She’d only seen him in short glimpses. A splotch of darkness in the fields of Paradise, there one minute and gone just as quickly. Left behind were new souls, scared and shaking as they fully come to terms with their deaths. The afterlife was ripe with what-ifs and it was overwhelming at first for new souls.
He hadn’t been her reaper but she desperately wished that he had. Hers didn’t evoke the same emotions in her that he did. There was something about the lingering darkness that hung around him that called to her. It was alluring and felt familiar.
Souls were supposed to slowly forget their former lives, fall into such a state in which they never noticed the changes of Paradise around them; reapers appearing and leaving behind new souls or when souls disappear from the fields for their chance at a new life. No one else noticed the differences between the reapers either.
But she saw it all. She even began to keep track of all the things that changed in a little notebook. It was Paradise, all she had to do was want something and it could be hers; everything but him. There were pages dedicated to cataloguing every time he made an appearance. Other reapers had their pages too but they weren’t nearly as extensive as her notes on him. Her attraction was obsessive but it was one of the few things that she had to cling to in this Paradise. It was the only imperfection in her afterlife.
But in the midst of all the things that changed around her, she still needed her quiet moments of bliss. It was what Paradise was for after all. She would push all thoughts from her mind, all worries over the changes and the constant plague of questions that filled her head, and she would move to a beat that only she heard.
In her human life, she’d never have danced if there were any chance that someone would stumble upon her. She had been terribly shy but that wasn’t the case here. There was nothing to hide. Those who stopped to see her dance wouldn’t remember it in a few hours and those that did never hung around for very long.
This dance was different though. She was dancing away her frustrations. For the umpteenth time, he had disappeared before she could catch up to him. Reapers were powerful beings, ones that never stuck around long since there were so many that required their services. But all she wanted was a word, just a short conversation. Anything to prove that she wasn’t like the others, that she paid attention to his existence.
She moved from imaginary partner to imaginary partner. In all her time here, she hadn’t found anyone who would actually be her dancing partner. It was fine though, a partner wasn’t completely necessary to get the same feeling of freedom.
A shiver crawled its way up her spine when she felt the familiar darkness that drew her to the reaper. She spun her way to a stop and couldn’t stop the smile that split her face. There he was, only a few feet away. It was the closest she’d ever gotten so far and he didn’t disappear right away for the first time.
Now that she was faced with him, her mouth wouldn’t form the words that she had rehearsed saying for hours. All she could do was study him, from the strong features hidden from beneath his cloak to the powerful wings that protruded from his back. It didn’t take very long for her to realize that he was holding her notebook in the hand that wasn’t clutching his scythe.
If she hadn’t been a spirit, her face would have turned red with her embarrassment. The only hint of it was the way her smile went from pleased to bashful. Nevertheless, she had to do something, anything, or he would disappear on her again.
Silently she moved forward, his darkness casting eerie shadows on her dress and skin, and held out her hand. There weren’t any need for words in this simple request. His surprise was obvious but so was his conflict. Once a soul was in Paradise, reapers weren’t supposed to have continued contact with them. Everyone knew the rule, but she didn’t care.
Her eyes lit up with joy as he set down her notebook and put his hand in hers. For the first time in forever, she had a dance partner. Her words would eventually find her again and he must have hand questions about that notebook but none of it mattered. All that did was the imaginary music between them and the chance to be close to that alluring man.