I must confess, she turned my head when I saw her enter Charles’ studio. She smiled coyly, sat down, and asked me how I had enjoyed the war. The business-like manner in which she posed the question told me she was a reaper. My response was that there were moments where it was thrilling, but for the most part, killing is a chore.
I had spent the majority of a decade away from Cross, and I had decided it was time for me to check on Charles. He was thinner and prone to nervous outbursts. His walls were covered with the portraits of reapers.
He cowered at the sight of the reaper and crept into his studio to prepare his material. She shook her head sadly when he had gone.
“He asks too many questions,” she told me. “And he has received too many honest answers. He is damaged. Will you help continue the family’s work?”
She smiled at me. “You’re a devil of a man, Duncan Blood. I was there, you know.”
“Aprémont,” she winked. “Did you think their hearts would not be missed?”
“I didn’t think of it one way or another,” I answered. “I was angry.”
“So were the Germans.”
“Not angry enough,” I told her.
The reaper laughed, leaned forward, and gave me a gentle kiss. “For luck.”
Charles ushered her into the studio before I could ask why, and soon she was gone, waving gayly to me as she went. Charles sagged into his seat, took out a new ledger, and jotted down the information she had given him.
“January 28, Knickerbocker Theatre, Washington, District of Columbia.”