He looked at the numbers above everyone’s heads. Some were decades others were a few hours. They spanned all lengths of times. He wondered what his would read, it was the only one he couldn’t see. The deal he had struck seemed sour now. Trading his mortality for the ability to see what everyone else’s would read. He hated seeing anyone who had just days to live. He would outlive them all. His mother had another ten years. His father only had two. Everyone he knew would die, but he would remain. There was nothing he could do to extend their lives.
He was afraid of death, that was why he made the deal. When he had first seen the numbers he wondered what they meant. When he figured it out he refused to leave the house for a year. His mother came to visit him and he saw her clock counting down and he realized he didn’t have much time left with his family even if he would live forever they would not.
They found his change in behavior very unsettling and had him committed to sort things out. The psychologist had a week of time left. When he talked about what he was seeing the psychologist laughed. The next time he saw the shrink, there was an hour left, just a little longer than their session. He walked out the door and the next patient walked in. He was finishing up the paperwork when there was a crash and some yelling. The receptionist got up to investigate. She opened the door, he glanced over to see what was happening.
The clock above the psychologists head was at a few seconds as the patient swung the heavy paperweight. It connected as it ran to zero. He threw up on his paperwork. The receptionist slammed the door closed and locked it screaming for security as she dialed nine one one on her cellphone. The receptionist had eighty years left, he noted as he tried not to vomit anymore.
From that point on he avoided anyone with less than a week to live. He didn’t want to see anyone else die. He always had to look at how much time anyone had left. One day he saw something strange there was someone who didn’t have one. Confused he walked over to the young lady.
“Yes?” She said turning to face him.
“This is going to sound crazy but you are never going to die.” He said.
“And neither are you.” She replied. “You made the deal with Death too?”
“You seem pretty comfortable with it.”
“Once everyone is gone it gets easier.” She said. “When they all have the same number its much easier. You can tell things like don’t get on that flight, or stay away from that area. You’re the only other person I’ve seen who doesn’t have one.”
“My name is Luke.” He said holding out his hand. “I’ve had this gift for two years and three weeks. My father’s clock ran out this week.”
“You stayed away?” She seemed shocked.
“I don’t like death.” He told her, feeling judged.
“There are worse things…” She said a far off look in her eyes.
He was curious but afraid to ask. “Luke by the way.”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Luna.” She was looking intently at a woman who was passing by.
“Shes almost out of time.” She said quietly, “There’s nothing we can do…”
They watched her, her clock had minutes left. Luke wanted to do something, anything, but he didn’t know how she was going to die. Even if he tried to save her she would die anyway. He halfheartedly reached out and brushed her hand. She turned and glared at him. She glanced down the street then started to cross. A car careened around the corner and hit her. Luke cringed, Luna watched fascinated. Her clock hit zero before the car had come to a stop.
“It gets easier if you find the ones with less time. You don’t get as attached.” She said turning away from the accident.
“How long have you had your powers.” He asked.
“Long enough…” She said cautiously. She looked like she was thinking about something. “If you’re never going to die either…”
“Maybe it would be okay to get attached to you.”
“How do you even know you’re going to like me?” He asked.
“I don’t but its worth a shot.” She smiled at him.
It sounded better than watching his friends and family slowly die. He offered her his arm and she took it. He told her about his visit from death. How death had loomed over him like a great darkness and to give in would be to surrender to it. He fought to get from deaths grasps and he was offered the deal. Hers was similar but she had been searching for Death and he kept eluding her. Since she had wanted to join him so badly despite the planned fifty more years had offered her the deal.
“So love and hate,” She summed up nicely. “Death sure does have an odd sense of humor.”
“I guess so…” He said taking her hand it felt nice to have someone who wasn’t going to leave him.
“You should see some of his other jokes…” She smiled a sarcastic smile.