hearty laughter of a man who Booker assumed was of some importance to the girl. For they were all sounds that were based on things that were meant to appeal to her.

He cast a glance over his shoulder at her, slowing his gait just enough to allow her to catch up. [b “Tell me,”] he said once she caught stride. [b “Do you see anything yet?”]

The sounds typically meant that the appearance of a doorway to the Between was imminent. But like the noises, it would be tailored specifically to the girl and only she’d be able to see it. Before she answered, however, Booker nearly tripped over a bench that suddenly materialized before them. He flashed an arm out in front of her to stop her from doing the same. His brow furrowed as he eyed it suspiciously. This had never happened before.

[b “Does this mean anything to you?”] he asked the girl, an accusatory edge lining his voice. Without waiting for a response, he gave the seat a testing poke with the butt of his scythe. It was as pure white as the rest of their surroundings and looked sturdy. Perhaps it meant that her entry point wasn’t as near to appearing as he’d thought, maybe not even close. That did not bode well. The Between always took its time to shape the landscape and plan out hardships for souls to overcome, but it wasn’t meant to be an exuberant amount. Booker’s dark eyes wandered back to the girl, wondering who she was and what she’d done in her life to prompt this.

[b “Well.”] He waved his open palm toward the bench. [b “Have a seat, I suppose.”] Booker chose to remain standing; he still didn't fully trust it. He lightly leaned his weight against his scythe. [b “Got a name, girl?”]]
Lovely_PoisonFaith   140d ago

[center [i Dead.]]

[center That one word seemed to toss and turn about in her mind as Faith stared at the stranger. It just didn’t sound right. It didn’t [i feel] right. Just moments before, she was very much alive, sitting in her car and heading to a meeting. Perhaps she’d fallen asleep at the wheel? That’s what this was, right? Just some bad dream? She reached up to pinch her arm, wondering if it would snap her out of her daze. Her stomach dropped when it didn’t work. She definitely had more questions now but had no way to truly convey them without coming off as annoying or dumb. So, instead, she just continued to follow the man, her mind spinning.]

[center She followed his gaze to the strange gateway before her, a bit hesitant before she started making her way for it. She wasn’t sure why she was really doing it, save for the fact that she might actually have some of her questions answered without having to ask them aloud. A small gasp escaped her lips as the scythe came to rest against her back, feeling a little offended that he was rushing her. Could the woman not have a moment or two to process anything? What was the big rush anyway? [i She] certainly wasn’t in a hurry, so why was he?]

[center She kept her mouth shut, however, not wanting to irritate the man who already seemed annoyed by the fact that he was there, to begin with. Wrapping her arms around herself, she let out a soft sigh. [i Dead…] Nope. The word still didn’t feel right. [i Maybe you’re in a coma. That would make sense, right?] Whatever she could think of to make herself feel better. Glancing over her shoulder, she had opened her mouth to finally say [i something,] but stopped as she watched him, wondering what it was he was waiting on. He’d been so pressed to get her through, so why hesitate now? It didn’t seem to last long, whatever it was he was waiting on, and soon they were on their way again. The words she’d had on the tip of her tongue stuck again and she quickly closed her mouth, continuing forward in silence.]

[center It was all quite eerie, despite the brightness of it all. It was far quieter than she would’ve liked and felt much too open for her. [i Is this what Heaven looks like? How dull and lonely…] Where were the gates she was promised as a child? The paradise that she was sold every Sunday she’d gone to church? Had that all been a lie? How would her father feel about that? Hell, how would she tell him? She paused for just a moment as it finally started to settle in. She wouldn’t be able to tell him. He probably thought she was inside her meeting now instead of stuck on the road somewhere.]

[center Fear gripped her for a moment as the man moved past her. Surely he didn’t expect her to just accept this. That didn’t seem fair, and yet, she could tell by his attitude that he probably couldn’t have cared less. Tightening her arms around herself, she began to follow him again. All she could think of was everything she had wanted to do in her life. She was going to become a bestseller, get married, and live a wonderful life until she died of old age in her bed, holding her husband's or children's hands. That was the life she’d thought she’d been promised.]

[center Fate was a cruel bitch and what a slap to the face this was.]

[center Faith didn’t know how long they had walked for or how long she’d let herself get lost in thought. It wasn’t until she started hearing other sounds that she recognized that she would pull herself from her own mind, slowing down just a little to look around. She couldn’t see anything, which baffled her, but she could definitely hear it all. It was almost disorienting for a moment. Was this what people meant by their lives flashing before their eyes? No, no, that didn’t sound right, especially when nothing could be seen. Perhaps they just misunderstood what it was they were perceiving?]

[center She jumped a little as the man before her spoke, glancing over at him. Was she meant to? And if so, what was it she was supposed to be seeing? So many questions, and yet she couldn’t bring herself to ask a single one. She opened her mouth to respond but was cut short as he stumbled. The bench was the first thing now that he’d asked. She was almost tempted to point it out but decided against it. [b “Perhaps?”] she said softly, digging through her mind for a moment. She’d sat on a ton of benches in her short lifetime, mostly in the park or on the sidewalk when she was looking for some inspiration.]

[center She seemed hesitant again as he spoke. She wasn’t sure she felt comfortable sitting down at a time like this. She’d rather just get it done and over with so she could, as people would say, “rest in peace.” If she had to die young then she at least deserved that, right? God, what had she done to deserve any of this? With a sigh, she finally sat, seeing no other option than to sit down where she had stood. Probably not a good idea. [b “Faith Lawson,”] she said a moment later, resting her arms over her legs as she laced her fingers together. [b “Do you?”] Maybe that had sounded a little angry. Certainly not her intention, but could he blame her for it? She was trying to process a lot of emotions at once.]

[center [b “Where do we go from here?”] she asked, motioning around for a second at the nothingness that surrounded them. He had to have some clue, right? [i What if he doesn’t?] If he didn’t, she would assume she was in Hell or Limbo or something crazy like that. What else could she think?]
FushenBooker Freeman   121d ago

[size15 [i [b Faith Lawson,]] Booker repeated in his mind. It was all he could do to stop himself from rolling his eyes. With a name like ‘Faith,’ it wasn’t too farfetched to assume that the girl was raised with the lessons of Christianity. A frown lined the man’s features. Christians typically had the most difficult time accepting the reality of their situation in the Between. They’d ask about their Heaven or cry for their God. It would be fascinating how severely faith tended to blind people if it weren’t firstly so flat out annoying.

His irritation was suddenly lifted as his charge crossed her legs neatly in front of her after she’d sat down and spat his question out back at him. An eyebrow raised and the corner of his mouth lifted in a shadow of a smirk. He wouldn’t have pegged a little thing like her capable of producing such sparks. It was pleasantly surprising. Though he’d come from human beginnings himself, it had been so long since he’d revisited his roots that he often forgot how interesting they could be sometimes. But not enough for him to divulge the information she wanted to know.

[b “Call me Grim. Short for Grim Reaper...in case that wasn’t clear.”] Condescension lightly lined his words. In part because that was his nature nowadays, but also because he was morbidly curious what would happen if he stoked this girl’s spark into a fire.

It had been years since he’d given out his real name to the souls he was tasked with guiding through the Between. He realized that the act left him more vulnerable than he’d like to admit. It allowed for attachments to eek out of the cracks in his self-erected walls. Connections formed into bonds and subsequently became all that more painful to sever. After all, it was difficult to turn a blind eye and shut off one’s feelings toward a voice that desperately cried out one’s name. Especially when that name is wailed at such a high pitch that it inspires tears to fall and hearts to bleed. When it cries for help, for salvation, for an end to the misery it’s forced to endure. Booker vowed not to leave himself open to such an attack again.

The man looked around at the void as Faith motioned to it. He shrugged casually then returned his attention to her. [b “You tell me. Where [i do] we go from here?”] At her confused expression he continued, [b “I’m supposed to lead you through the Between – the thing separating life and death –, but before we get there, we start here. A sort of waiting room that’s been catered to you, hence these noises I assume you recognize. It acts as a placeholder space until the Between is ready to receive us. Here, you lead me.”]

Idly, he placed his chin between his thumb and pointer finger, gently scratching his jawline. [b “There should be a door here at some point. Only you will be able to see it. Once you do, then we can move on.”] He failed to mention that it never took this long for a door to appear before. That a bench was never conjured during the waiting time. She’d just died, after all. What was the point in alarming her about the peculiarities of her particular situation? That would only invite more questions. Ones that he did not have the answers to.

Booker fell silent, leaving Faith to mull over his words. He was not the loquacious type, it seemed. As the stillness stretched between them, the gentle ambiance of snapshot sounds from her life continued to surround the pair. Once or twice, he cast a few glances over to his charge. The more he looked, the more he felt his own questions begin to bubble up. There was seldom a moment of motionlessness when he traveled through the Between. Therefore, his mind was usually otherwise occupied with the task at hand. Now that there was no forward momentum, however, it focused on the only thing available: Faith Lawson. Where had she been going before she died? Who did she leave behind in her stead? What plans had she had for her life before it ended so abruptly? But Booker held his tongue, refusing to utter a single syllable more.

It’d only bring trouble to know more of the girl, of her life. The only thing he could do was patiently wait for the door to the Between to reveal itself. And to wish for it to do so with some more fucking haste.]
Lovely_PoisonFaith   113d ago

[center It would be a lie to say that Faith accepted what was happening. She wanted so badly to fight and kick and scream until she was allowed to go back home. To wake up in a hospital bed and start a journey to recovery. To go back to her books and live her life the way she had intended to live it. Unfortunately, the logical part of her told her that wouldn’t be possible. That there was no way the man beside her would make that kind of exception. She had the feeling he’d dealt with people trying to make him take them back or change what fate had intended. Despite that logic, however, she still wanted to go back. She wasn’t done and she knew she wasn’t. Yet she had no idea how to fix that.]

[center So for the time being, here she would stay, speaking with the stranger that was supposed to be helping her through whatever limbo they seemed to be stuck in.]

[center [i Grim?] Faith couldn’t tell if she wanted to roll her eyes or laugh. It almost sounded like a joke, despite the tone. She decided to let out a laugh, believing it would go smoother that way. [b “I should have seen that coming, I suppose.”] Why had she expected anything else? Even if he did have another name, why would he give it to her? It wasn’t like he was obligated to and she knew that. Of course, having his real name to call him by would’ve been nice, but he didn’t owe it to her. She had to wonder if perhaps she should’ve given him a false name. Would that have irritated him? Would he have known she was lying? So many questions ran through her mind at that one thing alone. She had to wonder if all she’d do now was think since there was nothing else. It was almost disheartening.]

[center Looking at him, she raised a brow. She wasn’t exactly sure how she was supposed to lead him through a place she was unfamiliar with. [b “The Between?”] Well, at least it had a name. There was something oddly comforting in that fact, though she wasn’t quite sure she particularly liked the name. At least it gave her something to call it. Biting her lower lip, she looked down at her feet, resting her arms on her knees for just a moment after straightening her legs out. [b “So we’re just- [i I’m] just looking for a door. Sounds easy enough…”] Her voice trailed off as she glanced around. The problem was that she couldn’t see one anywhere. All she could see was the whiteness around them. What was she supposed to do with that?]

[center With a sigh, she stood up, lacing her fingers together before she stretched her arms above her head. [b “Well, if the door isn’t here, it must be somewhere else, right? May as well search for it.”] She decided that it didn’t matter if she was familiar with the place. It seemed fairly obvious by his sour mood that he didn’t want to do this any longer than she had to. She figured it best to speed up the process as much as she could, even if she didn’t want to.]

[center It would be a hard pill to swallow, this whole being dead thing. Surely by now, her father would have received the news. She had no idea how he was going to live on his own. If she’d had a sibling or two, maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard. Unfortunately, having been an only child, he had no one to lean on. His mother was states away, her mother had passed when she was young, and she was doubtful his friends would be able to help as much as they would want to. It was all quite concerning and it hurt to know that there was nothing she could do to offer him some aid or comfort in her own passing.]
FushenBooker Freeman   103d ago

[size15 At her laugh, Booker narrowed his eyes. He was trying to determine whether she’d done so out of amusement or mockery. It seemed like it was the former. The name ‘Grim’ [i was] a ridiculous one, after all; he couldn’t fault her for her laughing. In fact, he was relieved to hear it. If she still had enough mirth to produce such a sound, then odds were that she wasn’t too deeply traumatized nor shocked from having died. It therefore made Booker’s job all the easier. Hopefully.

He didn’t say a word more as the girl fixated on their surroundings, no doubt in search of the entryway he’d mentioned. Booker, of course, saw nothing as well. But then again, he never would. Since the appearance of the bench, he’d wondered exactly how long they were expected to wait until one materialized. The man pushed off from his scythe and straightened as Faith stood with a stretch. His eyebrows knit together, and he gave her a blank stare as she suggested walking around in search of the door.

Where were they supposed to go? It seemed obvious to him that they were meant to wait at the bench until the Between was ready for them – no matter how long that was supposed to take. For whatever reason, he felt uneasy about leaving. Perhaps it was because things had already gone so unexpectedly. Perhaps it was because he feared missing the door should it appear in their absence. Perhaps it was because he simply didn’t see a point in wandering around aimlessly. Despite his reservations about leaving the area, however, his face remained as stony as ever.

[b “Worth a shot,”] he said indifferently. [b “Lead the way.”]

Booker followed closely behind Faith as she began walking in a random direction throughout the void. While she kept her eyes on the path ahead (regardless of the fact that none existed), he kept his head on a swivel and a firm grip on his bladed weapon. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Well, almost nothing. As soon as they’d walked about twenty paces away from the bench, it slowly and silently began to trail after them like some sort of stray looking for handouts. It paused when they paused and moved when they moved. This only further confirmed Booker’s suspicions that perhaps they were meant to stay near it, but he did not comment this aloud. What did he know? He was far out of his element anyways. Their continuation depended on Faith and Faith alone.

After what seemed like forever to the man, he couldn’t stop himself from groaning. [b “Still nothing?”] he asked bitterly. [b “You’re sure you didn’t leave a pair of glasses in the wreckage or something? You should’ve at least seen [i something] by now.”] Booker quickened his pace so he could overtake the girl’s stride. This didn’t take much effort on his part since his legs could cover so much more ground than hers. He rounded in front of her, holding his arms out, and pressing his palms into her shoulders to stop her forward momentum. The bench behind them stopped too.

[b “Look, we’re going nowhere fast, and we can’t keep walking around here forever. Just,”] Booker paused and let his arms fall back to his sides as he inhaled and exhaled deeply. His voice had begun to take on an aggressive tone, but the breath helped to smooth out some of the roughness. [b “Try something for me, will you? Close your eyes.”] When Faith hesitated, he commanded her more forcefully. [b “Close. Them. … Good. That wasn’t so hard. Now imagine, if you can, any and all significant doors you may have come across in your life. The door to your parent’s house, the door to your favorite teacher’s classroom, the door to your first car – anything. Picture the significant details of the color, shape, frame, height, and handle.”] Booker fell silent for a moment, giving Faith the opportunity to bring the doors to the forefront of her memory. [b “Okay. Now, before you open your eyes again, see if you can pick one and bring it into this place. All we need is one. Choose.”]

Dark eyes roamed her face as she focused, willing his words to work. In truth, Booker had no idea what he was asking of her, but it was as worth a try as anything else they’d done.]

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