Lucas could feel his heart racing as he followed the terrifying figure. What does he want? Where is he taking me? To his surprise, he was led to the small park that lay behind his house.
“Why did you take me here?” Lucas asked nervously, finally finding his voice.
The figure shrugged. “Seemed better than just standing on the sidewalk.” He chuckled, gesturing toward a nearby bench. “Sit with me.”
Lucas did as he was told, glancing nervously around him.
“Ah, the sunrise… beautiful.” The cloaked figure leaned back, seemingly content. “It’s not very often I get to enjoy the little things, you know… I’m a pretty busy guy.” He laughed.
Lucas gulped. “So… Are you really… Uh…” He paused, taking a deep breath. “Are you… who I think you are?” He tried again.
“Well, that depends… Who do you think I am?”
“Bahahahahaha!” The being cut Lucas off with a fit of laughter. “Don’t tell me – ‘Death’? ‘The Grim Reaper’? You humans are so unoriginal…” He paused. “But yes, boy. That’s me.”
Lucas felt a knot in his stomach. “And… what is it that you want with me?”
“I’ve been watching you for a while, my boy. You and that girlfriend of yours.” He paused, chuckling. “It was amusing, at first… Then dreadfully boring… Looks like even you agreed with me there.” He added. “Your beloved Evelyn turned into the ol’ ball and chain, huh?” Lucas could almost hear the smile in his voice.
“And now, well, things have been much more interesting since that little escapade on your birthday…”
Lucas’ eyes went wide. “You know about that?!” He asked, horrified.
Death shrugged. “I know about everything. And I know you’ve spent the past 9 years trying to find a way to undo what happened to your girl.”
Lucas just stared, dumbstruck.
“It was pretty fun, watching you bark up the wrong tree for so long… But now, to see you wallowing in all this… guilt… Even I have my limits, you know.”
“W-what are you saying?”
“I’m saying, you feel awful about what you did, don’t you?”
“And fulfilling your promise to your little girlfriend, well… That’d be the perfect way to make it up to her, wouldn’t it?”
“So, I’m here to help!” Death said happily.
Lucas felt uneasy. There was something almost too good to be true about this offer. “What’s the catch?” He asked nervously.
“No catch at all! Well… Technically, you need a catch…” Death laughed to himself.
Death explained that there was a very special, very rare fish he needed if he wanted to help Evelyn. It was an angelfish… But not any normal angelfish. This one was exceedingly rare, and could only be found in the deepest, most hidden waters of the world. “You’ll know it when you see it.” He assured him.
Next, he would need a rare flower, known to humans as the “Death Flower” (though it seemed Death did not appreciate this name). It could only be cultivated under the strictest soil conditions, bred through the cross-pollination of several different types of plants.
“That crazy old woman gave you a nice start, my boy.” Death explained. “But you must look much deeper to find what you need. And once you do… This plant takes years to reach harvest.”
Lucas said nothing for several moments, trying to take it all in. “So I need a fish… and a flower?” He asked uncertainly.
Death nodded. “It’s as simple as that.” He assured him. There was something in the being’s tone that made Lucas feel uneasy. “Well… maybe not that simple…”
Death rose to his feet. “This is a big undertaking, boy. But I’m sure you’re up to the task.” He stretched his bony arms above his head, yawning slightly. “Well, it was nice talking to you. I’d better be going.”
Huh? “W-wait!” Lucas looked up at him in confusion. “What am I supposed to do with them once I have them?”
“You expected me to tell you that much? Oh, come now! Where’s the fun in that? You’re a smart boy, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.” Death waved cheerfully as the smoke from around his feet grew and grew, enveloping him in a black screen.
“Hey, wait!” Lucas rose to his feet, but he was too late. He was all alone.
The young man sat back on the bench, remembering everything that Death had told him. A flower and a fish… It sounds so easy when you put it like that…
But how easy could it truly be? It doesn’t matter… I’ll do it no matter what. I promised Evelyn. Lucas told himself firmly. I owe this to her.
He would give the ghost her life back, and everything would fall into place. Their relationship would be fun again. They could finally go on real dates, meet new people. They could be a normal couple.
Then maybe he wouldn’t feel so trapped anymore. Maybe he would finally forget about that beautiful woman from the bar…
The warm morning sun washed over his face, bringing Lucas back from his thoughts. He pulled his phone from the pocket to check the time, and his eyes went wide. I’m late!
He took off at a run back toward the sidewalk, slightly frantic. But through his panic, Lucas found himself feeling hopeful for the first time in years. It had seemed for so long like their relationship was doomed. But maybe finally things would start turning around…