The Replacement
Mikayla Walton

 

“Okay, so he is obviously visibly shaken,” Death muttered before turning to the young

woman standing next to him. “You need to calm him down and ease him into the transition.”

“Hey dude, you’re dead and you get to follow me to your eternal resting place,”

Persephone smiled brightly offering the man her hand.

The man looked rather young and nothing would seem out of place if it weren’t for the small

pool of blood and the scissors sticking out of his chest. His spirit however looked pristine, but

with a look of fear on his pale face and a wave of jet-black hair falling into his eyes. He stood up

and placed both hands out rushing towards the small woman.

“Look! He’s coming towards me!” Persephone clapped, looking back at the very sullen and

irritated Death.

“He’s not coming with you; he’s attempting to throttle you. This is why I told you to calm

him down and ease him into it!” Death sighed and crossed his arms as Persephone tried to fend

off her attacker before coming forward and placing his hand on the spirit’s forehead, sending him

to his eternal resting place.

“I think that went well. Who’s next?” Persephone asked as she clapped her hands softly

before she decided to move past Death. He sighed and wondered why he had even decided to go

through with this.

Oh, that’s right, it was because after millions of years of reaping souls he decided that he had

enough. Naturally those who take on the mantle of Death become immortal and remain so, but

the retirement was the time when the entity would get to enjoy their remaining immorality. When

you’re Death you barely ever have time to enjoy anything, let alone take care of your own needs.

 

Honestly, Death was exhausted, and he had been craving pizza for the last thousand years. He

should have thought about getting a prodigy thousands of years ago.

It was laughable when Death and Persephone were side by side, as both in terms of their

personality and appearance they were as similar as night and day. Persephone was short and

spritely with golden blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a nice deep golden-brown tan. Death was

gaunt, and sullen, pale and frightening with his sunken face, and eyes so black you wouldn’t

even be able to spot the pupil. He had chosen Persephone out of all his other candidates because

she was different. Death felt it was more rational that people would want to follow a welcoming,

happy face to their afterlife rather than his almost lifeless and skeletal form. He knew this girl

had potential if she would listen.

~~~~~

“Okay, so sometimes when you arrive to a multi-death situation and you don’t find a spirit it

means that they are barely hanging on or that their spirit has wandered. First things first, you

need to check if they’re really dead,” He stepped back, moving to watch her work, and pinched

the bridge of his nose when he noticed that Persephone hadn’t left his side. She stood there

watching him right back as she popped and chomped on her gum.

“Yes, well sir, his heart is literally laying yards away from him, so he is in fact dead,” she replied

chewing more furiously on her gum before blowing a huge bubble. The bubble filled the space

between them before popping as it hit the tip of his remarkably pointy nose.

Death glared at her picking the piece of deflated gum off the tip of his nose before rolling it

between his fingers and flicking it away.

 

“I can see that, this means that he is clearly the wandering spirit, so you need to go find

him.”

Persephone rolled her eyes and crossed her arms before she turned and looked for a spirit

with a gaping hole in his chest. When she found him, he had been attempting to get the

paramedic’s attention as they prepped to clean up the scene from the horrific car accident.

“Excuse me?” She called trying to get his attention before tapping his shoulder.

“Yes? Miss, can you help me?” The man turned around earnestly gripping her by the elbows.

Persephone wrinkled her nose and had to fight the urge that arose in her chest to push the man

away. Especially when ectoplasm oozed out of the gaping hole in his chest that he was none the

wiser to.

“Actually, I can. I’m here to make the pain go away,” she clarified as she offered him a faux

genuine smile.

“What pain?” He asked, confused.

“Oh, you aren’t in pain? Not even with that man-hole in your chest?” Persephone furrowed

her brows looking him over. The man looked down and jumped, letting out a yelp when he could

see the flashing lights of the ambulance through his chest.

“What! How! What! No!” The man yelled as he finally let her go and started pacing in front

of her, allowing Persephone to finally get a good look at the man’s (or what remained of him)

name tag. It read: even.

“Excuse me, Even.” Persephone began trying to get his attention when Death began to

approach the two, seeing how the situation had begun to spiral out of control.

 

“What? My name is Steven.” He stopped running his hands through his mousy brown hair and

smearing ectoplasm in it in the process. Persephone winced watching the black goo stick to his

hair.

“Yes well, I’m here to collect you and lead you to your eternal resting place. Just take my hand,”

she stuck her hand out offering it to him albeit a bit reluctantly. Steven looked as if he were

going to accept when he pulled his hand back.

“Only if you can tell me where I’ll end up.” Steven said unsure of whether he could trust her.

“I’m bringing you to heaven,” Persephone said as Death shook his head and face-palmed.

“Paradise? I’m going to paradise.” Steven whooped happily as the fear and confusion melted

away.

“Yeah—"

“Persephone, we can’t tell them where they are destined to go! We don’t even have that

information! We just drop them off in purg—" Death had started his rant before getting slapped

right across the face by Steven as the spirit ran away.

“Death! I almost had him!” Steven ran through the paramedics, one of which gave a yelp when a

cold chill ran up his spine seemingly out of nowhere. He was then shoved to the side by

Persephone, after all, she was still a regular human being.

She ran, jumping over potholes and weaving through people before finally tackling Steven and

pinning him to the asphalt. Had Steven been alive, she wouldn’t have been able to hold him there

as he was roughly twice her size, and she found herself thankful that spirits fatigued easily.

Death ran up and pressed his palm to Steven’s forehead, sending him to his eternity. He turned to

Persephone.

 

“You can’t go about telling them where you think they’re going all willy-nilly like that!” Death

scolded her.

“Yeah well, maybe I have my own way of going about things!”

“You’re lying to these people!”

“You told me to calm them down! You know why they don’t always calm down? They’re afraid

of the unknown or have you forgotten what it’s like to be human?”

“I…It has been quite some time,” he admitted before meeting her gaze.

“I can tell, you’re always so sullen and moody, and irritated. You don’t fear anything because

you are what most people fear. Sometimes lying is the best way to go about calming them

down.”

“Let’s head back to the accident and check on the others at the scene,” Death said as he offered

her his arm.

Persephone looped arms with him before they walked off. It appeared that the accident that

killed Steven was caused by a drunk driver. Steven had been transporting some heavy, metal

poles when it appeared that the other car swerved into oncoming traffic. Steven then slammed on

his brakes, which caused the poles to puncture the seats and his chest as he rammed into the car

that had swerved into his lane.

Persephone walked towards the young woman who was slumped in the passenger seat. She

shook the woman, but had gotten no response. She turned to Death, who raised his eyebrows

when suddenly the woman grabbed Persephone’s arm, startling her.

 

“Where am I?” The woman asked as Death walked off for a moment to survey the scene and the

accident to see if they were missing anything.

“I’m Persephone, and you’re dead. I know, I’m sorry, but I’m here to take you to heaven.”

“I’m atheist,” the woman argued, looking her over smelling of alcohol.

“I’m still here to take you to heaven,” Persephone offered lamely with a fake smile.

“I don’t wanna go,” the woman slurred, before Persephone nervously looked over her shoulder.

“Death! I could use some help!” she called trying to keep the woman in her chair. “This

woman isn’t cooperating!”

“Lily...” The woman blinked and watched as the skeletal figure of Death appeared behind

Persephone. The woman screamed with quite the delayed reaction, no doubt the result of the

alcohol in her system. Death sighed, only people in near death situations besides his protégée

could be able to see him, of course this drunken woman just had to be one of them.

“Lily here isn’t cooperating at all, she’s an atheist.”

“Persephone…”

“I mean I for all I know Steven could have—"

“Persephone.”

“Who argues against heaven?”

“Persephone!” he yelled, gripping her shoulders before shaking her. “She’s alive! She isn’t

dead!”

“Oh,” Persephone blinked slowly at him before he looked around.

“Where’s the driver?”