“Why do you carry that scythe?” it was a question she had been asked time and time and time again, yet it wasn't one she was sick of hearing or answering. Mostly because she never ever told anyone the truth. It wasn't some malicious or deceptive quality she had, more of a prank that just got out of hand. Consistently inconsistent she often told herself with that sly smile men loved so much.
That said, however, a part of her was always disappointed that no one really seemed interested in why she was dressed in so much green. She had this reputation as some sort of winter person, someone who thrived in the death of the world, regardless of how temporary it always was, yet her dress and the scythe were trimmed with a brilliant emerald green. The answer wasn't really anything relevant to her work or her character. In fact, it was only, really, because she liked how it looked on her. She wasn't sure about how it went with the white hair, but she could deal with that since the dress was so nice.
She was currently just wandering around the waterfront fair that the city hosted each year at the beginning of winter. It was slightly smaller than last years, which had been slightly smaller than the year before. It disappointed her deeply to see the result of less and less money and less and less winter, but she still made sure that she made the most of what was available and enjoy it as much as possible. It was while she was enjoying herself, looking at school kids dioramas depicting a winter scene from a book they had been reading. The kids were all standing next to the models looking super proud of their creations while the teachers stood a few feet behind them, looking impatient and not happy to be spending their Saturday morning here. She talked to a few of the kids as she passed them, asking what book they had read, what certain parts of their creations were and things like that. The kids loved talking about the book and the models and the festival. A few of them asked about the scythe but most seemed more fascinated in her paper-white hair. She let whoever wanted to touch it and told them all that she was born like that and whenever she tried to dye it, it never worked properly. Most of that was the truth, and she knew it. A part of her didn't like lying to kids, but at this point it was up in the air as to whether she even could be sincere anymore.
She made it to the end of the table of dioramas to see an empty table with a sad kid standing next to it. She bent down so they were eye to eye and smiled at him. “Hi,” she said in a voice that was the equivalent of being wrapped in a blanket in front of a fire on a winters night.
“Hi,” the child replied quietly, looking at her in awe. “You're really pretty.”
“Aw, thank you. What's your name?”
“Hi Marky, I'm Alicia.”
“I like your hair.”
“I do too. Wheres your display?”
“I didn't finish it.”
“Dad said I couldn't because I was naughty.”
“I'm sorry, Marky. Maybe next time, huh?”
“Yeah,” he said perking up as if the whole concept of next time had never occurred to him. “Next time.”
She smiled and stood to leave. As she turned her back on the boy, she heard him ask something else. “What was that?” she said, turning her head to look at him.
Marky was no longer the sad, yet marginally happier boy she was just talking to. His face had lost all its colour and he was staring in stark terror at something just behind her. He was obviously trying to say something, but only stammering noises were issuing from his lips. “G-g-ghosts,” he managed as his teachers tried to calm him down.
“Oh,” Alicia said sadly. She knelt back down and cupped his cheek in her hand. She felt the usual rush of excitement mixed with dread and general sadness that always accompanied her touching someone skin to skin. He felt a not unpleasant jolt shoot through him and he started to calm down and breath normally. “Those are my friends,” she explained to him, her eyes heaped with loss. She knew there was no way he would understand what she was saying, but there were rules and in this there was no lying, no deception and no seeing how far she could push it. This was Truth.
When Alicia had turned from him to carry on down the road, the young boy Marky had witnessed something everyone, at one point in their lives, will see. It wasn't terribly uncommon for someone his age to see it, however it wasn't normal.
Alicia was standing on a mountain, her scythe in one hand, its shiny metal blade now a pockmarked dark grey stone. She was still wearing the black and green dress and she still had her shock of white hair, she was the same person who had been so nice to him just a minute ago, yet now there was something else to her. Some deep darkness that Marky didn't understand, yet was already afraid of.
Marky could see the path she stood on and how it ran for miles behind her until it disappeared into the fog and haze. He knew, somehow, that it would never end, that path would always continue. Standing on the path were hooded figures, each of them identical. The cloaks they wore were shapeless, there was no way of knowing if there was a man or a woman underneath. Marky couldn't see into the hood, yet peering out of each of them were two little green dots, the same colour as Alicia’s dress. They, too, were as endless as the path they stood on.
Alicia was explaining something to the boy, yet the teachers and bystanders couldn't understand the words. After time, she stood back up to her full height and unclipped the blade from her back. She really hated her job sometimes, however, as they say, winter is the season of death.