"She's your next mark. She has only one week left. Make it memorable."
Yes, they do exist. They are there in every culture, just portrayed differently.
They wear dark robes and carry around a scythe. They haunt humans and reap their souls and lives. They leave fear in their wake, because they are associated with death, and nobody wants to die.
That is how they are portrayed, but it couldn't be any further to what they really do. They help humans to pass on to their next lives. They help them find closure if needed. Reapers do harvest our souls, but they send the souls to the afterlife, be it heaven or hell. It's their job to help with the transition to the afterlife.
I know of a reaper. He has been doing a good job for centuries. He was always given a picture of his next mark, an address and an alias to help him fit in.
Oh, did I forget to say? Reapers are sent to earth on the last week of the next mark and their task is to befriend them. Why? Because... I'm not really sure about that one. It's been in the rule book since the beginning of time. So no one really knows why. That's how it is.
Depending on the type of person and the type of reaper. Most reapers aren't as nice though.
My story begins a while back, in South Africa. It was nine p.m. The Van Blou household was, as most nights have been that year, filled with shouting, annoyance, and hatred. Denise van Blou was the third born daughter in the family. She was also the reason that there was a reaper in the shadows of the house.
She banged the door shut in her bedroom as she matched to her bed. She was taking deep breaths as she stood in front of her neatly made bed. She picked up her phone and pulled her hand back, ready to throw it against the wall. She closed her eyes and for a few seconds stayed that way. She lowered her hand after a few calming deep breaths. She then threw the phone on the bed not expecting it to bounce off and fall with a sickening clang. With the new anger bubbling up she picked up her pillow and forcefully threw it on the wall, next to the reapers head, and then slumped onto the bed.
The reaper, with his arms folded, watched the pillow as it slid down to the floor. He then looked up at Denise. She was crying. Silent tears rolled down her cheeks and she did not seem like she was about to wipe them away.
The reaper stayed the whole night, watching her cry and then go to sleep.
She was his next mark. Denise van Blou. He had met a lot of people like her, all his marks of course, and he knew her situation. She was having problems with her family. After being there for just an hour, he already knew that she was unhappy.
He watched her sleeping frame one last time before he disappeared out of the room.
Seven days from that day, he would have to reap her soul.