Chapter Thirteen- Her Bedroom

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It was one-thirty in the morning when I arrived at Karolyn's house. The streets had been almost completely empty, but they were lit up with Christmas lights. Even so, I wasn't expecting a single light to be on in the Winters' house.

Which is why when I arrived and Karolyn was sitting up reading with her bedside lamp on, I was nearly startled out of ghost phase. I took a moment to calm down, watching her carefully from the hallway outside of her room as I did, and then stepped through the wall and into her room. When I entered, Karolyn glanced up from her books with an odd expression on her face, but then returned to reading after a second of looking around.

What was I supposed to do now? She was fully awake and reading, and even though she'd have likely woken up when I did my death touch on her anyway, I had no idea how to proceed. I eventually decided on waiting until she went to bed to do anything, and found a seat in the corner of her room to occupy until it was time.

Karolyn's bedroom was small, but it had more personality than some entire houses. She had a twin sized bed in the corner, a nightstand, and a dresser for furniture, but it was what was on the walls that gave the room life. On every wall was a large, center fit mirror, and on and around the mirrors were hundreds of pieces of paper taped or tacked up, each depicting a different place or subject. Scattered throughout the maps and random postcards were photos of Karolyn and her friends, as well as some doodles and other pieces of artwork or notes.

One particular note on the wall next to me caught my attention; it was of Karolyn's bucket list. On it was a variety of places, activities, and accomplishments, and I found myself learning something about her with each number. Karolyn was more than just a history lover and an artistic people person; she was something of a dreamer. Her list of places to travel ranged from locations such as Prague and London, to New Zealand and Mongolia. The things she wanted to accomplish were less for herself, and more for other people, and the activities on her list were personal challenges mixed with things like bungee jumping.

It took me a few minutes to realize that nothing on her bucket list would ever be completed.

I'd killed hundreds of people in my time as a Reaper, and actually reaped thousands, but knowing that her life was going to end before it really began bothered me more than it had with anyone else. I knew it was just because I'd been stupid and let myself fall in love with her, but it was still jarring, watching her read her historical fiction novel and sitting by her bucket list that would never be completed. As I thought about this, I decided that I'd have to stop thinking about her as being any more than a mission to me more than ever if I wanted to leave Burlington with a completed assignment.

I looked back to where Karolyn was reading calmly and focused on seeing only another human, another assignment to complete. She laughed out loud softly at her book, breaking my concentration for a moment, but after a few minutes of silence, I had almost worked up the set mentality to kill her.

Finally, the time came when Karolyn marked her page in her book and flicked off her lamp. She yawned, adjusted her pillows, and slid down under the covers. I took a deep break and slipped out of ghost form, as I couldn't use my death touch if I wasn't in solid form. As I crept forward, Karolyn shifted in her bed so that she was facing away from me, making it easier for me to sneak up on her. When I reached her bed and looked down at her soft, gentle face, my chest twisted and I had to look away as I lowered my hand towards her neck. If I just didn't see her, then it'd be easier for me to kill her. I wouldn't have to see the life drain out of her eyes.

My fingertips brushed the skin of her throat, and I activated the death touch the power of being a Reaper gave me. I heard Karolyn gasp and her hand went to her throat, grasping mine tightly as the life began to drain from her.

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