Reapers’ Portraits: September 1938


More reapers came to Ms. Aldrich, and none of them eased her mind. I watched her grow more and more depressed as they came, and try as I might, there was nothing I could do to help her. She and her family had been taxed with this burden, and it was theirs alone to shoulder.

I spent as much time as I could at the studio, assisting with the reapers if they arrived when I was there.

September came, and I found myself busy about the farm. I was in the orchard when I saw him. He stood quietly by the foot of my ladder, waiting for me to descend. It irked me some to know that none of my ‘help’ on the farm would inform me when the reapers arrived.

When I stood beside him, he offered me a small smile by way of apology and then started walking for town. I had little choice but to keep up.

We walked in silence, and the silence was disturbing. The reaper walked with his head up and his eyes forward, moving unerringly toward Ms. Aldrich.

When we arrived at her studio, she was outside of it, enjoying a cigarette. She waved to me, and I replied in kind, and the smile on her face for me vanished when she saw my companion.

The visit was short, and it was not until the reaper had finished his entry in the ledger that he spoke.

“Lock your doors on the night of twentieth and take yourself to Duncan’s, Erica.”

He said no more to us, and only after the door closed behind him, did we look at what he had written.

“September 21st, New England.”

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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