It drifts down the street, unnoticed, invisible. Its target is just around the corner: a young woman, killed in a car crash. Tragic, is what the humans would call it. Ironic, to some; she was a medium, on the way to talk to the dead. It doesn’t care either way–a job’s a job and human emotions are not its purview.
When it turns the corner, it finds the crash, just where it should be–but no woman. Well, her body is there. Her soul is not–not in the body and not near it.
It happens, sometimes, with mediums. They think their ability to communicate with the dead comes from some sort of mastery over Death, and they run. They escape, or think they have. But Death will always have its due.
It drifts closer to the crash to trace her soul from its starting point. Too late, it sees the crystals scattered on the pavement, the sigils stitched into her shirt–she is calling it, binding it from beyond the grave. Not her soul, but the body she left behind, made into a trap–a trap that it has sprung.
In moments, it’s been drawn into her empty body.
Pain is a new experience; it doesn’t quite know what to do with it, so it ignores it. It does not ignore the anger, and drags its new, broken body out of the wreck. There are screams, shouts, the movement of living humans–but, more importantly, there is the missing soul, watching, mere feet away. Ah.
She was a medium, after all, and with a spirit’s help her body could see the things a reaper sees–and now it is both medium and spirit. She thought she had hidden herself and trapped it, when in fact she had only given it the tools it needed to find her. Ha! Fool!
It breaks the sigils. It moves the crystals away as it crawls towards her. It watches her smug look vanish as it breaks the bindings and tricks and sheds her body like an old skin, and rises up before her in all its deathly glory, come to claim her. Smugness is also a new experience, but one it thinks it will keep, just for moments like this.
After all, Death will always have its due.
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This story is available in audio! Check it out among a bunch of other excellent flash fiction here.