My eyes were bulging, my heart was thumping, and I could feel my anxiety building. There was nothing good about the situation I was in right now. How could it have come to this? Human life was weighing on my hands, both physically and metaphorically.
Coarse breathing, trembling hands, and lifeless eyes, Steven was clutching his left arm with his right. His small body shook with every step his father took towards us. With my eyes, I looked at Steven, hoping to see some change in his condition. 123092310, 12830928, 481098045, 5720370, 23243--, to no avail, the numbers on top of his head, kept jumping up and down, never at a standstill.
The kid looked like he was going to have a heart attack from the anxiety emitting from him.
The only good thing that came out of this was that I somewhat had an idea as to what was causing the number shifting. Though his lifespan didn't go up, I could tell he gave me a genuine smile earlier. Maybe if I had gotten him the toys he wanted, his life span would have gone back to normal. I don't know much about emotions, but that smile wasn't one that said,
"I want to die.
If the lifespan didn't come from an internal problem, it had to be external, and the culprit was none other than his father. All the evidence thus far pointed to this. Only after Steven heard his voice his father, did his life left his body. The footsteps hitting the metal plates on the bridge, were in unison with the heartbeats in our chests. The sound was dull and not that high pitched, but it left a lasting impact.
I mean I fired his dad, I no longer had any power over him. If the dad was looking for revenge, I guess I could take him with my superior martial art skills, but I couldn't take any chances right now. Steven's father was the cause for his unstable lifespan, and I couldn't risk it getting any worse.
"Steven, I'm taking you home. Now"
Stern and authoritative, the tone of Steven's dad's voice was the opposite of what it was during work hours. I could hardly tell this was the same person.
However, I could feel courage swelling within me and adrenaline pumping me up. I was done thinking about it, I was going to save to my life, and the kid too, but mostly mine. I turned around and stared daggers into his eyes. He looked shocked and stunned. The pupils in his eyes were shifting about, trying to make sense of the situation. He scrunched his cheekbones back and grinded his teeth, to see my face right now, was probably pure annoyance. I looked above his head and confirmed my suspicions.
Just as I thought, he too had a lifespan, 17 years left to be exact. The numbers weren't red or yellow so I could imply that the cause of death was natural.
Something didn't add up though. When he applied at the office last year, he was only 24. I racked my brain, trying to come up with a possibility, but I already knew diseases were the most likely cause.
Should I tell him to watch out for his heath, but then again it wasn't my problem, not yet anyway. There was a slight tug on the sleeve of my shirt. Steven was using what little courage he had left to snap me back to reality. I guess it was all leading up to this anyways. This was it, time to make my entrance, time to look like a hero. I put one hand into the pocket in my jeans, and with my other, I pointed my index finger right him, square in the face.
"Hey, who do---"
"Hey, who do you think you're talking to."
A triumphant voice rang out and cut mine mid-sentence. Again, I couldn't believe she did it again, Bree somehow managed to find a way to annoy me again.
"What the hell Bree I thought I was the death watcher, not you."
"Oops, my bad. I just wanted to sound cool, so I hope there's no hard feelings between us."
"Well too bad there is because you just ruined my timing."
Steven's dad stood there, tapping his foot on the ground and a vein popping out of his forehead.
The little boy couldn't place one foot ahead of the other, and his father's face scrunched up. Inside the workplace, he seemed to be a pushover, but out here, even I was starting to fear him a bit. If I let Steven go home now, I was sure to be kicking the bucket later.
Too many thoughts were floating inside my head because this situation placed too much pressure on me. Bree saw me perplexed and my eyes widened as I tried to figure out the answer. The color drained from my face, and my body trembled at the possibility, that I could fail. If I didn't do something, Steven's father would take him home, and that'd be my nail in the coffin.
"You're too busy looking at the bigger problem when the answer is literally in your face Neil."
Bree said a lot of things, but this had to be the vaguest, the most cryptic, and the most ambiguous thing she'd said in the last 20 minutes of meeting me.
Reaching his breaking point, Steven's father's anger came forth from the depths of his lungs,
"I've had enough of this insolent chatter. Steven if you don't come here in the next 5 seconds, you don't even want to imagine what your punishment will be"
The numbers on Steven's head still kept changing, and it even seemed to blow up in size. The numbers were at least three times as big as Steven. This was something that I didn't even know could happen. With my brain still unable to connect to the Divine Oracle, I don't think I can get any information about what these blown red up numbers were. I then proceeded to ask the next best thing and glanced over at Bree.
"Bree, What the hell is that?"
"Huh? I don't know. It looks cool though"
If even, it was to be expected, once again this girl proved useless. Why couldn't I get a straight forward answer out of her, what was her angle? I had a feeling that she was only doing this to tick me off.
Steven's father had enough of whatever this makeshift rescue mission was, and he grabbed Steven by his wrist. I felt one last tug before his fingers slid off the sleeve of my shirt. The force that was used to pry Steven away from me was so great that the air pushed Steven's shirt upward. It was wide enough that I saw one sharp detail, a scar running down his back.
Steven was being dragged away to his inevitable demise, and I too was on the way to death's door. My heart was heavy, but one thought lingered in the back of mind pushing itself through my neurons, trying to pop out as an epiphany.
"Scar? The answer is right in front of me?"
My brown eyes glistened in the sun, as I curved a cheekbone. What was so confusing, became easier to understand now. It was just as Bree said; the answer was right in front of me.
"HMM? You kind of figured it out. Guess you're not as stupid as I thought you were Neil."
This was priceless coming from her. I questioned her intelligence at every turn and wondered if she had even a speck of intelligence in her brain. This was supposed to be the moment where I swooped and saved the day, but she even managed to ruin that.
Even so, she smiled and pushed me forward. Her outstretched palm felt comforting, as it brushed against my back, and all my worries evaporated into thin air.
"Well you're the death watcher, go on and save him."
"You don't have to tell me twice."