Chapter Two

The deadly silence of a night in the streets of London casted a certain flare within Undertaker's body as he took a quiet run upon the rooftops of the east end. Queen Victoria's reign had been in effect for a few years now, but Undertaker never noticed the difference in the monarchs, except their personal interests.

Only the reaper's association had anything pertaining to him and his work. For example, they were beginning to branch out, assigning managers and master to each division for each country on the continent and of course, there were two on the islands. Undertaker remained in England's branch, finding it the most homey of places, and it was the best place for soul collections.

His death scythe never let him down, never once. As he eagerly collected his records, there was but one left. A girl named Vivian Addams, set to die by suicide tonight, in approximately 15 minutes. Making his way to the location of a back alley, something didn't seem right. There was nothing but a window cracked open as far as his eyes could see. Assuming the cracked window would open further, Undertaker waited for the girl appear where the To Die list was displaying.

But the girl did not appear, upon which sent Undertaker in a slight displacement. He searched the next street, for surely he hadn't gotten the location incorrect. According to his list, this girl should have been dead by now, but there wasn't even a body to be found. Being distraught was getting him no closer to solving the situation properly, so he climbed upon the rooftops for the second time, peering through the window.

A girl did in fact slumber in the bed within the room. Her hair was black as a raven's feathers and her skin was pale as Snow White's. This was Vivian Addams, and she clearly was not jumping off of the rooftop tonight.

Her room was rather plain, but that seemed to be a financial issue and of no fault to her. There was a simple vase with a wash towel and bowl, as though she were pretending to live on higher standards. Standards upon which she would never be able to afford. The fire only left behind embers, coal and ash, as it was that time of the evening. Almost time for his shift to be over with.

There was no contacting the association as of right now, but they never made errors and they never questioned the lists. How was this possible? Was her heart about to fail? Was she killing herself in her sleep, what? Something had to happen! Her soul was scheduled for collection five minutes ago.

Intrigued by the matter, Undertaker set his scythe near the fire, putting his outgrowing bangs in front of his eyes. He didn't want to alarm the girl, as she seemed so peaceful in her sleep, but this was a rather important matter. Subtly, he tapped at her shoulder, but the girl did not wake up. There was no one else in sight, so he'd have to take this up with her personally, as was his report's request and regulation.

"Pardon the intrusion," he said, shaking her with both hands now. "I do require your assistance, Miss Vivian Addams."

"What the hell?" the girl's voice wasn't at all as she appeared or as he expected it to be. "What do you want?"

"It's a matter concerning your soul," he said, sitting on the bedside. "I suggest you wake up before I improvise."

Vivian's eyes split themselves open as she sat up, revealing them to be alert, annoyed, and ready to kill someone herself. The bright blue caught him off guard, but she could not see his eyes. A frown came upon his face as she put on her black glasses to see better.

When the sheets were pulled back, he noticed a stitched area upon her neckline, a blue stitching, not at all matching her eyes or the silver color of her nightwear.

"Who are you and what are you telling me about my soul?" she asked, flinging the covers back.

"You were scheduled to die tonight, why the hell didn't you jump?" Undertaker asked. "You were supposed to commit suicide."

"Don't tell me what I'm supposed to do. I changed my mind. Get over it," Vivian's response was most riveting. It sent a tingle through his body from his neck, all the way down through his spinal cord. This was most fascinating. Her eyes wandered to the death scythe that was situated near her fireplace. She looked to him, then back at the scythe.

"A...grim reaper?" she asked slowly, bringing her legs around so she could sit beside him. Adjusting her long black hair to sit upon her shoulders and extend to her knees, Vivian scanned him. "Quite a fancy aren't you?"

"It's regulation," he said. "Why aren't you dead?"

"Get over it," she said. "I'm not dying tonight, I'm not dead, why are you here?"

"You were scheduled to die."

"Well then I just changed the schedule didn't I?" she said, her eyebrows rising. "I'll die when I deem it appropriate. Not when God tells me to die."

A smirk graced Undertaker's face. "That's a slight problem for me. I was scheduled to collect your soul, and tonight, I was supposed to take it. You're not at Death's door, therefore I cannot act, but it will complicate matters. The list is never wrong."

"So now what? You babysit me until I die?" Vivian asked, stretching. "Fun."

"I admit it's tempting to do so. My lists have been flawless so it seemed you would be no different. Yet, here you are."

"Nice scythe. Are they all that nice?" Vivian asked, pushing up her glasses. Undertaker sighed, slightly annoyed already with the girl's questions.

"That? No, that one is just mine. Each is different, but I suppose they all possess charm to some extent," he replied. "You're 19 years old, aren't you afraid of me?"

"I'm not dying, you can't take my soul so, no not really. I'm curious at best, meeting a divine one such as yourself," Vivian said. "You seem to know a hell of a lot about me, so why can't I know anything about you?"

"Knowing about me is dangerous, my dear," Undertaker said. "You were not supposed to see me until you die."

"Well then, considering you woke me up, I'd say that's your fault then," she stated plainly.

"Perhaps," Undertaker said. "But my list is absolute. I suspected you to be dead."

Vivian stood up, walking over the scythe where Undertaker cut her off, stating strictly she could not touch it.

"Fine," she said. "Can I touch you?"

"Me?" he asked, looking at himself, sighing. "I'm already on overtime, why the hell not?"

"Cool," she said, reaching for his hair to run her fingers through it. "It's nearly snow white. What does that mean for a reaper?"

"It means I've been at this too long," Undertaker said as she brought up a second hand.

"So it's like a job then? Collecting our souls?"

"It's more than a job, it's a lifestyle," Undertaker said. He knew his information wouldn't harm her, for no one would ever believe she'd had a run in with a grim reaper, much less hear what she had to say about it.

They stood mostly in silence as he felt her doing something to his hair. He hadn't the slightest idea what because he couldn't see, but as annoying as the circumstance was, she either died tonight anyway or he had to report a special case upon his return and explain the overtime. It was one of the most enjoyable overtimes he could have asked for, so although he couldn't take this matter lightly, he couldn't help but enjoy the moment.

"I hope I didn't mess you up too badly," Vivian confessed with a gentle sigh. "I'd hate to have Death annoyed with my soul." Her eyes were fixated upon his hair, but Undertaker realized she was sincere. This was the first time any mortal had ever opened themselves to the possibility of their afterlife and known about the process of soul collection. Yet the first thing coming out of her mouth was an apology of inconvenience! How considerate.

A frown came upon his face. "It is no fault of yours. If you are not dying tonight, I should not be here." The thought dawned upon him. He shouldn't be here! Period. Why hadn't he left yet? As soon as she opened her eyes, he should have left because clearly, she wasn't dead or dying as was written. Why did he stay and allow himself to be annoyed by a mortal?

"Then...why are you still here?" Vivian asked, tying off her handy work.

She brought up a mirror to display the braid that was sitting upon Undertaker's right shoulder as of this moment. She'd chosen to tie an inner portion of his hair, so the braid was easily hidden by the rest of his longer hair. However, he chose not to hide it in her presence. That would be rather rude, so to make things even he brought up the other side to hang upon his other shoulder.

"I think you ask too many questions," he told her, taking his death scythe. She smiled, once again scanning his thin form up and down.

"Well, this was fun," she said. "It's not everyday I have the chance to meet a grim reaper."

"Consider it a once in a lifetime thing," Undertaker said, turning to leave.

"A twice in a lifetime thing now," she corrected. "For, isn't my death also a part of my life? Perhaps one of the most important parts of my life to say the least? Isn't how I die a defining moment of how I lived?"

Undertaker turned back, hearing the way she spoke with such compassion about death itself, it was almost unnatural. Unnatural and intriguing.

"I didn't take my own life because I thought that was too easy. I knew I wanted to, but to die in a way most honorable to my life, that's what I wanted more. I didn't want it to be known that I'd taken a route so expected for one of my stature. To hell with it! No one tells me how to die, at least leave me that," Vivian said, as though near to being upset and angry with powers higher than her control.

Undertaker faced her, setting his most precious scythe down for the second time, seeing her shaken form after the words had escaped her mouth. This was different, she was different, and the ways she thought about death had never come across in any cinematic record he'd reviewed, ever. Of course, Vivian was still a lady living in London in the time of Victoria's reign. Her views would not matter, especially upon the matters of her death, which Undertaker found to be a great shame. No one could possibly know she thought this way.

Taking a deep breath, Undertaker wrapped his arms around the girl, finally seeing her first tear flow from her eyelids, washing up upon his jacket sleeve.

"I'm not here to tell you how to die, only how you should have died," Undertaker explained. "Everything will clear up I'm sure."

"Will you come back when I actually die?" she asked.

"I cannot answer that," Undertaker replied, knowing that unless she died within five years, that answer would be no. He couldn't bring himself to tell her that, not after what had just happened. She seemed grateful for his company, despite what he was. He'd known her well, as she stated previously. Maybe that's what she needed. Maybe there was a higher power at work here. Sending him to the site, knowing of the change to become acquainted with this mortal, that sounded like the work of someone on high keeping a secret agenda.

How long could they expect to keep it? The soul collection was false, it was incomplete, it could not happen. Surely that would cause some dissonance on high somewhere.

"Good night then," Vivian said, letting him go as she broke from his grasp. "Good night to you, Mr. Reaper."

"Good night, Miss Addams," Undertaker replied, taking the scythe and climbing out the window where she stuck her head out.

"Thank you," she said before he disappeared into the night amongst the stars.