Name: Cecilia Muoki
Title of Manuscript: Grim Reaper's Novice
Description: They say that you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it. I didn’t need to lose mine to know what I had.On one fateful day two years ago, I lost my family to a terrible accident. Unable to live without them, I made a deal with The Grim Reaper. I traded my soul for the four souls of my family.
Most nineteen year olds I know live normal lives, as normal as the word goes.
Not me. I collect souls for a living, a decision I do not regret making.
My two years of novice-hood are almost up. I am about to be tested before officially becoming the Grim Reaper’s graduate. Different emotions roll inside me. If I pass, Grim will release the souls of my family, and I will be able to spend more time with them. If I don’t… well, let’s just hope I do.
The last 500 words:
It is official. The After World of Shadow and Light is changing. All because I couldn’t bring myself to do what was expected of me; to collect Kim’s soul.
I close my eyes, and drop my head in my hands. The weariness of the past weeks comes crushing down on me. I squeeze my eyes shut, as recent events threaten to rip my heart apart.
I straighten as light footfalls fill the silent space of the cave we have been hiding in, and take deep breaths, and brush at my eyes with the my hands.
Kim shouldn’t see my like this. Not when his world is falling apart as mine is.
I tense as his arms slip around my waist pulling me back to him. My body stirs at the feel of his warm and secure presence. I lift my head, and peek over my shoulder at him.
“Hey,” I say, forcing a smile.
He lifts a hand and touches my face. “You’ve been crying.”
Instead of answering, I avert my face, and stare out of the mouth of the cave.
“Ana, look at me.”
I can’t. I am afraid if I do, I will be bawling mess.
His hands leave my waist, and I feel him shift. He sits in front of me, lifts my hands from my knees and laces his fingers with mine. He rubs his thumbs on the back of my hands in slow, circular motions. And just like that, all tension fades from my body. I sigh, and shift my gaze to his face, taking in the contours of his profile in the dim light.
“You’re stubborn, lovable, irritating, and strong.” This is not what I expect to hear. I open my mouth, a retort ready on my lips, but he cuts me off with a quick brush of his thumb on my lips. “Hush, Ana. You saved my soul instead of collecting it, even though I’m not worth it. Grim still holds the four souls of your family. So you don’t need to pretend for my benefit.”
Images of the last time I saw my family before Grim reclaimed their souls again flash in my mind. How can I tell Kim I couldn’t choose his soul or my family’s? That I tried and found myself fighting for breath every single time?
I clench my jaw, and lift my chin. “I’ll retrieve my family’s souls back. Even if it means treading the Shadow realm.”
“Trade mine for theirs.”
My stomach clenches, my heart rattles painfully inside my chest. “No.”
He inches closer, his face mere inches from mine. “All right, Soul Collector. It’s you and me then.”
He leans forward, his gaze locked on mine, and brushes his lips on mine. I sigh and he deepens the kiss.
Even with the world falling apart, and the Realm threatening to bleed into my world, I take comfort in his love and kiss. For now. I take the strength he offers me, and I offer him mine.