Violette and Sam – Part 3: The Reaper, By Bryony Anne
Violette is a quiet, creative girl obsessed with death and the idea of preserving beauty; and secretly the mastermind behind a series of murders which has baffled the local police force. Sam, her only friend, wants no more than to make her happy, though to do this he has become her accomplice. Violette and Sam is a psychological thriller following the lives of these two serial killers. A story of characters and of people affected by, and involved in, murder. Each part of the story focuses on one character, among them the killers themselves, the reaper and the dead.
A reaper sat and watched on as Violette sewed. It had been a long, long time since he had found a decent serial killer to work with. Some reapers liked to work with certain families, others with certain areas. He had always liked to work with killers. But for around a hundred years he had been forced to just take any dead person unclaimed by other reapers. For a long time he had reminisced about the rippers of the good old days and had almost given up on the idea of settling down with a new murderer. He had done odd jobs, an old person here, a cot death there, whatever he could find to keep in work. Finding Violette and her beautiful, twisted mind had been a gift that had been a long time coming.
He liked to sit and talk with Violette as often as possible. He watched her work, fascinated by her need to create that was almost as dominant in her as her need to destroy. She let him sit with her, knowing who he was and respecting him for it. She was the only one who saw him in his boy-like manifestation. She was currently the only one not in her dying moments who saw him at all. They had an unspoken arrangement: he told her stories of deaths of the past and, in return, she brought him people to take.
Strictly speaking, of course, the reaper had no gender. Reapers have no need to reproduce as they just are and always have been. They always will be. But Violette saw him as a young boy with tousled brown hair and big, dark eyes. He liked to eat strawberry ice cream and so she always made sure that they had some in. Occasionally Sam saw the ice-cream in the freezer and wondered what it was doing there; he had only ever eaten soft, vanilla ice-cream and he knew that Violette was a vegan. But he never asked her. He trusted that if it was important she would tell him.
Violette referred to the reaper by various names, depending on her mood. When she was in a good mood, he was Charlie. She always thought that Charlie was a cheerful, fun, happy-go-lucky kind of name. When she called him Charlie, he was a boy in the park. Perhaps he had a dog, and a lollipop. When things weren’t going her way, she called him George. George, she always felt, is an obstinate name, it felt heavy in her mouth and she didn’t like the way the ‘e’ insisted on being there, before the ‘o’. When a killing fell through, when Sam told her that he really couldn’t kill the girl she wanted, he was Timmy. If there was no dead girl, then he was useless and Timmy had a certain uselessness about it. But just after a killing, when they were both in their best moods, he was Tony, purely because she liked the name.
Today was a Charlie day, but the threat of George was hanging in the air around them. She was getting fed up of waiting; both he and Sam knew it. He fed her dreams and tales of death in order to try and buy Sam some time. He didn’t like being George so much; there was always that feeling that he would never be Tony again. Always one to favour melodrama, Violette was convinced that the next time he was George that would be it. He would be George, then he would be Timmy and he would never be her reaper and make her happy again.
Violette interested him beyond words. Not in the way that she interested Sam; as well as being entirely genderless, he was asexual and didn’t generally get attached to people. But Violette had an attitude that he had never experienced before; it was the healthiest attitude he had ever encountered. She saw the beauty that was his profession and she found it delightful.
He had tasted her darkness when he first met her, just as she had seen his. They had met in a retirement home where she was volunteering. Violette hadn’t even killed yet, but he knew the every stitch in her tapestry of life. He knew her.
And she knew him. She had been watching the reapers passing by; she saw the hidden ones and recognised the ones who stood in plain sight for what they were. Reapers could take any form they liked for any one. Often, the reapers who frequent the retirement homes take the form of the last visitor to the lonely residents. Her reaper wasn’t one of those. He took the form of a paranoid old man who ranted nonsense even when no one was listening. But she only ever saw him as a young boy and she knew what he really was.
And so they were bound. He was her reaper; she was his killer.