Today’s Deadly Destination is from Rachel Vincent‘s Tod on Reaper Headquarters from Soul Screamers Volume Three (which includes Soul Screamers #5, 5.5, 6 IF I DIE, BEFORE I WAKE, and NEVER TO SLEEP) (published on August 13, 2013 by Harlequin Teen). Want to win a set of all three Soul Screamers Volumes? Enter via the widget below.
Rachel Vincent’s Tod on Reaper HQ from Soul Screamers
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Reaper Headquarters. Please stand carefully as you regain consciousness. My name is Tod, and on behalf of the entire staff, I apologize for the inconvenient travel method, but our location is top secret and it’s easier for everyone involved if you both arrive and leave in an induced state of unconsciousness.
Dizziness and mild nausea are both unfortunate side effects of that state, but don’t worry, you’re not hallucinating. I am just as real and attractive as I appear. But don’t let appearances deceive you. Despite my unearthly splendor and the lack of both dark robes and a scythe, I am, in fact, a reaper. Of the grim variety. Having been on the job for fewer than three years, I’m still a rookie, and probably will be for a few more decades. But fear not for me, mere mortals. Those decades will not erode my aesthetic. I will remain forever frozen in youthful perfection, one of the few advantages afforded those of us noble enough to dedicate our afterlives to the collection and repurposing of souls that have reached their expiration dates.
Speaking of nobility, you guys must be something pretty important, huh? They don’t do many of these VIP tours. What are you, martyrs? Saints? Republicans?
Just kidding. There are no politics in the afterlife. Well, no political parties, anyway.
What? No, this is not all I do! I’m a reaper, not a tour guide. I reap souls, most days. Today I drew the “special duty” because my boss is mad. Evidently I’m not the most “attendance-focused” reaper on staff. But whatever. Back to the point…
Hang on. They gave me this script to read…
*digs folded paper from hoodie pocket and clears throat*
Welcome to Reaper Headquarters…
Wait, I already said that part. *mumbles* Welcome… State of unconsciousness… Stupid joke… Ah! Okay. The room you’re standing in now is our waiting room. Note the absence of chairs, tables, and magazines. The lack of furnishings is intended to discourage loitering, and I assure you that it works. I want to be gone already. So if you’ll follow me into the hall…
No need for a single file line. Feel free to push and shove your way to the front, but hands off, please. I’m spoken for, and she’s possessive.
That was a joke, but you won’t get it unless you know my girlfriend.
To the left you’ll find our customer service department. Ignore the bucket, broom, and extra light bulbs. What? It looks like a closet? Well, technically it is a closet, but on the rare occasion we get a customer complaint, this is where we file it. Right there in the circular file. The customer service specialist gets to those files as quickly as he can. You might see him around here in a few minutes. He wears a gray jumpsuit and carries a big mop.
On your right, we have the employee break room. Note the lack of vending machines and a coffee pot. I put in weekly requisition forms for both, but someone keeps filing them with the customer service complaints. Evidently the fact that reapers don’t need to eat means that funds spent on a vending machine would be funds wasted. Or some crap like that. But seriously, what good is an afterlife with no Twinkies and Doritos? It’s not like we’re gonna get fat. We’re dead.
Up ahead and to the left, if you peek through the open doorway you’ll see our main office. Astute observers will notice that cubical hell does not end with death. One of those cubicles is mine, but I can’t remember which one. Doesn’t really matter. Paperwork is for losers. Specifically, those losers. Those of us who are awesome rise above petty ink and paper.
At the end of the hall, as far as possible from the plebian workforce, we have the supervisory staff offices. That closed door facing us belongs to my boss, Levi. He was, like, nine when he died, so he can hardly reach the top of his own desk, but whatever. The cubicles would be like a labyrinth for him anyway, since he’s so short, so he might as well get his own office.
On the bright side, about once a month he gets locked out of his own computer—it’s that whole old dog, new tricks conundrum—and I get paid for my technical skills in nachos and days off work. Eventually he’ll figure out that I set his password to auto-change every thirty-four days, but for a reaper, “eventually” can be a long time in coming.
Well, that’s about it, except for the bathrooms. Since we don’t have vending machines, those get about as much use as the waiting area, so if anyone needs to go, I’m sure there are vacant stalls. No? Okay. Back to the script.
Thanks for joining me today on this tour of Reaper Headquarters. We hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and gained an understanding of what happens to a soul once it’s reaped…
Uh…. I was supposed to cover that? Oops. Too late. Now we’re out of time. If you have any questions, please file them with the customer service office, and someone will be along to deal with them shortly.
Once again, my name’s Tod, and it’s been real. If you’ll head back to the waiting area, someone will be waiting there to escort you out. For your safety and for the safety of those around you, please lie down before you lose consciousness and do not stand again until you are fully awake and aware of your surroundings.
That’s it! See you on the flip side…
Soul Screamers omnibus volumes 1-3, signed by Rachel Vincent
Includes Soul Screamers #0.5 -6
Available on August 13, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
What happens when the reapers come for Kaylee? Don’t miss Volume Three of New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent’s compelling, spellbinding Soul Screamers series.
IF I DIE
Thanks to her mother’s sacrifice, Kaylee Cavanaugh has lived most of her life on borrowed time, but now that borrowed time is almost up. Kaylee has only seven days left to prepare for the end. To say goodbye. And yeah, to stop an incubus from preying on her high school. Tick tock…
BEFORE I WAKE
Dying wasn’t easy for Kaylee, but faking life is a whole new kind of struggle. The only good moments are those spent in Tod’s arms. But death hasn’t stopped her old enemies, and now everyone Kaylee loves is in danger….
NEVER TO SLEEP First time in print!
Sophie Cavanaugh is sick of the social fallout from her cousin Kaylee’s mental issues. Doesn’t she realize people think “crazy” runs in the family? But then a cute boy, a fateful scream and a trip to a nightmare world leave Sophie wondering just what’s real-and how to get home….
Soul Screamers… The last thing you hear before you die.
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