Reaper Page 8

“Recruit me?”

“Yes.” His widespread arms indicated the entire facility. “There are nine elderly care facilities in this district and we’re down one man—specifically, we’ve lost the man who covered the night rotation, circulating between them as needed. The sooner I fil the spot, the sooner I can get back to the managerial position I’ve damn well earned.”

“You brought me back…” A surreal thought on its own. “…to work in a nursing home? Like, changing bedpans?” Was I dead or damned? “I think I finally understand the phrase ‘hell on earth…’” Levi frowned. “You’re being recruited as a reaper. I thought that part was obvious.”

“If by obvious, you mean cryptic and baffling.” And suddenly I was glad I was sitting. “You’re gonna have to give me a minute here. This may take a while to sink in.”

Levi shrugged narrow, thin shoulders. “Actually, you’re handling it better than anyone else I’ve ever recruited. I’m attributing that to the fact that you already knew about a good bit of this, by virtue of being a bean sidhe. Which is why I want you for the position. With any luck, your orientation and training wil take about half as long as it takes most people. And the less time it takes to train you…”

“…the sooner you can get back to the managerial position you’ve damn well earned. I caught that the first time.” If the afterlife has managers, does that mean there’s also a customer service department?

His smile was real that time, and al the creepier because of it. “I knew you’d pick it up quick.”

My thoughts chased each other fast enough to make me dizzy. “All I’ve picked up so far is that you brought me back from the dead to make me a reaper.”

“I didn’t bring you back. The reanimation department did that. And because you’re a bean sidhe, they tried to keep you for themselves. But I insisted that the reapers had a prior claim to you.”

“Yeah, that’s not creepy or anything,” I mumbled. “So, do I have any say in this?”

“Of course. It’s your choice. But consider carefully before you decide, because this ‘visitor’s pass’ is only valid for twenty-four hours, and reanimation only works once. If you take too long to decide, you’re dead for good. If you turn the job down, you’re dead for good. If you take the job, then give management any reason to fire you, you’re dead for good. Understand?” I nodded slowly. “Mess up and I’m dead for real. That may be the only part I do understand.”


“You bet your scythe.”

Levi chuckled and stood, straightening a blue polo shirt with a Gymboree label embroidered on the pocket.“We don’t actually carry scythes.”

“Damn.” I snapped my fingers in mock disappointment. “I gotta be honest—that was the real selling point. There’s a black hood, though, right?” His brows rose again. “A reaper with a sense of humor. This should be interesting.” Levi started across the room. “Let’s walk and talk. You had questions?”

I followed him into the hall, and with my first steps, it became obvious that he was right—no one could see either of us. Our shoes didn’t squeak on the faded linoleum. We cast no shadows. I felt like a ghost. Displaced, like I was out of sync with the rest of the world.

Like I wasn’t real y there at al .

“How long has it been? Since I died.”

“Ten days.”

“Ten days?” I was dead for more than a week?

Levi nodded. “The reanimation process takes some time.” An aide headed down the hall toward us, pushing a bald man in a wheelchair. It was surreal, walking unseen among so many people who—even if they died that very night—had already outlived me. “And Nash just got out of the hospital?”

“He had a cracked rib and a skul fracture. They ran several tests. But he’s young and resilient. He’ll be fine.”

“What, were you spying on him?”

Levi dropped into an empty chair in the hall, feet swinging inches above the floor, and the incongruity between his child’s body and the dark knowledge in his eyes left me a little dizzy. “Experience has shown me that new recruits have trouble concentrating on the job until they know those they left behind have actually survived them. So I checked in on your brother.”

“Can I see them? Nash and my mom?”

Levi frowned and crossed his arms over his chest. “Usual y, that’s forbidden. Watching your family makes it hard to resist contacting them, and contact with anyone who knew you before you died is a firing-level offense.

Which is why we typically place new reapers far from where they lived.

However, you’re being recruited for a specific position and your family actual y lives in this district.” He shrugged. “Considering the circumstances, I don’t think anyone would object to you checking in on them occasional y, so long as they never see you. But you won’t find them where you lived. They moved yesterday.”

Two days after Nash got out of the hospital. My mother did the same thing after my father died— moved us to a new house, in a new town. She seemed to think it’d be easier to live without him if our house held no memories of him.

Had she already given away my clothes? Boxed up my stuff? If my family lived in a house I’d never set foot in, did that make me dead and homeless?

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies