I shouldn’t be here.
I was a reckless kid who invited death too often. Darting out into busy street, riding my bike through traffic, starting fights with some dangerous people. It isn’t that I wanted to die so much as life was always difficult for me. It was far easier to put myself at risk than be at home. Easier and safer, honestly.
Death couldn’t be dodged forever though, and I met him one day after being foolish.
I’d taken to playing in traffic, my little game to see how close I could get to the cars without getting hit. Most cars just stopped before I even got close, causing a number of crashes. That day, after a particularly shitty night at home, I didn’t look nor did I care to as I jumped into traffic. I believed that’d stop for me, but this day they didn’t. You know, I saw him. Just moments before, I glanced across the street and there he stood. Not in a dirty black/grey robe, bony hand gripping a scythe as he waited to collect me.
No, this thing wore an immaculate, jet black suit and this toothy white, sharp toothed grin. Of indeterminate race with black eyes, I knew him and hesitated just that extra second when I wouldn’t have normally. I can’t describe the feeling of that car hitting me. Something different from normal pain, something that felt like a splintering of my mind from my body. A small part of me felt more alive in that moment, as my body changed shape, than I had in my entire life.
I stood over myself as the me on the ground drew labored breaths. I couldn’t describe how I felt seeing myself like that other than relief that it was over.
“What a way to go, huh?”
His hand was heavy on my shoulder then, I could feel the suck on my soul. I don’t know why I did, but something made me look up. There across the stress was a woman. Tall, bronzed, and bright as the sun. She was standing at a distance and watching everything with a grim expression. I lifted a nearly transparent hand to her.
Fear made me ask. Fear of death and what came after. I’d been ready to die, but not for the rest. I think she was as surprised as I was that I asked for her help because her eyes grew wide and her mouth gaped.
“Don’t interfere.” His voice boomed behind me. “He’s been mine from the beginning.”
Her whole face changed. A wicked smile crossed her lips, making her eyes almost glow with glee. She grew brighter as she took one step forward.
“If you can take him before I reach him, he’s all yours. Don’t you like a challenge, Quora?”
She’d barely finished her sentence before she was moving across the space toward me at lightning speed. A blur of white light that burned my eyes so I shut them. All the while, his hand grew heavier on my shoulder and I felt myself fading away.
“Gotcha.” I heard her excited whisper in my ear seconds before the blackness engulfed me. “Always a loser, Quora.”
I woke in the hospital in the worst pain of my life, wishing I was dead. The sound of beeping machines filled the silence and I could barely move my head.
“I hate losing.”
I knew it was him without looking, but he moved into my blurry field of vision. Still immaculately dressed, but in a dark blue suit, a dark aura surrounding him.
“Jophiel.” His face morphed to an angry black maw. “Always butting in, that fucking bitch.”
His roar rattled the medical equipment around me, but no one came running. After a moment, his face cleared and that sharp white grin spread across his face.
“No worries. We both laid claim, the question is who will have you first?”
He was gone then, leaving me in pain. I passed out and stayed out for a long time after. The next time I opened my eyes, doctors stood over me with incredulous faces. While I’d been out my body had miraculously healed. I spent time in rehab, but was up and moving faster than anyone else as injured as I was. I didn’t question it, simply left.
Life has been different since then. Ive been diffeent. I wake and I see him. I step outside and I see him. I look over my shoulder because he’s there waiting for me to step out in traffic again. And he makes it his mission to claim me.
Train wrecks, car crashes, gun shots. He’s had a hand in every close call on my life, and she saves me at the very last minute. Every. Time.
I’m a game for them, a toy they bat around. I’ve spent the last seven years dodging life and death. I’ll go crazy before the end, I’m sure.