Paul walked down the sidewalk, almost home from his morning walk and lost in the music in his earbuds, when instead of landing on the concrete, his foot kept falling into portals that he could only assume lead to another dimension. "Ah," He groaned, as it happened again.
Removing his foot from the portal, he continued down the sidewalk, just wanting to get home. He was just about a block away when it happened again, only this time, something reached through the portal and grabbed his foot. He rolled his eyes, grabbed a nearby pole for balance, and used his other foot to kick the hand away.
"Please, stop," He stated, speaking down into the portal. The hand let go and disappeared back into the portal. Paul finished his walk shortly after, opening his door, turning and locking it as he entered. He took off his shoes and set his phone and earbuds on the table, ignoring the dark figure with the staff in the corner of the room, surrounded by the shadows.
"You can't keep running from your destiny forever, Paul." It said. Paul pretended he didn't hear it. "You can't escape it. You must travel to Alacoria and fulfill the prophecy." He walked into his kitchen, opening his fridge and grabbing a water. "Paul." Paul headed back into his living room, sitting on his chair, turning on his tv and flipping through the channels. "Paul." He kept his attention focused on the tv.
The figure waved his hand and shut the tv off. Paul didn't act like anything was off, just pulled out his phone and began scrolling. "Paul, come on, man." The figure stepped out of the shadows, flinging himself on the couch, its back resting against the arm of the couch, it's black and white converse shoes nearly touching the other end, its staff laid across its body. It threw it's hood back to relive a boy with light tanned skin about twenty-six with short jet black hair swept over his forehead, nearly touching his electric blue eyes that seemed to pop out.
"Work with me here. We've known each other for practically our whole lives! Remember we used to play in the same sandbox together in the park! I'd let you play with the undead puppies!" He exclaimed. "That's gotta mean something!" Paul continued to scroll through his phone. "I know you can hear me!" He shouted.
"If you keep ignoring me, I'll make everything fly off all the shelves again! I'll cut the power again, too! Hack your bank account! Get you fired! I won't set your house on fire again though, that one was an accident. I really shouldn't wave this thing around." He said, picking up the staff and twisting it slightly in his hand. Paul still didn't look up. "Paul!" He groaned, throwing his head back, sliding down the couch. "You're killing me here, man!"
He grabbed his staff, holding it out to Paul, and it changed to a scythe, with a long black handle and a silver tip. "Just do it now, Paul. Seriously. It's better you than my father. And boy, will he be pissed when he finds out I've failed at the only thing assignment I've ever gotten. Especially, when it's the biggest thing in existence, you know? I mean, if you don't do this, the whole world will end and then they'll be nobody left alive for me to reap, and then I'll be out of a job, and I'll be the last of my kind. I'll go down in history as the reaper who let everyone die." He rambled.
Paul rolled his eyes, looking up towards the reaper draped across his couch. "This isn't your therapy session, Michael." Paul deadpanned.
"Ah! He speaks!" Michael exclaimed, sitting up, swinging his legs so that they were on the floor. He was holding his now again staff with two hands and looking at Paul with wide eyes.
"Well, you were never gonna shut up if I didn't," Paul responded.
"Aw, he's still the same as I remember!" Michael gushed. Paul rolled his eyes again.
"Will you get out of my house, now?" Paul asked.
"No! I've made more progress today than I did the last five years!"
"You mean when you practically tackled me to keep me from sending my applications, then set them on fire, and proceeded to reap the mailman, then burnt down the colleges to which I'd applied to?"
"Okay, so maybe it wasn't the brightest of times," Michael admitted.
"I had to go to college online because of you. Not to mention I kept having to spend $200 dollars on new laptops because you kept smashing them and throwing them out of my apartment window."
"I did not mean to hit that guy! That was a total accident!" Michael exclaimed, eyes wide.
Paul rolled his eyes once again. "I told you that I didn't want to be 'the link between both worlds. The savior of the human race.' I wanted to go to college, and get a job, live a normal life."
"And be an accountant?"
Paul gave him a look. "That was your fault. And the Alvernia school education system. I didn't have any many skills to transfer over to normal Peculiar jobs." He stated.
"Ah! So it's just like the American school system!" Michael shouted, pointing at Paul, grinning.
Paul sighed, standing up, "This conversation is over." He started to walk out of the room.
"Wait! Paul! Where you going!?" Michael tried to jump up and follow Paul but he tripped on his cloak and fell into the chair. Paul stopped walking, turning back around with his arms crossed to see Michael struggling to stand up. "Ah, stupid fucking cloak." Michael muttered under his breath, trying to untangle himself from it. "Why do I even have to wear this thing anyway if nobody can see me?"
"I've told you a million times you need to take it to Reagan and have him hem it. You're like ten inches shorter than your father, of course, it's going to be too long for you." Paul said.
"Yeah, well....." Michael trailed off. "Whatever, this thing's stupid anyway." He finally straightened his cloak.
"And you have to stop wearing jeans under the cloak, Michael, seriously. Nobody's gonna take the grim reaper seriously if he's wearing blue skinny jeans, converse, and a bright yellow gaming shirt."
"Well, what else am I supposed to wear?! Just the cloak? Nobody wants to see that, and I definitely don't wanna go around like that!"
Paul tilted his head and made a face, trying not to think about the mental picture Michael just painted. "Whatever. I have to go, I'm gonna be late for work." Paul turned and started walking down the hallway towards his bedroom.
"Paul, wait, come back!" Michael trailed after him, only stopping outside the bedroom door because Paul shut it in his face. "I mean you're gonna have to do it sometime! You can't spend your entire life ignoring your destiny and hoping it'll go away." Michael leaned against the door.
"I've done a pretty good job so far!" Paul shouted from inside the room.
"Sooner or later, you're going to have to travel to Alacoria! You have to fulfill your destiny! It's the entire reason you were born! You're the only one who can open a portal to the other world!"
"Really? Tell that to the twelve portals I stepped in this morning on my walk!"
Michael narrowed his eyes. "Twelve? They must be getting desperate. Nobody has heard anything from Alacoria in years. Who knows how bad it is over there?" Michael spoke more to himself than to Paul. The door opened and Michael fell back, landing on the floor.
"You never told me that." Paul frowned, standing above him. He now wore a suit, his undone tie hung around his neck.
Michael stood up. "Yeah. Last we heard the Idicore were slowly but surely advancing on Alacoria. Nobody was sure quite how long it would take for them to attack. Months or years." Michael said morbidly.
Paul was quiet for a second. "Well, Alacoria lasted this long without help, I'm sure they can manage." He said, passing Michael.
"Seriously? That's how you wanna be?" Michael asked. Paul continued down the hall.
Michael teleported to Paul's living room where he was putting on his shoes. "That's not right, Paul, and you know it. How can you act like that when-" Michael stopped himself.
Paul looked at him. "When what?" He asked.
Michael looked like he wanted to say something but decided against it. He hesitated for another moment before saying, "When there are people over there. Children. People who have dreams, just like you do."
Paul shook his head, finishing putting on his shoes.
"I know you still have dreams, Paul. And this," Michael gestured to Paul's house, "isn't it."
Paul stopped for a second. "I'm not going to Alacoria, Michael. You can drop it now." He finally decided on saying, heading towards the kitchen table to grab his phone and car keys. Michael snapped his fingers as Paul turned around.
"You forgot to do your tie." He stated. Paul looked down at his now perfectly done tie.
"You're distracting me." Paul said.
Now this time, Michael was the one to roll his eyes. "I'm not distracting you. You're running away." Paul ignored him, grabbing his messenger bag and sliding it onto shoulder before heading towards the door. "Guess nothing has changed." Michael muttered.
Paul stopped just before the door. He turned around, "What did you just say?"
Michael narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms. "You heard me. You have a habit of running away from things."
Paul's eyes widened in disbelief, "Excuse me?"
"You're always running away from things, Paul! You ran away from Alvernia, you ran away from your parents, you ran away from magic, and you're running away now!" Michael yelled, uncrossing his arms.
"I'm running away?" Paul fumed.
"Yes, you are!"
"Well, fine!" Paul threw his messenger bag on the floor, next to the couch, "Let's go to Alacoria!"
"Well then, wait are you waiting for?" "Oh, no! If you want me to go to Alacoria so bad, then you're coming with me!"
"Fine! Let's go!"
"Alright! Let's go!"
Nobody said anything for a few minutes.
"I...I don't know how to get to Alacoria." Paul admitted.
"Neither do I." Michael muttered.
Michael was draped across the couch once again, his staff now a pen he was twirling in his hand, and Paul was sitting in his chair. "I can't believe we walked all the way around town and not a single portal opened up," Michael mumbled into his cloak.
"People thought I was one of those crazy homeless people who talked to themselves."
"How many times do I have to say sorry!? I didn't mean to spill the custard on you!" Michael exclaimed.
Paul rolled his eyes again. Michael was slightly worried that if he kept doing it, they'd eventually just roll into the back of his brain.
"I don't understand. This morning I couldn't escape them and now they're nowhere to be found." Paul said.
Michael shrugged. "What do you want me to do about it?" He slipped the pen into his cloak.
"You're Death. Can't you just wave your hand and make a portal appear?"
"What part of 'you're the only one who can open a portal to the other world' did you not understand?" Michael asked.
It was silent for a few minutes.
"Well, I guess that settles it." Paul started to stand up.
"What do you mean?"
Paul sighed, "I mean we tried. Obviously, Alacoria doesn't want me to fulfill my destiny. What else can you do?" Paul shrugged. "Now I can go to work." Paul headed for the door.
Michael sat up, "Um, no. You can't. You agreed to go to Alacoria."
Paul stopped just before he reached the door. "Yeah, because you pissed me off." He turned towards Michael.
"You can't just back out now."
"Why not?" He questioned.
"Because...I said so."
Paul rolled his eyes again.
"I'll pull rank."
Paul gave him a look.
"I won't let you leave the house. I'll quarantine everyone! I'll kill your boss! Shut off your electricity!"
Paul sighed, "Alright, fine. I'll make you a deal. If you can get us to Alacoria, I'll go. I'll 'fulfill my destiny'."
"Alright. Okay! Deal!" Michael spit into his hand before holding it out.
Paul made a face of disgust. "Other hand." He stated.
Michael nodded, holding out his other hand. Paul shook it.
"Okay. Now....." Michael trailed off.
"You don't know how to get into Alacoria, do you?" Paul asked.
"Well, I did! The portals that followed you around like girls with those boy bands!"
"You didn't have a plan B? You've known about this your entire life and you didn't have a plan B?"
"Give me a break! I didn't think you'd actually say yes! I thought I had another thirty years!" Michael exclaimed. "Alright, just let me think....." He started pacing. "No, not there......no....definitely not that.......we probably won't survive that.......we'd survive that but we'd probably be missing some of our body parts......"
"Can I sit down or...."
"Ah!" Michael cried. "The caves of Sonila!"
"Sorry, the caves of whaty what?"
"The caves of Sonila! The veil between the worlds is thinnest there! If we get you there, then maybe a portal will open up!"
"Okay. Where are the caves of Sonila?"
"Joy for the world," Paul said sarcastically.
Michael tilted his head at him in a way that said 'really?'.
"Okay. Then what are you waiting for? Magic us there." Paul said.
Michael gave Paul a look. "Teleport, Paul. Teleport. I teleport."
"Whatever. Just snap your fingers." Michael rolled his eyes but raised his hand and snapped his fingers. Nothing happened.
"What did you do?" Paul asked.
Michael frowned, snapping his fingers again.
"Oh, come on. Is this like that time in middle school again? You tried to teleport us to California but ended up flooding New York? Or that time in we were ten and instead of sending us to Disneyland you flooded the school with chocolate? Or that other time where you-"
"Shut up, Paul." Michael said.
"Um, you shut up?" Paul suggested, slightly offended.
"No, I mean it." He mumbled, staring at his hands. He snapped his fingers once more. Then again. And again. Nothing happened. "No. This can't be."
Paul wasn't sure if Michael was talking to him. "What?" He asked, puzzled.
"The barrier. We must have underestimated the situation in Alacoria. That's why no new portals have popped up. Those this morning were the last desperate attempts for help."
"What are you talking about?" Paul asked. "The link between worlds. I-I....I think it's fading."
"What? Is that even possible?" Paul questioned.
"I don't know. It must be. Maybe...I think....." Michael snapped his fingers again. And then again. His car keys flew off the table.
"What's disappearing?" Paul asked, desperately confused.
Michael looked at him with wide eyes, "Magic. Magic's disappearing."
Paul stepped back in shock.
"We have to get you to Alacoria. Now."