3.15 Late (Beginning of the End)


“I’m sorry, did I startle you?” drawled the Reaper. “I thought I’d hitch a ride. We’re going the same way after all.”

I sat, tongue-tied, as the Reaper gazed at me with shameless expectation. “Well aren’t you going to drive? I’ll get there in time either way. It’s just you who’ll be late.”

Wordlessly, I started the car and slowly began down the road.

“It’s nice to be driven places,” said the Reaper. “I usually don’t have company on the job. This reminds me of the good old days.”

“Why are you in my car?” I managed to get out.

“Have I not said? You and I have the same destination. Your home, Winterstead.”

“But why? Who are you after?”

“All of them. It is time for all of them. Your first child, your second child, your wife.”

“I don’t have a second-“ Then it dawned, far too late. “Twins,” I said numbly.

“I knew you’d get there one day. It took you so long. I thought you were the smart one.” He leaned back. “You thought I was lying? I was not. Ever wondered why your father chose silence over lies? It’s because there was never a choice. We can’t lie. Then he met someone with just as many secrets and all this happened.”

Just as I met someone with secrets.

I blamed my father for leaving us so unceremoniously, but I was just the same, wasn’t I? I couldn’t live without her. If anyone had to go first, it should be me.

“How long?” I said, interrupting the Reaper’s soliloquy.

“How long until what? Their deaths? About an hour or so left, I’d say.”

I pulled the car over to the side of the road and stopped it.

“What? Why are we stopping?” said the Reaper.

“I can’t let them die,” I said, and I had never felt more certain of something in my life.

“Tough for you. Death doesn’t bargain.”

“Death doesn’t bargain, but Reapers do. Delay their deaths and I’ll go with you instead.”

“Why would I do that?

“Because if not I will live forever just to spite you, Reaper. I hope you’re alright with that.”

Finally, the smirk melted off his face. “You’re serious.”

“Will you do it?”

There was a long moment of silence, and the only sound in the car was that of my stilted breath.

“Keep driving,” the Reaper said at last. “I’ll say it was an accident.”

I did as I was told. As I started up the car again, the Reaper took his list from his robes and began to slowly tear it up. “Their death records have been wiped,” he said. “All this will do is delay their deaths an unidentified amount. It may not change how. It may not change why.”

“It gives them a chance,” I said. “That will be enough.” I looked away from his expressionless, unreadable face and towards the road.

“Straight down the road,” I heard him say, but my ears were muffled. What was this feeling crowding my head? Fear at my impending death? Regret that my children will never know me?

A light appeared at the end of the road, growing closer and closer, larger and larger. As it swallowed me, I wondered if this was what my father would have done.

Hoped he would be proud of me.

Closed my eyes.



Even the little sliver of light coming from the door crack hurt my eyes and the screams made my ears ring, but I couldn’t move away. I felt I owed Taurus that much, and I knew Altair felt the same.

It was already so many hours ago when they told us our brother won’t be here to see his baby. He never will. Hit by a truck, they said. He was the only casualty. I wish they had kept their voices down, but it was too late. Since then, Iris took a turn for the worse.

I wanted to lean against Altair’s shoulder and cry but I had already cried myself dry. Now I was weary down to my bones.

I must have fallen asleep somehow among the din, because the next thing I remember was Altair gently shaking me awake. The door was now open, and the light was almost blinding.

“It was a close one,” the midwife told me. “The girl barely made it.”

There were two babies lying side by side in the single bassinet. It vaguely occurred to me I should go buy another.

“The older one’s the boy,” said the midwife. “The wee one’s the girl. They’ll need names.”

Iris looked over to us with half-closed eyes. “His name is Gemini.”

“And the girl?” I asked.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Iris, turning away. “Name her whatever you will.”


That’s the end of Gen 3. There’ll be an afterword soonish.

Also, Winter’s Alchemy now has a forum thread! If you want to pop over and leave comments there, I would love to have you all 🙂

Thanks for reading!


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Next post <Generation 3- Afterword>

10 thoughts on “3.15 Late (Beginning of the End)

  1. Taurus…. Why did you have to? I guess I understand. I also understand why Iris feels the way she does but,,, it’s going to be a hard life for the next generations second child. Girl Unnamed…. Oh lord, you make me cry….

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It does indeed. Also I didn’t know how to reply to your comment on the previous chapter because it hit the nail so precisely on its head! My reapers are incapable of lying too! Thank you, always, for reading 🙂


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