Chapter Nine: Newbie Shinigami:

�Huh?� I asked, �What just happened?� I looked at my fingertips. Am I� dead?

�Correct!� I heard over my head. I looked up and saw the glow of candles in front of me. The bright lights nearly blinded me so much that I had to shield my eyes. It was then that I remembered what happened moments before. I died in that train crash as it sped off of the tracks and careened into the wall. The last thing I saw was blood before it got dark. The images wouldn�t stop playing in my mind as I shook my head.

�No,� I murmured. �What about my family? I can�t leave them behind!� I tried to see through the many lit candles ahead of me. �Can�t I go back?� I asked.

�I�m sorry,� the voice told me, �I can�t return you to your old life.� My heart sank when I heard that. I shook my head.

�No,� I mumbled.

�I�m sorry,� the voice told me. My hands began to shake as I went pale.

�But,� I murmured, �But what about my family? Who will take care of them?� A soft breeze blew by me. I felt a pair of hands embrace me from behind.

�I can help you there,� a small voice whispered, �Just answer one question for me.� I drew my eyes shut.

�Yes?� I asked.

�Why should I make you a shinigami?� it asked, �You�ll have to bring in more dead like yourself. Tearing them away from their families and lovers, can you live with that?� I never could lie in life and I wasn�t going to start now.

�No,� I admitted.

�No?� the voice asked. I shook my head.

�No,� I repeated, �I don�t have the heart to do it.�

�Then tell me why,� it ordered. I only have one answer in mind.

�My family,� I said.

�Your family?� I heard it ask. I swallowed as I gathered my thoughts.

�My family is my motive for going on,� I answered. �Even in death I want to watch over them, so, please, let me find a way to stay by them.� The hands released my body in silence. The candlelight dimmed to reveal two men in fancy suits.

�Come with us,� the first one replied. I watched them walk down the hall. I followed behind rather confused. We didn�t speak for the whole trip. I looked around unsettled.

�Hey, where exactly are we going?� I muttered to their backs. I didn�t get an answer from either one. I lowered my eyes to the floor.

�Okay,� I mumbled. The hall darkened behind us. Creepy, I thought as I looked around at where the walls should have been. We came up to a door at the end of the hall. The men saw me inside. I bowed my head at them in the doorway.

�Thanks, I guess,� I mumbled. I walked inside when they said nothing. My interview didn�t last long; it felt like an actual job interview. I answered a few questions the higher-ups gave me and got assigned to Kyoto under Watari Yutaka�s guidance. The best part about this deal so far? I get to be near my family in Kyoto.