Austin RPG Exploration Group
Reaper (Penelope Wells)
[A television turns on. The N! logo appears on the screen and fades into the cheerful intro music for the Jackie show. The camera pans across a live audience and settles on Jackie O’Finn. Jackie has her hair in a sylishly fluffed bun and is wearing a lilac suit.]
Jackie: Welcome to the Jackie show. Today’s two hour special is all about Reaper, the second Nova to errupt and now a controversial public figure. Later we will have an exclusive interview with her but first let’s get a sense of who she was when she was just Penelope Wells.
[The camera moves from Jackie to a large screen behind her where the Jackie logo has been replaced with a picture of a dark haired baby. A deep male voice begins to narrate.]
“Penelope Wells was born and raised in Austin, Texas.”
[A picture of kids in track suits with everyone but Penelope faded out.]
“She was always good at any sport she tried but her passion was for running.”
[A brief home video showing Penelope opening Christmas presents on the floor in front of a Christmas tree. A man and a woman are seated on the couch.]
“Her parents, Doug and Margaret Wells, divorced when Penelope was 10. Doug, both a violent man and an alcoholic, left and was never heard from again until media tracked him down after Penelope’s erruption.”
[A photo of Penelope, Mandy, and Jo’nique. Penelope is to the side of both of them, clearly drunk and holding a full margarita glass up to the camera.]
“After highschool Penelope spent most of her time working and partying.”
[The slide show ends and the camera moves back to Jackie. In the previously empty seat beside her sits Reaper who is staring at the camera. She has striking eyes, nearly black except for flecks of saphire blue that flash when the lighting moves, and black hair cut short and swept across her face. She is wearing a perfectly fitted black leather motorcycle jacket and dark jeans.]
Jackie O’Finn: We are here with Reaper, the second Nova to errupt and a controversial public figure. First, I’d like to say that I appreciate you sitting down with us to talk. I know that you don’t grant many interviews. What made you choose to call yourself Reaper? Legend say that you got your powers from Death itself. Is there any truth to that?
Reaper: I am Reaper because, like Death, I take time and bring things to their end. Unlike Death, I do not do so indiscriminately. I am not one to waste time, so I am only going to tell this story once. It is true that I touched Death right before I gained my powers.
In my human life I was nobody. I was the second pick for everything.
September 7th, 2001 I woke up late for my dead-end, soul-sucking job at a call center. I was next to a half naked girl, smelled like stale booze and cigarettes, and still dressed from the previous night’s partying. At work my boss rode me about being late and the calls were the typical mix of painfully oblivious and miserable, entitled people. My memories of the time play in blurry black and white. There was no color to life. Ever night I would go out partying. I drank, I took whatever drugs I could get ahold of, I brought home boy after girl after boy, all trying to catch glimmers of color, trying to see the joy in the world that I saw as a child. At the hight of my high I could see it, far off, but it was there.
That night there was a rave and that meant drugs and dancing. If I was lucky it meant enough drugs and dancing to almost forget that I was depressed, to almost forget that I was nobody. I wouldn’t be just a face in the crowd, I would be the crowd. I was with Mandy (now my agent), Jo’nique (my PR rep), and Swizz (DJ Swizzle aka John Malley). I had bought enough meth to last me the weekend. I wanted to fly high and not come down until work on Monday.
…and I did. I flew high. I saw all of the colors; I felt the bass flow through me and the light wash over me. I flew all night and all the next day through the rave and a private after-party. There was drugs and people; I remember a girl and a bathtub; I remember trying to keep the party going but everyone else starting to wind down. At that point I knew that I could never duplicate the previous night’s high. I felt that life had given me its last gift, a perfect night, and now it was time for me to leave the world.
I went home and spent all of Sunday and most of Monday getting things ready. I cleaned and organized everything; I gave away everything I owned; I wrote letters to those people I thought might feel like society expected them to care (I was convinced that no one truly cared, just they thought they were supposed to care so they acted the part) releasing them from their obligations; And then I bought all of the drugs that I could and started taking them.
Do you want to know what it was like for me? It was being barely conscious and listening for my heart beat. It would beat so fast and hard that I felt that before I died my body was refusing to go before it had its allotment of heartbeats. Then there was banging that didn’t match up with my heart. I felt that I must have grown two hearts or had two all along only now they weren’t beating in rhythm. It must have been Swizzle pounding on the door but I was too far gone to think of that. It was five in the morning and I though I could see the sun rise coming through the window. I remember feeling waves of pain all over my body and someone saying that what was left of me would make it.
The rest is already out there. I will not waste your time recounting my transformation, my rebirth, my erruption as you like to refer to it now.
Jackie: Thank you, Reaper. [Turns to camera] After the break we’ll talk about what Reaper’s up to now, her thoughts on Utopia, and what she sees next for the world.
""Repent, Harlequin! said the Ticktockman
An interesting story with some parallels to my character.