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The Grim Adventures of Death & Chan Vol 1. (PAPERBACK) Dyslexia Friendly Edition

The Grim Adventures of Death & Chan Vol 1. (PAPERBACK) Dyslexia Friendly Edition

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CRAWSHANKS GUIDE TO THE RECENTLY DEPARTED
A Dead Serious Companion Novella
(DYSLEXIA FRIENDLY EDITION)
 
Set in the Dead Serious Universe, The Grim Adventures of Death & Chan is a compendium of bonus shorts told in chronological order and documenting the hilarious but sweet beginnings of the relationship between a drag queen and the supernatural entity known as Death.

This Volume includes the following:
 
Death goes on a Date
Death goes Shopping
Death goes on Holiday
Death gets a Puppy
 
 
 
Exclusive to vawncassidy.com & vawncassidystore.com only
 This Edition is not available on any other platform.

Dyslexia Friendly PAPERBACK Editions

These Dead Serious editions have been produced in a larger font size with improved spacing between sentences and paragraphs. It has been created around the Open Dyslexic font, which is designed to assist with symptoms of dyslexia. This fonts signature look has a heavier weight at the bottom of letters, which can help readers keep these figures upright and distinguish top from bottom.

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Death goes on a Date
Chapter 1.

Staring out of the window at the constant downpour, I sigh. I’m so beyond ready for this storm to be over. There’s really not much chance of this rain letting up before it’s time to leave for The Rainbow Room. The sensible thing would be for me to leave earlier, which would give me more time to get ready to go on stage since I’m likely to get soaked to the skin the minute I step foot outside, but I’m not in the mood.

The club has been so quiet lately. After several nonstop days of this, people are less and less inclined to go out if they don’t have to. The club’s like a ghost town. Only a few of our more die-hard customers are willing to brave the shitstorm to enjoy the drag shows.

I hate to admit it, even to myself, but I’m not loving it the way I used to. The Rainbow Room, performing… it’s just not the same anymore and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.

Dusty left such a huge hole in my life. I know she’s still here, but it doesn’t stop my heart from aching, and it really pisses me off that almost everyone else seems to be able to see and hear her while I can’t.

Taking another sip of my tea, I watch the driving rain hammer at the other side of the glass. I’m restless, and it’s been getting worse lately. I’ve tried to fill it with work, my friends, even with helping Tris and Danny find a new flat, but nothing seems to fill the abyss in my life.

I’m lonely.

In the past, I’ve dated. Well, I’ve hooked up, but I was never interested in finding someone. My someone. Lately though, seeing Tris and Danny and other friends finding love, it’s left me feeling…

I don’t know. It’s left me feeling something, that’s for sure. I just can’t quite figure it out.

I’ve left the living room TV on with the volume low, more for background noise than anything else. I turn away from the window and decide to head to the club early, hoping that the others will distract me. Crossing the kitchen to rinse my cup in the sink, I pass the doorway into the living room but something on the TV catches my eye. Absently placing my cup on the table, I watch the news reporter on the screen, who seems to be standing outside the Louvre.

“‘Hercules and Achelous’ was painted in the early part of the seventeenth century by Italian artist Guido Reni and has now been confirmed missing and presumed stolen. However, no one seems to be able to explain how it was mounted on the wall of the Gallerie this morning only to be gone an hour later. Police are at a complete loss as to how a priceless work of art disappears into thin air in front of a Gallerie filled with people.”

The lights in the flat flicker and cut out for a second. With a huff of annoyance, I step fully into the living room as the lights flicker back on and the TV screen flares back to life, displaying a painting of what looks like two men wrestling naked.

Reaching for the TV remote to change the channel, I pause and turn my head slowly, then do a double take.
My mouth falls open and my eyes widen. Blinking rapidly doesn’t make the mirage in front of my eyes disappear. I flick my gaze to the painting on the TV and then back to the corner in disbelief.

The extremely old, extremely expensive painting that the French police have their knickers in a twist about is currently propped against my living room wall.

What the actual fuck?

I snatch up my phone.

“Hello?” Tristan answers and before I can censor myself, words tumble over themselves to escape my mouth.

“Whoa, whoa, Chan! You’ve gone ultrasonic, I can’t understand you.”

I pause and draw in a breath. “There’s a bloody big painting in my living room and it’s French and I think my stalker stole it except I don’t know how they got it into my flat because it’s seriously bigger than the bloody doorway. Oh my god, Tris, what the fuck?”

“Hold on a minute, Chan,” he says, and I can hear muffled words in the background as my stomach swoops and I stare at the painting in panic. “Chan,” Tris says a moment later. “Text me your address. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

I hang up the phone and send him my address. My stomach does another wild somersault and I feel a little dizzy. How the hell did this happen? How on earth could this painting have been in France this morning and now be crammed into my tiny flat?

Maybe it’s not real. Maybe I’m having a really weird nightmare or an hallucination? Maybe I’m already at the club and I’m testing another one of Ramone’s lethal cocktails.

To be fair, that sounds much more likely.

Except it all feels a little too lucid to be a dream. Unable to stand listening to the reporter garble on for another minute, I flip through the channels for a distraction, but nothing seems to help. In the end, I switch the TV off altogether and pace the room, trying to ignore the giant piece of stolen artwork.

Oh my god, am I going to prison? I swallow hard. Orange is not really my colour. Do people in English prisons wear orange or is that only in America? I should really stop watching the true crime channels with Danny and Tris.

Eventually, I hear a knock at the front door and hurry through the living room.

“Finally.” I fling the door open. “You said twenty minutes.”

Tristan glances at his watch. “It’s been twenty-three.”

I stand aside to let him enter and notice Harrison following along in his wake.

“Oh, you brought Prickles.”

Harrison walks past and rolls his eyes.

“Fine, you can both help,” I mutter.

“Dusty’s here too,” Tristan adds. “So what’s the probl—” He breaks off in shock, his mouth falling open and his eyes wide when he notices the very large problem propped innocently against the wall.

“Wow,” Harrison remarks mildly. “That’s—”

He blinks, clearly at a loss for words.

They stare at the painting, which is nearly three meters tall and has an elaborate, thick, dull-gold frame. It’s so tall it reaches all the way to the ceiling and that’s with it being propped at an angle.

“Where did it come from?” Harrison frowns. “It’s not really the sort of thing you’d find down Tooting market.”

“Where did it come from?” I try to force down the waves of panic rolling through me. “Where did it come from?”

I spin around and grab the remote to flip the TV back on. The screen freezes and pixelates for a moment as the lights flicker.

“Stupid fucking storm,” I mutter. The picture resumes and I switch to the news channel.

“Paris is in uproar tonight with the apparent theft of a painting from the Grande Gallerie of the Louvre. The painting itself, named Hercules and Achelous, was painted in the early part of the seventeenth century by Italian artist Guido Reni. Police are baffled as to how the painting was removed from the wall of the Gallerie without tripping any alarms or registering on the security cameras…”

He stares at the picture on the screen and then back at the painting behind us. “Oh my god. That’s the real thing?”

“I wouldn’t worry too much,” Harrison says. “While I’ll admit I’m curious as to how it ended up here, I doubt the authorities will think to look for a three-hundred-year-old painting in an ex-council flat in Shoreditch.”

“What I want to know is, how the fuck did it get here?” I snap. “This isn’t The Thomas Crown Affair. All of a sudden, all this weird crap just keeps appearing in my flat or in my dressing room at the club.”

“Weird crap?” Harrison repeats with interest. “Like what?”

“See for yourself.” I nod toward the pile of objects on the armchair. Harrison leans down and starts rooting through all the items.

“Oh.”

“Oh what?”

“This.” He lifts a nasty, dirty-looking cloth. It’s made from dark coarse material, it’s about the size of a beach towel, and it looks as if it’s been used to wipe the floor then plug a leak.

“That appeared on my bed a couple of nights ago.” I can’t help wrinkling my nose in distaste. “It smells like my grandmother, stale and musty.”

“I think it’s a Tibetan death shroud.” He leans in and studies it closely. “It has very distinctive stitching, see.” He lifts it toward me.

“I don’t even like cross-stitch. And what the fuck was it doing on my bed?”

“These date back to roughly the second century, and they were incredibly powerful. They were laid over the dead to protect them from evil spirits.” He puts it down to pick up a fancy if slightly gaudy necklace. “Wow, an Egyptian funerary amulet.” He turns it over in his hands. “Roughly between 186 BC and 90 BC. They were used for a similar purpose, to offer protection on the journey to the Underworld. This craftsmanship is gorgeous.”

There’s a pause then Harrison says randomly, smirking, “I don’t. But I do know about powerful magic shit.” I get the feeling he might be talking to Dusty even though I can’t see her.

“Never mind that,” I interrupt. “I want to know where they came from. And I don’t mean the country.”

“Uh.” Tristan winces. “Um, I think you have an admirer.”

“I told you I had a stalker.”

Tristan proceeds to do a whole lot of what sounds like making excuses for whoever is leaving this shit for me.

“Um, I think they’re meant to be… like… uh... I don’t know… love gifts?” he finally says carefully.

“Love gifts?” I repeat slowly. “A death shroud from a second-century Tibetan corpse is a love gift?”

“You don’t like my gifts?” A deep voice joins the conversation.

We all turn to find Death standing calmly next to the TV.

“YOU!” My heart jolts in my chest, but not in fear, and a weird feeling swoops through my stomach. “You’re the one who’s been leaving all this stuff?”

“They’re gifts.” He looks as if he doesn’t understand what the problem is. “Is it not how you mortals demonstrate your regard?”

“Not with grand larceny, no.” My eyes skim over that delicious body and I try desperately to remind myself that he’s a billions-of-years-old death deity and not someone I can ride into the sunset like a pretty pony. “You could’ve just got me a box of Maltesers and a Pandora gift card.”

Death’s eyes flick to the painting. “I always liked this painting, even if Guido was an insufferable bore.”
“You knew the artist of this three-hundred-year-old painting?” I stare at him.

“I’m far older than that.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” I wave my hand and roll my eyes, hoping like hell my inconvenient little crush on the Grim Reaper isn’t apparent to the others. “You’ve spent forever, like, collecting people’s souls or whatever.”

“I reap souls, I don’t collect them,” he corrects without a hint of offense. “But that’s not all I do. I’ve always enjoyed watching mortal history unfold.” He crosses the room until he stands in front of me, leaning in but not crowding my space. “I’ve seen things you couldn’t possibly imagine. I witnessed the destruction of Pompeii, saw the great fire reduce London to ash. I stood within the walls of Constantinople at the fall of the Byzantine Empire… actually, that was a very busy day for me.”

“I’m sensing a theme here,” I mutter as I stare into those insanely blue eyes. “One that doesn’t explain why all this old stuff is currently in my living room.”

“Because you are the first one to interest me in eons.”

I narrow my eyes as I study him, pursing my lips.
What exactly does he mean I interest him? Does he mean romantically? Sexually? As a platonic long-term chess partner?

He looks confused and I try not to think how cute it is. “I wanted to give you items that were worthy of you. They are priceless beyond human comprehension and filled with ancient magic.”

“Oh,” I say at last. “You do know I’m a boy in a dress?”

“What’s a Wong Foo?” Death says with a frown, turning to an empty space in the corner of the room. Given the reference to one of Dusty’s favourite Patrick movies, I can once again only conclude he’s speaking to her.

It’s so frustrating—not to mention incredibly unfair—not being able to hear her when everyone else in the room can. My impatience starts to get the better of me and I snap my fingers to draw Death’s eyes back to me.

“Death, focus please.” His attention once again is fully on me, and I have to fight the urge to shiver. I should be afraid. I mean, after all, he’s the bloody Grim Reaper or whatever, but there’s something about him, about the way those eyes lock on to mine, that makes my skin heat deliciously. “What do you want from me?” I ask.

“I would have thought that obvious. I want to engage in a mutually enjoyable outing where we can interact in a pleasant manner.”

As his words sink in and his meaning becomes clear, I can’t help the clench of my stomach. Why aren’t I afraid? I don’t understand. An ancient death entity seems to be stalking me and now wants to—

“You… want to take me on… a date?” I say slowly

**Please note this novel contains sexual content and themes of death, not intended for audiences under 18 years of age**

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