Sam Lawton could have sworn he saw the child at the bridge.

It was horrible, what happened to Isaac Palmer. He died on a massage table, and that on itself was bizarre.

But there, watching the coroner load the man's corpse to the ambulance, was a raven haired child. He was pale and thin, and if he was to guess he was about seven of age. He looked rather small and frail, eyes framed in those huge glasses that perched on his nose. His clothes was black, helping the child blend into the shadow. In fact, if it weren't for that one odd fact, Sam might not even spare another glance.

That child was at the bridge.

There was no way that child survived the fall. He was sitting on the rail when Sam was running away, with no indication that he could even jumped down from it. Sam thought that perhaps his mother left him there—awful as that sounds—to save herself when the chaos happened. Sam did turned around to try and save him, but by the time he did so the bridge had already collapsed. And because of that alone, Sam was absolutely sure the child did not make it.

Yet the child was here. He stood under the tree not even fifteen feet away, with a black folder tucked to his side.

Naturally, Sam was curious. He ignored Molly's anxious looks and Peter's demanding questions walked closer to the child. The child caught his eyes, and his lips tugged up to a smile.

Molly noticed the child then, and became concerned when she saw no adults around. "Hey, are you lost?"

But Sam could not muster the same look. "You're at the bridge," Sam said, and as if to prove a point, the child ignored them all.

"I see dead people."

He flinched, and he could feel how tense his co-workers were behind him. It was funny at the funeral, but after two deaths, and that nasty warning from the coroner, it didn't seem all that funny anymore.

"What did you just say?" Peter fumed. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Peter, he's a child!" Molly gasped, aghast.

Yet the child did not even look at their bickering. His eyes did not once strayed away from Sam's, and Sam can't help but thought of that particular Nietzsche saying.

And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee

Sam felt it fits very well with what happened now.

"Peter Friedkin," the child suddenly stated. "Impaled by metal rods. Deceased."

Sam's eyes widened. Was he really stating what Sam thought he was?

"Nathan Sears. Obliterated by support cable. Deceased."

Sam felt like he should have leave, but he can't even bring himself to stop staring at the child; one that somehow knew how they died as dictated in his vision.

"Samuel Lawton. Cut in half by a sheet of steel. Deceased."

Molly was staring in shock.

"Yet here you are, walking about."

"What the fuck—hey boy, don't joke around like that!" Nathan yelled.

"Sure, blame the child for joking around with life, Mr. Sears." The child then averted his eyes in annoyance. "It was supposed to be an easy job. How high was the rate of survival in a bridge collapse, right? But of course, fate decided to play around with me again. She thought it funny to do this sometimes. She knew how troublesome it is for me to fix the balance, yet she did it anyway." Then he blinked in amusement. "Huh. Now that I think about it, your lifes are jokes for her. Sucks on you."

The part-time chef could not believe his ears at the moment. "Who are you? What are you?"

"My name, Mr. Lawton, is Harry. And what I am is not your business."

"It's just a lost kid, Sam," Nathan said. "There's a lot of cops here, one of them will get him back to his parents. Let's leave."

"That's not a lost kid, Nate. He knows our name!" Peter exclaimed. "You wanna brush this one off like you brush off that coroner's words?"

"You can't escape death, you know," Harry said. "Like your friends, each of you shall meet your end soon."

Peter looked enraged. "What do you say?"

"Wow, Peter, man, slow down," Sam stopped him from advancing. "Molly's right, he's just a child."

He gritted his teeth and inhaled deeply. "Come on, Sam, let's get out of here. This boy is mad." He walked away briskly, fuming in anger.

"Yes, let's go Sam," Nathan agreed. Molly pulled his hand, and Sam had no other option but to follow.

"We'll see each other again, Mr. Lawton," he said, eyes fluttering in apparent boredom. "I do not like to be cheated."

Sam turned around then. People passing by obstructed his view, and when he could get a clear look to the tree again, the child was gone. And suddenly, Sam remembered the coroners words.

Death doesn't like to be cheated.

Well fuck.


"You know, you need not goad them so much," Harry said. He felt rather than see the 10 feet ten inches man approached, before standing, towering beside him. "Making them try and fix the balance themselves simply never cut it."

"Ah, I merely explained the rules. It's up to them to interpret them, to find loopholes in the existing rules of death."

"There's no loopholes in death."

"But it's fascinating, isn't it?"

"The game? It was as much fascinating as it was to trap a mouse, Bill."

"A feisty mouse, perhaps. People are always most alive just before they die; full of intriguing ideas, as absurd as they seem. Who knew, with how many plays on the palm of your hand; one might slipped through your fingers."

"No one escape death no more, Bill. Not after you."

"I know. But it did break the monotony in your work, doesn't it? It's just fair fun to watch people try."

The child went quiet, before raising his eyebrow in amusement. "Well then, I believe you have some clean up to do," he said. "Have a vacation, Bill. Perhaps to Mt. Abraham, New York? I heard funeral homes are very busy this time of year."

And William 'Bill' Bludworth smiled.


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