A Death’s Awakening
Hadley knows Death wants her. Maybe she wants him too.
At least that’s what it feels like to her some days. Hadley’s life follows a triangular path of home, school, and the pharmacy to stock up on inhalers, lozenges, and cough syrup.
But, her predictably mundane deterioration is unexpectedly interrupted when Hunter walks into her classroom. He’s not only gorgeous, but for some crazy reason he’s interested in her. The girl who looks like she’s two steps from death’s door. That’s why she couldn’t care less discovering that Hunter works for death. She’s drawn to this hot new boy who makes her feel alive again. Even if it means unleashing his dark secrets.
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I know death follows me.
It’s one of those things which makes being a high school student a little less than optimal. I can’t remember the last time I participated in gym class without needing my inhaler or ending up passed out on the floor. It doesn’t take much since I have chronic Bronchiectasis, but I try to make it as fashionable as possible.
Yeah, that’s about as lame as it sounds.
I always carry around handkerchiefs in my pockets like an old man and crave my inhaler the same way a few of my friends crave cigarettes. My skin always has a bluish tint to it like I’m a vampire from the first Twilight movie, and not in the sexy way. I always try to tell myself things could be worse. School keeps me busy, but that doesn’t mean that my illness isn’t always a few thoughts away.
Which leads to death.
I always feel it lurking somewhere. Watching me. Following me.
His dark eyes land on me and pause for a moment as I struggle to breathe. His expression changes slightly, but it’s fleeting – and within a moment he’s back to that cool demeanor. “It looks like I’m having quite an effect on this one,” he says with a chuckle. Several girls laugh like this is the funniest thing on earth while I’m choking on my own saliva.
My mind races.
It’s him, but it’s not him. He's easily over six feet. The face, the hair, and even the almost black eyes. It’s him. I know it’s him. I struggle to stop coughing as the guy rubs the back of his neck, patiently waiting for me to control myself.
“Fuck me, he’s hot,” Kira whispers, smiling at him and ignoring my coughing fit. “Dibs.”
“What’s your deal?”
“Yeah. Your. Fucking. Deal. One minute you’re in a tree and the next you show up again and you’re different. My brain can’t take this. Do you know how hard it is to avoid you? Eyes are drawn to attractive things—”
“So you think I’m attractive?”
“That’s not the point!” I scream, almost wheezing now. I reach in my backpack and quickly find my inhaler, shaking up the contents before taking a few deep inhales. “Please, I don’t know what’s going on, but I do know that you’re going to kill me before the day’s done if you don’t leave me alone. So please!” I start to try and walk past him but he’s blocking my path, though this time his eyes are soft.
“I’m…I’m not actually making you sicker, am I?” he asks quietly.
“So you’re not Death.”
“Not exactly,” I mimic. “So… s-so what are you? A ghost?”
He has the audacity to laugh. “Not exactly.”
“Stop saying ‘not exactly’. You’re driving me nuts. What the hell are you?”
“I don’t know for sure, Hadley. I don’t like to think of myself as a ghost. I’m like Death, but I’m not him. The Grim Reaper? The big guy? I’ve only ever seen him one time. I’m more like… a messenger. A delivery boy.”
“You deliver death,” I say. “Charming.”
C.E. Wilson is a Secondary English Education graduate from Millersville University of Pennsylvania currently living in Pittsburgh with her husband, daughter, chubby beagle and two cats.
When C.E. isn't writing she enjoys watching America's Next Top Model, reading shoujo manga and Stephen King and spending time with her daughter. She enjoys autumn, all things pumpkin, 90s music, and coffee with way too much cream. Most importantly, she believes love is just beyond your comfort zone.
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