Every reaper had their own name, just like all the stars in the sky, all the humans they killed, only one was truly known as ‘Death’ and that was Azrael himself, but Azrael wasn’t actually a reaper, he was an angel. The reapers could be best described as sub-angels, but like the distinction between angels and demons, reapers were their own entity. They obeyed a different set of rules than angels or demons, and could only be seen by angels, humans, the dead or the dying.
Farren waited, he was slightly early for these two. His black robes moved in an unfelt breeze, they looked tattered and half rotted, his wings, only bones, along with the rest of his body, moved as if they had feathers to flutter in the same breeze.
He’d reaped those that had begged to live, had reaped those that had accepted death, and reaped those that had killed themselves. Farren never gave much thought to his existence until the little girl had turned and looked at him. He’d actually given a start, a hitch in the shoulders, a turn of the head, he moved sideways. Reapers didn’t walk, they floated. Her eyes followed him.
The Reaper knew how they were going to die, and he simply waited until a man came from the alleyway and walked through him, a gun drawn and pointed at the woman and her nine year old daughter. The girl didn’t scream and neither did the woman. The gun wielding man, a twitchy, greasy heroin addict, pointed his gun at the little girl.
“Give me all your money and I won’t shoot ya!” He bellowed at them. The little girl still hadn’t taken her eyes off Farren. She was Shirley Temple cute with a cherub face and blonde curly hair; she gripped her mother’s hand, her mother looking lovely and stylish like she was just coming home from working all day in an office.
“Here, here is my purse,” she held it out to him. He snatched it and when he did, the gun fired. The little girl jerked backwards, her hand ripping from her mother’s. The woman screamed, and the surprised addict fired again, this time, the woman fell down.
Farren didn’t track which way the addict ran and he didn’t care, he had no emotions to care. He reached out with a boney hand and touched the little girl, she was to die instantly. Her ghost stood up from her body. Her ghost barely contained the power of her soul, it was like looking into a nuclear reactor.
“Are you going to take Mommy too?” She asked Farren who nodded. She held her hand out to him and he took it. She suddenly shot upwards like a rocket. Farren was now left with her mother, and he waited. She was coughing blood, bleeding internally and trying to clutch at her dead daughter. Her mascara had run down her face in black streaks with the tears from pain or loss, or both. She looked up into Farren’s darkened hood.
“You took my baby,” she coughed through blood. Farren nodded. He could only be seen by angels, demons, the dead or dying. “You could’ve saved her.” Farren shook his head. “She was my baby.” He didn’t respond. “Can I get a last request?” Farren shrugged his shoulders. “Before you take me, I want you to feel what I feel.” Farren tilted his head; he’d never had such a request before. Some had usually tried to bargain, but none had simply asked to share their emotions with him. “I want you to know what you’ve done to me.”
Farren reached his hand to the woman’s chest, and it slid through the flesh, through the blood and where darkness had been under his hood, eyes suddenly opened, and suddenly flared red. He withdrew his hand, but the red glow from under his hood didn’t diminish. He finished his job. He touched her hand and her ghost rose from her body.
“I. Am. Sorry.” Farren spoke for the first time in his entire existence.
“You kill him, you kill that bastard,” the ghost replied to him. She offered her hand to him and he reluctantly took it. Like her daughter she shot skyward.
“Did you kill him?” Father Francis asked.
“He was the first of the three men I killed I spoke in confession about,” Kyle answered him.
“Why did you kill three men?” Kyle was silent a moment and looked around the church.
“Those habits I do? The crossing myself before entering the pew? I’m somewhat at the mercy of the body I inhabit,” Kyle began. “So wearing a heroin addict made me a heroin addict. Wearing Kyle, being a good Catholic, makes me a good Catholic.”
“So the second man was in between the addict and Kyle Sullivan?”
“What sort of man was he?”
“A closet child molester.” Kyle said softly.
Father Francis didn’t respond but seemed to lean back in the pew, away from Kyle, brought a finger to his lips and that was when Kyle knew he was not through with his questions.
“Why is there an angel in the priory?” Even Kyle was surprised by this question.
“I honestly don’t know, Father,” Kyle replied. “I’m a Reaper, I cannot fathom the minds of angels or demons. I only know that they’re in a constant battle with each other and we just clean up the mess.”
“Who is winning the battle?” Kyle shrugged his shoulders.
“Hard to say. Man thinks they are the ones who will decide who will win. In truth, Man just wants more of the same. Heaven wins, paradise on Earth, but at the price of free will. Hell wins… I wouldn’t say Hell on Earth because most demons are trying to escape Hell, they aren’t interested in bringing it with them. This right here,” Kyle indicated with his hands. “Right now. The way the world is. This is paradise for a demon.”
When the sack that smelled of ass was ripped from his face and Kyle blinked into the dim light like that baby giraffe from the Lion King, he took in his surroundings.
Classic cliché empty warehouse. He was cuffed, except they’d used cable ties, you can’t pick those, his arms were behind him and he’d been placed in a chair. A rickety wooden thing that creaked under his weight. He was almost concerned if he took too deep of a breath that it could splinter under him. Not that Kyle was a hugely large guy but at 6’2” and 185, he could hold his own.
He could tell that the thugs that had man-handled him, were human, the bald headed man that stood next to the strawberry blond man, was human. The strawberry blond man in the three piece suit, with the red tie and matching pocket kerchief was not human. He glowed somewhat red behind Kyle’s eyes.
“I told you not to harm him.” Gideon snapped at the two men, nameless thugs to him, but for some reason Bert and Ernie came to mind. Not because they were gay or wore striped sweaters. One was short and fat, the other was tall and skinny. Both of them looked rather worse for wear. Gideon thought they were brothers. In truth, humans kind of all looked the same to him.
“Sorry, Boss, he wouldn’t come peacefully,” said Bert. Bert was starting to sport a shiner. Ernie had a broken nose and a split lip. Both of them were sporting bloodied and bruised knuckles.
Both of them had beaten the shit out of the reaper. He had a split lip, probably going to have two black eyes, a busted brow, a broken nose and no telling how much damage they’d done to the man under his torn shirt. Ernie handed him the reaper’s wallet.
“Detective Sullivan,” began Gideon looking up from the police ID across from the shiny shield. The reaper managed to toss his dark fallen hair from his face and look up at Gideon. “I had hoped to attempt to convince you to join me. However, our hospitality is rather lacking.” Gideon was now glaring at Bert and Ernie.
Kyle spat upon the concrete floor of the warehouse, a glob of blood. More was trickling down his chin. Farren as Kyle could heal Kyle’s body, and with ease, but Farren had made a decision he was going to try to be less a reaper and more of a human. Sure he’d kinda showed off with Father Francis, but he needed an ally in the old priest and it was the only way he would believe that Farren really was a reaper; however he should have probably toned down the theatrics just a little.
“You may as well kill me,” Kyle stated. “I’m not joining with one the likes of you.” Gideon seemed to appear slightly miffed then looked at the two goons on either side of him.
“You two, take a walk,” Gideon ordered and they hesitated a second.
“You heard him,” snapped the bald man who had been silent up until now. The thugs made quick haste from the warehouse.
“My name is Asrulan,” Gideon began, “But up here I’m known as Gideon Bishop. You are a reaper, a rogue reaper. How long do you think Azrael will let you off your leash? I can protect you from him.”
“I don’t need your protection from Azrael,” Kyle practically groaned. He was in a great deal of pain, and probably if he hadn’t been possessed by Farren who had the ability to turn the pain down, he’d most likely be moaning or screaming.
“I turned my sword in,” Kyle stated. “I’m free of him.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” Gideon began approaching the reaper and leaning down to be eye level with him. He reached out and took Kyle’s chin in his hand and lifted the reaper’s blue green eyes to meet his own green ones.
“You are not the first reaper to go rogue… What is your name? Your meat suit is Kyle Sullivan, but what is your name?” Gideon released the man’s chin and the head dropped back down.
“You really should heal yourself. I do apologize for my employees’ treatment of you. They will be properly punished later, or if you’d like, you may have your hand at that their demise. I know that just because you turned in your sword doesn’t mean you can’t stop a heart with a single touch.”
Kyle tried to jerk from Gideon’s grasp but the demon was strong. Farren as Kyle really had nothing to fear from him. It was just being touched by Gideon, though the hand was smooth and the nails manicured, was like being in a pit of snakes with them slithering all over his body. In fewer words it was unpleasant. It was Kyle’s self-preservation that Farren as Kyle was feeling.
“Farren.” Kyle snarled. “You should let me go and I’ll show you what I can do with a touch.”
“I promised myself I’d live as a human. You’re just gonna have to kill me.” Kyle said definitely and Gideon laughed.
“You and I both know that I can’t kill you. I can only kill your meat suit and you outside of your meat suit much, much more dangerous than in it.” Gideon stated finally bringing his laughter to a close. “Still you should be worried about Azrael. A fallen angel or a risen demon is not an abomination, a rogue reaper… is.”
“I won’t do your dirty work, Asrulan,” Kyle stated as firmly as one could when they were beaten up like a tenderized pork chop and cuffed.
“You mean assassinate people? Pshaw, I have expendable goons for that. No I think I’d enjoy having you as your meat suit’s capacity,” Gideon replied letting that sink in. Kyle looked up at him under dark brows.
“You want a spy within the police department?” Gideon nodded his head.
“Very well. It’ll be a two way street. I give you information, you give me information,” Kyle stated as if he had room to negotiate.
“You think I’ll give up information that would incriminate my own people when you have a tough case come your way?”
“No. I think you need to tell me about a falling angel and a rising demon.” Kyle stood up from the chair, removing his arms from behind his back. That was the thing about Farren as Kyle. The purpling bruises and cut lip were already fading and healing and he’d had the adrenaline to break the cable ties that had held his wrists.