Chapter 1: The God of Death Has a Few Demands

Demands and Complaints.

The reaping season, as determined by the ancient Omiscan calendar, used to be (inexplicably) during the month of July. That’s over now, because May really is too damn hot to be wearing a robe.
-The Book of the Dead, Revised Edition

“We are not going to the cemetery,” Alice hissed as another bead of sweat dripped into her eye. 

She cursed and swiped furiously at her forehead.

Even in springtime at six in the morning, the heat in StrangerVille was oppressive. Of all the amenities the little military outpost lacked (and there were many), a reliable power grid topped the list. That meant almost no place would risk running an air conditioning unit at full power: not the 8 Bells bar that doubled as the local coffee shop, not the StrangerVille Information Center that deigned to call itself a library, and certainly not the bus depot on the edge of town.

For Alice, real air conditioning began and ended in Oasis Springs at the Route 309 Convenience Store where she worked.

“But we must! Nearly 80 souls are active so it’s time to see what the reaper has brought me. It is the day of the culling!” a voice whined. 

Alice rounded the corner near her house, patting her pockets to check for her keys. Did she bring them or just leave them under the mat in front of her trailer? 

The sooner she got inside, the sooner she could take a cold shower and lay under the fan…

“Are you even listening to me?” the voice snapped. It belonged to Ben, the God of Death and a whole host of other things that hardly seemed related as far as Alice could tell—

“Death, Resurrection, Agriculture, Fertility, and Nectar. Why is that so complicated? Surely, you can see how vital and connected they all are?”  Ben continued, answering her unspoken question. 

Alice had been sharing her headspace with Ben since the morning of her 13th birthday. She went to sleep dreaming of her first co-ed party and woke up with the voice of an ancient god in her head. It had been downhill since then. She had no private thoughts, Ben could not bear to leave a question unanswered, and he of the “unknowable name” had an opinion on everything.

“Unpronounceable.” Ben corrected.

“What?” Alice asked, distracted as she peered down the block.

“Unpronounceable, not unknowable. My name is unpronounceable in your sim tongue so I went with something simple, and jazzy if I do say so myself…”

Alice ignored him. From this short distance, she could see that there were no cars in front of the house, which meant her parents were already on their way to work. She started walking. This was the best case scenario, Alice hated running into people when Ben was in one of his moods.

“Moods? I don’t have moods! I’m an all-powerful being! The only emotion I could possibly suffer is an untold amount of frustration from missing this very important culling. I mean centuries of tradition at risk because…Alice? Hello? You are not even listening to me!” he huffed, his tone aghast.  

“No!” Alice snapped, throwing up her hands, “I am absolutely not listening!”

I’m tired. I’m hot as fuck. And I don’t care what you want.

“And do you want to know why? Because I’ve been restocking shelves of toilet paper and sunscreen since ten o’clock last night and that was just keep myself from dying of boredom! I had to kick out a rando wearing a clown suit and chase off eight—count ‘em—eight stray cats,” she ticked off the number on her fingers before continuing. “I’m tired. I’m hot as fuck. And I don’t care what you want.”

Alice took a few deep breaths to try and calm herself down. It wasn’t worth fighting with Ben. She just needed to climb into her bed and get some rest. 

She slipped around the back of the house and let herself into her trailer.

  • LadyLobster
    Sep 29, 2019

    Wow, what an awesome start!
    Love the concept, love the characters, love the writing. It’s already so much fun–can’t wait to see where things go! Poor Alice, carrying around a mouthy, bossy ancient god. At least it’s entertaining to read about. 😉

    • feroshgirl
      Sep 30, 2019

      Thank you! Haha, yeah I am having so much fun making her life a wee bit miserable!

  • snickerbubble
    Oct 4, 2019

    I’m really enjoying your story so far! I look forward to the next update 🙂

    • feroshgirl
      Oct 4, 2019

      Thank you so much! I’m excited for the next few chapters to go up. They were a lot of fun to write.

  • Dolly Llama
    Oct 5, 2019

    This is freakin’ fantastic—I love your style! Definitely going to follow this one.

    • feroshgirl
      Oct 5, 2019

      Omg thank you so much! I’m so glad you’re having as much fun reading it as I am writing it 🙂

  • Kymber
    Oct 19, 2019

    This had me giggling throughout. 😀 I love our main girl, and her unique problem. Looking forward to what’s next.

  • finelines
    Mar 9, 2020

    Hey this seems sooooo cool! hes like an imaginary friend! But not. Interesting character… can’t wait to read more!

    • feroshgirl
      Mar 9, 2020

      Thank you! If imaginary friends had as much attitude as Ben we’d all be in trouble 👏👏👏😂😂😂

  • theplumbob
    Jul 1, 2020

    Oh this is fantastic 😂 I’ve been meaning to check this story out, and I’ve got to say the introductory chapter was far more hilarious than I anticipated. I’m liking Alice already, although the god of death (and fertility, wine, rebirth and such 😆) tak3s the cake. I love that he goes by Ben. I can just tell this is going to be one hell of a ride! 😊

    • feroshgirl
      Jul 1, 2020

      Welcome! I’m glad you started reading. It is a totally bonkers insane ride hahaha and I just wanted someone to enjoy my jokes as much as I do. Oh Ben, he is a freaking character, just you wait…

  • Yimiki
    Dec 17, 2020

    I love this. Your writing completely drew me in, and I was giggling over Ben’s antics for half the chapter. The other half was feeling incredibly bad for Alice and now I’m not sure if I like or dislike Ben. Of course, a powerful deity like him probably doesn’t have the faintest clue that he is completely ruining Alice’s life. Or at least, let’s hope he’s clueless about it.
    Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do but I’m eager to see where this story leads! =D

    • feroshgirl
      Dec 17, 2020

      Thank you and man, you are in for a ride! I’m curious to see whether Ben grows on you haha. He definitely makes Alice’s life…interesting.

      No, there’s no way an all-powerful deity is so selfish as to only think about themselves! ::cue evil author laughter::

  • Ninja Pink Sex
    Jul 25, 2022

    After 14 chapters of The Strauds, I am FINALLY making my way to The Original story.

    My biggest focus, other than the ghostly God of Death inner voice/sidekick is when Alice gets to the cemetery and mentions how easy the lock would be to pick. BUT JUST MENTIONS IT. Look, I know that The Strauds are based on BBD, but now I’m wondering if Alice has a penchant for breaking and entering, or if that was something that is new (in The Strauds) b/c she has the ability to pass through the cemetery. Sitting back and seeing what unfolds…

    Dang, first chapter and we get to see Alice’s sister (and read mention of a brother).

    Her parents must be really chill about their oldest child working part-time at a convenience store and living (behind) home, considering they’re both very successful in prestigious occupations. They’re either cool parents that care about their kids’ happiness, or they gave up and moved onto the next as their golden child. Considering that Alice showed symptoms of strange behavior in her her teens, it could really go in either direction. Also, this really sets an interesting premises on mental disorders. I know this is all supernatural, but on a deeper level this already seems to be a story about navigating mental illness.

    Awesome job, Ferosh. Looking forward to being a passenger on Alice’s journey, or stowaway, much like “Ben” (okay please tell me that his first name is actually Has…. Has Ben/Has Been….Okay showing myself out).

    • feroshgirl
      Jul 28, 2022

      Hahaha omg welcome! Whew you can see the evolution of my writing on this journey.

      Ummm, let’s just say Alice has always had a fast and loose relationship with the law. But also, uh, yeah, the god of death comes right some perks!

      Oh man I cannot wait for you to dive into the relationship with Alice and her family. You are identifying some of the tensions really early. But I’ll just say that it’s important to keep perspective in mind. Alice is reading everything from her POV, including her parents.

      Hehe stowaway.

      Hehe has been.

      Oh man, I cannot stop giggling.

      • Ninja Pink Sex
        Jul 31, 2022

        Perspective and POV is a fun tool to fuck around with when a character is narrating 😀 Looking forward to the journey 😀

  • sirianasims
    Sep 26, 2022

    “I’m tired. I’m hot as fuck. And I don’t care what you want.” Honestly, such a mood.

    Oh god the horrors of being the oldest child.

    “Ben, the God of Banks” is giving me strong Eddie Izzard vibes. Jeff, the god of biscuits! Simon, the god of hairdos!

    I love this so far ❤️

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