Friday, December 9, 2016

Award Winning POV Fiction, #6

Here is another story from one of our top nine writers in the POV Story Writing Contest. Alissa is 12 years old and is in 7th grade. Her story was from the short category (750-1,000 words).

The Afterworld
by Alissa Shterenberg

Life after death is not what people thought it would be. There is a heaven and hell, but everyone has a job in the afterworld. There are three categories: ghosts, angels, and grim reapers. Everyone lives separately according to their groups, and has one ruler in each section. How are the dead people organized into different categories, you ask? The answer is simple: It’s completely random. Once gate guardians decide if you’re worthy to enter heaven, they let each person in one at a time, and arrange a job for you in whatever order you arrive. Angels save and bless people in the real world and always carry around a book of wisdom; ghosts look almost identical to their living form and live on Earth, but can only be seen by other ghosts. They watch humans and report their daily actions to their rulers. Grim reapers take people’s lives once a person’s time has come to leave the earth, and reapers hold a long, metal sickle with a wooden handle. We don’t have choice of what we get to do once we die, but no one complains about the tasks they get, for they are too scared of the consequences.

My name is Daniel Howell, Dan for short, and I am a grim reaper. It’s an awful job, really, ending people’s lives because of how old they are or how many crimes they've committed. Everyone in heaven despises me, for I am a reaper stuck in an 18-year-old’s body, with brown hair and a completely black wardrobe. I hate my job more than anything. All the people here in heaven look basically the same: pale skin as white as fresh snow, with legs that fade away right where our knees should be. I never wanted to be a death ghost, but I can’t chose anything here. If you disobey your leader’s rules, you’re sent to hell.

Each new mission I get is just as bad as the last one. The mission is easy, really. Murder the soul without making it obvious that a spirit did it. But to me, these jobs are hard physically and emotionally, for I have never wanted to hurt, and especially not kill, anything. But no matter how many complaints and protests I file with the council of the reapers, none of them seem to care that I would rather help souls than bring them to their death.

I am currently on a mission, so I look at my paper and read the name and location of the person I am about to kill. Catherine Howell: Berkshire England Hospital. I freeze, staring at the words that looked back at me, haunting me. I can’t kill my own mother! I think to myself.

Without hesitation, I turn around and head straight back to the office. Right away, I get called by the councilor to see the ruler of the reapers, Mr. Deyes. Slowly, I make my way to the building where I know I will get the same lecture I get every time I refuse to do a task. I walk into the deadly quiet building and wait for my turn with Mr. Deyes. My name is called, and I slowly fly over to the door, bracing myself for the upcoming speech that I’ve heard so many times, I have it memorized.

“Here we are again, Daniel. Complaining about our job again, are we?” He speaks in his loud, deep voice.

“My name is Dan.” I say, taking my time getting to the reason I am here. The leader nods and waits for me to continue.

“Do you really expect me to kill my own mother? Can’t another reaper take the job?”

He seems to stop and think about the sentence I just said, but it is only a short, five-second pause.

“You have been assigned your mission and it cannot be avoided. You have disobeyed the laws too many times, Dan. This is the last and final time you will complain. I ask you a question: Would you rather complete this job, or be sent to the flames of hell?”

I was shocked, for hell had never been a choice given to me. The thought of it terrifies me, because I have done only good in my living human form, so hell has never been brought up as an option. But I knew the decision I should make; hopefully it is the right one.

“Send me to hell.”


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