There was always something odd about funerals. I got it. Mortals are fearful critters who worry about the happenings of the afterworld. It wasn’t the skittish nature of those around me – people who purported to care about Dad… and me – that wore on me. It was that Luci stood beside me, his night-black coat reflecting the sun back in a shattering array of colours.
“Hey, kid,” Uncle Jim hugged me around by shoulders before kneeling to scratch Luci’s thick mane. “So, your aunt and I are looking forward to you and this good boy coming to stay with us. She hopes that her no account sister will call us now. She must have heard about your dad. She’s your mom. She’s gotta care.”
I knelt beside Luci, he curled his tail over his back, catching my hand. “Look Jim. I don’t know what Mom would do if she found out. I appreciate you and Shelly, but Luci and I don’t want to be any trouble.”
“Nonsense, Lil. You and that schipperke are coming home with us. We all agreed that already.” To punctuate that he wasn’t having this discussion again, he got up and walked over to some of the other mourners.
Luci lifted his fox face and chocolate eyes to mine. His voice soft in my head, you know it will all work out. We will find your dad and figure out just what is happening. I know that he hasn’t been reaped. There was never an order. He’s alive, just missing.
“I know buddy,” I ruffled his sharp pointed ears. “Just feels weird being here.”
A smile pulled at his mouth. We don’t normally attended funerals.
That was the case. Luci and I attended deaths all the time. It’s what he did. After all, a Reaper had to reap lives. Take the souls to their rightful after life before the worst could happen. But funerals were taboo. It was considered bad taste for a Reaper to stand in the crowd of the beloved. But he was here because I was here. My job was to protect him. His job, today, was to support me. We were more than a team – we were family.
I stood as the goodhearted came to offer condolences, emotions raw, for a man who was not dead, just missing in the mists between worlds.