Discover an extract for free:
Thousands of years ago, humans worshiped the gods and through their faith, fueled their powers that placed them above mere mortals.
Thanatos, god of death, is furious with one of his generals who has not reported his quota of deaths. Because this would have allowed him to overthrow Hades to become King of Hell rather than remaining his lieutenant assigned to Tartarus, the antechamber of the condemned.
The general was therefore punished, along with his legion, to live on Earth for a thousand years among humans in order to collect the essence of the dead without waiting for them to cross the Styx.
This is how the Charons became emissaries of Thanatos by traveling the terrestrial world in search of the dying in order to collect their energy for their master.
Their god, in his anger, gave them human form and it is only through his power that the Charons can survive, thus forcing them to fulfill their macabre office tirelessly.
Since Thanatos needed them to be as efficient as possible, he gave them exceptional abilities. Not only did they have eternal youth from the age of twenty-four on Earth and could communicate with each other telepathically, but they also received the ability to regenerate their wounds, develop superhuman strength and read the minds of mortals whom they surpassed. greatly longevity.
For centuries, the Charons worked for their Master without complaint, waiting for the end of their punishment to finally have the right to return to Tartarus.
But humans turned to a new faith, letting the different pantheons decline: the weakened gods fell into the sleep of oblivion, no longer keeping the portal with Earth open and consequently abandoning all their priests, servants and emissaries to themselves.
Without the power of the deities they served, these " relay » humans in turn declined to disappear completely under the advent of new religions.
The Charons did not escape this dire fate and began to die like humans as their source of power declined.
However, the energy of their death was absorbed by those still alive who thus prolonged their existence on Earth, since the portal with Thanatos was no longer active and the world of the Gods that they had known no longer existed.
Nowadays – Paris.
How can you live in harmony with your loved ones when you are an emissary of death that killing makes you sick? The answer is that we cannot... We find ourselves disowned by our own people for whom not murdering is as much heresy as taking the life of a normally healthy being is for me, not to mention the Unfortunate side effects I suffer from when I kill.
I am a mistake in the eyes of my people. Because according to the Thanatos Code, the Charons must collect the energy of death if they themselves do not want to lose their power and their lives. Suffice to say that murder has therefore quite naturally become our way of life over time, because obviously, the more violent the death, the greater the energy absorbed.
Which explains why I, who am sick just at the idea of taking a life before its time, have almost no power... It's been two years now that I've been pretending to be human since I I was condemned on my sixteenth birthday by my people: each Charon must on that day, complete his rite of passage by killing a mortal designated for this purpose. I was unable to eliminate the target designated by the Regent and vomited with revulsion on his desk as he handed me my victim's file!
In my case, I should have been executed after giving birth to a child for my failure. Because anyone who does not respect the Thanatos Code is not allowed to live, except for the time to fulfill their obligation to procreate if it is a woman.
But I managed to escape when a fire in the barn mobilized all of the Charons. Taking advantage of their distraction and the arrival of the firefighters from the neighboring town who were of course dismissed immediately, I slipped into their truck without everyone knowing and was thus able to leave the area before anyone noticed my absence. . I then took a train to Paris where I holed up in the filthiest places while I put a survival plan in place.
Fortunately for me, without power does not mean without resources in the human world, and I managed to find a place for myself there. I finally settled next to the Hôtel Dieu, the city's historic hospital: being so close, I can absorb their energy when all the sick and injured breathe their last. Since there are regular ones, it fuels me just enough to capitalize on my low capacity.
Because if I concentrate enough, I can read the thoughts of humans, which really helped me with my immersion in their society. I created administrative cover for myself via thugs identified by scanning their minds and also managed to land a night maintenance job at the morgue. Sitting next to the manager in a café, I read in his mind that he was desperate for an assistant. But since no one wanted the job, he had been shouldering the workload alone for months. So I took my chance and finally managed to convince him to take me on a trial, which he has never regretted since.
Failing to be a relentless hitwoman as our Thanatos Code dictates, I have instead become an "angel of death" as humans say, accompanying people who call for deliverance to their hospital beds. It must nevertheless be admitted that the palliative care service is nothing more and nothing less than a camouflaged deathbed...
I found a balance in helping these people in their death because I finally have the feeling of being useful, and not a parasite drinking in the essence of others. It's gratifying to have found a roundabout way to be in tune with my deep Charon nature and my life-respecting personality. To the extent that it is human action that prolongs the time of death at all costs, I am only rebalancing the cycle of life countered by human science. Because sometimes therapeutic relentlessness resembles torture. Not to mention their method for patients at the end of life. They simply stop feeding them and they end up wasting away by starving! I help them speed up the process so that they suffer for less time, and a big advantage is that it's the only act of death that doesn't make me sick...
In short, this system which allows me to survive is a pleasant discovery, my only consolation in truth in my otherwise very solitary exile. I do have some friendly relationships with local merchants, but over time, my ability to read the thoughts of the humans around me has developed greatly. To the point of becoming disabling for me.
So I need calm after my night at work so I don't go crazy. Because people think all the time and it’s exhausting to have so many people “in your head”! It requires a constant effort to not let myself be overwhelmed when I have absorbed energy, however small it may be. Probably because initially I needed to learn from them so much that my power was focused on this point. It has become an automatic reflex that I can no longer control.
My only company is Choupi, my little Bombay cat who I adopted without my family knowing when I was twelve. It is all black, and according to human beliefs, evil. But just like me, his nature, despite the clichés, is loving and empathetic.
We connected straight away, because among the Charons, it's the dogs who are popular. The fiercer they are, the better. Suffice to say that a little playful kitten is more breakfast than a companion for what constitutes an acceptable animal in the castle.
This night is relatively calm because on Monday evening there are generally fewer bodies arriving at the morgue. So I'm quietly cleaning the various instruments from the day before (thanks boss...) when the doors suddenly open with a loud noise.
— Good evening Max, greets the paramedic. A customer for you. It’s “all fresh” from up there, he adds in a mocking tone before quickly turning on his heel.
Up there being the emergency department because the morgue is in the basement of the hospital. I sign the papers for receiving the body and go to the computer to fill out the file. Over time, Ralph, the head of the morgue, took me under his wing and delegated part of his work to me without the knowledge of the management of the establishment. This allows him to enjoy his poker evenings and for me, it guarantees me the possibility of being peaceful on these days because Ralph is truly a chatterbox without a name.
Um... the death occurred fourteen minutes ago? However, I don't feel any death energy there... Which is absolutely not normal...
Uncomfortable, I approach the stretcher to lift the sheet covering the corpse when it starts to move on its own!
Hell, they made a huge mistake in the emergency room!
Hastily, I remove the sheet and meet a gaze as hard as stone. The man has blue and green eyes which give him a terribly intense and disturbing appearance at the same time!
But it's not his look that freezes me in place, it's his wound! A long cut runs from his left shoulder to his right hip, as if someone had wanted to slice him in two! Only, the wound is literally shrinking before my eyes, little by little, by removing the few staples undoubtedly placed by the emergency doctors before they let go of the matter.
Panicked upon realizing that he can only be a Charon to heal from his wounds like this, I almost collapse on the ground, stepping back hastily.
“I… I'm going to call a doctor,” I said, swallowing and playing the terrified human to perfection.
“It won't be worth it,” he replied in a dull voice. I do not need it.
His hand grabbed me with the speed of a cobra and held me tightly, preventing me from fleeing. Definitely a Charon if I had the slightest doubt!
But how did he end up in a human morgue?!
And his look doesn't mean anything to me...
Determined to save my skin, I focus on his thoughts to try to get out of this nightmare situation. It's much more difficult to read a Charon's mind, not to mention that it requires a lot more energy, but I manage to pick up something because it preoccupies him...
“ I have to manage to warn the Regent. But in my state, I won't go very far or succeed in losing the Hydra's trackers. ! It's too late, all is lost ! »
I can sense his anger and frustration at not being able to save his brothers who are going to be captured by “the Hydra operation”? Having done everything possible to go under the radar, I was careful not to try to obtain information on the activity of the Charons...
But given the situation that I understand, and the urgency that I feel in this man, I cannot help but think of my own family: it is not because they rejected me that on my side, I stopped loving them. Otherwise I wouldn't suffer so much from their lack!
— Do you want me to call someone for you? So that we can come and get you? I said in a very small voice to continue to stick to my role as a traumatized human.
By culture, Charons do not have the reflex to use human tools because they rely on their power to communicate with each other telepathically and read the minds of others. What’s the need for technology in that case, right? Furthermore, the Charons' centuries-old feeling of superiority does not really push them to be interested in human society...
But this is absolutely not my case, on the contrary! I am fascinated by this “connected” world and over the past two years, I have even become a geekette, as these passionate profiles are called. It's definitely easier to learn when you can read people's minds rather than looking for answers to questions you wouldn't even have asked yourself...
And among the thugs who helped me create my fake identity, one in particular was tech-savvy. Well, when he wasn't high on the substances he regularly took... But I learned a lot with him and always continued to train myself afterwards.
Even if I don't intend to reveal myself, perhaps a call could be an acceptable compromise if the Regent needs to be notified? Although they only use it rarely and always reluctantly because it is only to communicate with humans if necessary, the domain has a telephone line...
He stares at me, taken aback, as the idea makes its way through his head and he berates himself for not having thought of it himself. Yes, the Charons are so full of their power that they don't really pay attention to the world in which they operate...
It's true that normally they can communicate with each other over a long distance, but like everything, it requires energy and given his state...
“Give me your camera,” he orders urgently.
But he finds himself looking stupidly in front of the screen of my smartphone. Obviously, another one who worked on the killing techniques thoroughly and completely skipped the human immersion courses, pfff…
Coming to his aid, I dial the number he dictates to me and hand him the phone that I “inadvertently” put on speaker…
—The Hydra is coming towards you imminently! he says hurriedly to his interlocutor as soon as he picks up without even giving him time to say anything. You must prepare yourself and above all protect the children who are the ultimate target of this enemy!
- That's considerate of you, replies a honeyed although distorted voice, but it's too late... I have already taken the castle and as I suppose you must be the little incident reported by my agents, don't worry. Don't worry, we will take care of you very soon. I'm sure you can't wait to see your loved ones again...and I love family reunions!
The caller burst into sinister laughter before hanging up. The tone is now the only perceptible noise in the heavy silence of the morgue... because we are in shock from this conversation.
They have taken the castle! How is it possible ? Who is this enemy who declared war on the Charons?! Why attack children?
So many questions swirling around in my head and preventing me from concentrating on listening to those of the man who turned pale in front of me.
“I need to regenerate,” he said to me, composing himself. And you will help me!
Panicked, I quickly back away. He is going to kill me ! To regain his power, he needs death energy!
Because my brain finally reconnected and finally made the connection: it’s Cerberus!
In each generation of Charons, an elite member is designated to be the guardian of the community.
I now remember the one who was chosen six years ago: he had hair as black as night… and wild eyes!