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January 8
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Last night, I witnessed the death of an ancient smokestack. It coughed its lungs into submission and fell without dignity, tumbling through the graying air, and crushing itself to the earth, much like many of the ill-fated citizens in North Alincourte had twenty-three years ago. The city is a grandiose place, even with the presence of crumbling cathedrals and lonely abbots. The whole area is a site of festive attraction; thousands of Better Alincourte's citizens mill around, snapping pictures, buying souvenirs, and generally running amok through a decomposing city.

It's not that I resent the tourists. I just dislike how freely they allow themselves to wander around one of the few places where history was preserved, a city in which industrial technology merged with flourishing stone and tile.

Let me introduce you to my home.

I live in a reclusive fortress which has seen far better days than now. Vines creep up stone, seemingly pulling a man made structure back into nature. Pebbles slip from the widening cracks. It's not much of a sight, but it preserves the olden days and it provides comfort, especially when the days grow dark.

~~~~~~~~~~


Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Malcolm Travors, and I am unlike the others. I can't deal with stupidity. I can't deal with cluttered, crushing stereotypes. I can't deal with the idea that quirks define who you are. I'll leave my physical traits aside for now. You'll see them soon enough.

I enjoy the nightlife, where I'm less restrained. Seeing the unblemished stars glowing in the dusk is an added bonus. I'll savor them as long as I can, but it's only a matter of time before I need to head into Better Alincourte again.

I see a blur of shadow flash across a stone wall but I don't react. I know what it is, and it knows me well. The shade transforms into a cloaked, feminine figure wielding a pointed scythe. As pale colors flow into the form, she clenches her slim hands and straightens. The tip of the metal scythe glints in the starlight. I bow stiffly.

"Lady Death," I say grimly.

She rolls her all-seeing eyes. "I told you not to call me that, Malcolm. It makes me sound dreadfully morbid."

I laugh without humor. It comes out as a dry chuckle and is stuck in my throat. "You reap people's souls. What's not morbid about that?"

"Malcolm, why the--"

"Death, my name's not to be used as freely as you wish. Even if you are the grim."

"You're always so sour," she chirps amiably. "I met a soul once in Serengton. He was hit by a bus crossing the street, you see. Very bloody. He spoke to me of his family, his girlfriend, his social life. Death isn't all that bad, if you accept it."

"Yes, of course," I retort. Leave it to the grim reaper to make death seem lovely. Of all people. "Leaving his family, friends, and girlfriend to deal with the grief is always such a wonderful experience. Just tell me why you're here."

Her cordiality drains away, to be replaced with a resigned scowl. "Alright then, Travors. Three citizens of South Alincourte had their inner ghosts corrupted by those nasty little dark demons. You know, the ones which you pulverized in Coda?"

I sigh, dismayed. "Yes, I know. Where are they?"

"I don't know," she shrugs. "I just reap people's souls." With that, she spirits away in a dark wave. And I'm left alone in my cold, dim sanctuary.
Kudos and thanks to the amazing Undomiel321 , Kreatress , Gingersanps , prettyflour , and MatieuCanadaWilliams for editing and polishing this one up. They're amazing. :la: I still think I'll return to this and edit again.

The other chapters will be longer than this. Promise.


[EDIT]

Thank you to the wonderful Gingersanps for being amazing and featuring this piece as DLD's piece of the week. :love:

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:iconc-a-harland:
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Student Writer
Great opening. These seem like really interesting characters and I love the reversal of roles, firstly that Death is portrayed as female, and second that Malcolm is somewhat grim and disenchanted with life, whereas Death herself appears much more chipper. Their dynamic seems like it will make a very entertaining side to the story. I hope you continue it.
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:iconaerode:
Aerode Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! :la: Is there anything you'd change?
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:iconc-a-harland:
C-A-Harland Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Student Writer
The only thing I'd suggest maybe is doing away with a few of the adverbs. Your writing is very strong and the characters come across clearly enough that you don't need them. Words like grimly and amiably just become clutter.
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:iconaerode:
Aerode Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Again, thank you. :salute:
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:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I have a special fondness for irritable, mildly arrogant narrators. :heart: Wonderful characters!
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:iconaerode:
Aerode Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:lmao: I do too. Don't worry; he has a kind side.

Thank you so much! :D
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:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2014
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DLD (Daily Literature Deviations) and has been selected as our “Pick of the Day”. It is featured in a news article here and on our main page.

Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconaerode:
Aerode Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:shocked: Thank you so much! I'm super honored.
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:iconkreatress:
Kreatress Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hey. I'm really sorry I haven't actually been editing these... ^^; It's been a tough couple of weeks. I'll do my best to work on the next ones haha.
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:iconaerode:
Aerode Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
It's fine! I appreciate the thought. I hope you feel much better. :D
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