There we sat, inside our little cabin. The night air from the broken window was numbing on the previously inflicted wounds I had on my stomach. It was time for me to die. Inevitably, in a few hours, I would succumb to the Vespasian Moth’s hatching eggs and wriggling larvae. Mother and I will have no help from outsiders.
“Faelia, My dear Faelia.” I heard her lament. “There should be no tears, however, I can not stop them from flowing.” She should not be so dramatic. I knew one of us was going to be eliminated by the moth’s maggots. It has already caused the human race so much trouble. Most of the town has been wiped out by the Vespasian Moth.
“Mother, I’ll be fine. It’s not that painful.” Yet, she didn’t listen. Pressing her face against the wall and continued to grieve my sudden passing. “Everything will be alright, my little Faelia.” I closed my eyes before the gelid winter snow began to nip at my weakened body.
I opened them up again to see a man of barbaric proportions, simply staring down at my mother and I. “G’d evenin’, Ladies.” He tipped his top hat downward. His grey mourning veil swayed to his form, wrapping around his waist unintentionally. His extensive salt and pepper hair dredged behind him, and by his side out came another man, shorter than him yet, still humongous in size. “Indeed, a very fine evening to the both of you, I am the Raven.” He raised his wings and gave them a small flap. I traced the men with my eyes, not seeming to notice the horror on my mother's face.
“Me name's Seasonal. The Seasonal Collector, that is.” He reached for his hip only to pull out a quite short and curved metal blade. With only a press of a button, a whole staff sprouted from the reaping blade. “We’re ‘ere for the girl.” His gangling fingers topped with his lengthy inky coloured fingernails pointed toward my head.
The avian-esque cacodemon grinned. “We have to take the liebling to the facility,” Before I could say anything, everything went black with a sharp ring.
I arose to the faint sound of a symphony. Chopin? Mozart? No, Shubert. I believe it’s Ständchen. Small whispers of the words from The Raven’s mouth proved my predictions. “Leise flehen meine Lieder
Durch die Nacht zu dir.” His hazy voice sang in a hushed tone.
I heard The Collector’s deep sputtering voice snap at the bird-like man. “Zip it.” A harsh TWACK landed upon The Raven’s pale skin, refashioning it to a bright rosé. I reached up to touch the hell-hound, stroking his pale chin. He smiled, even after the beating from The Collector. He was quite dapper and very cordial. As he cradled my fragile body a large shout came from the end of the deep hallways.
“Mah dea’ Collecta’!” His accent was different from anyone I’ve ever known. “How ya’ doin’? I see there’s a new case fo’ me to deal with, heh?” The Raven nodded and The Collector chortled. “Absolutely, Frederick Life, My dear Chuckaboo.” His tone was not to be laughed at, however. He sounded as if he was about to abandon this ‘job’ or whatever it was.
“Faelia Kipling, died from Vespasian Moth larvae, slightly educated, lived in Kirkcudbright,” The man by the name of Frederick said, his manner seemed to be laid back and down to earth. “Wicked.” He leaned into my face. I didn’t respond to him. I just remained calm and decided to try not to tell him to move back.
“Give her to Geoffrey. He’ll check her in and I’ll check her out.” Frederick reached inside his swallow-tailed coat and pulled out his business card and handed it over to me. “Sleep tight, baby doll.”
Frederick smiled only before turning and walking away. His footsteps were loud and clanky, unlike the eerily silent footsteps from The Raven and The Collector.
I was being taken to another part of the facility. The Raven smiled down at my petite features in a fatherly manner. He seemed much more caring than his accomplice. Although his face was that of an incubus he, more or less, had the heart of an angel. I glanced over the grey man’s figure. His suit was pitch and what pigment remained in his locks were the same. Both of them were cloaked from head to toe in black. Most definitely creatures of the night. Although I was abducted by these men, I can not help but feel sorry. I can sense they loathe this job. They hate it more than I could ever comprehend. But, I suppose It puts food on the table, if they even eat.
Within a few moments we reached our destination. Deep violet walls with plum accents line the walls in such a way I’ve only seen in magazines for rich city dwellers. Gold edged the room so beautifully. I couldn’t take it all in before I was plopped into a solid wooden chair. It disoriented me for a moment before I regained my composure. The Raven got down to my level and grinned at me, like he had been for the last five minutes or so. “Auf wiedersehen, liebling.” The Raven whispered and gradually dissolved into nothing but a monochrome feather.
Picking it up was a worse idea than I thought. It burned to the touch, My fingers were turning out to look as if I had frostbite. I almost screamed, only before my name was screamed. “FAELIA KIPLING, ENTER!”
I stood up, jelly-like. I managed my way into the office. There sat a dark skinned man with sable hair, cut short. “Good Evening.” He said, his tone cold and sound. I looked at his name plaque. Geoffrey Death. “Hello?” I said, going over to the seat in front of his desk and sitting down. It took a moment or two, or seven. Mr. Death was slow and seemed unhurried. “Do you need help, sir?” Geoffrey seemed irritated. “No, Miss Kipling. We have an eternity.” He said, giving me a side glance. “After all, all I need are your records.” He stood tall, and placed his maroon glove on my forehead. I felt dizzy and soon enough I felt nothing. Quickly, He signed his name on a paper and kissed me on the head. “Have a nice journey.” Geoffrey smiled, showing his pearly white teeth.
With almost a blink of an eye and before you could say “Bow-Wow Mutton!” I was out of his office and in front of a podium where stood Frederick Life stood, cheerfully. “Hey, Dollface! Wicked cool around here. Huh?” His neck elongated and contourted around into long spirals. I was going to be sick. The cracking of his spine and the crunches coming out of his neck made me feel ill. His face lit up with a sadistic grin, knowing I hated the sounds. His neck recoiled like an accordion. “It’s okay, Baby doll. I was only spookin’ ya.” He chuckled, pressing his fountain pen to a few documents only before ripping them to shreds. Frederick opened his maw and shouted out a name. I suppose it would be my new name, although I was Faelia Kipling! “Jane Rathburn!” His tone was extravagant, as if I’d won a big prize. Then, he snapped his fingers. I couldn’t see for a moment.
I heard a baby cry. My throat hurt and my lungs ached. I was that baby. I was Faelia Kipling. I am Jane Rathburn. I had been processed and spat back out anew. Is this what it’s like for everyone? Is there no heaven? Is there no hell? Was I lied to? I suppose I was. I can’t see anything. Maybe being Jane Rathburn won’t be so bad. Maybe I could have my room’s wallpaper the same lovely violet as the Facility’s. Maybe I could.