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THE LAND OF THE LIVING.
THE LAND OF THE LIVING.
Author: Bae suzy

CHAPTER ONE

  I sat in my room trying to relax, I had just returned from collecting souls with Thanatos, my uncle and I knew we would leave again very soon. Times like this one were always very stressful because they were tons of souls to collect and it meant going and coming at least six or seven times. I always wondered if mortals had a season of death or if there was a certain time people died up there.

I laid back and stared at the ceiling and tried to empty my mind from all thoughts. "Maybe if I don't think about anything, I might be able to get some sleep." I knew though, that I wouldn't be able to get any sleep because if I knew my uncle, he would be here soon. I closed my eyes and tried to detach myself from reality but was interrupted by the knock on the door.

"Come on kiddo, we have to go."

I sat back up but didn't respond, I considered ignoring him and pretended to be asleep but I didn't want to leave the old man to work all by himself. "Ugh, I need a break." I grabbed my cloak and casually strolled out to meet my uncle who was impatiently waiting outside the door. Was the cloak necessary?, No but I loved putting it on.

Collecting souls could be stressful sometimes as most of them always had different question to ask. While I was younger, I always left uncle to do all the talking but as I got older, I decided to join in and assist him.

'Am I dead?', 'Who're you?', 'Where are we going?', 'Why do I need a drachma?' were the  most frequent questions we got. 

Whenever mortals die, they're supposed to be given one golden drachma in order for them to cross to the other side. Now there are some people who understand this but others, not so much.

"Okay, listen up. I'm going to need all of you to form a straight line. Can you do that for me?" I tried to sound as loud as I could because if there's one thing I've learnt in all my years of soul collecting, it's that mortals never listen unless you yell at them. "Good." I smiled, feeling proud of myself. "Now I know there are some of you here who would have some questions to ask, and I promise I will satisfy all your curiosity. Now I want you to slowly walk towards me." I glanced at the old man and saw that he was staring. "One at a time." I quickly added because they were all approaching me.

"My name is Phillip." He looked like he was in his early forties or late thirties.

"Okay, I don't actually need your name. Just your drachma."

"You said you were going to answer our questions."

"Yes I did. What is your question?"

"I'm dead, right?"

"That is correct."

"How did I die?"

"I don't know. Your cause of death isn't disclosed to us."

"Where do I go from here?"

"Well, you give me one drachma and sit in the boat."

"That thing?" He pointed at the little boat sitting at the shore. "There's no way I'm getting in that thing. When I was alive, I used to travel with cruise ships!. You can't possibly expect an important personnel like myself to sit in that wretched thing!."

He was starting to annoy me but I tried to keep my cool. He kept ranting and shouting, pointing at himself, then the boat. "Enough!." I snapped. "Where do you think you are?, You can either sit on the boat or leave and let your soul be consumed by dementors."

He stared at me like he wanted to say more but decided against it. He handed me the drachma and silently got on the boat. "Next person." 

The rest were orderly, some asked questions while some didn't. Finally things were moving smoothly, if they kept it up, they just might finish early. "Uh, excuse me sir?" A little girl about nine years of age stood in front of me.

"Yes child?"

"I don't have a drachma, does that mean my soul would be consumed by the de--detentmors?"

I knelt so I was the same level with the kid. "Dementors." I corrected and she nodded. "What's your name kid?"

"Emily."

"Well Emily, if you don't have a drachma with you, you have to trade something to get one."

"I'm afraid I have nothing to trade. I'm a lonely orphan and I have nothing."

She looked pitiful and I couldn't help but to feel bad for her. "Tell you what, since you're so cute, I'll help you out." She smiled so brightly and I returned the gesture. "Get on the boat, and make sure you don't touch the water, okay?"

"Okay sir." She slowly got on and sat quietly. 

"Alright!, Who's next?!"

The boat couldn't take much people so we had to go back and forth like five   times but when it was finally over, I was relieved. The souls were taken into the underworld where they would be judged and placed accordingly.

The underworld had different fields for different people. First, there was the fields of Asphodel or the Asphodel meadows. It was meant for people who lived a neutral life. People who weren't good or bad.

Then the fields of punishment, for the people who lived a terrible life and felt like they could get away with it. There they would face different sorts of punishment. Like being boiled in hot oil, sliding down a giant razor blade into a pool of lemonade, running naked through cactus patches and my personal favorite, listening to opera music for ever. 

Then there was Elysium. Elysium was reserved for the people who lived a noble life, it was a paradise for people who were basically angels on earth. They could choose to live there or be reborn on earth. Then right in the center, there was the Aisle of the Blest. It was specially made for people who managed to return to Elysium after being reborn for the third time.

After leading souls inside, I stayed in the hall where they would be judged, eyeing the seats. The judgement pavilion was a panel made of seven people, king Minos, Aeacus, Rhadamanthus, Thomas Jefferson,  William Shakespeare, my elder brother  , Damien and Hades, my dad. They decided on what punishment to give or which soul deserves to go where.

I would give anything for a post in the pavilion but it didn't seem like a spot would be opened in the next hundred years. I walked to my room and slumped on the bed feeling exhausted, I closed my eyes and prayed to Hypnos to favour me and after a while, I drifted away from reality.

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