This story is a compilation of parts of the Sixth Scale Stories and is meant as a reference for the living dead Claire and grim reapers Freya and Samael. The reason these characters are grouped together is that they can all see each other. Other characters may see one or two of them, but not all three.
Spectra: You know, you really don't need to visit me. I'm not going anywhere for a long time, so save yourself the bother. Don't call me, I'll call you. Grim Reaper: Hey, I can visit whoever I like, whenever I like. Besides, even I get tired looking at all the butchered bodies day after day. It's nice to talk with somebody with all parts intact once in a while. Spectra: You're exaggerating. A lot of people die with their body intact. Grim Reaper: Sure, but I'm in the homicide division. The amount of blood I've seen in my work would fill an ocean. Spectra: Homicide division? Grim Reaper: Surely you didn't think there was just one of me? I'm good, but not that good. Oh no, there's an entire company, Afterlife Inc. Spectra: And you have different divisions dealing with different kinds of death? Grim Reaper: Sure. There are divisions for traffic, suicide, diseases, old age — that's for the ones with bad nerves who can't deal with anything more drastic — homicide, accidents, and so on. Spectra: Hold on! How can that work? There are deaths that can fall into several categories, like killing yourself on purpose in the traffic. Grim Reaper: There's nothing a flip of a coin cannot solve.
Spectra: I've never seen anyone else but you. Grim Reaper: That's because your case was assigned to me. You're not supposed to see any of the others, unless your case gets reassigned. Spectra: Has it ever happened that somebody, who should have moved on, has been left here? As a result of a bookkeeping error or something like that? Grim Reaper: Sure, although it's not usually an error, just forgetfulness, accidental or on purpose. For example, there was this little old lady who the guy in red shoes and his followers considered a saint, but many others thought she had built her fame around other people's suffering. Nobody wanted to touch her with a 10-foot pole. Finally we had to draw straws.
(He's referring to the Pope and Mother Teresa.)
Spectra: Why? What does it matter what she was like? You're just a... transport company. Grim Reaper: But when there is uncertainty of the delivery address, it's sometimes easier just to forget it. The really bad guys are not a problem, it's just a simple pickup job, but the borderline cases always give me a headache. Spectra: I had no idea it was that difficult. Grim Reaper: Of course you didn't. But no worries, we rarely get complaints. They enjoy their prolonged stay too much to do that. You should know.
Schizo: Have you finished your conversation with your imaginary friend? Shall we go? Spectra: What do you mean imaginary friend? Grim Reaper: He can't see me. Spectra: But that guy getting out of the door just now, he saw you. Grim Reaper: Of course he did. He's mine, just not today. - Well, it's always nice to talk with you, but I've got work to do just around the corner. See you again in a few years.
Spectra: You really didn't see him? Schizo: No, but I guess he wasn't imaginary after all. I noticed that guy you mentioned. He did see something and he was scared to death. Spectra: He had a reason to be. He saw his death, although it wasn't after him today. Schizo: You're getting really spooky. I like it.
Schizo: Have you ever seen the scythe dude? Claire: Scythe dude? Do you mean Samael? Yes, but only once. It's a pity, he's really a nice man, in spite of his looks. Schizo: Nice? He's the death! Claire: The Angel of Death, darling. Don't be disrespectful. He's only doing his job. Schizo: I guess so. Why didn't he do his job with you? Claire: That's a bit complicated. I only saw him that one time when he came to tell me that although I was assigned to him, he couldn't do anything. You see, he takes care of the dead dead. The living dead are out of his jurisdiction. His words. Schizo: So you're stuck here forever? Claire: Oh, I'm sure there is a way out, I just haven't bothered looking for it. I'll do that when I feel it's time to move on.
Schizo: So, if you really are one of the living dead, aren't you supposed to... you know, eat people? Claire: What an absolutely revolting idea! Whatever made you think so? Schizo: You know, all the stories and movies... Claire: I thought you're old enough to understand that those are fiction. I admit that there were cannibals in the past and who knows, maybe some still exist, but to automatically assume that I would... Really! Schizo: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend. What do you eat then? Claire: Normal food, like everyone else. Although I do prefer my steaks rare. You know, rare as in "just carry it across a warm room."
Schizo: Have you met Spectra or Mina? They're a bit like you. Claire: The ghost girls? I've seen them, but they're nothing like me. They're dead. Schizo: I see. I thought as you are... Claire: I know, but those people can be so standoffish. All that vanishing like smoke in the air. Makes them think they're better than the rest of us. Schizo: Spectra's not like that. She's very nice and normal. Well, as normal as you can be in her condition. Claire: Have you ever thought about asking her to assist you? Schizo: Why would I want to do that? Claire: It would make a spectacular show. And all done without any smoke or mirrors. Schizo: Why didn't I think of that?
Claire: Because it's not your style to work with other people. I'm using the word "people" in the broadest sense possible here, by the way. Schizo: I know, but I should have thought... Claire: Anyway, she probably wouldn't do it. Too much attention. Dealing with the bureaucrats is a major hassle as it is. You can't do anything nowadays without an identity and one identity doesn't last long when you don't grow older. It used to be much easier. Paper documents, no photographs, all checking done manually, news and correspondence traveled slowly... You just told people who you were and they had no real way of checking it.
Claire: You're saying Samael sent you. Freya: Yes, he said you'd understand. Claire: Why don't you start by telling me everything? I guess he told you that you can. Freya: He said you're out of our jurisdiction, so you won't freak out. Claire: That's right. Now, what happened? Freya: Well, one moment, I was in a car with some friends and next, I was in a hospital with lots of people in white coats around me and somebody said "she's gone." I was all like, what do you mean "gone?" I'm right here. I can hear you. Claire: Must have been confusing. Freya: It was. Then I blacked out and the next thing I knew, there was this guy in a grey robe carrying a scythe. That's when I freaked out. Claire: I bet he was annoyed. Freya: A bit. He said that if I wanted, he could send me right back to from where they picked me, but that I should listen to him first. So I did.
Claire: Very wise. I see you said "yes." Didn't like the idea of being dead? Freya: It wasn't very tempting. I'm not sure how I like the idea of killing people, though. Claire: Darling, you're not killing them, not exactly. You just pick up the ones whose time is ending. If you didn't, they'd stay wondering around as ghosts. You're actually doing most of them a favor, although not everybody sees it that way. Freya: I didn't think of it like that. It's all so new to me. That's why I needed to talk with someone. Claire: You can always talk to me. It's so refreshing to have company and be able to talk without being careful all the time, so I won't say anything that would give away the truth. Freya: I guess people would freak out, if they knew what you are. Claire: They would. It's happened occasionally. That was when it was all new to me. You learn to live with these things. Heh, maybe "live" isn't quite the right word, but you know what I mean.
Freya: There's one thing I don't quite understand. If you can see Samael, doesn't that mean that you shouldn't be able to see me? Claire: Like he said, I'm out of your jurisdiction. I can see you all. Freya: Really? Are there more people like you? Claire: Not quite like me. I'm an anomaly. It's so nice to be unique. I take it you're unique too. I haven't seen any other women. Freya: Yes, Samael said that they thought it was time to modernize the operation and start hiring women. They decided to try it first with me. Claire: Any reason why you? Freya: He said something about my name. I knew nothing good would come of my mom's obsession with old religions. Claire: Relax, I'm sure you'll do just fine. So, have you started yet? Picked up anybody? Freya: Not yet, I'm still sort of trying to adjust, so they haven't assigned anybody to me yet. Claire: What division are you in? Freya: Natural death, you know, old people and people with congenital defects. They thought I should start there, because that sort of thing is easier to deal with. No violence or anything like that. Claire: Yes, much easier and a whole lot cleaner than Samael's field. Do you know what you're supposed to do when you eventually start? How to go about it? Freya: I saw this documentary about one guy. Although Samael said that guy hadn't quite figured out how the thing works. He said that it's not just about touching, but touching at the right moment. I'm glad I can't kill anybody accidentally before their time. That would be really bad. Claire: Yes, it would.
Claire: Got a scythe already? Freya: No, and I don't think I will. It's not required. Samael said that he only has it, because it was customary when he started. He seems to be the only one who's still sticking to that tradition. Claire: What about the outfit? Your choice? Freya: No, the guys selected this for me. Their taste is a bit old-fashioned, but considering their age, I guess I should be happy I'm not wearing a crinoline. Claire: Probably. Besides, that dress suits you very well. You'll get used to it soon, like you'll get used to everything else about your new... existence. I think that would be a proper word for it. Freya: I hope so. Thanks so much for listening. I feel much better now. Claire: That's good. And you can come back any time, if you need to talk. Hmmm, I could become the psychotherapist for the psychopomps, if the others need a listener. Freya: Psychopomp? Did you just make that up? I've never heard such word. Claire: I didn't make it up. The next time you're in a library, no doubt picking up somebody, stop to check a book about legends concerning death. You'll find it there. Or, of course, you could ask a professor of ancient mythology, I'm sure you'll meet one sooner or later.
Eventually: Joey: I've never seen you here before. Freya: That wasn't very original, but I don't mind. After all, this is just business. Joey: Business? You don't look like a... Freya: Joey, about those headaches of yours... Joey: Wait a second! How do you know my name? And how do you know...? Freya: I am really sorry, but I have no choice. It's time. Joey: Time for what? Are you some kind of a weirdo or what's going on? Freya: It's time for you to come with me. I was hoping my first one would be an old person, but unfortunately it is you. Joey: That's it! I'm not listening to you anymore! I'm leaving! Freya: Yes, you are.
- What happened? - Is he all right? - Call an ambulance! - I think he's dead. - Can't be, he was all right a minute ago.
Joey: Is that me? Freya: Yes. About those headaches, you really should have gone to see a doctor. Although, I'm not sure they would have been able to do anything about it. Joey: About what? Freya: The problem that was there even before you were born. Basically, that vein was just waiting for the right time to burst. Well, at least you got over 20 years. I hear most with the condition won't live past their teens. Joey: So, I'm dead? Like, permanently? Freya: Yes, and I really am sorry about that, but I don't make the rules. Joey: What happens now? Freya: Now you come with me. Joey: I didn't think it would be quite like this. Freya: I know, neither did I. So sudden and unexpected, but there's nothing you can do about that.
Later that same night: Freya: Hello, Schizo. Schizo: Hello. Have we met? I don't seem to remember... Freya: I'm Freya, and no, we haven't met before, I just know who you are. Schizo: Well, I'm delighted to meet you.
Schizo: Honey, one more for me and for the lady, anything she wants. Honey: What lady? Schizo: The one right here. Honey: I think you've had enough already. Schizo: What? Freya: She can't see me. Schizo: Are you serious? Honey: Maybe you should go home and get some sleep. You've never seen things before.
Schizo: I can see you. Who are you? A hallucination? Freya: Of course not. I thought you knew about us, Samael said so. Schizo: Samael? The scythe dude? The one I couldn't see? But I can see you, so you're... Frey: That's right. You're one of mine. Schizo: I see. Are you here to pick me up? Is that it? Did I finally have one too many? Freya: Not at all. You're my eternity project as one of the guys put it. Schizo: Eternity project? Freya: One of the really long lived ones. But you know that, don't you? We're each assigned one of you, because dealing with more would be frustrating. I just wanted to introduce myself and remind you that nobody's immortal. Schizo: Duly noted. Freya: Besides, I wanted to see the one nobody wanted to take on. Did you know that you weren't assigned to anybody before I came along? That's why you never saw any of us. Schizo: I think one could take that as an insult.