An interview between author Christopher Mannino (CM) and Billy Black.
CM: Billy, I understand you're entering your second year as a Death. What is it like Reaping souls for a living?
BILLY: Honestly, it's just a job. We're in transportation, but the cargo happens to be souls. On a day to day basis, I don't think about death too often. Especially since this is only my second year. I went on three Reapings so far, and only held the scythe myself in one of them. Most of my time's spent at school studying.
CM: What do you think of your new housemate, Susan?
BILLY: I'm really conflicted. There's never been a girl here. A lot of the other Deaths, particularly the older ones, are complaining, saying she'll mess everything up. If she hadn't been housed with Jason and me, I'm not sure how her arrival would affect me, but living with her, even though it's only been a couple weeks so far, I think she's pretty nice. I was kind of annoyed at first, particularly since they had to choose my house to stick a girl in, but it's not that bad. She's a kid, just like all of us.
CM: Speaking of kids, how did you become a Death?
BILLY: Back in the Mortal World I started losing a lot of weight. Suddenly a Death showed up, swung his scythe, and offered me a contract. Live as a Death for a year, and then take a test. If I failed the test, I'd be a Death forever. If I didn't sign the contract, I'd die. Wasn't much of a choice. All Deaths are living kids, snatched in a similar manner. At first, you're really resentful, but once you get used to the World of Deaths, you find it's not so bad.
CM: So you failed your test, and were forced to remain a Death?
BILLY: Not exactly. In the end, I decided I liked being a Death. After Dad left us, life was... rough for my mother and me, to say the least. At the College of Deaths, I made friends. I'm on a boskery team, I do well in classes, and I even work a part-time job for money. I didn't feel compelled to go back.
CM: What's the one thing you miss most about the Mortal World?
BILLY: TV and computers. There are times when life feels a little slower in the World of Deaths On the other hand, that's not always a bad thing.
CM: So what do you do for fun?
BILLY: As I mentioned, I play boskery. I was one of only a few kids my age to make a team. It's meant as a way to see how well we use scythes. Deaths are monitored, and their positions in the Senior College are determined by skill with the blade, since scythe skills allow you to Reap more souls in a shorter time. But it feels more like a game, with four teams competing at once. We use double-blade scythes, which paralyze you if you get nicked. It's a really tough sport. When I'm not playing, I like to read, hang out with friends, or even head up to Mors, which is a city nearby. They have some rides there, like an amusement park.
CM: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
BILLY: I think everyone should give Susan a chance. She seems nice to me. I know the last time there was a female Death, she was a witch who betrayed the Deaths to Dragons, but Susan's different. Don't judge her before you get to know her.
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