This has been written quite a while ago. Like I’ve said, I have all the idea for the story but no cover. I could write the story then look for the cover, but, I have shitloads of covers that I need to finish using.
This is how my ADHD brain works. It never wants to comply with what has to be done right now. It will keep getting distracted with wanting to do something else.
This story was inspired by the same friend who set the Halloween challenge. The seed of my story took root from here.
Here’s something longer which I’d kept in my folder for almost a year now. I present to you a snippet from my untitled paranormal/UF book, which I’m not writing right now. Lol. Right now I’m writing my Chinese Historical Romance. ARGHHH~~~ As usual, please ignore the typos and grammatical errors.
The air chilled as the Grim Reaper stepped through the door, sending a shudder down my spine. His tattered gray cloak dragged across the floor as he made his way to the couch, filling air with the smell of smoke and gunpowder.
Don’t sit! I was about to yell at him when he looked up and locked his gaze on me. The cold darkness of his empty eye sockets triggered my survival instinct to flee, but I managed to hold my ground and forced myself to look away.
“Maybe you can sit here instead.” My voice quivered. “I just cleaned the couch.”
I turned my attention back to the simmering pot of soup I was stirring just before he walked in. My hands were still a little shaky from the adrenaline rush he had triggered from that terrifying gaze.
“I made chicken noodle soup for supper.” I took a sip to test the temperature. Perfect.
I could tell the moment he entered the kitchen because color started bleeding away from my surroundings. Willing myself to stay calm, I carefully ladled the soup into a bowl.
A wisp of cold air blew against the back of my neck as I felt his arms going around my waist. The jitters I had been desperately trying to tame threatened to return as the bowl and soup plate in my hands started knocking softly against each other.
Gently, he closed his bony fingers over mine and guided me to place the soup safely onto the dining table.
“Sorry.” He tightened his arms around me and leaned his cheek against the back of my head. My husband usually left his GR form outside the door. The souls he collected today must have taken their toll on him.
“Do you want to let the girls know you’re home?”
“Not in this state. Look at how badly it’s affecting you.” Ever since he grew awareness, he’d been hiding his grotesque, skeletal form even though we assured him constantly that we still loved him. However, I would not deny that it was easier on us when he took on his human form.
“Maybe some soup will help.”
He took my suggestion and slumped onto the dining chair. I nudged the bowl in front of him and watched as the soup gradually turn into dust.
“I smell chicken noodle soup!” My face scrunched up as I heard my youngest girl, Trina, call out from upstairs. “Can I have some?”
“I want soup, too!” a muffled voice sounded in the back.
“It’s ok. We love you for who you are,” I reminded him when I saw him desperately trying to switch forms.
He sighed and gave up. “We can all have soup together,” he projected his voice upstairs.
Squeals of delight filled the air, followed by the sounds of pattering feet.
He removed his cloak and flew it to the coat rack across the living room.
Ginny, my second girl, was the first to fly into his arms, followed by Ely, my third girl, then Trina.
Sophie, my eldest, lumbered down the stairs, took one look at him and let out a long whistle. “What the hell happened?”
“Soph.” I threw her a warning glare, which she blatantly ignored.
“You look like shiiiiiit.”
I was about to snap at her when she went behind her stepfather and hugged him. He breathed out a happy sigh as a faint, ethereal glow enveloped them.
“Come join in the group hug, Mama,” Sophie said.
I gave her a warning glare as I walked into Chual’s outstretched arm. As we hugged, I could feel him fleshing out, no longer cold to the touch.
“Are you feeling better already, Chups?” Trina asked.
When I remarried after their father’s death, we had a short discussion on what they would call their stepfather. We settled on “Chups” as an affectionate form for Chual.
“Yes,” Chual replied. “Thank you. I love you all to death.”
The girls giggled.
“Let’s have soup then.” I broke off from them and went to get utensils for everyone. The girls helped me lay the table while I served the soup. They settled around the dining table and thanked me for the soup before digging in.
“So, whose death fucked you up so badly today?”
I was about to make a lunge for Sophie’s throat when I felt a powerful grip on my wrist.
“A drug peddler. Found him trying to push drugs to kids of your age and ratted him out to a police officer. The police officer was racist, so wasn’t hard to influence him to pull the trigger,” he replied. Then he turned to me and smiled. “Your soup’s delicious. Just what I needed.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, aware that his hand was still around my wrist. This good cop, bad cop thing had to stop. He was the Grim Reaper, for heaven’s sake! Why did he get to play the good cop all the time?
“Then?” Sophie asked. “What’s so bad about getting a drug peddler killed?”
“The syndicate the peddler was from found out who shot him and went to the police officer’s home to gun down his entire family.”
“Grandparents, wife, two kids and a baby. They didn’t even spare their guinea pigs.”
“Motherfuckers,” the girls growled in unison.
I give up.
“You’re going to take them down, right?” Ginny asked angrily.
Chual shrugged, looking melancholic. “I want to, but I don’t know if I am good enough.”
It wasn’t a Grim Reaper’s job to orchestrate deaths of evil people, but he was being considered for a promotion to Judge of the Dead. Part of the requisites was to bring in X number of evil souls per month. The number increased exponentially every time he hit the target. It was his fourth month and he was feeling the heat.
“We can help you think of a plan,” Ely offered.
“You’re ten,” Sophie scoffed at her.
I set my spoon down loudly on the table to stop the impending fight. “Chual had a long day. Let’s just eat in peace. Sophie?” I raised my hand, holding my thumb and index finger half an inch apart. “You are this close to triggering my hulk mode. Consider this your final warning.”
The peaceful silence lasted for a whole five minutes before Sophie asked quietly, “Will there be implications?”
“Hmm?” Chual looked up at her.
“Like will it affect your promotion chances? Getting that family killed.”
“No. Death’s not considered a punishment if you’re not heading to Hell.”
Looking visibly relieved, Sophie nodded. “You probably did them a service then, helping them go to Heaven earlier.”
Chual frowned. “I don’t think it works that way. Does it?” He turned towards me.
“I don’t know,” I replied honestly. Suddenly, a thought occurred to me, “They don’t happen to live in the vicinity, do they? The cop’s family?”
“Of course, they do. I make sure to work in the area so that it’ll be good for your business.”
I gave him an air kiss and quickly calculated how much discount I could give the family without incurring a loss.
“You both are unbelievable.” Ginny shook her head.
I shrugged. “You can have all the compassion in the world when you have enough money.” I wanted to add that even though their stepfather was working his ass off, he didn’t get paid the way humans do. He would just grow in power. So, I was still the sole breadwinner for this family. Whoever had a problem with the way I earned my money could take their opinions and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.
“Yeah. Who’s paying for your braces? Who’s keeping the lights on in this house?”
“That’s enough, Soph.” I held up my fingers again to reiterate. “Alright finish up quickly and go to bed. There’s school tomorrow.”
“Chups, do you think you can give me a ride to school?” Ginny asked.
“Sure.” “Why?” Chual and I replied at the same time. I gave him the “mom” glare to warn him from further indulging her.
“In your Grim form. No need to look human,” she continued.
“What time?” Chual ignored me.
“Maybe around seven twenty?”
“Which asshole?” Sophie asked, menace lacing every word.
“I want to try to handle it myself.”
“Nobody is handling anything,” I barked out. “If anyone of you is being bullied, I need to know. I’ll take it up with the school.”
“The school can’t do shit.” We turned to Trina in surprise. “The teachers will just go through the formality of reprimanding those assholes, then, nothing. I bet they secretly hate us too.”
Before my first husband, Gareth, was diagnosed with cancer, my girls were homeschooled. I knew being daughters of an undertaker would give them all sorts of issues, so I tried to shield them as much as I could.
After Gareth’s diagnosis, I could no longer handle the girls’ education, so I put them in school. I thought we’d settled the bullying issues some time back, but it seemed now that the only thing that had stopped was my daughters’ honesty with me.
“Let us fight our own battles, Mom,” my fifteen-year-old said to me, with the same weariness of a cynical adult. “You have enough on your plate.” She looked at Chual. “Just take me to school tomorrow. It’s time they know who my father is.”
A wave of guilt hit as I fought back the tears that were burning my eyes. I had failed my girls. Over and over.
“Mom!” Sophie glared at me. “This is why we’ve stopped telling you. You keep blaming their shit on yourself. It is not your fault that people are assholes. It’s their parents’ fault, and their parents’ parents’ fault for raising them this way. Repeat after me, Mom.”
The girls chorused, ‘It. Is. Not. Your. Fault.”
Chual reached out and squeezed my shoulder. “Not your fault,” he said lovingly. “Oh!” His face brightened. “Looks like I’ve gotten an upgrade.”
We looked at him in surprise.
He pointed to his head. “Just been notified. Want to see my new look?” He stood up and moved away from the table to the small space at the entrance.
“Ready?” He spread his arms out. The cloak flew in from the living room and settled on his shoulders.
The girls sat up, perched on the edges of their seats. Their hands moved down to grip the handles of their chairs as they braced themselves.
Chual burst into his new look; we all screamed.
In my emotionally compromised state, I had forgotten that fear almost always caused stomach discomfort. Now, we were bent over the kitchen floor, giggling and cleaning up Ely’s and Trina’s puke. It’s hard to imagine that just a minute ago, we were all hysterical, bodies frozen with fear despite the desperate urge to flee from the horror that appeared before us.
Chual had hung up his cloak, which was still billowing dramatically, onto the rack and used a peg to prevent it from flying away. His previous cloak was made from heavy, coarse, black fabric, torn fashionably with tattered edges. This one was made of silk, its fabric so thin and light, it made Chual look like he was surrounded by black smoke.
He didn’t used to wear anything else under the cloak, since his visible form was just the skeletal structure. For his new image, his spectral exterior was replaced by a waxy layer of pallid, grey skin. If I were to give a name for Chual’s skin color, like how the different shades of lipsticks were labelled, it would be “despair”.
Having skin meant that every part of his body would be visible, so he wore a black cassock over his body. But the said cassock was now being washed in the kitchen sink because when he was helping to clean up, Trina took another look at him and retched onto his face.
Ginny was wiping Ely’s face when it happened, causing both of them to burst out in laughter. Then the smell of Trina’s puke triggered Ely, causing her to throw up again.
The entire kitchen was a clusterfuck. It was both horrifying and hilarious. I never knew these two adjectives could go so well together.
I pulled out the bleach and started disinfecting the floors while Sophie helped with the dishes. Chual had gone upstairs with the other three to wash up.
“His scythe tripled in size,” Sophie commented. “I wonder if he got upgrades for his other tools as well.”
I was about to ask her what tools when I caught myself. I chose to ignore her and continue scrubbing the smell off my kitchen floor.
“What do you think of the Seraphines?”
I stopped scrubbing and gave her my full attention. The Seraphine family was very proud that they had a Seraph somewhere in their family tree. In fact, the “Seraphine” surname only came about after the union between the seraph and human resulted in offspring. They prided themselves as people with “holy blood” and were religious bigots.
Her question could only mean one thing; She was trying to get my opinion of them to justify something nasty she was about to do, or already had done.
“Do not offend them,” I warned her, making sure I added enough steel in my voice. “They are not to be trifled with. Whatever you’re planning, abort.”
She didn’t respond. Shit. It meant that she had already done it. I could either blow my top and insist on finding out what it was that she’d done, or keep quiet and try to let her fix her mess herself. I chose the latter, because she must learn to bear responsibility for her actions, including cleaning up her own mess.
“I’m dating Titus.”
Oh. My. God. Why me? Why?
I took a deep breath and got up from the floor. “Let’s talk,” I told her and gestured for her to sit. While doing my mindfulness breathing, I put my cleaning tools away and washed my hands. I was about to join her at the dining table when a manly scream tore through the air.
We dashed up the stairs and saw unnaturally white light radiating from Sophie’s room.
“Shit!” she exclaimed and tried to run ahead of me, but I refused to let her past.
We burst into the room and saw Chual in his GR2.0, glaring at a topless Titus, whose wings were flared out in a threatening manner.
“You didn’t tell me you have wings!” Sophie yelled at him.
“I didn’t know I had them until I saw him!” He pointed at Chual.
“Why is he here?” I pointed at Titus and yelled at Sophie. “Why is he naked?”
This right here? This was going to be an even bigger clusterfuck than the one that happened downstairs.
“I’m not naked!” “He’s not naked!” Titus and Sophie shouted at the same time.
“I had my shirt on before he scared me,” Titus defended himself. “Then my wings came out and shredded it.”
“You’re both so fucked,” Trina whispered loudly from behind us.
“STOP USING THE F-WORD!” Why had my head not exploded by now? I didn’t know. “Go back to your rooms! Or you’re all grounded!”
The girls gasped and scrambled back to their rooms.
“By the way,” Sophie mentioned casually. “She means it literally. We spend our time-out underground.”
“You’ll be spending yours in a coffin,” I hissed at her through gritted teeth.
Titus made a strangled sound as his face turned ashen. “It’s my fault.” He rushed up to me and pleaded. “Sophie knew nothing about my plans to run away. I just showed up. Please don’t ground her.”
I was beginning to see what my daughter saw in him. He looked so terrified that I was sure he would piss his pants at any moment, yet he stood up for her. His three pairs of annoying wings glowed even brighter.
“Sit down, both of you.” I ordered them. “We’ll talk. You.” I pointed to Titus. “Stow those away,” I waved my finger at his wings, “and put a shirt on.”
“I don’t know how,” he said in a small voice.
“It’ll go away later when you are feeling less threatened.” Chual had put on his benevolent-father image—the one with the chummy face, kind eyes, a receding hairline, and a dad bod. It worked because Titus’ wings started fading almost immediately. “Tell us from the beginning.”
“I hate my life.” Titus clenched his jaw, his shoulders stiff from tension. He drew in a breath and rubbed the back of his corded neck vigorously, seemingly struggling with what to say.
Sophie scooted right next to him and reached for his hand, lacing her fingers between his.
“I feel so stifled. It’s like… I can’t breathe.”
“You have to talk to your parents. Hiding here is not going to solve anything,” I told him in the gentlest voice my raging mood would allow.
“I tried! Believe me, I tried. I’m so tired of having to be perfect at everything.”
“Most of all, I don’t want to take over my father’s job. I don’t want to be a pastor, and I don’t want to lead any congregation. I just want to be myself.”
“What is being ‘yourself’?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’m hoping to have that space to find out what I really want to do in life.”
I raised my brows. “You’re a Seraph.” I fanned out my fingers and imitated the flapping motion of wings.
“No! I am a descendant of a seraph. I don’t know why I have wings, and I don’t want them. Could you cut them off with your scythe?” he asked Chual.
“Not if I want to keep my job,” Chual chuckled.
“What do Seraphs do?” Sophie asked.
Chual shrugged. “Do God’s work, I guess. Carry prayers? I don’t know. Don’t you have other Seraphs in your lineage?” He directed the last to Titus.
“We’re descendants of that only seraph. I don’t know of any others.”
“Do your parents know you’re dating Sophie?”
“No. I don’t want them to hurt her.”
He’d just added more points for himself.
The doorbell rang, causing all of us to jolt onto our feet.
“Please don’t let them find me,” Titus begged.
“Mom?” Sophie pleaded desperately.
Oh, damn it all to hell! “Get to the basement. Use the coffin. Switch off your mobile phones.”
Sophie flew over to hug me and gave me a kiss. “Thank you,” she whispered gratefully.
“Thank you, Mam.” It was all he could say before Sophie pulled him away.
The doorbell rang again, and I hurried downstairs.
A police officer was standing at my door with his team of five waiting nearby and Titus’ parents scowling beside them.
“To what do I owe this pleasure… “ I asked, made a cursory glance at the wall clock behind me, and turned back to them. “At this hour?”
“My apologies. We have traced the mobile signal of Mr Titus Seraphine here. He’s gone missing. We have a search warrant for your place,” he said nervously, beads of perspiration glistening on his forehead as he handed me the paper with trembling hands.
I cast a jaundiced eye on the letter and turned my glare back to him. To deny them entry would mean I had something to hide, but if I were to let them enter, people would think they could just march into my house and demand anything as long as they had the backing of the police.
“So, which part of the property is the warrant for?” I leaned against the door frame and pretended to examine my nails.
The officer frowned and scrutinized the letter. “Says here ‘Brimstone Manor, Baldswinville, a single-family residence. The residence has…” He went on to read the description of my house, the garage, the tool shed, my car, the stable, but nothing about the cemetery and the funeral parlor.
“Ok.” I pushed my body off the door frame and stood aside. Hopefully, the delay would have given Sophie and Titus enough time.
I held out my hand just before the Seraphines stepped in. “The warrant didn’t state members of the public are allowed to enter my property.” I pointed over their shoulders. “You may wait over there.”
“We were told Titus had been seeing your daughter,” Pastor Seraphine said with forced civility. “It is our failure as parents that we did not keep a closer watch on our son. We have been overly confident of his discerning ability and that caused him to fall in with the wrong company.”
The fuck he say?!
“We would appreciate if you could enlighten your daughter on the differences between our families. Help us by asking her to give Titus some space while we re-acquaint him with the bible and our faith.”
I was about to start my tirade when a blood-curdling scream tore through the air, followed a gunshot. I dashed up the stairs and saw four policemen posed to open fire outside Ely and Trina’s room.
“Stop!” I yelled as I shoved them aside and burst into the room.
Ely was sitting on the bed, hugging Trina, who was holding a gun, both looking petrified. They took one look at me and started wailing. Lying on the floor was the police officer who showed me the search warrant earlier, groaning and clutching onto his thigh.
“It’s ok, love. Mommy’s here. Put down the gun slowly.” I knelt beside the officer and checked his injuries. Oh no, I’d trained my girls too well. Trina had hit his femoral artery and blood was pouring out.
My husband chose to appear at this moment in an explosion of black flames, holding his menacing-looking scythe.
More screams and gun shots were fired, but this time, the bullets were frozen in the air.
“Leave this man alone, Grim Reaper,” Titus called out. He entered the room in a flash of blinding white light, his wings on full display. “His time is not up.”
To my surprise, Chual retreated into a dark corner of the room.
Titus knelt and rested his palm on the officer’s wound. His hand glowed for a moment and like how it usually was portrayed in the movies, the injury healed over.
“Titus!” Mrs Seraphine gasped. The couple stood at the door, looking at their son with awestruck eyes.
“Call off the search. Leave me alone. I’ll call you when I’m ready.” Titus glowered at his parents.
Pastor Seraphine was about to say something when Titus raised his hand and bellowed in an inhumane voice, “BEGONE!”
The Seraphines and the policemen disappeared into thin air.
“Where did they go?!” I asked frantically.
“I don’t know.” Titus looked at me, then at his hand with an equally bewildered face.
“Does he really outrank you?” I turned to Chual, because housing a rebellious teen with uncontrollable power was really beyond my pay grade.
Skeletal Chual flashed his full set of teeth. “Of course not.”
I slumped onto the floor. “This is a nightmare.”
“Go to bed. Now. That’s enough excitement for tonight,” Chual ordered everyone and transported me to our room.
“The blood,” I whimpered.
“Split Sophie and Titus.”
“They are of legal age. Come, my love. Let’s celebrate.”
My jaw dropped in disbelief. “What is there to celebrate?!”
“I just got promoted.” He beamed
“A few seconds ago.”
He grinned evilly at me. “I influenced a baby seraph to banish his parents.”
I can’t even… “I don’t know if I can get into the mood.”
A naked Kral Drogo straddled me. “How about this?”
Wow. I like his new powers. “Yes.”
The Promotion by Evangeline Rain, Copyright 2020 Evangeline Rain