Elena isn’t resting peacefully in the afterlife. She’s employed by a reaper named Jasper gathering stories from the dead. But when teenagers die without a story to give, Jasper’s health deteriorates and Elena must uncover the relationship between stories and death to save him. The Gone Away Place meets Scythe.
Elena hadn’t expected eternity to have a face, let alone a cocky smile, high-cut cheek bones, and an over-gelled mop of hair that skewed toward greasy. Maybe the wisdom she sought was hidden in Jasper’s eyes, but she wasn’t allowed to look him in the eyes.
“It’s dangerous,” he’d said, wiggling his fingers like sparks might fly out the tips. “I’m not big on rules. I only have three. And no eye contact is rule numero uno.”
Elena hadn’t questioned him, because when Death gives rules, you listen. At least, at first.
She also hadn’t expected the Jell-O.
Jell-O materialized every time they were in a hospital. Mostly, it waited on the food trays, casting its bright glow over the bland main dish. But if it wasn’t already in the room it lurked close by: the mini-fridge in the staff lounge, the cafeteria, or once a hospital volunteer’s pocket. Elena hated Jell-O.
She glanced at Jasper. He worked the plastic spoon around the cup’s edge with surgical precision. It plopped to the center of his palm.
“Just like a brain, isn’t it?” He smirked at Elena before taking a bite.
Jasper was like a vaudeville show: everything played as a joke. Even if she wanted to give him the hook it would only pull her off stage too. She was stuck as his partner.
Elena straightened, it wasn’t her fault Jasper lacked manners. She refocused on the job she came to do, the story she had to reap.