She was five at the time. It was her first day of kindergarten on an otherwise normal day. She was waiting by the school gates waiting for the sight of her mother’s red hair. Her backpack was an unfamiliar weight on her back. She shifted the straps uncomfortably. Several of her new classmates waved to her as they passed her, hand in hand with their own parents. She waved back with her right hand.
It’s funny how she could still remember each of their faces clearly. The boy with sandy-colored hair, the girl with freckles and an overbite, the curly-haired girl in her flowery skirt, the boy with the Pokemon cap and his deck of cards. She smiled. That same boy lived next door to her now. She had taken a liking to him the first time she’s seen him. It was a child’s infatuation. She liked the way his eyes lit up when he talked about his cards, the way he frowned in concentration and the way he treated everyone fairly. Maybe a shadow of that childhood infatuation still remained. She shook her head. That doesn’t matter anymore. She looked down at her left hand.
Through her five-year-old eyes, she saw her pudgy fingers holding tightly onto her masterpiece as if it would fly away. A voice called her name. She looked up, neck craned, searching for the source of the voice. “Here, mommy!” Her mom’s red hair came bobbing into view and her fingers loosened. The piece of paper flew away, carried away by a sudden breeze. Thinking back on it now, it seemed like Fate was taunting her. When she was little, she thought that if she hadn’t let go of that piece of paper, her mother would still be here. Her paper with her happy stick family floated away, lost forever to her grasping fingers.
But those thoughts didn’t occur to her until she was older, much older. At the time, a strange man was hovering by her mother. As she came closer, her five-year-old self could see the empty sockets where the eyes should have been, the grinning face and what scared her most, the scythe that he carried in his bone-white hands. The scythe’s curved blade fit snugly around her mother’s slim waist. The man held chains in his hands, chains that ended in shackles on her mother’s wrists, ankles and throat. She pointed to them and asked her mother what they were used for. Her mother, taking it as a child’s figment of imagination, replied as such. But the man turned his empty eye sockets on her, taking notice of her for the first time. She waved at him. Her mother looked over her shoulder, trying to see who she was waving to. But besides a sudden chill, didn’t detect anything else. Her mother took her left hand and led her to the car, chatting happily. And that’s where the memory ended. They could have been walking forever to the car.
She focused again on her left hand. On it, was a scar. One that curved through her palm. Like the strange man’s scythe. A touch on her shoulder caused her to turn her head. A similar grinning face looked back at her. Attached to the face was a cloth-covered body and out of the body was the same bone-white hand, holding a scythe. In the other hand, was the same chains ending with the shackles in the same places. Looking back at her hand, she saw the grained wood handle of a scythe. Oh, that’s right. She was friends with the death gods. The reapers that took her mother’s soul when she died. But that doesn’t matter anymore. The reaper stood up, chains rattling. She stood up at well but her chains were empty. She needed to find someone and soon. As her friend faded away, she followed. The branch that she was sitting on rustled as if shaking off a pest. The boy next door shivered. Maybe he would be suitable.