Grim Reality

Author’s Note: This story was written in response to the following prompt in the WritingPrompts subreddit:

A few years ago, a male grim reaper fell in love with a female human. You are their mostly human child. Then one day, your dad says, “Hey bud, today’s the mandatory “Bring Your Child to Work Day”, lets get you dressed up”.

This story was first posted on Reddit. Wrote this while trying to get out of another little funk I just had. I’m feeling better now, so hey, I’m looking forward to your honest and constructive feedback, dear readers.


“So…you’re not gonna wear those scary black robes and bring those scary sharp scythes?”

“What? Oh, I guess I should’ve expected that. Come on, follow me.”

After dressing up and all, I followed my weird dad, who was smiling the whole time. I never really asked about his work, which my also weird mom didn’t tell me much about, leaving a lot to my imagination. It was still weird, though, because why were we just walking out of the house, under the sun, and heading for our car?

“Aren’t we going to teleport with scary black portals or something?” I asked in a whisper.

Dad chuckled that off, though. And just like Mom, he was also creepy when he laughed.

“You’ll see, son…” he then said. “You’ll see…”

And so, we went on a car ride like a normal father-and-son on “Bring-Your-Child-To-Work Day.” Except that we weren’t normal, and Dad was a grim reaper.

Okay, shouldn’t I have powers already? I could use that to declare real doom upon my stupid classmates. Ooh yeah, they thought they could make fun of my favorite shows and characters? Well, they’ll be getting something they deserve for that!

Of course, I just need Mom and Dad to stop being weirdos for a while and just give me the key to unlocking my powers. Oh, and “You’ll know when you’re fifteen” is not a valid answer.

I was spending some more time fantasizing about inherited grim reaper powers and my future domination over the fools around me when Dad turned off the car and called me to follow him again.

I couldn’t help feeling excitement when he interrupted me for that. I did feel a little annoyance, but I was quickly taken over by the anticipation for more info on my potential.

“Man, I hope things go grim-reaper normal today…” I whispered as I grinned and rubbed my hands together.

“Oh, trust me,” my still smiling Dad told me, “‘Cause I’m 99% sure that it’ll be grim-reaper normal, son.”

With that, we walked to a house…which was familiar.

“Wait, isn’t this Gabe’s house?” I asked. Gabe was Dad’s friend ever since he was in middle school, and he was a really fun guy. I mean, he introduced to me the characters and shows that I now love very much!

And what’s more, he’s my godfather!

“Yup…” Dad answered, but this time, he looked more serious. It was something which turned my emotions mixed, since on one hand, I was about to see what I could do as a grim reaper, but on the other hand, we were gonna do work on Gabe!?

“Gabe’s gonna die, Dad?” I asked as I followed my advancing Dad, really not liking where this was going.

“Can’t be helped, son,” he told me as he rang the doorbell. “But hey, this should get him straightened up.”

“But he’s already straightened up!” I protested, and not for the first time in my life. Dad’s attitude towards Gabe’s more awesome parts wasn’t something I tended to like, too.

“Him knowing his scheduled death date should get him trying to avoid Hell,” Dad replied.

“Wait, what?”

Since when did grim reapers try to bring people to Heaven?

“Son, we’re not harbingers of Hell,” Dad answered, looking peeved. “We’re just humans who got assigned to notify people of their death dates for the sake of helping them prepare for a good death.”

“Then why are there bad deaths in the world?” I quickly countered, the thought entering my mind and getting voiced out quickly.

“Basically, the other grim reapers are idiots who didn’t choose to answer their calling,” Dad went with a more irritated sigh. “But no point in slacking off just because my colleagues are idiots.”

“So…the magic you have…”

“Are just the magical pieces of paper that suddenly appear beside me when I wake up for another day.”

And Dad showed me what was probably the biggest disappointment of my life.

Just then, Gabe opened his door after some time of silence and noise from his house.

“Is that for me?” the lanky man I called “Dr. Awesome” asked, looking at the paper that Dad was holding.

“Yeah, Gabe,” Dad confirmed, giving him a resigned smile. “Make sure to stay on schedule, okay? You can do it, man.”

“Oh…” Gabe replied, taking the paper. “Thanks, man…” he added, a refreshed smile on his face. “I’m surprisingly cool about this, huh?”

“Yeah,” Dad agreed. “Now you better be a better godfather now.”

“Man, I’m nervous despite knowing this like this, but…Thank God…”

Meanwhile, I just stared in disbelief.

Where did all the awesome go?

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