Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chapter 2: The Early Bird Gets Assassinated

Till Death Do Us (Not) Part

Chapter 2

The Early Bird Gets Assassinated

There were three people in the kitchen and one of them was dead. 

The twins, Nate and Nadia was bickering about pretty much everything under the sun as usual while the ghost was sitting at the head of the table with a sly look on his face. Vincent, the ghost, had a sick habit of egging the twins on about one thing or the other until what started as a petty argument became a full-blown fight. It wasn't as if they were always at each other's throat or that they have a bad relationship, bickering and fighting was the twins idea of fun, not to mention, they were very competitive with each other. Seth thought this kind of behavior would stop once Nate reached Nergal-level while Nadia was still Yama but no, they simply competed about other things instead like who could eat the most pancakes, or who has the most lint in their pocket.

Seth had learned to ignore and tune out their arguments or their annual try of showing the other up, but being Nadia's Bond-Ghost, Vincent didn't have the luxury of walking out on the argument so he dealt with it in other ways. Vincent really liked to poke the highly volatile combination that were the twins.

Pulling the mirror out of the pockets of his sweatpants, he flipped it in the air before catching it again and watched the twins' attention focused on it, their eyes darted to the smoky surface of the mirror.

Before the twins could blow a vein for his mistreatment of what was now a dangerous artifact, Darling grabbed it midair and sent a chiding look at him before placing it carefully on the table.

Nate lifted an inquiring eyebrow. “Early guest?”

“Like you didn't know?”

"Why would I?” Nate leaned back on his chair, the white shirt he was almost wearing gaped open, showing the long, ugly scar on his chest viciously close to where his heart was underneath vulnerable flesh. But Seth didn’t look at the scar, he never looked at the scar, it was a reminder of things better left in the past. Nate’s blue eyes slid to their sister, who of course already looked perfect without a hair out of place in this early morning, an evil twinkle in his eyes. “You know what this means. Your ward is flawed.”

Identical blue eyes to Nate’s narrowed. “No, it’s not. My wards are never flawed. It is perfect. As usual.”

Nadia scowled at the mirror on the table with a ferocious frown. Every Affinity-user house was warded—especially Affinity-users that belonged to any of the seven great Houses, and these wards wards have to be renewed every month, this month it was Nadia’s turn and she hated maintaining wards but she was good at it. Usually.

Seth knew he should just shut his mouth or stuff it with the breakfast Nate had cooked this morning, but his mouth had other plans. "Then how did the ghost who tried to strangle me this morning come in?"

He could practically see Nadia's hackles rose and sparks shot out of her eyes. Vincent, who sat on her right turned to her with an uncharacteristic giddiness, waiting for the inevitable result. When Nadia gets in a temper, something usually explodes. It was one of the reasons why Nate was Nergal while Nadia was still Yama-her lack of control due to her emotions. But she took a deep breath and it wasn't until the air around them calmed that Seth realized there was a disturbance in the first place, the fine hairs on his arm rising in reaction. She tucked a stray hair behind her ear and gave each of them a glare. Nate smirked and dodged the spoon that Nadia threw at him.

She passed the mirror to her twin and stomped outside, possibly to recheck her wards. Or sulk. Or blow something up intentionally rather than unintentionally, you could never really be sure with Nadia. 

“So, was that the whole screaming and moaning was about?” Nate asked as he munched on a strip of bacon. 

“Heard that, huh? I didn't notice you guys barging in to help me.”

“Well, we would but we thought that was just you getting lucky.”

Seth snorted into his orange juice. Like that would ever happen.

Nate’s eyes drifted over his shoulder, a small smile on his lips. “Hey, Darling. How are you today? Did you catch all the excitement?”

Darling kissed his cheek then shifted to treat Vincent to the same greeting. “Please, who do you think caught it?”

Seth watched his brother flirt with Darling and scooped up some eggs. “Where’s Lizzie?”

Nate shrugged. “Dunno, she disappeared this morning, probably going to check on her great, great, great whatever. I swear, never met a ghost so dedicated to family.” Lizzie was Nate’s bond-ghost, she died in the age of wild horses, gun-slinging, Indian raids, gold fever, and saloon fights. She was a genuine corset-wearing, derringer-wielding, saloon-owning western hooker.

“Shame, I was curious what she’d be wearing today.”

Nate snickered. Blessed with a mischievous personality, Lizzie lived to shock the Reapers by whipping up different western-hooker attire. Of course, what she wore day by day wasn’t as skimpy as modern dresses nowadays, but it wasn’t really what she was wearing, it was how she wore it. He couldn’t explain it, you just have to see to know what he meant. The way Lizzie could rock boots and skirts with small bustles bordered on miraculous, but then again, he suspected Lizzie could wear a sack and still could seduce with the best of them. It was a skill that he respected. The things the girl could do with a lace fan, you wouldn't believe. And Nate egged her on as often as he could which was always. 

Lizzie and Nate was a bad combination, they tend to have a habit of jumping head first into bad situations. But Seth couldn’t help but feel grateful for Lizzie, Nate had a tendency to brood and distance himself from the rest of the world, but Lizzie could always guilt him into going out and enjoying himself no matter if it was to eat one of her favorite food or watching a good movie. It wouldn’t be anything big or important but it was always something that made Nate returned with a smile on his face.

“Where did Vincent go?” Darling spun in place before noticing the young man dressed in a three piece suit and holding a cane was standing beside Nadia outside the window. Vincent came from an era where the word gentleman meant differently then what it meant now; blue-blooded, with a crisp English accent and a laundry list of what a gentlemen should and shouldn't do. Come to think of it, on paper, Vincent wouldn't be at all the ghost that Nadia should be bonded to, but Vincent had a twisted way of thinking that complemented Nadia's also bendy brain. Together they made the top of GRIM's research and development program. 

Bored now that his twin was no longer in his vicinity to pester, Nate picked up his tablet. “Did he, she, give you trouble?”

Seth poured himself orange juice and stifled a yawn. “Ask Darling, I didn’t do much.”

Darling shrugged. “She didn’t give me much of a fight.”

“So, she’s low level, then.”

Seth dragged a plate of pancakes and bacon closer. “Do you really think Nadia’s ward has a flaw somewhere?”

Not lifting his eyes from his tablet, Nate answered. “What level was it?”

“Phantom level.” Phantom was a medium-level ghost, able to manipulate and move things but altogether nothing to worry about, at least not on the level of power that the three siblings have. 

“Then no, Nadia’s ward isn’t flawed.” He frowned at something before swiping it away from the screen. 

“Then you think it was deliberate?” 

“Come to think of it, I didn’t feel any disturbance in the ward, obviously neither did Nadia.”

“Do you think it’s a test?” Seth looked to his brother again, there was a nine year difference between him and the twins, it was hard for him not to ask for reassurance. After all, they were his only family since their parents died when he was five years old. Both Nadia and Nate were only fourteen back then but they were already making waves as reapers, with Nadia being one of the fastest student to learn sigils and wards and Nate as the strongest and only Yama-level reaper of their age. Yama-level means you have the ability to not only capture but destroy a ghost--not that you have permission to do so but you could if you really, really had to. Being students with so much promise, the council gave leniency in their guardianship and not separate them into different foster houses. They were allowed to live under one roof with their uncle as guardian. It was a controversy back then to allow James Matthews, a none-Affinity user to be their guardian, but his lack of Affinity was also the reason why the Council chose him to take care of them. Less temptation or so they say. 

“If they wanted to test me, they would’ve brought me a poltergeist at least.”

That was Nate, everything is always about him. But then again, when you’re a Nergal, most things usually are. “Maybe they’re not testing you, maybe they’re testing me.”

He smiled. “Then you passed with flying colors.”

A suspicion entered his mind. “You seriously, didn't do this?” 

“You mean, did I intentionally brought a ghost into our home, across our ward with the sole purpose of testing you?” He clucked his tongue. “You know me better than that. I’d have to have more than one reason to do so, at least three or five.”

“So, did you have three or five reasons?”

“It wasn’t me.”

“Then it’s the Council?”


Seth sighed. “How long are they going to do this?”

“Possibly until all of us are dead and buried. And even then they’ll probably watch our ghosts if we have any.”

“Do you think we’ll have any?”

Nate put down his tablet and looked at him. “It’s time for you to get ready for school. Hurry up. If you want me to drive you, you need to hurry. I can’t be late today.”



“Is that legal?” Darling had been quiet as she followed him to his room.

“What is?”

“For the Council to sic a ghost on you like that?”

“It’s not illegal." He touched his left hand to the walls and let his senses seeped into wood and brick and glass, testing the protective sigils laid onto it by all three of them. We’re the sons and daughter of Peter and Milla Matthews, we’re lucky that we're only under watch and not rotting in a dungeon somewhere.”

“That’s just stupid, what happened with your parents was ages ago.”

“But not forgotten. Clearly you’ve never heard one of the by-laws of the Council.”

Darling raised an eyebrow. 

“Blood will tell.”

Her mouth twisted in disgust before sending him a dubious look. “You seem awfully calm about this.”

“No use worrying about it, it’s not like I can turn back time and stop my parents from enslaving ghosts, or change the Council’s mind about us.” A small smile played on his face. “Besides, can you really be sure that I’m not just biding my time until I can make my move?”

“You, enslaving ghosts? You let me boss you around, and you’re too lazy to rule the world.”

“I could delegate." He said with a grin before closing the bathroom door, cutting off the sound of Darling's laughter. 

History has marked their family in ways that couldn't be fixed. The Matthews family had been respected for their strong line of Reapers, they were leaders, advisors, healers; important men and women who led and guided society both Affinity-users and not. They were one of the greatest Houses but due to greed or whatever it was that drove their parents to start enslaving ghosts and using them for their own agenda, their family was now in disgrace. The Council decreed that their family--what's left of it--should be stripped of their wealth and position, and their existence monitored carefully. Every month they have to submit to a random ‘interview’ and they couldn't leave their house without some Council appointed spy following them. 

Seth doesn't remember his parents which was probably a blessing, so he didn’t take it personally when someone spat when he passed by or cast a protection from evil sigil at his back or right in his face. He did mind when the twins were with him though, they remembered their parents, remembered both the good and the bad. Nadia made time to tell him about the good days, when both their parents were well-respected and their family led by example, she told him about how gentle and bright, how smart and compassionate they were. It was hard to connect the man and woman she described to the couple who had terrorized the Affinity world. Of course the Council had wrapped it all up cleanly, making it seemed the their parents had no connection to the Affinity world at all, that they weren't Affinity-users but were the garden-variety serial killers—which was true in a way.

Both their parents hadn't been content to simply enslave stray ghosts, no, they had to make them. Like some sort of weird twisted experiment they had alternated between non Affinity-users and Affinity-users, killed them, chained their ghosts and Bonded themselves to it. By the time they were found out, both had more than a hundred Bonded-Ghosts each to their name, practically an army of fractured souls: wild, angry, and afraid. 

But it wasn’t the Council who managed to take them down; that was Nate. Fourteen-year-old Nate who was already more powerful than both of their parents combined, took on the responsibility to clear the world of their parents. He succeeded and had the scar to prove it. Seth knew that was the real reason why the Council had been so lenient toward them. Why they were allowed to stay in the same house, was allowed to keep a small measure of the family wealth, and was allowed to stay together. The family name was besmirched, struck out of the history of the Great Houses, and their house, one that had been in their family for generations, burned to the ground, in the hope that the evil done inside the house would disappear along with its ashes. 

Nate had been the one to strike the match. 

Nate didn't hate their parents, either, even if they had tried to kill him so they could take his ghost. They had found out that the more powerful the Affinity, the more powerful the ghost because Affinity comes from the soul and even fractured as all ghosts were, the Affinity would still be there. The ghost of a Reaper was more precious than diamonds in the black market. Imagine having an army of ghosts, an army who couldn’t be seen or killed, one that could go through walls and appear everywhere in the speed of light. Imagine  having a ghost of a Reaper who can control ghosts and other Affinity-Users ghosts as well. 

Seth knew the appeal of power but he wasn’t tempted. He knew the cost to such power, he saw it in the shadow of grief in Nadia’s eyes, the ripple of rage in the flare of her Affinity, he saw it in the way Nate rubbed a hand over his left chest, touching the scar that their parents had carved upon his skin, at the caution and wariness in Nate everytime he asked Lizzie to do anything. 

No, Seth didn’t know their parents, but he knew the destruction that they left in their wake, that was enough. 


Darling watched as he dressed for school, her eyes sliding away when he dropped his towel. Seth didn’t really care about his privacy, he was too used with the existence of ghosts popping in and out to believe anyone had real privacy, but Darling was a great believer of privacy, especially her own. 



"Why are you still a Cronus?”

Seth raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

“You could be Yama ages ago, but you’re still a Cronus. Why?”

There were different levels on being a Reaper: Hel being the lowest one, and Thanatos being the highest. From the very top to bottom, it should be Thanatos, Nergal, Yama, Anubis, Hades, Cronus and Hel, every level has different levels of power and different levels on how to use said power. Nate was a Nergal, named after the Babylonion god of death and destruction, in short: Nate not only had the ability to exorcise or capture ghosts, he has the ability to destroy them and the legal right to do so. Nergal-level reapers were enforcers and only deal with ghosts who are classified as Revenents, Wraiths and the worse of all; Demons.

Nadia was a Yama though she could be a Nergal if she had wanted to but she was content in her current position. Seth was a Cronus which was quite respectable with him still sixteen and all, especially considering that you are only allowed to enter the ranking ceremony when you’re fifteen. At first testing, Seth immediately jumped to Cronus, earning him more than enough scrutiny from the Council. 

“You noticed that, huh?”

“We’re bonded, of course I’ve noticed.”

“Then can’t you guess why?”

“Too many powerful kids in your family will make the Council nervous?”

“Yep.” Seth shrugged on a white button down shirt.

“But Nate was already Yama when he was your age. Why would it be fine for him and not for you?”

“Nate achieved Yama when our parents tried to kill him, it was a sudden spike of energy born out of desperation and survival. Besides, the council saw what our parents had done to Nate, had saw what he had done to them. He went nuclear on them, hard not to believe where his loyalties lie after that."

“But they think you and Nadia will?”

“One Nergal and Yama in the family is already enough, but all three, in a family like ours? We’ve already under surveillance and review such as it is, what would they do next? Camp out in the back yard?” He slid his tie on and turned toward her. Her fingers were skilled in tying his ties, she’d been doing it for years, after all. It was odd, he thought as he watched her hands moved, that he couldn’t touch her, but she could touch him. Not that it matter, most days, Darling avoided touching him, and if she did, it was only when it was really necessary. He looked up when Darling eased the knot of his tie closer to his neck, a small smile on his face, “Thanks.”

He lifted a hand to adjust the tie, and ignored the fact that she pulled away her hands as if he could burn her with his touch. He knew if he let it, that small annoyance would nag at him all day, but he kept his eyes on her face when a weird look passed her face. 


She hesitated but finally said, “It’ll be your birthday in a few days.”

Seth blinked. “Huh, oh, right. So?”

She shrugged. “Nothing, just—Nothing.”

Seth had learned when to push or pull away when it came to Darling, this time he knew he should push. “What is it?”

She fidgeted and pressed her lips together. He stepped closer, his hand placed beside hers on the edge of the table she was sitting on, he could feel the heat coming off her presence and wondered whether she could feel his. “Darling.”

She bit her lip and he knew he had her. Back when he was younger he used her name without thinking too much of it but—he didn’t really remember when he’d stopped--but now he only said her name when she wasn't around, or when he referred her to someone else, or when he was being serious.

“It’s my birthday today.” She said softly, almost shyly, her lashes covering her eyes even as she peeked at him. 

A sharp thrill rode up his spine, she had told him something of herself for the first time and she had done it voluntarily. Most of what he knew about her was something he knew from connecting the dots himself, learning from school or figuring things out from the journals of Reapers before him or something that she had accidentally let slip. When that happened lies and prevarication always followed.

Seth kept his face blank and his eyes averted, only looking back at her when he had his expression under control. “Is it?” He asked calmly as questions sprouted inside his mind. He picked up his gunmetal-colored uniform jacket--the official color of Reapers--and slid his arms inside. He felt her hands smoothed his collar at his nape. He had a strong urge to ask how old she was but swallowed it down. “You want a cake?”

“Can I?”

“Sure. We’ll buy one when we come home. What cake do you want?”

“Cheese cake.”

“Cheese cake it is.”

“Can I borrow your body to eat?”


Seth looked down on his feet when he felt her brushed her fingers against his. He wondered whether she could feel his touch.

“Thanks, Seth.”

He kept his face down. “No problem. Consider it a thank you for fighting off the ghost this morning.”

She smirked. “Well, that is my job. Fat lot of use you’d be if she got inside you.”

Seth let out a little laugh. 

Copyright © 2014 by D.F. Jules,

Friday, August 15, 2014

Chapter 1: If Wishes Were Ghosts We'd All Be Haunted

A/N: Really rough draft and not beta-read. All mistakes are mine. Feedbacks would be appreciated. Here goes!!!

Till Death Do Us (Not) Part

Chapter 1

If Wishes Were Ghost We'd All Be Haunted

If he was any other kind of guy, Seth would probably be delighted waking up to see two girls fighting over who would have his body.

If he was any other kind of guy, Seth would probably be screaming his lungs out when he figured out that he could actually see through both girls.

But he wasn't any other kind of guy, he was Seth Matthews, designation: Reaper, so when he saw the two girl-ghosts smacking the hell out of each other, he reacted like Seth would do: he blinked, yawn, scratched and thought about breakfast. He reacted like this because of two things: firstly, he was used to this, secondly, he knew one of the ghost-girls. He watched the two girls rolled over the carpet, passed through his desk and his wall. A second later, the ghost that he didn't know ghosted through his wall to skid over his floor and landed with her head out of the far wall.

Seth whistled and the girl who ran through his wall toward her opponent grinned at him. "Morning, Matthews." She pulled the other girl by the hair and dragged her to the middle of the room. Compared to the faded grey of her opponent, Darling was vivid in color, her brown hair glowed and so did her cheeks and the pale tone of her skin. Ghosts usually faded in color the longer they stayed in this world after they die but since the very first time Seth saw Darling which was 9 years ago, she blazed brightly and she’d become even more vivid after she hung around him and his siblings.

She beamed at him, her cheeks flushed as if she’d just come from her morning exercise. “A little help here?”

Seth yawned again and flexed his left hand; it was covered in black ink from his left pectoral to the tips of his fingers in writings: ancient spells and quotes from holy books in ancient languages from Hemetic to Hebrew to Sanskrit to Hieroglyphs to Arabic, passages from every holy texts that speaks of death. They swirled quickly until becoming a quick blur across his pale skin, his hand trembled and he gritted his teeth when his skin heated.

He fisted, his fingers clenching tightly and an area around the two ghosts glowed brightly, forming his sigil; a ring of clockwork gears working together, sliding clockwise than counter-clockwise, a ring of silver and gold. The ghost other than Darling's body clenched stiffly and fell to her hands and knees with a loud crack and thump, like iron meeting magnet, bound to the sigil. For the moment that she was inside the sigil, she has weight and a solid mass again, she can feel fear and pain. She screamed, her voice piercing his brain and crashed inside his chest, her eyes wild and panicked.

“Move back, Darling.”

Darling stepped back, her eyes, as always when she was in his sigil, worried as if she wasn’t sure whether she could step out of the circle or not. Whether she would be trapped there like thousands of fractured souls she had seen--and helped capture.

Seth, keeping his left fist clenched, his tattoos blurring so fast that you could no longer see his skin, slid out of the bed. He reached inside the bedside table and got out a mirror-small enough to fit in the palm of his hand. At the corner of his eyes, he saw Darling flinched and a pang of displeasure curled inside his chest, but he held out the mirror facing the other ghost and as her eyes reluctantly focused on her reflection, she hissed before her edges flared and softened, her face warping until she looked like she was melting. 

There was a flash of light and then she disappeared—into the mirror that was previously clear but now a smoky color. He unclenched his left hand and the sigil on the floor faded. He rolled his shoulders, his tattoos slowly winding down and smoke rose up from his skin, he shook his hand against the pins and needles feeling and fought against the rush of adrenalin and power that rippled up his spine. Too many reapers got themselves hooked on that feeling, and he had enough problems without being a junkie.

Darling was watching him quietly as she always did after one of his sealings, her expression curiously blank. She always enjoyed a a scuffle, and she enjoyed being useful and having a purpose, but she seemed to have a problem about his part of the deal: the capture and the sealing of ghosts. She didn’t consider prisoning ghosts inside a mirror was fair or humane. She didn’t understand that ghosts were only a fracture of the human they were once was, just a little part of themselves that clung to life too tightly to disappear. It was a creature made of want and desperate hunger for life that if left alone too long would be dangerous. He’d tried to explain it to her years ago but she couldn’t understand, couldn’t because she wasn't like that, she wasn't just a small piece of herself. Either than that small problem of her being invisible and incorporeal, she was herself, the same person she was before. 

But that was because she wasn't actually dead. At least that was his theory was, Darling couldn’t seem to remember what happened to her when she appeared to him eight years ago, and she still couldn’t remember. Back then he figured she was just unconscious and waited until she woke up for her ghost to disappear but she hadn’t. When she stayed, Seth figured she must be in a coma, so he taught her to find her body. She found it and yes, she was in a coma but try as she might, she couldn’t return to her body. 

There was only two possible reason for that to happen, that Darling was going to die and her body was too weak to receive her, or that she was so traumatized by what had happened to her that she instinctually refused to go back to her body. Seth had tried to get her to tell him her real name so they could figure out what had happened to her, or for him to find out where her body was but Darling refused to tell him anything about herself. 

Darling sometimes disappear for a day or two, visiting her body and as the year past, she adjusted her visual image to her body as it grew. She was the same age as him, 17 years old with a body bordering on thin and big black eyes, she was pretty with an ethereal air about her that if she was alive would fool people into believing she was delicate. Maybe she was once upon a time, before she ended up as a dissociative soul, but after spending 8 years of protecting his sleep from other ghosts that wanted to possess his body, she had toughened up considerably. 

“Where were you?” He asked. “I didn't see you last night.”

Darling was his bond-ghost, being a Reaper—one who has an Affinity for the dead, mainly ghosts—Seth’s power was also the thing that made him vulnerable. Being able to see and feel and touch ghosts was a double-edged sword; ghosts were also able to see and feel and touch him. His ability to mediate between the living and the dead also made him easy to possess and take over, which was why Reapers employ a bond-ghost, a sort of guardian that watches over their bodies, the ghost that was tethered to their soul, the only one who was trusted to slip inside their bodies and guard it if necessary. Reapers don’t mess around with choosing their bond-ghost, some wait for years to actually make the bond. Darling has been his bond-ghost since they were 8—an age that was unheard of. 

Darling didn’t look at him, she always had trouble looking at him after a sealing, she was always careful and silent, as if she was afraid that he would do to her what he did so easily to others. As if he could. Seth wasn’t sure what would happen if he tried to capture and seal a dissociative soul, a soul whose body was still alive. It would be fine or it would totally backfire, he never felt the urge to find out. And she should know better to actually suspect that he would ever do that to her. 

Darling walked to his bookshelf, she enjoyed reading and back when she was still weak, she cajoled Seth endlessly to turn the pages for herd. Her steps echoed inside his chest like all the sounds coming from purgatory—the ghost dimensions, strangely he could only hear her or other ghosts when he sensed they were there. She skimmed his collection with a long tapered finger but said nothing.

Seth knew he could wait until the sun burned into a mere spark and she would still stay silent. He knew what that silence meant: she had visited her body. A quick glance told him that she was wearing new clothes: a white see-through blouse with a faded purple tank top beneath it that matched the flirty skirt that came down to her knees. She had a thing about dressing up as her corporeal body was dressed. She had an anklet on her left foot, a delicately spun chain made out of silver and probably pixie dust. Whoever had dressed her unconscious body had feminine taste and an unlimited supply of money. Taking care of coma patients needed a lot of money and whoever was taking care of Darling was loaded. 

She picked up a book that he had left opened last night and stared sightlessly at the page. She always came back sad after one of her visits and Seth considered comforting her. But she wouldn’t want him to besides what could he say that he hadn’t said already? He didn’t understand this side of her, he didn't understand why she was so secretive. A familiar bite of frustration sparked inside his chest which he quickly suppressed, they've been through this fight over and over again and although he wasn’t satisfied with how the situation was, he couldn't do anything about it. Sure, she was bonded to him, but that didn’t mean he had every right to poke his nose into her business or to tell her what to do. Bond-Ghosts weren’t servants or employees, they were a Reaper’s partner. They guarded the Reapers against possession while Reapers shared their life force, making them stronger and more life-like than other unbonded Ghosts. 

He could offer comfort through touch and he was one of the humans who had the ability to do so but although Reapers have an ability to touch ghosts, the one ghost they couldn’t touch was their Bond-ghosts. 

Besides, Darling wouldn’t want it anyway. That was made clear enough in the past that Seth, without saying another word, walked to the bathroom. 

It was better than waiting for an answer that would never come. 

Copyright © 2014 by D.F. Jules

chapter 2: The Early Bird Gets Assassinated

Saturday, July 19, 2014

2nd Snippet

Nadia banged her head against the table, tea cups rattled in their saucers. “My head hurts.”
“It’s funny how duplicity and intrigue befuddles you, Nadia. I thought you’d be quite an expert on it considering.”
Nadia, Darling and Lizzie looked at him, a spark in their eyes. 
“Considering what?” Nadia asked. 
Seth hurriedly opened his mouth, "Maybe we should--"
"No, no." Nadia cut him off. "Let him answer."
Vincent should keep his mouth shut if he knew what was good for him. 
“Well, considering you’re a woman.”
Nate stared. “Wow, you actually went there.”
Vincent shrugged. “I’m already dead, what more could she do to me?”
“Only trap you for the remaining of your existence in a small crystal ball."
"Ah." He tapped his cane softly against the floor, the only sign that he was discomforted by the probability of his sudden incarceration by Nadia's hands. "Good point." 
"I did not mean it to be an insult, only in my time, slyness and manipulation is a woman's game. It is their only way to power. That or marrying it."
"Stop. Talking." Nadia spat the words between gritted teeth.
He stuck up his nose at her and sniffed as if offended by her tone. "No need to be uncivil."
Darling kicked his cane. "Seriously. Stop talking."
 Copyright © 2014 by D.F. Jules

Friday, July 18, 2014

1st Snippet

Seth yawned again and flexed his left hand; it was covered in black ink from his left pectoral to the tips of his fingers, ancient spells and quotes from holy books in ancient languages from hemetic to hebrew to sanskrit to hieroglyphs to arabic, passages from every holy texts that speak of death. They swirled quickly until becoming a quick blur across his pale skin. He fisted, his fingers clenching tightly and an area around the two ghosts glowed brightly, forming his sigil, a ring of clockwork gears working together, sliding clockwise than counter-clockwise, a ring of silver and gold. The ghost other than Darling fell to her hands and knees with a loud crack and thump, like iron meeting magnet, her soul bound to the sigil. For the moment the sigil flared to life, she has weight and a solid mass again. She screamed with pain and fury, her eyes wild and panicked. 
--Till Death Do Us (Not) Part chapter 1

Copyright © 2014 by D.F. Jules

Monday, July 7, 2014

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time  
  I have been half in love with easeful Death,  
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme,  
Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

Character: Seth Matthews and His Bond-Ghost: Darling

(Anton Yelchin as Seth)

Different from both his siblings, Seth doesn't remember much about his parents so the prejudice that they have to face because of their parents' actions didn't feel as personal. Seth doesn't care much about the past, he was all about the moment, the right now. He's a little bit reckless and has edges so sharp it draws blood everytime he bumps against someone. 

He met his Bond-ghost Darling when he was six, bonded with her when he was eight much to the consternation of others. His was the youngest bond ever and people are waiting for it to fail, but even though the situation between Seth and Darling isn't quite ideal, it works. 

When most ghosts look faded and grey the longer they exists in the world, when Seth meets Darling, she is vivid in color and she stays that way the few times they see each other which told Seth that Darling isn't dead but that she is unconscious somehow. 

Darling keeps her real name and her situation close to her chest even from Seth and Seth doesn't really care as long as she does her job, at least, that's what he tells himself when Darling disappears once or twice to visit wherever her body is.

(Isabelle Fuhrman as Darling)

Unlike the relationship between the twins and their bond-ghosts, Seth and Darling's relationship is a lot less like friends and closer to business partners. But it is no lie that they are one of the best Reaper teams and that both understood the other really well despite that they don't share anything personal about each other. 

What they have--their Bond--was personal enough for their tastes. 

Darling is an odd one from the start, quiet, watchful and wary, she drifts in and out of the Matthews house. She is perhaps the ghost that makes the hardest effort to look alive from the vivid colors that emanates from her to her clothes that always changes day by day. And she grows with Seth back from when Seth was six, Darling also looked six and now that Seth is seventeen, Darling also looks seventeen. 

She is secretive and has a wicked sense of humor which rarely shows. She loves a good brawl and knows how to fight in the dirtiest day possible. She takes her job seriously and watches over Seth when he sleeps like a hawk guarding over her territory. 

Being a Bond-ghost she is given a choice once in a while to possess Seth for good behavior or for protection but Darling usually only uses his body to eat, to feel and taste food again. 

Lately she's been more secretive than ever and it strains their partnership but neither of them knows how to fix it. 

Character: The Matthews Twins and their Bond-Ghosts

(Maddie Hasson as Nadia Matthews)

Fraternal twins, Nadia is blonde and slim like her mother while Nate has the curly dark hair and strong jaw of their father. The only thing they share is the solid shade of blue of their mother's eyes.  

Both are competitive and stubborn and likes to argue, especially with each other. 

(Jesse Eisenberg as Nate)

While Nadia has a volatile temper, quick to blow and equally quick for said temper to blow over, Nate simmers silently and can hold a grudge until the world stops turning. 

Both are competitive and stubborn and likes to argue, especially with each other. 

Like most Twins are, they have a strong mental bond with each other, so much so that if Nate was injured, Nadia not only feels the injury but also suffers the physical injury herself. 

Years older than their younger brother Seth, they act more like his younger siblings but when push comes to shove, the twins will do anything to save their baby brother. 

Reapers have a personal sigil, a magical circle that they apply when catching a ghost and tying them down to our dimension in order to seal them away, and this sigil usually manifests as a mirror of their inner personality. Nadia's sigil, much to the amusement of her two brothers, takes form in a circle made by thorns while Nate's is a circle made of blue fire. Interestingly, both their circles fit together completely, allowing them to work simultaneously with both sigils much to the dismay and envy of other Reapers. 


Bond-Ghost are the guardians of Reapers, as Reapers are vulnerable to possession and mental attacks, the Bond-Ghosts protects them from such dangers. Souls connected, they draw power and stability from each other. Having a Bond-Ghosts is a big deal for Reapers and is chosen carefully because the connection once made can only be severed by death. 

It is not strange if a Reaper risks possession rather than choose the wrong ghosts to bond with. 

(Max Irons as Vincent)

Vincent is an Englishman who lived in the Victorian era who holds not-so-Victorian values although he often chides Nadia for her foul mouth and unlady-like behavior just to needle her. He is very protective and secretly ruthless. Nate often commented that Vincent was either an assassin once upon a time or a politician. Vincent has a sly wit and a dry sense of humor that makes Nadia snicker and leaves everyone else confused. Indolent by nature, it takes a while to rile him up but when he's rile, it's hard for him to come down again. 

(Zoey Deutch as Lizzie)

Lizzie owned a salon in the wild wild west once upon a time, she hides a blade in her corset, a derringer under her bustled skirts and a knife in her boot. Bold, flirtatious, wild, Lizzie delights in scandalizing everybody with her ever-changing wardrobe that shows off her assets becomingly. And Nate only encourages her, amused by her wiliness and cunning. Both Lizzie and Nate are bad influences on each other but she is fierce in protecting her Reaper, launching everything in her considerable arsenal at the mere mention of danger in Nate's vicinity.