February 2024 Storytime Blog Hop

Once again it’s time for a fun adventure. Enjoy my story below, then follow the links to other stories of participating authors in the blog hop.  Leave us comments.  We love hearing from you!

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This is the 13th installment of GRIT’s adventure. To start at the beginning for context, start with Grim Failure.

First Real Assignment

They weren’t kidding when they said to report to administration immediately following my hearing. I barely managed to read the details and still make it to my assignment on time. I really didn’t want to start off my regular gig as a reaper by missing my first soul. Though truth be told, arriving on time didn’t guarantee anything with my record.

I made it, though the scene turned my stomach. An older man, several days unshaven, lay on the couch in a dark room, barely breathing. His eyes were wide and empty and his mouth opened like he was stunned. The room was filthy, littered with trash, crawling with bugs. His cell phone buzzed on the coffee table, just out of his reach. Beside it sat several needles. A rubber band still wrapped his arm and a red puncture displayed his last hit. I glanced in his file and confirmed that his death was due to an overdose.

That’s why administration had assigned me this particular victim. I couldn’t intervene; couldn’t do anything to save him, and even if I could have, I didn’t have time. Within seconds his body stopped breathing and his soul stood before me, not at all shocked by his predicament.

As if it knew what had happened, a baby began to babble from another room. I looked at the dead man, wide eyed, and read the shame on his face.

“You here for me.”

It wasn’t a question but I nodded, then frantically scanned the file and let out a sigh of relief when I didn’t see a mention of the baby. There was only one death today. The baby would live.

“Can you help?”

“No. you’re dead and there’s nothing I can do but deliver your soul for judgment.”

“I mean the kid.” He pointed to the room where the baby’s talk turned to crying.

“He…she…”

“She,” the dead man confirmed, his face full of guilt.

“She’s not going to die,” I said, thankful for the knowledge she would live because I wanted to help. “Someone will find and take care of her.”

“You don’t understand.” He paused long enough I thought I was supposed to understand from his statement alone. He finally continued, his voice full of remorse. “I stole the girl a few hours ago. I was going to sell her for a hefty payday. If you don’t do something they’ll be here soon to traffic her. Now that I’m not full of drugs I can’t live with myself if that happened.”

I really wanted to point out that he could no longer live with or without himself as he was dead, but even the Grim Reaper school humor was lost on me because of the seriousness of the situation. It couldn’t hurt to help the girl out, could it?

It was my first professional full-time job and I had my assigned soul. I could, I should take mister druggie (now former druggie) to Stan, fill out the paperwork, and then go celebrate my new position and first successful job without any hiccups. Plus, I wanted to tell my parents the good news.

The baby wailed, making it hard to concentrate. What was there to consider? He didn’t have to live with himself, but I had to live with myself. Did I think I could fulfill my duties as a reaper for the extent of my career without bending a few rules? For whatever reason I liked people. I wanted to help. Although I knew I couldn’t prevent every death, I also knew that I couldn’t ignore every suffering. I had to figure out a compromise and this seemed like a simple one without any negative consequences. If I helped the baby I would be improving her life situation, not preventing her death. It was likely that no one would ever know what I did. And even if it was discovered, it would be years down the road when she would have met her natural death given her current situation. I shuddered at the thought of that baby being sold and raised to serve whoever purchased her.

I dialed 9-1-1 on his cell phone.

Continue reading GRIT’s adventures:

GRIT – Part 1
GRIT – Part 2
GRIT – Part 3
GRIT – Part 4
GRIT – Part 5
GRIT – Part 6
GRIT – Part 7
GRIT – Part 8
GRIT – Part 9
GRIT – Part 10
GRIT – Part 11
GRIT – Part 12

Check out the other stories in the blog hop and leave us comments.

A Whole New World by Barbara Lund

Eye of the Beholder by Chris Makowski

What If by Katharina Gerlach

Subject: If You Don’t Hear From Me Again by Gina Fabio

Percival’s Bane: The Demon and The Void by Juneta Key

Rabble Rouser by James Husum

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8 Responses to February 2024 Storytime Blog Hop

  1. Pingback: Storytime Blog Hop: SUBJECT: If you don’t hear from me again – Gina Fabio

  2. Barbara says:

    Good call – bend the rules!

  3. James, F.E. says:

    Another worthy entry in the series.

  4. Thanks for a GR with a heart.

  5. Pingback: February 2024: Storytime Bloghop - Katharina Gerlach's English Site

  6. Pingback: February 2024: Storytime Bloghop Chris Makowski – fellow author - Katharina Gerlach's English Site

  7. Pingback: #Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop A Cozy Fantasy Flash Fiction - Juneta Key

  8. Pingback: Rabble Rouser – James Husum – Writer

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