Chapter 7: Neil Plays a Game of Chess
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My foot went ahead one after the other, and I soon burst into a sprint, trying to catch up to Steven and his Father.

"Hey, I can't leave him with someone like you."

Both Steven and his father was surprised, but where Steven's eyes lit up with hope, his father eyes fumed with anger.

"It isn't normal for you to concern yourself with an employee outside of the workplace. Especially one where you fired a mere hour ago."

His grip on Steven was tightening, and the young boy winced in pain. It would make sense that he was that forceful, how else could Steven get those scars on his back.

"You're right. Normally it isn't my business to disturb other's private life, but I can't turn a blind eye when I see someone that needs help."

I have to give myself props for coming up with that line on the spot if I was going to be a death watcher I had to play the part as well. Steven's father ruffled his combed over hair, turning it into a jumbled mess.

"Why the sudden change of heart? You weren't this good of a person an hour ago."

As he spewed those words within earshot, I noticed a distinct smell: Alcohol. After attending many of my father's parties, I had grown accustomed to the putrid scent of intoxication. Steven's father was drunk, so this meant that reasoning with him was beyond question. Honestly, this was amazing; Steven's father must have had quite the addiction since he just drank an hour after getting fired.

Even though he seemed to be healthy, he was more aggressive now. That was the defining difference between the cowardly businessmen and the drunken bastard that stood before me. I knew alcohol was a poison, but I didn't think it'd rot men like this. At this notion though, a light went on in my brain. The answer that I was so desperately trying to seek was now in plain sight.

"So that's it huh?"

"What are you mumbling about you entitled brat?"

I had figured out the final piece of the puzzle. I knew why Steven was so afraid of his father, I knew why Steven had that scar on his back, and most importantly I knew why Steven was going to die. It was alcohol abuse, and Steven was just another victim of it.

The ground shook with each step he took towards me. It was only a blur, but he stretched out his hand and grabbed me by my dress shirt collar. His other arm was winding up behind him, raring to strike me on my face. Steven was there to witness the whole thing. His eyes were wide, and his body was still. The bystanders also stood still, unsure of how to proceed.

The bracelet on my hand then emitted a red light from the shimmering jewel encrusted onto it. The world around me started to slow down. It was as if time itself was bending and everything around me was being twisted and distorted. All eyes were frozen and glued onto me, as a fist came towards me at the pace of a snail. In the background, I could see Bree coming closer towards us. Her legs were moving in slow motion, but it still looked as if there was a spring in her steps. It was as if her legs only ever touched the ground for a split second, even in this moment of time dilation.

I didn't know what was happening, but it laid the opportunity for me to break free from his grip. I pried his hand off my collar, and elbowed him in the chest bone, right below where his heart was. As he was sent flying from the impact in slow motion, time started to speed up again, till it reached its normal flow.

"What gives you the right to touch my designer uniform."

I said this as I glared at him with my fists ready to fight. If he was going to resort to violence, I would too. After all, it's been a while since I was able to run loose.

"What the hell happened? I had you in my arms", said Steven's father.

He was just in as much shock as me. Even though I don't know exactly what happened, it probably had something to do with the bracelet. The way it was shimmering earlier, and how it gave me an out of body experience, I was sure it wasn't an ordinary bracelet.

Steven's father was on the floor clutching onto his chest and winced as he was trying to comprehend how he got hurt in the first place. I guessed I hit him a little too hard, but he deserved it anyways. Since I was playing the role of hero, I figured I had to deliver some heroic lines,

"Can you call even yourself a human being, if you take out your anger on your own son? That scar on his back. It was you that caused it, right?"

I guess I right on the dot, because the pain left his face in an instant and what replaced it was a look of astonishment. Alcohol abuse, that was the answer that I came across earlier. After smelling the alcohol from his breath, and noting his difference in personality, I put two and two together. It would seem that to escape from his failures; he would drink and then proceed to hurt his son in his drunken state. This was why Steven was broken earlier after he read my note. He wasn't scared of being homeless, but he was scared what his father might do to him, after getting fired.

Bree finally caught up to where we were, and after seeing her smirk, I knew that she was reading my mind again.

"Neil, You know you're actually pretty capable after all. I didn't think you'd be smart to figure the second part out hehe."

"Hey, I told you to stop reading my mind without my permission. My mind is my own intellectual property."

"Well, you should do a better job of keeping your thoughts secret, Neil."

"You need to do a better job of not poking yourself into someone else's mind."

A meek and trembling voice came out, while Bree and I were engaged in pointless banter.

"H-How I discipline my own child is my own business..."

Oh shit, I had forgotten that Steven's dad was still lying on the floor. He used one hand to push himself up.

"I will not just stand here and be slandered like that, by a hypocrite like you. You abuse your employees, and I abuse my son. What gives you the right to talk down to me."

The worst part about what he said, was that he had a point. Even so, It was too late. I had already set up everything for his downfall. I'll just ignore the horrible correct points he made about me, and use my environment to my advantage.

We had attracted the attention of an unwanted audience from the heated argument, and this was the perfect set up to end everything finally. I didn't mind how many people lined up to see this show because the more people there were, the more it'd work in my favor. The last thing I needed was Steven's help.

"It's not slander if it's a fact. I'll even ask your son yourself. Steven, I need you to be honest with me. Is your father hurting you?"

I needed Steven to take my side and be honest. This was the only way to save both of our lives. I watched his body quiver, and his eyes sinking further into darkness. This ordeal was too great for him, and he didn't know whether to betray his father or to trust me.

I didn't want to do this, but I had to play my secret card. This was my own trump card that I developed to bend others towards my will. So far it only proved useful on females, and I hoped that it had the same effect on small children.

I softened my eyes and gave him a wide smile. As opposed to earlier, this time I put everything I had into this smile. This wasn't just a standard smile, but I capitalized on every inch of my good looks. I would never employ it if I had the choice because it was dangerous. It was akin to one of Aphrodite's love curses or cupids love arrow.

Had never tried it on children before, but I imagined it to give me the look of an older role model, someone they could trust. I bent down on one knee and met with Steven's eyes. I said with the soothing voice I could muster,

"Steven, if you want to saved, then I want to be the one that saves you. If you're sad, then I want to be the older brother that makes you feel better. No matter what you can count on me."

I detested those words from the bottom of my heart, but I had to do whatever I could to get Steven on my side. My fake acting must have gotten through to him because I could see the life come back into his eye. Tears were streaming down his eyes, and he gave out the biggest smile possible. If anything I felt that my secret card had a more profound effect on children than women.

"Please save me. I don't want to be hurt anymore."

"You insolent child. How dare you take his side. When we're going home, and I'm going to make sure you never talk again."

He shouldn't have said that, because all of the bystanders weren't just going to sit by and allow this child abuse to continue.

I was waiting for this moment, where he would dig himself into a pit that he couldn't escape from. This was it. It was time to bring this full circle. I had no more doubts that I could fail; after all, I was a death watcher for a reason. I snapped my fingers and thought to myself.

"This is checkmate."

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