the short story project



I find it intriguing that people are quickly to believe in the Devil and hell, but find it hard to believe that God and Heaven exist. Both bidding for the souls of the innocent. Well they both exist and even though I work for both of them I remain neutral in this game for souls. I do what I’m supposed to do and mind my business. My job is to end those lives when their time is up. What happens after my touch is none of my business.

My name is Iris, and I am Death. Yup…Death, as in one of the four Horsemen, well, Horse women in my case…. The Grim Reaper. It is my job to lay my hand upon the people on my list and end their lives. Man, woman, old, young, children, my job doesn’t discriminate. I know what you are thinking… I’m horrible, how could what I do….blah blah blah, I’ve been around since the beginning of time so I’ve heard it all. The hypocrisy is what I find interesting. It’s ok for me to take the life of someone considered “bad” or “evil” but not someone who might be considered “good”. Do the families of the person considered bad not suffer? But seeing as how I have been doing this since the dawn of time, I’ve become immune to the whole thing. I just do what I gotta do and keep it moving.

And while some choose to reside either above or below, I choose to wonder among the human world. I enjoy watching what humans do. It is quite entertaining. The way you humans allow things like lust or love or acceptance to either make or ruin your day. Worse, you allow these things to ruin your precious life. I lost count of how many people have taken their own lives because someone doesn’t reciprocate the same feelings, or because something isn’t going their way. It’s really a shame.


But I digress. Why do I choose to stay here amongst humans when I could be anywhere in the universe? Easy. I have been places that haven’t even been discovered yet, but Earth is absolutely fascinating. The colors! The oceans, the forests, the deserts, the snow-capped mountains.  There really is no other place as beautiful as Earth.  It was definitely much more beautiful before you humans started to destroy it, but it’s still beautiful. As I am sitting here thinking about the Earths beauty I get the message. It’s time to put someone to rest.

Michael Jamerson, 52-year-old man married to Jillian for 22 years with one child Jasmine. Michael, this is your unlucky day. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of his car as he’s driving to work. He’s thinking about his work schedule for the day as we get to a red light and stop. I put my hand on his shoulder and feel his body jolt.  His heart is slowly stopping. Michael is grabbing his shirt; he doesn’t understand what’s going on right now.  He’s a fighter, but he’s fighting a battle he won’t win. His heart stops. Michael slumps over on his steering wheel, head resting on the horn causing it to blare at 6:52 a.m.

Michael Jamerson, cause of death…. Heart attack. His soul is standing outside of the car looking at me. It’s only when I have claimed your body that you can see me. He starts to ask all of the usual questions, but that’s not my department. I don’t answer the whys or what happens now questions. That’s for whichever department your soul will reside in. I give a little wave and disappear.  


Is it difficult to take lives you ask? No. What about children? You ask. No.

With children, most of the time their souls are pure so it’s a one-way ticket upstairs. There are a few souls that are corrupt from creation. These children stand no chance at a pure life or seeing what upstairs looks like. While those souls are rare, they do exist. 

Like the next name on my list. Lucy Santiago 15 yrs old. Child of Mark and Silvia Santiago. Lucy was born with a corrupted soul. She has lacked feelings since the day he was born. Since she could walk she would torment the family pet and her siblings. She even put her older brother in the hospital with a concussion after smacking him in the back of the head with a shovel.

Mark and Silvia are at the end of their rope. They don’t know what else to do. But in about 8 minutes they won’t have to worry anymore. Lucy is in the bedroom that she shares with her younger sister Rosey. Rosey has tears running down her cheeks because Lucy is poking her with a pair of scissors. Lucy tells her that if she yells she will cut her and Rosey knows Lucy will do it. 

Rosey is relieved to hear her parents call Lucy name. Rosey let’s out a sigh, Lucy tells Rosey not to be too happy because she’ll be back in a minute to finish what she started. As Lucy is running down the stairs I put my hand on her shoulder as she bounces past me. Lucy trips and begins to tumble down the stairs. A loud thud is heard as Lucy hits her head on the hard wood floor. Mark and Silvia come running to see what happened. A shriek escapes Silvia mouth. She screams for someone to call 911 and rushes to Lucy. Lucy is no longer with us. Her soul left her body the second her head hit the floor. Lucy’s soul is now standing over her parents. There’s a very brief moment when Mark looks at Silvia and there is a hint of relief on their faces. They can finally have a peaceful life. 

And I take that as my cue to fade out. I know where her young soul is going and that’s nothing I wanna stick around to see.


But the soul of an innocent child, that is a beautiful thing. Last week I had to claim a newborn child.  She was a stillborn. Some things just aren’t meant to happen. I do no only claim the lives of humans already born. I placed my hand through the mothers belly and placed it on the little human that was trying to come out. The doctors and nurses tried to revive her but I already had the baby’s soul in my hand. This beautiful, most amazing white glow.  Imagine the brightest thing you have ever seen then multiply that by 100. No human eye could look into this light.  I stayed around and watched the soul travel up to the heavens and then left the parents trying to comprehend why they lost their precious baby.

Again, I do not deal in the department of Why’s. I just do my job. I don’t ask you why you do what you do. And it’s not like I chose this. I along with my three other siblings, War, Conquest and Famine were given our jobs. And its not like I can tell the creator of everything “hey, God….I quit”…. So I just do what I gotta do.

Do I get lonely? No. I am nothing like a human so I do not share the same need or want as you do. And it’s not like I’m alone, there is more than one reaper. It’s not like we go out partying together or anything like that, but we do socialize. Besides I am way too busy to be lonely. New names are added to my list constantly. Matter of fact……duty calls.


A double suicide, a suicide pact I guess. Thomas Martin and Helen Smyth. Both 17. Not even out of High School. My job is to claim Thomas. There is another reaper here for Helen. We are just waiting for the pills to take their lives. See, this is when I socialize. We chat about our job, the weather, how long will this take…..stuff like that. For some reason Thomas and Helen thought that they would teach their parents a lesson for trying to keep them apart. Selfish, if you ask me. Now most humans believe that if you take your own life you automatically go downstairs. That’s not true. Suicides are just placed back into rotation to see how things play out.  Since neither above or below takes claim in suicides they are just placed back into the pot for biddings. I have seen suicide souls that are caught in a cycle of killing themselves no matter how many times they start over. Its almost like there is a glitch in their souls. But the creator doesn’t make mistakes, right?

As the pills start to stop their breathing, they look at each other and each says I love you to the other. I put my hand on Thomas and the other reaper places his hand on Helen. These two believe that they will be together in the after life. I wonder if they knew what was really going to happen, would they still chose to end their lives? Welp, I’m not going to tell them. I rarely talk to those I claim. There are occasions where I chat with them before they go to their final destination. But it’s always the same questions asked. I remember one woman I claimed after a bus hit her because she wasn’t watching where she was going. After the bus hit her, her soul was standing over her body. She looked at me and said “Well that sucked.” I actually laughed.


The amount of innocent victims I collect is astonishing. Humans are not only destroying this beautiful earth, but yourselves along with it. Robin, age 26 female student working on her nursing degree. She is in the back of her local deli minding her business, music blasting in her headphones. She has absolutely no idea that a young man has the cashier at gunpoint demanding the cash in the register. Robin starts walking up to the counter to pay for her snacks and surprises the young man with the gun. Robin didn’t even hear the gun go off. She had no idea what was causing this burning sensation in her abdomen. She drops what was in her hands as she reaches for the area that’s causing so much pain. The pain is so intense that it brings her to her knees.  I place my hand on her shoulder and her heart slowly stops beating. Robin falls to her side and passes on. She can see me now along with her own body that’s laying there with the music still playing in her ears. There is nothing else for me to do here.


What do I do when I am not reaping? Nothing. I reap all over the world, so traveling is part of the job, nothing special. I don’t sleep so I can go anywhere or do anything I feel like doing. But the brief moments that I am not reaping, I like to just be in one place and be perfectly still. I like to watch everything around me in motion. You humans for some reason find this difficult to do. You always have to be on the move or just doing something. This is why you most of the time die unhappy, so many regrets. You let life get in the way of your life. You guys hardly ever stop just to enjoy the scenery around you. You take for granted that you will have tomorrow to enjoy the simple things. But I think that I have proven that life is not something to take for granted. You just never know when your name will appear on my list.


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