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Fear the Reaper
July 6 | Tag Death
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#1
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Even with the distractions that this new freedom from life has given me, it’s inevitable that some questions surface in my mind from time to time, questions so heavy that you would almost expect them to sink beneath the everyday and never see the light of thought again. When I set out on my last ride, I never expected to live through the day. It was the only plan that I could come up with, one that would free my brothers from my sins, ones that would let me follow after my father, my mother, Tara, Ope… yet I find myself continuing, day after day, on my own. I don’t know what I would say if I saw all of those who went before me, whether I could apologize for the horrors that I brought into their lives, forgive them for the chaos they sowed into mine, whether we could finally be together in peace or at least gives some sort of finality to issues left unresolved. All I know is that their absence, more than anything else, follows me and reminds me that I’m not finished, that I still exist, that I still continue to skate the edge of oblivion, with chaos to my left and emptiness to my right.

Sometimes I am sure that I’m not dead, other times I begin to doubt this just because of how impossible it seems. Whether I am or not, the question still haunts me: Whatever this is, life or death, why am I here?


Jax put the journal back into the the inside pocket of his cutte, the light of the setting sun over yet another strange, vaguely disturbing world sinking behind him. Today felt ominous, like a storm about to break, the sort of tension that riding couldn’t help him forget or escape. Starting up the engine of the Harley, Jax sent himself roaring down the road again, back to the inner section of the Hub, back toward the new place he worked, even if he was only working there for now. While he still clung to the freedom of the road, he still took comfort in the illusion of belonging that the place offered, and so he continued to return there night after night.

The streets of this world looked like any other street you could find on any other world, but the buildings… the buildings were a strange mash-up of improbabilities, mixing into a whole that seemed oddly acceptable, like some strange trick of impossibility that made it come full circle into normality. Maybe he was just getting used to this place, it was possible. Or maybe there was just something about this place that he belonged in, that had called to him.

Parking his bike, Jax took the keys, deciding to walk the rest of the way. He lit a cigarette, taking a deep hit as he headed up the street toward the part of the market where he could find the Green Goddess, lost for the moment in his own thoughts.
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#2
Death shook his head, 150,000 people died on one single earth, trillions in each universe, multiplied by the infinite muti-verses and some souls just ended up requiring special attention.

The temptation was strong to send Woo Bin and watch the two in action, hell he would probably end up doing that anyway, but right now-

A white suited figure appeared in the middle of the street trench coat flapping in the wind. “Evening Jackson Teller. I've been meaning come have a chat. Sorry I'm late.” Death grinned, Asian features vanishing behind a skulls eternal amusement.
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#3
Jax had flashbacks as the man came up alongside him, memories stirring of every time someone had pinned him down like they could hold him like a bug on a display card, there for their amusement and benefit. Damon Pope and August Marks were just the closest matches to this situation physically (and, he supposed, chronologically), but there were, of course, more, from all walks of life. The Cartels, the IRA, the feds... all of them had had a physical face to him, one that had taunted him, toyed with him, and, eventually, been killed by him in many cases. Until that end came, though, there was always a sense of terror, and a sense of just how small he really might be in the grand scheme of things, that he'd come to know and loathe.

"Really," he said, his jaw set, his hand frozen on the way to his mouth with the cigarette as he saw the face fade away, leaving just a skull in its place. He'd seen a lot of strange things, but this... this was a step too far. "Could've made an appointment," he said, the smile notably missing from the joke, "I hate to keep people waiting."
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#4
“Actually we did have one. Well you and a semi’s grill really but the end effect would have been the same.” Death’s external grinning skull shifted back to a smiling Korean man. “But instead we meet here.” He gestured to the bar, and Hub in one.

“So tell me how are you finding this life?” He wondered curiously appearing to lean on the wall near Jackson suddenly.
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#5
There weren’t many things that could make Jax’s blood run cold, but right then, it did. He remembered the words as he’d spoken them before, passing judgement on other members of the club, how he expected them to have been said for him as well. “Jax Teller meets Mr. Mayhem,” he said quietly. Shit. That was one hell of an appointment, and apparently he’d skipped out on it… but had he, really? No, he’d been barreling down that road, right into the face of that semi. How much more closely could he be keeping that appointment? Unless, maybe, this was all a dream and he was hooked up to life support somewhere… Damn, that was possible, wasn’t it.

“Hey,” he said, staring at the skull-faced man, “I was there. If anyone missed the clock, it was you. Little late to come collecting now, isn’t it.” He looked around the area, then back at the Reaper, not sure how to answer the question about ‘this life.’ “Is this real?” he asked. That was the only question that mattered right now, he guessed, although he doubted he’d get anything resembling a straight answer to it.
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#6
Death wiggled skeletal fingers at him in a friendly little wave at being named.

“150,000 dead each day on your world alone.” Death shrugged, “Sometimes I run late, sometimes I'm not needed, sometimes free will adds or subtracts an appointment. Humans.” He grinned in a friendly ‘what can you do’ way. “Never predictable.”

Death gestured to the cigarette , “go ahead. Doesn't really need to sweat cancer now.” He casually took a drag from one appearing between his own fingers.

“What's real? What do you define as reality? I'm honestly curious because I can't answer that question for you. Everyone sees this place a little differently.”
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#7
To say that talking with death wasn’t actually the strangest thing that had ever happened to him would probably be a lie. Jax had seen enough crazy things since he hadn’t died, though, that his tolerance for ‘weird’ had shifted a hell of a lot. This, thankfully, left him able to get pissed at the right moments when someone was screwing with him, and he had a feeling that Mr. Mayhem was screwing with him for some reason.

He paused as he was about to take another hit, though. “What, so now you’re saying I am dead? I don’t feel dead. Things are supposed to start making sense when you’re dead, it’s life that’s supposed to be confusing as hell. This is too messed up to be death.” Defiantly, he took the hit of the cigarette, letting the smoke drift out between them. Apparently, he was going to have to be more specific with his questions. “Am I dreaming this? Is this all something my brain is making up? Have I really seen zombies and werewolves and met some green slut that wants me busting heads in her titty bar?” Surely that was specific enough to get him a straight answer, right? Right. Because things always worked out like that.
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#8
“You are not dreaming, you are not in a coma somewhere breathing out of a tube and pissing into another.” Death had many aspects, some kinder than other, this one was actually still on the spectrum of ‘nice’ after all he wasn't driving the poor soul mad with pure truth was he?

“What you are-”. Death straightened, cigarette morphing into a unbalanced scale. “Is a man who's sinned, deeply and often.” The closer jax peered at it he would see flashes, highlighting those sins. “Who is now faced with a choice. Expunge them with me through work, or take the punishment that will come later.”
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#9
Well, if this wasn’t a dream or a… coma hallucination, that meant that it was happening somehow. Jax figured that was as close as he was going to get to a straight answer on the subject, and it really told him as much as he really needed to know right now. This was real. He wasn’t dreaming… but did that mean he was actually alive? He felt like he was alive, and he kept coming back to that part.

Jax paused, listening to the little speech about his sins. Oh, he knew he’d sinned. They’d weighed on his mind for some time now, particularly those more recent ones, the lives he’d ruined, the lives he’d ended, both by his own hand and through the orders he’d given. He didn’t need the flashes of his sins, but they came anyway, a torrent of violence, punctuated by the no longer occasional murders. Some, he could look at without feeling any remorse. August Marks had needed to die. Charlie Barosky had earned his fate. Henry Lin, though, had been set up, not really innocent, but definitely innocent of the crimes Jax had had him killed for. Then there was Uncle Jury…

“So that’s your game,” he shot back. “Keep me in the game so that I can be your player?” He hated being used, but what else could he do now? He knew that there were more sins than he could count, more than most people could bring themselves to even contemplate, let alone commit. If this would even the score again… well, he didn’t know if he believed that, but could he risk that it was true and not do it? “All right, I’ll bite. What do you want me to do, scare away hungry dogs that try to bury you piece by piece?”
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#10
“What do you think I am?” For the first time Death truly allowed his aspect to show through instead of simply letting the mortal perceive him through the lenses of cultural expectations.

There was no dog he feared. He was the end. When every universe imploded for the last time it was he who would take the final souls, it was he who would extinguish the last stars.

“Your job would be to take souls, bring them to their destination. Some will run, fight, scream for mercy. Others will be children who have never seen a man as anything other than with terror. Every day you will have a list. You will go and wait. Take them.”

Death drew back his presence, just a slightly unnerving man dressed in white leaning against a building. “Or not.” He smirked. “Free will. Pick your path Jax.”
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#11
Honestly, Jax hadn’t thought the guy was actually a skeleton. He’d seemed solid enough the first time he met him, after all. Jax, though, was an outlaw, and now this guy in a suit (even if the suit was only apparently draped over bone) was trying to tell him what the score was. It was a scene Jax had been through many times before, and every time he’d had a chance to drop some shade on the other guy. This time wasn’t going to be any different.

Jax just chuckled and shook his head. “Hey, I’m just an outlaw on a bike. How am I supposed to take a soul? You going to give me a fancy ghost trap and a nuclear backpack to get the job done?” He’d always liked that movie when he was a kid. “Fine. Don’t make it a huge list, though, I’ve got a job, too. A guy’s got to have a place to sleep.” And, of course, someone to sleep with, but that was a whole other conversation entirely. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t intrigued by what this guy was offering. The chance to finally be square with the universe over what he’d done was a pretty crazy idea. It still seemed like it was too easy, though.
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#12
Death’s lips quirked into a amused smile, the mortal could snap and snark, it didn't matter to the end. “This-” a black fairly nondescript fedora appeared between his hands, “is your badge of office.” And standard, although he was expecting push back from the biker for the design. “While you wear it you may interact with the dead, and the living will ignore you.” His face hardened, “If you use it for non reaping you will no longer be able to interact at all with the living world.”

No going on robbery or killing sprees now.

“300 years of work, every 10 souls take your debt by a year.” Death smirked, “so the amount you reap is well within your determination Jackson Teller.”
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#13
Okay, now he was being fucked with. “Oh come on,” Jax said, taking the hat and looking it over. “You can give me the ability to talk to dead people, but you can’t make this look different? How am I supposed to ride in this? Do you think I’m going to walk all these souls back to you?” The bit about using it for anything else didn’t really bother Jax. He could do his killing and other criminal activities without a magic douche-hat making it too easy.

300 years… that was a hell of a long time, and that made him wonder, again, if maybe he was dead. How else could he work for 300 years? Or maybe that was just the fate that awaited him, because the work he was being given was going to take much less than that… oh well. It came to three thousand souls, and he figured he could manage that for Death. It might even be fun. Still, the sheer number of them told him that he wasn’t going to be able to treat this as just a hobby: he had to put the time in, and not just on weekends. “And whatever’s left of that three hundred years… what kind of work are we talking about here?” he asked, since it had to be asked.
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#14
Death just stared at Jackson a half smirk curling his lips under hard unyielding eyes. “You will ride with it. Or reject the offer.” Just because the man didn't like the style Death was not going to reorder things based on his wardrobe choices.

As for the practicalities- “only you or another touched by me can remove it.”

Death raised his eyebrows “This is the work Jackson Teller. A list will be given, some will have exact times and locations others will simply have a name and artifact to assist in hunting them. There are others you will see and occasionally work with for the..larger incidents.”
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