As a reaper, the mortal realm was perceived as an endless collection of strings. Perhaps that’s how the humans saw it too, but no one on The Other Side was really in a position to question it. Thales had learned the Greek myth of The Moirai — the three old women who were charged with the destinies of all living beings; how mortal lives, in their purest state, were only measured strings to be cut when fate saw fit.
Of course, The Moirai was only a story. A story that Thales should not have known. Reapers were not meant to listen or watch. They weren’t meant to possess any fascination when it came to humans at all. They were vessels of death; gateways, doors. Each of his brothers had been created the same as the last: hollow. Their inability to feel kept their old bones moving; the absence of light, or love, kept them from sure despair.
It would’ve been a difficult job any other way.
There was no reason that Thales listened. That he watched. He knew nothing else. As a being that often felt older than time, there were parts of himself, habits and truths, that simply were. Had always been. Would always be. His “heart,” which Thales knew from mortals was more of an expression than an organ — a place where they kept all of their messy bits, had become his own fixed point; something he did not worry about, though perhaps he should have.
The reapers all answered to someone who was simply called The Old Man. He looked a lot like how reapers had been represented in mortal culture over the centuries: a faceless being wearing long black robes, with skeleton hands that were holding an ever-present Scythe.
Reapers, when first created, were carbon copies of The Old Man; Thales memory of this was hazy, blurred with age and experience, but he had seen enough Starters to know it was true. However, after that, reapers took on the permanent form of their first Completion, which is what they were made to call the deaths of their human charges.
Down dark corridors there was hushed debate as to why this was. Most reapers didn’t think of it at all, but some had their own theories. Over time Thales had figured out that there were two main schools of thought on this subject. The first was that it was to show them what they would never be; to help remind them of the distance between what they ended and what they really were. The second was the opposite, that they were made to resemble their first Completion to remind them of their similarities, to keep them focused and bound by their purpose.
Thales first Completion had been a man in his thirties. He wore his face — the same strong jaw, the same dark eyes. His brown hair was peppered with gray just by the ears. The man had been a lawyer who, ignoring his health, had been taken much too early by human standards; however, it didn’t mean much to Thales.
Time was a tricky thing for reapers.
It passed, and it didn’t.