NOTE: I'm not proud of this next chapter. I mean, so far, I've already made quite a bit of garbage, but trust me when I say that none of it was even nearly as terrible as this next chapter, which is called - I swear, I thought this was a good idea at the time -
I stalked the streaker (but I swear it was in her defense)
-10:00 a.m. Westborough Mall, the next day-
"In every case that's happened before us, everybody ended up dying in a matter of months," Martin said as he, Linda and Roger walked through the mall. "Before they did, however, they were able to temporarily thwart Death by saving each other – for instance, one would push another out of the way of an explosion or an oncoming train.
"Sometimes, the people who had already seen Death's plan once were able to see it again in the form of visions, such as seeing your seatbelt ripped one moment and whole the next. These visions happen very close to the time of the person's death, and they can happen at any time. As a matter of fact, there's a chance you or I missed ten signs on our way here just because we weren't looking.
"Sometimes one survivor could inadvertently cause the death of another by doing something that seemed completely harmless at the time. Perhaps we have caused this escalator to exceed its maximum weight capacity, which could start a slow meltdown of the system, which might cause it to explode with one of the survivors on it, killing them," Martin said as the three got off of the escalator and onto the second floor.
"Did you sleep at all last night?" Linda asked.
"Did you?" he responded. "I couldn't sleep, knowing that ten people could – AAAAH!" he hollered as a banner advertising SHIRTS 20% OFF! draped itself over his shoulders.
"See, this is what happens when you stay up all night reading scary stuff. You end up jumpy all day."
"This must be one of those visions! I just saw how that Arianna girl will die!" Martin exclaimed.
"So what, she trips over a banner and falls off a cliff?" Linda said sarcastically.
"I don't know, but it's proof that she'll die soon. Oh, I wish we knew where she was!"
"She's right there!" Roger said, pointing towards a nearby women's restroom where, sure enough, Arianna Desmoulin was just entering.
"Let's go!" Martin said.
"Into the women's room? Won't that be violating her privacy?" Roger said.
"Don't worry. With her stunt at the football stadium, I doubt she'll be that concerned about privacy," Linda said critically.
What they didn't know was that in a store near them, a new electrically powered riding mower was plugged into the wall, revving its engine to prove its power.
"You two go on ahead, I'll wait out here," Roger said.
"Fine," Martin said, and he and Linda walked into the restroom.
What they didn't know was that a worker set his cheeseburger in the driver's seat of the riding mower.
Arianna, it turned out, was the only person that was in the restroom, and she was about to start streaking again. Just as she began to unbutton her shirt, Martin and Linda came in.
"Hey, it's women's – oh, hey, Martin. Listen, if you're waiting for the show, just wait outside for a few-"
"Arianna, we think you might be in danger here," Martin said abruptly.
Arianna stopped undressing. "Really? How do you figure?"
So Martin and Linda explained what they had found, as well as what had happened to Joseph the previous day.
"And you're the next person on Death's list," Martin finished.
Arianna just stood there for a moment, then burst out laughing. "You're kidding, right? Because this is a pretty good joke," Arianna said, placing her shirt on a nearby coat rack.
"It's no joke," Linda said seriously. "It happened to Joseph, and it'll happen to you."
Arianna pulled off her tank top and said, "Okay, let's review the facts. One, a bunch of people died in the past after spending a brief amount of time alive. Two, a tightrope walker was killed because he was walking on a tightrope."
"But don't you think it's a little odd that he died first, just like in my vision?" Martin said.
As Arianna unbuttoned her pants, she said, "Listen, kids. He was a tightrope walker! There are hundreds of things that can go wrong tightrope walking."
What Arianna didn't know was that a faulty storage shelf caused a D-cell battery pack to fall onto an already loose power cord, pulling it out of the wall and causing the riding mower to grind to a halt.
"I, on the other hand, have only three things to look out for," Arianna said as she took off her underwear. "Stay shaven, weigh no more than 140 pounds, and stay clear of female cops. And I highly doubt that I have anything to worry about." Her speech done, she walked out of the bathroom and began streaking across the mall near the fence that prevented people from falling to their doom.
What she didn't know was that the fence was old and that many of the stakes holding it in place were loose.
Martin began to run after Arianna, but Linda stopped him. "Chasing her won't help a thing. Besides, she's making a lot of sense."
What nobody knew was that as an employee plugged the riding mower back in, the mower lurched, causing the ill-placed cheeseburger to land on the gas pedal.
What everybody saw was the riding mower roar out of the display window and head straight towards Arianna.
Suddenly, it stopped abruptly as it reached the end of its cord, still some two feet from Arianna.
Laughing, she walked out from behind the mower's path, leaning on the fence. "Well, that was fun," she said.
Suddenly, the mower pulled free of the plug, plowing through the fence and knocking the whole thing, including Arianna, over the edge.
"Arianna!" Martin cried, running to where the fence had been.
She hadn't fallen to her death.
She had, however, fallen to a banner, which had wrapped itself around, and then broken, her neck.
The banner read SHIRTS 20% OFF!