How do you want to die?
Everyone has to go through it, but for the right price, you could choose how, when, and where.
Travis is one of the world's most well-known Deathwriters, a very rare group of individuals with the unique ability to bring about death through the medium of the written word. A personalized death written on one's behalf usually comes with a kingly price tag, but after a close personal encounter with death, Travis begins to question the entire system.
DEATHWRITER - Chapter 7
I’m in the middle of wiping down the living room windows when Amber comes through the front door and looks around at the vacuumed floors, the dusted shelves, the cleaned stove and counters in the kitchen, even a fresh set of flowers in a vase given to us over a month ago. She puts her bag down on the floor and folds her arms, smiling and nodding. “Well shoot, I should get you to start non-profits more often. What’s the occasion?”
“Getting it ready for a client,” I grunt, putting all my effort into removing a paint splotch that’s tainted this particular pane since we moved in.
“Who? That kid that picks up trash?”
“No, another one. A family. It’s a single mom and her two teenage kids. Been working three jobs just to put food on the table. And yet she still has time to volunteer for a community food bank. Not to mention her kids are both in scouting. From what I hear, they’re both service leaders for their troops.”
Amber turns her lips down and raises her eyebrows, impressed. “Wow. Good family,” she says.
“—I mean, that’s nice and all that you’re doing this for her kids. But don’t you think they’d appreciate the registration money more? People are more likely to appreciate their deaths if they’ve got their lives in order.”
“I’m also setting up college funds for her kids and paying off her loans.”
“What the hell?”
“I know, I know. It’s a lot,” I confess, “but we can afford it. I’ve been doing the math. If I use the dividends and interest income from my invested savings, we can still live off your salary and my day job, comfortably! And I’ve already lined up some donors and sponsors through some of my contacts in the industry. Plus, get this, the university wants to get involved now, too. Do some promos, seek out promising candidates.”
I stare at her cautiously, worried about her reaction. Now that I’ve had time to slow down, I recognize what I’ve done. Big oops.
But then Amber walks over to me and pulls me down from the window, wraps her arms around me, and laces her fingers together behind my back. “You’re really serious about this, aren’t you?” she says, looking up at me with those soothing azure eyes.
I nod my head emphatically. "I’m sure you think I’m crazy, but my mind has never been clearer. I know you keep telling me there’s nothing I could have done, but I still feel that weight. And I know you do too. This is just my way of dealing with it.”
Amber nuzzles her head into my chest. “I get it.”
I can sense a certain darkness in her voice, the same hollowness that reappears whenever I mention that day. So, I drop the topic and let the silence soothe the rawness of our lingering scars.
If I'm being honest, it's been harder for me to connect with Amber recently, to really get on the same wavelength. We both went through two completely different experiences. Not to minimize her tragedy, and definitely not saying my pain is worse—heaven only knows what it’s like to lose a child you’ve been carrying inside you for months. It’s just…different. Death is a part of who I am, my identity, something I’ve always been able to control. Especially for those closest to me. And to have that all thrown in my face? It’s like having my very heart ripped from my chest and discarded as if it were meaningless from the very beginning.
But since that day in the park, I’ve come to realize one very important truth: I may not have been able to keep June from dying, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I can't keep her alive.