Death held out his hand and released the butterflies towards the sky.

“Do you fear me?” He asked.

The girl paused for a moment and watched the butterflies flutter upwards before looking at him. “No, I'm not afraid.”

Death smiled, “Good, because there's nothing to fear here.”

  “What is here?”

  “The crosswalk between the realms. You are neither dead nor living here.” He pointed his scythe outward and motioned the girl to follow.

  “I like it here,” she said walking beside him.

  “Yes, it is quite appealing here.”

He smiled down at her and this was the first time the girl saw his grey eyes gleam beneath his hood.

  “You're not what I expected a reaper to be.”

They continued walking a few feet before Death answered.

  “What did you expect me to be?” He stopped and looked down at her, a faint smile on his lips.”

  “A cloak held up by bones. Angry red eyes and I was sure that scythe you carry would slice my head off like a samurai sword slicing through a watermelon.” She shrugged tilting her head sideways, “It's in all the stories I've read.”

Death chuckled and started walking again, “Perception is a funny thing and stories are a plausible little lie. I do not slice heads, Ava; and as you can see, I am no cloak held up by bones.”

Ava smiled keeping in step beside him, “Then what is your scythe for? A fashion statement?”

  “No, silly girl, it is used as a key to slice through the realms. Without it, one does not enter.”

  “Oh, that makes sense.” She shoved her hands in the pockets of her lavender dress and continued to walk with Death.

  The path was long, but she wasn't tired. When she left the mortal world, she had been out of breath just walking across the room; the disease eating her insides- the injected poison keeping her alive yet weakened her bones, until there was nothing left, but to sleep. And now she felt free, healthy and able to run a marathon if she wanted to.

  The colors were more vivid here. The grass greener, the sky full of colors and stars and all Ava wanted to do was stay in place, but the more she walked with Death, the more she realized that something more was waiting for her and she had to find out what it was.

Death led Ava to the edge of the bluest of blue oceans, the stars reflecting a glowing galaxy ahead.

  “We're here,” he said and took his scythe and sliced open a doorway.

Ava paused in front of the doorway, “Is Heaven in there?”

  “Depends on what you believe. Be it heaven or the other side, it is a place of beauty and peace.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, “It is home.”

  “Aren't you coming?”

  “My place is here, guiding all those who cross.”

Ava stepped toward the doorway then stopped.

  “What is it?” Death asked.

Ava turned and smiled up at Death, “You know what you are?”

He raised an eyebrow, “What am I?”

  “You're a once unmet friend walking us home so we don't have to walk alone. Thank you.”

  “Maybe I am,” he smiled and watched her walk through the doorway before sealing it closed.