“It’s so quiet,” she remarked softly, staring across the battlefield. All was still but for the flickering of a few torn flags in the faint breeze, nothing but blood and bodies as far as the eye could see, sprawled upon the ravaged earth, grasses trampled brown and muddy.
I swear it’s not always like this, the shadow wolf murmured in her mind. There are usually birds, feasting. Your information was wrong; this isn’t natural.
“Not this again,” she sighed, tweaking the wolf’s ear gently and ignoring his irritated growl as he shook his head free. “When do I ever get called to tidy anything natural? Come on, let’s get started.”
The things you make me do… With a huff, he began picking his way gingerly through the corpses, leaving trails of shadow like smoke in his wake. She followed with a roll of her eyes.
“I didn’t make you do anything, you’re the one who decided to tag along with me.”
The wolf lifted his head and fixed her with his pale gaze like clouded marbles, which nevertheless saw much more than she ever would. I’m with you, you know that. So long as you bear the scythe, I won’t leave you.
She allowed herself a small smile. “And in return for my companionship, you keep me safe, huh?”
Indeed, the wolf said, and ducked his head to sniff at a soldier. This one, he said, wagging his tail, shadows wisping after the movement.
Obligingly, she swung her scythe over the body. There was a faint spark, and then the soldier’s spirit rose from his body. “There’s no right side to this,” he told her. “Only kill or be killed.”
“Hush,” she replied. “Don’t linger, or you’ll be eaten.”
The soldier blinked at her and then nodded, saluted, and vanished.
Unsentimental, the shadow wolf remarked, letting his tongue loll in a doggy grin. I like that in you. You don’t waste time on soothing the dead.
“They’re dead,” she replied blandly. “What use would it be? It’s too late for them. Besides, that’s not my job. I’m only meant to clean up the ghosts and keep the veils closed.”
Fictober is an event hosted on tumblr where writers respond to a prompt a day for the whole of October.
You can find the prompt list here.
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Featuring prompt fills, excerpts from my wips, posts about my writing process, and more.