She chanced upon the place by accident. Or at least, she thought it was an accident. Arianna was new to the city and still finding her way around. Today’s walk took her through a dog park, past a cemetery, and was now looking at the fluttering pages of a book on a ledge outside a window.
“Hello? Is anyone here?” She looked around, but the place was deserted. And long abandoned. “But if no one’s been here, how did this book get out here? And why isn’t it rain splattered or all mildewy?”
One of the pages caught it the wind, drawing her closer.
“It’s an accounting book?”
She stopped the page from moving and started to to read it.
“Abraham Adams. Richard Assam. Susan Atas…” She drew back, eyes wide in fright. “These are names?”
“Which you can read…”
She spun around, looking for who that voice had come from.
“Not all humans can read the names I track. You, are special.”
“No.” She shook her head, sweat making her bangs stick. “I don’t want to be special like this.”
“I need an assistant. Someone to read the names to me so I can complete my work.”
“And what is your work?” she asked, looking around. Ink spilled on floor from broken containers long forgotten on the shelf. Papers skittered with leaves across warped wood and insect carcasses.
“I am a singer of souls. I find what remains lie scattered across the earth and I piece them together. The names you were reading were the mortals that remain beyond my grasp.”
Arianna stopped walking around.
“You help people?”
“What did you expect I do? Kills mortals?” A figure in a white cloak entered her line of sight. “No, that’s my brother.”
“Oh…” She cleared her throat. “If you’re truly helping, then I’m okay with aiding you.”
“But you wouldn’t for my brother?” The was a slight sniff. “His job is just as important. If there was no death, then there would be a lack of quality in life.”
“…I know.” Arianna shrugged. “But I don’t want to be a part of someone’s end. I’d rather be a part of their beginning, even if it’s to a different place than here.”
“…for now, I will accept that answer. But when my brother visits, I wish there to be no expressions of disgust, no utterances that death is something to be avoided. He is, and will always be welcome here.” The was a pulsing light. “Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes.” Arianna bowed. If Death was coming here, then there was a chance she could keep him here. Away, just for a few more days with her grandmother. “I understand, resolve to be kind while he is here. When is he coming?”
There might be a little bit of mayhem for the next few days when nobody died, but she could deal with that.