"Every beginning has an end, and every end has a series of complaints about why the ending sucked."
I'm just going to start right off the bat and say that I'm not afraid of dying.
Now before you start labelling me as insane, hear me out. Why be afraid of something that's part of life? Would you scream out of fear if you saw a glass of water? Would you pass out if you saw a bird fly?
No, that would be silly. Death is what motivates us to do exciting things with our lives. If humans were immortal, why should we bother with doing anything then; what would be the point in existing?
But I guess if it came down to it – it's not the concept of death that humans are afraid of, it's the event itself.
Death is an unpredictable force. One day you'll wake up, brush your teeth, enjoy some breakfast and head out to start the rest of the day and you would have no idea that the grim reaper was following you the moment your eyes fluttered open from sleep. Then all of a sudden you find yourself being hit by a speeding car. Your life flashes before your eyes ~ blah blah blah all that emotional I don't want to die crap ~ and that would be it. You died, the end.
Well, my case is slightly different. Replace the car with a helicopter and the word "speeding" with "fell out of the sky."
Technology these days am I right?
I think something was off when I noticed that there was a large shadow over me. In hindsight, it would have been a good time to run away as far as possible instead of looking up and have your mind slowly process that a vehicle was coming down on top of you before it was too late.
The situation was so ridiculous that my thoughts before my impending death were, 'Did I forget to lock the door?'
Dying by a falling helicopter was definitely something I didn't expect at all. The strange part was that I didn't actually feel my body being crushed. I sort of just blacked out.
My vision is filled with a brief darkness before my eyes open again. It takes me a good minute to realise that I'm no longer on my university campus anymore. Hey, I'm not complaining; rather here than six feet under.
Wait a second… six feet… under?
"Denial" A metallic echo plays in the background.
. . . Holy shit there was a helicopter that was about to crush me! D-Did I die? But that can't be, r-right? I can still hear my breathing, I can feel my chest expanding and compressing with each gulp of air. The motions of my chest are increasing now. My breaths are shortening and becoming rampant all of a sudden. Shit. Shit. Calm down. Calm down!
This – This is a dream, right? A bad dream? A nightmare nothing more right? I didn't really die. This place…it can't be the afterlife!
"Don't deny what you have seen. Rejection is useless once the conclusion has been reached."
My heart is racing, it's as if someone is reaching into my chest and started playing with my organ like some kind of pump. It's suddenly cold now; goose bumps are forming. I'm shaking – no my entire body is shivering – my fingers are vibrating like crazy a-and my legs, my legs are weakening. It wasn't even a few seconds before I found myself meeting the white floor.
W-Wait white floor?
My widened eyes are darting in every single direction now. Where am I? Where am I? Where am I? wherewherewherewherewherehwherehwherehwhere?!
I'm lying on a spotless white surface – it's so clear it's as if I was on top of water. White walls no matter where my eyes went. White ceiling as well? I'm- I'm in a hallway. An empty hallway. An endless empty hallway?!
Where the hell am I?!
"Everywhere and nowhere – you are at the final destination – a destination that does not exist but chooses to do so. Such is the finale of death."
No, no, no, no, no. Shut up, shut up, shut up! I'm not dead!
That voice again. Shut up!
Damn it! The temperature is decreasing now. It's colder – freezing now. I'm freezing!
I'm sweating now. My face is covered in sweat. Why am I sweating? I shouldn't be sweating!
I want to scream for help, to yell, to make any sound but the only thing escaping from my mouth is my excessive gasping.
Make it stop, please. No more. What do you want from me? Money? I can give all of it away if you just make it stop! I'll give you my Pokémon games. Hell, I'll even update my gamer fic too! S-so please – "m-m-make it ssss-st-o-
"…One can not trade away something they no longer possess."
A door unexpectedly appears before the wall in front of my mess of a body. It's an apartment door. It's plain brown with a gold plating on the centre: 'Room 1337'
Even in my current state I can't help but slightly chuckle at the sight. "T-This is some kind o-of joke right? Elite… r-really?" Though it probably wasn't the best idea trying to talk right now. My body feels as if that same asshole playing with my heart decided to light a fire over my lungs.
"P-Pay no a-attention to the door!" The voice spoke again, but instead of harsh steel, it sounded different. High pitched and more feminine. The voice corrected itself, "The d-door is but of a metaphor to the p-passing of your life…because you died…and stuff."
"S-So shouldn't I-I go through the door then?!" I mumbled through chattering teeth. At this point, I don't care anymore. I don't care anymore! I just want this feeling to stop!
"Ah fuck it."
And then, it stopped.
My breathing became normal. My heart rate restored itself. I felt a blissful wave of warmth rush through my body as the shivering stopped. I had control over my body again.
"I already messed up by hitting the wrong button. Just get your ass in my office already" the feminine voice stated in a defeated tone.
This wasn't what I expected my afterlife to be.
I had opened the door fully prepared to witness a modern-day business-like office with some old secretary typing away on a computer behind some fancy desk. Perhaps it would be mahogany wood?
The door, however, didn't open fully. I instantly noticed the cause: a pillar of garbage bags stuffed against it. Carefully twisting my (deceased) body through the entrance I witnessed the absolute horror of the voice's room. An unmade bed in the corner to my left with a pile of female laundry just sitting in the centre. An unfinished pizza box laid on the carpeted floor an- what the fuck, is that a skeletal rat gnawing on pizza crust?! The small trash bin was overloaded with crumpled up paper and soda cans. The closet door to my right was ajar, and I saw what looked like to be the blade of a large scythe peeking out from under a pile of more trash bags. Across the room, I stared into the back of an office chair – those fancy leather ones with wheels – in front a gaming PC setup. The large 4K monitor was the only thing that breathed light into this rather depressing room.
Dear god, I've stumbled upon the room of a shut-in.
I stood there for a good minute doing nothing, half-expecting the owner of the voice to swivel her chair while stroking a cat. I tried to get her attention by coughing but that fell upon deaf ears. I mean the skeleton zombie rat gave me a quick glance but I'm not counting that. I sighed, "what's it going to take for a guy to get noticed by the supernatural?"
"Hey!" I yell at the top of my lungs.
"Oh shit!" was the only reply I got right before the chair fell back, ejecting its occupant onto the littered floor. A pair of gaming headphones bounced off onto the middle of the room when she crashed. The lighting was terrible but I still made out the poor figure sprawled on the floor.
Have you ever heard of the phrase "looks can kill"? Well, the moment I stared into her face I swear to you that I instantly felt as if my heart erupted, regenerated, and then proceeded to erupt again. She looked like she was in her early 20s, wearing nothing more than a large black hoodie giving me an ample view of her ghostly legs. Oh yes, she was pale – deathly pale. Beautiful soft blue eyes stared back into mine as she blew a strand of white hair away from her face.
Not what I expected.
"How long were you standing there?" she asked, standing back up. "Actually don't answer that. In fact, how about we move on, ignore me not paying attention to you, and just assume I was super professional and stuff and we met the moment you opened the door?"
"This is professional?" I raised my brow with arms wide in the air indicating the disaster that was her room.
"R-Right, pardon the mess. I don't get that many souls that come through here. Extremely unusual deaths beyond destiny usually don't happen during this time of era." She awkwardly laughed at the end. It didn't last long when she quickly realised that I wasn't amused.
She started making space on her bed, clothing articles discarded onto the floor. A hum of approval was heard and she got back on her gaming chair. Gesturing to the bed, "Have a seat, it's really comfy. I got it half off from a killer sale at the store a century ago. I'll tell you about your ah unfortunate accident."
I shrug my shoulders and comply.
"Let's start with introductions. And by that, I mean I'll be doing most of the talking." She clapped her hands. "My name is D, nice to meet you, I'm pretty sure you've realised this but just to make sure we're on the same page here: You Are D~E~A~D" The women known as D sang at the end, wagging her delicate finger with each letter.
"So…you're the big reaper? You're Death?" Well now, never in my life did I suspect the manifestation of the End of all Life to be a girl-
"Woah there pal, you're getting the wrong idea here." D shook her head. "That's my boss. I just work here in the reaping department. Unfortunately, I'm the only employee who works in this division." There was a sudden bitterness in her tone.
"You make it sound like the afterlife is some kind of business or something."
Definitely did not expect this.
"You'd be surprised…no getting off topic here. Look, long story short here is that you got crushed by a faulty helicopter and it's my responsibility to make sure your soul passes – "she air quotes " – into the afterlife."
"Isn't this the afterlife?"
"~Yeeeeeh~ we get that a lot. You're actually in limbo right now. What happens after is considered the afterlife. Give me a moment; just got to open up your file." She turned to her computer and began typing. She winced, "Ouch, looks like you were supposed to live a ripe old age of 82."
"82?! What do mean I was supposed to live to 82?!" I got up from D's bed but was immediately pushed back.
"Like I said, you died at the wrong place and wrong time. I don't know, I guess you really pissed someone off in your past life for that to happen. Doesn't matter, you're stuck here with me until we get your future set." She stretched her arms.
"Now that we have that out of the way, let's get back to business. Tell me pal do you believe in the multiverse theory?" She opened up a can of Mountain Dew out of nowhere.
"The one where Schrödinger proposed?"
"Hmm" D nodded through her drink. "Weird guy that one was; had a bizarre fetish for torturing cats. Yeah, spoiler alert he was right. Almost right, that is. His theory was too scientific, no room for fantasy or impossible stuff. Dragons and flying cars for example? They're out there in some crazy universes – hell there's even one where both exist together."
I just stared at her as she went on about different universes. What does this have to do with me dying?
She chugged the can. "Right, off topic again. My bad. So here's the thing. I can't send you to heaven or hell since you died unnaturally which would lead to an unfair judgement. I can't leave you in limbo because you'd end up using up my bandwidth – and I sure as hell need my ping to stay decent if I want to hit Challenger. I can't bring you back from the dead either since your corpse is under a bloody chopper. So that leaves me with one option left: Reincarnation."
Ah fuck. "So…I lose my identity for another shot at life?"
"Kinda…?" She answered with a so-so hand gesture. "Bad news: you're going to be reincarnated into a universe with a high mortality rate. Sucks to be you, I can't do anything about it – higher ups have been roasting me with new policies."
She spoke mockingly, "We need to show the other universal gods' that we care." D scoffed. "Please, you just want to look good in front of the boss."
"Well…shit." I didn't know how to react at this point. I just died and now I was told that I'm going to be reborn only to die early again. Life (…Un-life?) why do you hate me?
D gave me a sympathetic look and patted me on the shoulder. "Good news? You get to keep your memories. So it's your choice if you want to give up the old identity for a new one!" she forced a cheer with a fist in the air.
". . ." a dead stare was my only reply. Maybe I'm being selfish? I don't know, but I think having my memories and knowing I'm in a fucked world kinda sucks.
"Shhhh…I'm seeing some hostile feelings over this." Her expression deflated into a grimace. D leant closer to me and whispered, "Okay so I'm not supposed to do this – I literally can not express how against the rules this is – but I can give you a tiny boost in your next life. Think of it like super strength, hyper-regeneration; the usual."
That got my attention. "What makes it so bad then?"
D shrugged. "Ethical stuff, really. Well, that and it sort of makes you power crazy. In the beginning, it was fine. A couple humans would be born with a supernatural talent. Said humans use talents to start some crazy historic revolution. Yeah, it's all fine and dandy until they start thinking they're all gods among men. Did you know that the Boss had it when some child started the Black Plague?"
"So I can have a better chance of survival at the risk of becoming a megalomaniac?"
"Sort of? The powers themselves are fine, it's the societal circumstances you might end up in that result in insanity. Mountain Dew?" she offered me a can that once again appeared out of thin air. I politely accepted; I wanted to get rid of this rotting taste in my mouth.
"Super against the rules like I said already." D stared into the monitor while typing away on the keyboard. "But I'm sure no one would even notice in the universe you're going to be sent to. Hell, I'm positive that you won't end up crazy either. The Emperor Algorithm has been set. What would you like for your boost?"
"Surprise me." I shrugged. "If there's a random option, I'll take that one." I could have made myself overpowered, really tempted to give myself immortality or something to that degree. But if I don't know what I'm going to get, I feel somewhat relaxed that it won't make me crazy. I don't care if D was reassuring me, this is my mind here dammit.
"It's your funeral, pal." Rapid tapping of keys filled the room for a couple minutes until she paused. "Alright, you're all set and – oh that doesn't look good."
"What doesn't look good?" A sudden sense of dread filled my chest as I stared at the panicked expression of D.
"N-Nothing! Nothing at all." She forcibly smiled while furiously typing. A sigh of relief escaped her lips. "Okay, okay, phew. Um so yeah, it was nice to meet you pal, you ready to have some fun?"
"Hold up, what went wrong earlier –" A sudden urge to sleep echoes throughout my mind as a yawn is forced out of me. My body feels heavy; as if someone threw a sea of chains over my shoulders. "W-what?"
"That." D tilts her Mountain Dew soda to me, "my soon-to-be-alive friend, is the process of your soul being reincarnated."
"C-Can I ask one question?" God, it's too hard to stay awake right now.
Everything feels so numb.
"Sure." She sips.
"What universe will I be reborn in?" My body is collapsed on her bed, one eye barely open at this point.
D was right, the bed was comfy; I'm lying in an ocean of flowers, gentle dancing flowers.
"Universe Zero-U.M. Fun fact: the universe you used to live in made an animated series based on it –" Shit, I'm losing consciousness. Everything's getting darker. "- I believe it was called RWBY."
And then everything went black.
I open my eyes to find myself surrounded by trees. Hmm, trees? From just looking at the scenery in front of me I can already tell that I'm in a forest. From the whispers of wildlife to the rustling of leaves and branches as a slow dance of wind passes me; it was a pretty dead giveaway.
Everything feels so…clearer. Is this what feeling reborn – wait a second. . .
I was reincarnated!
Wait up. . . what did D say again? What universe was I sent to? Z-Zero…um?
OOOOHHHHH SHIIIIIT I'M IN THE WORLD OF REMNANT
. . .Okay, let's calm down here, deep breaths. Control your inner fan. I can't believe it. I was reincarnated into a fictional world. No, in my old life, this was fiction. This is my new reality.
A reality where my chances of dying are high.
Then why the hell am I in a forest? That doesn't make sense. I should be in a hospital reborn as a baby, ready to meet my new parents. What kind of sick adults leave their child in the middle of a forest!?
That sounded like a snarl. Wolf-like. RWBY. I hope to whatever god of this world that wasn't a beowolf.
My heart skips a beat when a large black claw slams the soil in front of me. The growling is closer now. My eyes inch upwards and I find myself staring directly at the jaws of a beowolf. Grimm, humanity's natural predator.
Please tell me how this was fair?! I just reincarnated for fuck sakes! Screw you beast!
Fire ball! PK-Thunder! FOS-ROH-DAH! ZA WARUDO?!
. . .
The beowolf growls in a whispering tone, giving me the indirect message of "LOL NOOB YOU FINISHED YET?"
Fuck why did I ask D for a random ability!?
I want to scream for help. I want to yell in defiance. I feel my mouth opening but no words came out. I can't move my body. I wasn't sure if it was fear locking me in place or if my new body needed to adjust itself to being reborn.
All I can do now is close my eyes and wait for the end.
But the end never came.
All I feel instead of death is a small pinch at the back of my neck. I'm lifted into the air and for a moment I feel as if I'm flying. I'm being carried somewhere but I'm afraid to open my eyes. After what seemed to be an eternity I'm dropped back down. All I hear now in my personal darkness is the sound of splashing water and drinking.
I creak on eye open to see the monster beside me bent over drinking from a rather large pond.
Ah, so it wants to eat me after a quick drink. Classy.
But it doesn't do so. The beast just stared down at me with its crimson eyes – almost curious about my inaction. If you wanted me to run so you can hunt me you can forget about it. I'm a pessimist in both heart and soul. After staring at my killer for a good minute, it tilts its snout to the pond. D-Does it want me to drink?
A monster is giving me my last meal: pond water. Real classy.
Fine, I don't care anymore. Let's get this over with. I lean forward prepared to scoop some water into my hand – wait that's not my hand.
That's not a hand at all. This is a paw!
And that's when I saw it. Staring directly at me was another beowolf. It wasn't like the other one. No, the one staring at me with beady red eyes was immature. It was tiny, almost like a newborn pup. I tilted my head to the right and it mimicked my action. I closed my left eye and it copied my action again. I was staring at a beowolf pup.
I was staring at my own reflection. The realisation hits me like the ripples I've created as I hit the water with my tiny paw.
I've been reincarnated into the RWBY universe.
Not as a human or faunus with the potential of being a hero.
I've been reincarnated into a creature of Grimm.
Fun fact: If you use the numberical value of zero, you spell 0UM.