Papers, papers, and more papers, I was just filing them up for final checking when phone rang. It was Roxy. Oh boy, I have bad feelings about this. Roxy doesn't call me or anyone if it's not important and moreover, urgent. Something huge is going on.
"What is it?"
"Get over here with Reggie, right now. Hurry!"
"Why? What's going on?"
"I'll explain later. Just get you and your sister's asses over here, right now!"
The hostility on Roxy's voice was more than enough of a warning for me to know that something really serious is going on.
I called Reggie and she waited for me at school where we drove immediately to the Waffle House to meet the rest of the Reapers.
"Why are we hurrying up, George?" Reggie asked.
"I have no idea too," I honestly told her. "But Roxy called me earlier demanding both of us. I know that no-nonsense woman. She won't call me or any other Reapers if it's not something very important."
Roxy was impatiently waiting in front of the door when we arrived. Mason and Daisy are both inside discussing something with 2 more people. A stocky man and a curly haired woman who's both backs are facing me, giving me of no glimpse on their faces but somehow, both of them kind of look familiar.
"What's going on here Roxy?" I asked her.
Instead of answering, Roxy grabbed both Reggie and I and lead us towards Mason, Daisy, and the two other people that I think I really know if I can only see their faces. "I don't know either but you two got to see this," she said. "They're here," she told the four them that are quite busy talking.
It was curly haired woman who stood first and revealed her identity. My eyes widened and couldn't help myself but gape when I finally realized who she is. It had been 6 years since I'd last saw her but there is no way that I'll ever forget her face. "Betty?" I gasped.
"Nice to see you again George," Betty hurried towards me, giving me a tight hug.
I was frozen like a statue as she hugged and kissed me in the cheek, still in the state of total disbelief. And also, if this is Betty than the man beside him is…
"Hello Peanut. Glad to see you handling them so smoothly."
Fuck! You've got to be kidding me! "Rube?"
Betty pulled away and Rube took her place, wrapping one arm around me, pulling me tightly to his chest. My head went woozy both by from confusion of the fucking things that are going on and from the smell of tobacco from Rube. Slowly, I pulled myself from his hold and placed a distance between me and my sister from the rest of the original gang of Reapers.
"Okay," I said as soon as I recovered. "What the fuck is going!?"
"You tell us," Roxy said. "These two just knocked on my door this morning. At first I thought that I was hallucinating until I realized that I wasn't."
I looked at Rube and Betty that also both looked as clueless as the rest of us. "Rube? What happened? Why are you here?"
"I have no idea, Peanut. Last thing I remember was I was in Heaven having picnic with my wife and daughter and the next thing I know was waking up in my old apartment."
I then turned to Betty. "Same goes with me. I was having bungee jumping and then poof, I'm back here."
"That's why we called you," said Roxy. "You're the Head Reaper now. We're hoping that you might know something about this from the Upper Management."
"Nothing that Rube doesn't know already," I told them. "Can they do this?" I directly asked Rube.
"As far as I remember, no. Even the Upper Management can't pull something as big of a shit like this. Whoever goes into the light are beyond their controls anymore. So whoever did this, I doubted it's them."
"Any idea?" Daisy curiously asked.
Rube shook his head. "Not a clue. But whoever did this, it's someone with a badass mojo."
"Badass mojo?" Reggie mumbled. "George…"
"I know," I told her before she could start the sentence. I pulled my cellphone out and called him. "Mark! Get over here! Now!"
He appeared in front of the door in an instance and joined us. "Hey, what's up?"
"Explain this," I demanded.
"Rube Sofer and Betty Rhomer," he just shrugged it off. "What about them?"
My nose flared in great annoyance. "Don't give that shit, Mark. Why the fuck are they here?"
Mark crossed his arms over his chest and smiled. "Simple, I need their assistance."
Okay, this is getting way too confusing. "Assistance for what?"
"Peanut," Rube injected. "I don't want to ask who is he, but who the hell is he?"
I groaned. Yeah right, I forgot that aside from Reggie, the rest of the Reapers of the Seattle District don't know yet about Mark and about him being our Boss. "Sorry guys, I forgot to tell you all about him." I stepped aside and introduced Mark to them. "This is Mortuus Faux aka Death Scythe. As in Death...our Boss."
All of the Reapers inside the Waffle House except me and Reggie all gaped in utter disbelief on the revelation. "Are you kidding me?" Mason commented.
"You can't be serious!" exclaimed Roxy.
"Really?" Daisy and Betty said almost at the same time.
"Do I look like I'm joking?" I said.
Rube remained silent and just stared at Mark, sizing him up.
"Anyway," I finally cease the commotions. "Mark, why did you bring Rube and Betty back?"
"I told you, I need their assistance."
"For what? Exactly?"
"Something big, dangerous. Bad. The reason why I came here in the first place."
I somehow remembered him saying those words during our first date but told me to not worry about it for the time being. I guess that's over now. "Explain."
Mark snapped his fingers and the next thing we know was we were all transferred above a tall building in the middle of Seattle.
I wasn't that much surprise. He often appeared and disappeared in front of me these past days ever since we'd met. However, I can't say the same on my fellow Reapers.
"What the fuck?" Rube said. The others also make a similar reaction.
"Somewhere in this city," Mark started. "A huge catastrophe is about to happen. Possibly, about 30 people are going to die."
Thirty people dying? Okay, that's kind of sick. However, isn't that just something normal? People live and die one way or another. What's the huge fuss on him about that? "And that should concern you because…"
"It's not scheduled."
I don't exactly know if that's bad or something but surely didn't like the sound of that. "What's the big deal about that?"
"You've seen it before, George," he told me. "With Mason and Daisy," he gazed towards them. "You know what happen to people that are killed without a schedule."
OH FUCK! How did I let something that important slip! Maybe because I truly did try so hard to forget that asshole Ray. "Gravelings."
"Rogue Gravelings," he corrected. "Three days from now 30 people are going to die without a schedule, setting 30 rogue and vicious Gravelings loose." That sounds really bad already but I still have a hunch that that's only the tip of the iceberg. "And those 30 Gravelings will kill more people without schedules, same thing will happen to them, so on and so for. You see the picture now."
I shudder, that's not a catastrophe, that's a living hell. "But you're Death, can't you do something about?"
"I can, but one rogue Graveling is hard to sire, what more are 30. It will take a while and until that time the collateral damage will be devastating."
Fuck! The situation was actually more fucked up than I thought. "Well, isn't there something that we can do?"
"And that is?"
"Stopping it before it happened," Rube answered for Mark.
Mark nodded. "That's right. That's the only way."
"Then what are we waiting for? C'mon, let's do it."
"That's not that simple, Peanut," said Rube as he moved closer to us. "Reapers can only pinpoint people that are about to die if they have schedules. Those who don't are invisible to us. And I think that the same thing is true with the Boss."
Again, Mark nodded in agreement with Rube. "Yes, I can't see where the mass untimely deaths will happen since they're not scheduled. What I know is the when, and that's 72 hours from now."
I rubbed my forehead. Frustration is starting to consume me. "Fuck," I breathed.
"Okay," Roxy voiced out after a few minutes of keeping quiet. "If that's what's going to happen, then what's the game plan?"
"Glad that you ask," Mark said. "Actually 2, either one of them will be applied depending on how well we'll do on our search."
Everybody started to go all ears and listened to Mark attentively. What might happen three days from now might be the biggest challenge that we will encounter as Grim Reapers.
"First is to pinpoint where this untimely deaths will happen. If the disaster that will cause it is manageable, we will stop it without people dying. If it's not, we will reap their souls before they die to stop them from turning into Gravelings."
"How about the plan B?" I asked.
"The plan B is if we failed to find them before it happen. If things had come to worst and those 30 Gravelings are set loose, we have no choice but to stop them by force."
"How else? By reaping them of course. However, the ability to reap Gravelings is not something which is common. Aside from me there are only 5 special Reapers that possess such ability. But luckily for us, two of them are assigned here in Seattle."
"And who are those?" Rube asked.
Mark glanced at me and smiled. "The Lass sisters, George and Reggie."
"Us!" Reggie and I exclaimed at the same time. "How can it be us?" I asked.
"Don't you remember it, George? You can see Gravelings even when you were still alive. Humans with such ability also possessed the power of send Gravelings to the other side. However, not all of those that have this ability end up being a Reaper. You're a rare case and so is Reggie."
He's right on the most part and yes I'd been seeing Gravelings even when I was still alive. When I was a kid, I saw two of the on the pool when I almost drown and another one on the house of the Halloween serial killer. And at both occasion, I barely escape Mark's cold embrace.
Now it all makes sense, I could have died back then but the Gravelings had kept on postponing my schedule because they feared my ability, not just to see them so clearly but also to reap them.
"But how about Reggie?" I asked. "Yes, I can see Gravelings even before I died but how about my sister?"
"She shares the same DNA as you. Even though it's not as strong as yours, she still has a portion of your ability."
I never ever admitted to myself that my sister and I are alike. We are so different as far as I remembered. But after what I'd just heard and discovered, maybe Reggie and I are more of the same after all.
END OF CHAPTER 7