Written by Miss Smiley
She hums softly, hiding her musings under her breath as her hairbrush glides slowly through her hair. Her eyes hook dreamily into the two green eyes that stare at her, a dazed smile spreading across her lips.
“Corinth! Hurry up!”
Corinth jolts back to life before the mirror, broken from her reverie. Hastily coming to her senses, she pulls her smooth, auburn locks into a quick ponytail. She tugs at it impatiently before slinging a courier bag across her thin shoulders and rushing from the room.
“I’m coming, Mum!” She rolls her eyes. “Jeez!” she mumbles to herself. “Anyone would think it was life or death!”
She quickly reviews this statement and, frowning, wonders if it actually is a matter of life or death. The news article she is meant to be writing today is a big one, and one sure to be a direct focus of the librarian, Mrs. Connelly, who ran the school newsletter. Not known for her sensibility or any particular semblance of wit or intelligence, Mrs. Connelly would, no doubt, have no issues with making any student’s life hell for the sake of her beloved newsletter. Corinth often wondered how a woman so superbly unsuitable for human interaction had come to be deemed fit for running a school library, let alone a school newsletter.
Shaking the thought from her head, she checks herself.
Pencils! She rummages in the kitchen drawers, carelessly sharpening a stubby pencil into the fork compartment. Check.
Satisfied, she plucks a green apple from the fruit bowl sitting on the table, a present from her older brother, and glances hurriedly out of the windows. A glimpse of her mother pacing the driveway, not unlike a caged tigress, catches her eye and she smirks to herself on her way out of the house.
Corinth yanks the heavy door open.
“Cori—! Oh, there you are. Come on! Are we going or not?”
Corinth nods silently, making her way to the door of her mother’s Volvo. She slides her petite frame onto the leather seat and quietly closes her door.
“So, what’s this for again?” Her mother starts the engine, reversing quickly out of their driveway. She curses quietly as she narrowly misses the neighbour’s cat.
“School newspaper,” Corinth answers shortly, fiddling with her bag. She takes out a camera lens, inspecting it for scratches and dust.
Corinth’s mother nods to herself, pulling out into the mid-morning traffic carefully. A moment later, she frowns. “So, wait. Why are we going to the new park?”
Corinth takes another lens from its velveteen case, peering at it. “There’s going to be a tribute to the school’s first principal.”
“Oh.” The frown deepens in confusion. “He’s still alive?”
“She,” Corinth corrects quietly, “is turning 97 this year.”
Her mother whistles to herself. “That’s a good inning.”
Corinth makes a small noise of assent, carefully smoothing the lenses back into their velveteen cases as they pull up at an intersection. Corinth’s mother checks both sides for cars.
She frowns discerningly at the semi-trailer approaching on her left.
“…reckon I can make it…”
A rev rips from the engine as the car pulls out quickly onto the road in front of the semi-trailer. The world moves in slow motion as Corinth bends to place the bag on the floor, beside her feet.
A sharp snap resounds through Corinth’s ears as the truck crunches into her side of the car. The sounds of brisk snapping and popping resound in her ears as numerous bones and joints make their complaints about the unexpected force. She feels her skull crush under the pressure, and her chest cave in on itself, her sternum cracking.
All goes black as a wet something trickles down her cheek.
A man stirs at the top of a sky scraper, his ice-blue eyes taking in the urban landscape. His black coat ripples behind him as the wind blows it into curious curlicues.
The call sounds in his ear once more, recalling him to life.
Death rubs at his ear irritably. Why…why did Management have to choose that damned Nokia tune for the call?
With a sigh, his eyes find the streets below, quickly honing in on his new-found prey. Another accident.
The rate of death was so high in this new world that they’d employed new angels to play “Death” in almost every country, the job far too big now for just one worker to do.
These humans and their automobiles. They kill more than medieval wars did.
He ponders for a moment, thinking of how easy his job used to be. Even when the medieval wars did reign, most of the souls were in one place to collect, and it had been simple enough to collaborate with the Time-Keepers of that place in order to pass the souls on, with the odd ones slipping through their fingers here and there.
A slight frown passes over the smooth brow, and then, he rises, leaving his skyscraper perch.
Death’s Mistress marks Miss Smiley’s first entry into Inkblots, and part of a work in progress upwards of 40,000 words. Although you may not be able to tell just from the prologue, Death’s Mistress is a story within a story, like many famous works we know (and love). It’s also only a working title, so feel free to leave suggestions.