I did it! I’m free. Well sort of. Freedom isn’t as cut and dried as the word implies. In this case, I’m at the top of Death’s Worst Reaper Ever list. What it signifies remains to be seen.
I broke free from Death because there wasn’t any other way out of Reaping Vampires. She refused to let me off the hook or consider other arrangements. I’d have been content leaving it at that, but word about my choice got out. Other Reapers clamored for independence too.
Death’s fury expanded another notch with every defection until nowhere is far enough away for me to run to. If I was only fighting her, it might be manageable. Toss in Vampires who hate my guts, a phalanx of dark gods who want my hide, and a bunch of bigoted mortals who’ve decided magic is holding them back.
Pah. Humans are their own worst enemy, but they’re the least of my problems.
It’s been a rocky journey. Along the way I’ve uncovered allies and even a man who loves me. Will we be enough to slam the gates and send darkness packing?
We have to be.
I'm basically a mountaineer at heart. I remember many hours at my desk where my body may have been stuck inside four walls, but my soul was planning yet one more trip to the backcountry. There's a timeless element to the mountains. They feel like old friends as I visit them, and visit them again. There's nothing like standing on a remote pass where I've been before and seeing that the vista is unchanged. Or on an equally remote peak. Mountains are the bones of the world. They'll prevail long after all of us are dust. It feels honest and humbling to share space with them. I hope I'm blessed with many more years to wander the local landscape. The memories are incomparable. They warm me and help me believe there will be something left for our children and their children after them.