She’s alone. All of her training, the training she needs to be a reaper is complete. All, that is, but one thing.
“Your job,” Teacher says, “is to help people transition from living, having a physical body to dead, being not but a floating ball of consciousness. How can you do that effectively if you can’t even work through your own shit?”
So Skyler looks. She can remember him, but not his name. It is the spring of her second year in high school and this is what she sees:
- Him in a hospital bed. The doctors say too many things are broken in too many places and it’s just a matter of time.
- Him saying, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help noticing what you’re reading. I love Stephen King.”
- Them, two as one, laughing at each other’s jokes, finishing each other’s sentences, One helping the other with math homework while the other offers suggestions on how to make a history paper that earns a B into one that earns an A.
- Her phone ringing in the middle of the night. His mom saying, “I’m sorry. There’s been a terrible accident.”
- Her being asked, “So… Are you two going out or what?” and she shrugs her shoulders because yes, she does care for him. Yes, she feels she understands him better than she has anyone else. From a mathematical perspective, everything’s there. 2+2=4… Except 2+2=x.
- A funeral procession, her on the outer most edges because his family can’t—won’t understand they were that close.
- Her saying, “I’m sorry. I don’t think of you that way. I don’t think of anyone that way.”
- Him incredulous, angry, sad, angry, storming out and driving away in his mom’s car.
- Her phone ringing in the middle of the night. There’s been a terrible accident.
- A police interview where she is uncompromisingly honest. It’s hard and she does it anyway.
- His mom calling her many names, all of them meant to devalue women. She’s a woman, how can she be like this?
- Social media posts–He will be missed, RIP, etc.
- Her being allowed to go to the funeral at the very last minute. His family is as cold as it is possible to be without actually being rude.
When Teacher opens the door she cries, “You son of a bitch!” And tackles them. Teacher is her first kill. It will not be the last.