“I’m sorry, how do you know me?” Elsa asked the rotund stranger. It was her first day on this Earth and she hadn’t met anyone yet. She stopped into the cafe to sit down and find some leads on a place to stay. She sat down with her coffee two minutes before a blonde man with a white blazer hanging off his shoulders approached. He called her name with a smile as if he knew her. The skull tattooed on his forehead seemed to be grinning at her too. She spotted the number 42 on the skull and realized he was a Unique Soul too. But as far as she knew; he wasn’t one of the ones that could see she was one too. Her number was covered up.
“Mundo told me about you,” he sat down without an invitation.
“Which Mundo?” She asked. She’d only ever met one Mundo but that was a long time ago. The round man smiled and shook his head.
“It kind of defeats the point of them all changing their name to Mundo if you’re going to start keeping track,” he said. You’ve met a Mundo at some point. A Mundo told me about you,” he shrugged. “Might be the same one, might not be; it doesn’t matter. I’m not even looking for you specifically. I need a Muerte,” he said. “My name’s Chase.”
“What do you need a Muerte for?” Elsa asked. She was interested already. She came to a new Earth hoping to find something to distract her and help her heal from heartache; even if it was her own decision to leave.
“I need a soul reaper position filled. And Muertes are the only ones that are qualified. Interested?”
“I don’t want to kill anyone…,” Elsa said. She realized she had an opportunity to get a closer look at how the universe works. She did not doubt what he was offering for a second. She didn’t want to kill anyone; and, she hoped Chase noticed that was her only objection. Chase smiled and shook his head.
“You don’t have to. The universe is pretty automatic in most aspects. Reapers aren’t sinister forces plotting out intricate deaths. You’re janitors. People die when they’re going to die. Your job is to pick up their soul and drop it off at their caseworker. In your case: me.”
“If people die when they’re going to die… what does the universe need us for? Don’t get me wrong, I am very interested in the job. But I’m trying to learn more about it first,” Elsa said. She didn’t want to risk putting off Chase with too many questions.
“That’s good! Ask me all the questions you like. As I said, you’re the cleanup crew. A person consists of two parts, body and soul, working together. When the body dies, a reaper escorts the soul to its caseworker so that it can move on to another life in a new body,” Chase said. He took in a deeper breath in preparation for a long explanation.
“The soul is an amazing energy source. When a person is alive they have a living brain and can access that energy intelligently. If that energy is left behind in a corpse, it can still animate the body. But without any intelligence, it runs wild. That’s why you’ll find the idea of zombies on pretty much any Earth you go to.”
“Whoa. But.. people die every day.. all over the world. How am I supposed to get to them all?” Elsa asked.
“And this brings us to why only Muertes are fit for the job. You’re going to need to manipulate time, obviously. And actually, the sooner you’re ready for this job, the better. Even with your help adjusting time, we’re already behind schedule.”
“Uh… no offense, but how does that happen? Did someone quit suddenly? I’d like to think the universe is run by a competent being,” Elsa said.
“You’re right,” Chase smiled. “I think the same way; which is actually why we’re behind schedule.”
“You think the universe should be competently run.,, so you let deaths mount up?” Elsa asked. Chase shook his head.
“No. I think the universe should be competently run, so I joined someone who can do the job. I should tell you you’re going to be busy at first; but, I think it’s worth it. We’re starting a brand new afterlife. I’m the first case worker, you’re the first Reaper. We even have our own Lucifer!” Elsa stared at chase with wide eyes.
“We didn’t look for a Muerte sooner because Ms. Sharp needed to make sure the souls she claimed were hers. No one else is claiming them, so now we need you to clean up about a month’s worth of zombies.”
“I’ll do it!” Elsa jumped at the opportunity. Chase smiled.
“Great. Can you start right away?” he asked. At his question, an obsidian scythe fell out of the air and landed next to Elsa. “This’ll boost your control over time; you’ll need it.”