Back in the main area of the night club and sitting alone in the back where it was a little bit darker than anywhere else, sat a female figure slightly hunched over. She wore black boots, black jeans and a black tank top with a white, black and grey checkered flannel shirt like a jacket over that with a long and heavy dark trench coat going down to her knees. Otherwise a black scarf was wrapped around her neck, partially covering her mouth but leaving her deep ocher eyes revealed. Her hair was short, hanging loose with its edges hardly touching her shoulders. Several silver or platinum rings adorned her fingers but one was a little stranger than most. It was black with seemingly glowing blue stones, located on her thumb. A thumb that was busy stroking a lone glass of whiskey wrapped around her small long fingered hands. She seemed to be deep in thought or downright depressed which these days Nera Thalia Caron was both. Then reaching into a pocket with one hand Nera took out a pack of smokes and a single large silver and engraved lighter. Taking a smoke out of the pack Nera popped it in between her slightly parted lips before flicking the lighter to light up her smoke. After Nera replaced both packet and lighter back into her pocket, took a single, long drag of her smoke and then sat even more hunched, holding the smoke recklessly and seemingly with an air of boredom between two fingers as she stared at nothing in front of her. Knowing almost instinctively that her target wasn’t far away, that it was nearly their time. Little else seemed to be on Nera's mind. Not the music, not the dancing patrons, not even the booze sitting on the table right in front of her, her mind fixed on the job she had before her.
Time, so much, and yet so little. That was the part that always fascinated Nera the most. She was fairly competent at reaping, having even accomplished moving into active field duty a little earlier than expected but otherwise she had a hard time turning off her newfound ability, her newfound eyes. She often couldn’t help it, couldn’t not see how much time people had left. Even now without looking up she just knew how much time the people sweating and gyrating around her had left. It was sad really, when it came to some, to those whose young lives would soon end. In the beginning Nera had thought it so unfair, how they could live and waste their lives with such trivial shit when she was dead, when Mikael was dead. Nera had accepted her choice but Mikael… He’d deserved more, so much more. But soon enough, through her training, Nera realized that she was wrong, that she could not envy these people and the time they had left. Instead she should be happy for them and their amazing gift even if some of them hardly deserved it, knowingly throwing it away. At the end of the day it was not her place to judge, only to be there in the end for them, to take their records and make sure they didn’t end up as ghosts. To offer them a kindness in death they might not have known in life. Still, it grated her nerves some days, like now, how people could so easily waste their time away doing… Doing what? They weren’t doing anything useful, purposeful. They were just throwing their bodies around, getting hot and heavy, no doubt working their way up to a sex frenzy later. Disgusting. Then again maybe Nera’s dark feelings about it were just because she couldn’t dance, couldn’t partake, couldn’t live like these people were… Like I said, some days it still got to her.Lowering her gaze even further Nera was about to check the gold pocket watch she had in her inner coat pocket when movement caught her eye. Resisting the urge to turn her head Nera caught with her peripheral vision a dark haired young man, a waiter, appear by her side and offer her a fake bow to accompany his fake smile. He inquired about her drink, calling her ma’am. That would have made Nera laugh. Back in the day when she actually still gave a fuck about stupid shit like this. After a breath’s time Nera finally turned her head towards the young man to acknowledge him, her eyes flashing an impossibly bright and light lime green momentarily as she did so but by the time they fully landed on his steely blue ones Nera’s eyes were deep ocher again. An illusion or a trick of the flashing light? She said nothing as she stared at him for a moment, but in that moment a lifetime passed. ”Takumi Ryou Tachibana. Born twenty-three years ago, a Valentine baby. An Enenra barely scraping by. Bartender, mechanic, prostitute. Twin-less twin. Single and a chameleon. Living a lie, knowing he does, fooling himself regardless. A pathetic little soul.” Nera thought to herself as her eyes tore away from his to once again sightlessly stare at the glass of whiskey in front of her. Nera then reached into her coat pocket, took out her watch, flipped open the casing and stared at the time for a second before flicking the case closed, returning her watch to her pocket and then lowering her scarf before taking her drink and gulping it down in one go, tilting her head back as she did so. After Nera replaced the glass on the table, took another single long drag from her smoke, blew out the smoke in a bored fashion slowly and then with her eyes finally flickering with movement, watched as the light extinguished as Nera crushed the basically unused smoke in an ashtray. Pulling her scarf back up Nera fished into her pocket, took out a hundred bill and placed it neatly on top of the now empty glass before shifting in her chair and standing up, brushing past the young man without ever saying a single word to him or even looking at him as she passed him on her way to the back rooms.
For some reason Nera paused at the entryway of the vast hall leading to rooms within the nightclub. Almost against her will she turned back and watched with emotionless eyes as the young man made his way back to the bar. Just a year ago she would have punched the living daylights out of him because he’d angered her. Now she just stood there, watching curiously with a slightly tilted head. As she had read him she had seen him reading her. Instead of anger however she was curious. Curious at the controversy he presented. He was a hypocrite, two-faced and jaded. He hated people judging him yes? Well what exactly did you call what he’d just done? He’d judged Nera without knowing her, thinking things for her, assuming what was going on in her mind. Her reasoning was logical and without emotion attached. She had merely seen and merely made notes based on what she’d seen from his own eyes looking back at hers. Hence she had not, in fact, judged. There had been no real emotion behind her notes, not really. Nera thought that he lived a lie because he was never himself. I mean didn’t he call himself a chameleon? Portraying what others wanted to see? To her he was barely scraping by though. I mean what would you call having three jobs just to remain out of slavery? To keep your head above the water? What if he lost but one job? Would he be able to stay afloat? More importantly did he want to be a whore? The only real emotion Nera had put behind her estimations came to the last aspect. She did pity him yes, and did deem his soul pitiful but not because of Takumi, no. Rather Nera’s emotions and reasoning went beyond mere pity. She pitied his life, her own life, everyone’s lives because they thought that they were in control when really it was all just such a huge lie. They were but mere pawns on a vast board with fate’s merciless hand guiding their every move. His parents did not want him to be a whore. Surely he did not want to be a whore but, and this is what truly broke Nera’s heart, this is what was behind her thoughts, he could see where he would end up, and here he was, doing just that. Being a whore when… It wasn’t fair. One could think they had choices all they wanted, but in the end they were forced and boxed in to make certain choices which lead to a choice-less path. And that is why, more than anything, she pitied him. Why her heart literally ached inside of her chest for him. And what did he think of her? Just some egotistical pompous ass who judged him cruelly without knowing him when he went and did the same exact thing. Did he know her name? Did he know how old she was? Did he know her favourite colour? Her favourite story? Did he know that at night she watched the stars and even made wishes upon them? Did he know why she ended her own life? No, he didn’t. So who exactly judged whom here? With a slight shake of her head Nera wished the jaded boy good luck before she turned back around and continued on her way. It was still another fourteen minutes before her mistress had deemed Isharu Hatami’s death. But… Life was a funny little bee. On her way down the hall she passed the escort agency’s manager. The one in charge of who Takumi and every other escort present that night would see. The one in charge of setting up the schedule roster and the same person who took the clients money at the end of the day. The one who also acted as bouncer on occasion. For some reason that Nera could not fathom she stopped in her tracks and after a moment she turned around, calling out to the manager. After speaking for several minutes the manager walked away with one giant grin whilst Nera continued on her way. She’d just bought Takumi’s services for the whole evening. Only when Takumi went to ‘service’ his client in the room designated as his, no one would be there. Nera had no idea why she’d given Takumi this night off but… It felt right. Then again maybe this was just Nera's way of giving life and its cruelty the finger.
Ten minutes, Isharu Hatami’s four female clients walked out of his room, shitfaced drunk and high, giggling like schoolgirls as they made their way out of the club. Almost immediately from closing the door behind the girls Isharu became deeply depressed like he always did. His family was poor; he was an enenra looking to make his way out of the rat hole he called his life but never quite getting there. He was single because every girl who was with him was basically in it for the sex or the allure that was his species, unable to help themselves. What no one knew was that he was a real whore too, working as a prostitute on the side. Not because he wanted to or because of the benefit of extra cash. No his sister had gotten knocked up and was living back home with their parents. Parents who were elderly and sick from their youth’s due to all the sex and parties. So being the good son, the great older brother, he’d gone and made a loan to help them out. Only he’d made a loan with the wrong person. When he became ill with a cold and couldn’t work as an escort he’d gotten behind on payments. Then his ‘friend’ demanded he sell himself to a few of his ‘friends’ to make up for the money he’d loaned out and all the damn rent collecting on the money he owed. Of course Isharu had refused but his ‘friend’ had been quite persuasive when he listed his family’s address and spoke of a ‘visit’ to them. Of course he’d gotten the money paid back but still his ‘friend’ was hard to get rid of. The constant threats a good reminder of Isharu’s place and ‘duty’ to his ‘good friend’. Huh. He’d become a slave. Just no one would say it out loud. He’d become the one thing he’d feared his entire life of becoming. What his parents had worked so hard for to prevent. And now there was no way out. If his family found out… So to ‘cope’ Isharu partook in the drink and in the wee bit of cocaine consumption. Only… Four minutes after the girls left, Isharu, either willingly or accidentally, overdosed on the cocaine he’d snorted. He was gone within minutes as his heart gave out. Entering the room Nera watched the man, handsome, young and beautiful, as he lay sprawled out on the bed, seemingly asleep. Taking the black ring with glowing blue stones off of her thumb Nera held it, shifting her hand accordingly as it became a scythe. Her scythe. Stepping up to Isharu’s body Nera whispered, “May Izanami keep you safe on your journey.” It was what she always said before reaping a soul. Then Nera took her scythe and slashed at Isharu’s body. Only instead of slicing through his body, Nera sliced through his soul, collecting it near instantly into her scythe. And just as his soul was absorbed a cinematic record came free from Isharu’s body. Nera let go of her scythe, it being able to stand on its own, and grabbed up the cinematic record, watching it as it steadily flowed into her scythe. “Isharu Konoshi Hatami, born twenty-seven years ago to Panori and Izu Hatami. One sister, Kami and one nephew Izu Isharu. Currently single, no descendants of his own. Worked as an escort and secretly as a prostitute on the side. Liked clouds…” And so on and so on, Nera taking Isharu’s record from the moment of his birth to the moment of his death. Just as the record finished slipping completely into her scythe there came a knock at the door. For once there was emotion in her deep ocher eyes as Nera’s head snapped up to the source of the intrusion. “Do not reveal your nature to anyone!” That is what she’d been taught daily at the academy in Purgatory. With eyes wide and her breath quickening Nera looked around the room. No way out. Except for a window. Ugh. With no other choice Nera set her jaw and braced herself before running at it and crashing through the glass, falling an entire two stories down before crashing into the pavement below. Did I mention the rooms where upstairs? With a groan and more than a few grunts Nera pushed to her feet, healing and snapping an arm bone back into place as she went. Once on her feet Nera looked back before hurrying to her Harley Davidson parked around the corner. She was still troubled with what she’d seen in Isharu’s record…
Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.