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The Reaper: The Contract
by Tanner

Jim stood over his father, hands stroking his hair. His father released a cough as his pain grew. Jim planted a kiss on his father's cheek and left the room, a tear rolling down his cheek. He walked down the long hallway into the elevator. He pushed 01 before noticing the man beside him.

He was tall, barrel chested, had long blonde hair, a pudgy face, and his thick fingers resting on top of a cane. He looked at Jim, his eyes seeming to glow with sympathy.

"I know of your father; dying, sick, can't speak a sentence without stopping to cough. Yes, I know indeed. Let me ask you, would you like to see him tomorrow morning, at your doorstep, healthy, fit, and clean?"

Jim tilted his head, confused. "Uhhh, sure. Yeah, more than anything."

"Well my good man, that can happen. Just with a little ink," said the man, slowly revealing a pen with small dots of ink dripping off.

"What th-"

"Shhh. I can bring your father health. Just sign here," said the man, this time pulling a paper out of his coat. He handed Jim the pen. "Your choice."

Jim hesitated, not bothering to read the contract before him. Cautiously, he moved his hand forward.

Jim was in his bed, tossing and turning constantly as nightmares danced in his mind. He violently shook, his mouth opening to scream before the doorbell released a high pitched squeal.

Jim jumped up, startled, shaking, and sweating. Still in his boxers, he threw on a robe and tightened the sash. He strode towards the door and gripped the doorknob. As the door opened Jim noticed his father was there, healthy, muscular and shaven.

"Son," he cried, applying a bear hug onto his astonished son.

"P-p-pa! H-how'd ya-"

"How'd I become healthy? I awoke last night. I didn't cough, didn't sneeze, didn't hurt! Amazing, right?!"

Flabbergasted, Jim motioned his father in.

"So, whatcha wanna do?"

"Well," began Jim, "I was thinkin' of going to the hockey game today. You up for it?"

"Am I up for it?! I've been locked up in that place for two years! Of course I'm up to it," said Jim's father.

"This is great," said Jim, watching the teams slam the puck into the goals.

"I know! Hey, how 'bout some popcorn or frozen lemonade?"

"Ah heck, sure," said Jim.

"Yo, popcorn guy," yelled Jim's father.

As his father was fumbling around with the popcorn man, Jim noticed the man he'd seen yesterday, but in the bleachers. He eyed Jim fiercely and snapped his fingers. Instantly, he was gone. After the game Jim and his father, Charley, walked into the streets, attempting to reach the nearest bar. That's when it happened. A driver oblivious to the pedestrians flew forward, slamming into Jim, killing him.

That's when the reaper appeared, long robe flowing in the breeze.

"It's time," he whispered. Jim's ghostly visage arose, staring straight at the reaper.

"You," began the reaper, "have granted us permission to obtain your soul. It says so right here," said the reaper, pulling out the contract.

Jim backed away, scared. "I have been assigned to deliver you to your owner, Zakharis."

"No, no," cried Jim, horrified.

"Come now, when he is angry he.... You'll see."

With one bony hand he grabbed Jim by the shoulder, cold racing up and down Jim. With a snap of the reaper's fingers, they disappeared.

"Please, don't. If you don't give me to him I'll do whatever you want."

"Fine," said the reaper, "I will give you to him since I have no use for you."

"No, please no."

Suddenly, they were in a large room, fire surrounding them. Perched upon the black throne was Zakharis, his look the same as when he was on Earth.

"Here, he's yours. He is but a babbling fool," said the reaper, shoving Jim onto the ground.

"Oh, worry not, I'll straighten him out," said Zakharis, reaching for Jim. Jim rose, trembling and wailing.

"Guards!" cried Zakharis. Two green skinned brutes appeared, spike clubs in hand. "Go.. Straighten him out," he said, watching the first guard lift Jim up and squeeze him tight. The second one snatched up Jim. They walked back, deep into the depths of a black pit.

"Heeeeelllllppppp!!!!!" cried a worried Jim as the sounds of heavy objects smashing against other heavy objects filled the room. The reaper looked up, a grin of anxiousness on his face. Zakharis grinned and nodded, with the approval of Zakharis, the reaper ventured to the pit.

Zakharis listened happily as screams of agony and excruciating pain filled the room. The reaper's sickle suddenly flew out of the pit, it's blade slick with blood. There was more sounds of beatings and pain. Zakharis kicked his legs up and laughed.

There was suddenly a crackling sound and a deep, thick accent said, "Quickly, get the swords.

Out of the pit emerged a guard, his belt shinning with blood. He snatched up two oversized swords and ran back.

"I wish I could see," said Zakharis sadly. He suddenly grinned and snapped his fingers. A shiny orb appeared in front of him. There were the backs of the guards, swing swords and clubs forward, and the back of the reaper, a glowing beam apparently flying out of his palms.

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