Chapter 36: Out of Time

WARNING: This chapter contains some gun violence.

While Amelia was thinking about the matters of romance and about where she stood with some of the men in her life, Tad was feeling the weight of worry pressing down on him. That worry was born out of premonitions.

Contrary to what some might think, Tad was not the most adept at predicting the future. Sure, he always knew when something was about to die, but most of the time he wouldn’t even see the cause until a few moments before it actually happened. There were too many variables, too many possibilities. And to be fair, Tad had at some point allowed himself to become rusty at seeing the future. He knew that if he really wanted, he could become more non-linear, to consciously exist all over time. But that made him mentally nauseous and more detached from his work, so he preferred not to do that. But now, despite his lack of proper foresight, he could still sense when things were a bit off in the universe. Such as now.

A part of him feared that it was because of what he was doing. Because he was getting too close to humanity. Perhaps Fate had been right all along, even though she had acted questionably while trying to deal with her worries.

His concern wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that soon after Amelia had tried to talk about her relationship worries with Mr. Lessen, Tad was alerted by a summoning. It wasn’t an ordinary summoning by a mortal – which happened every once in a while, often when mortals were desperate enough to think that Death could help them. This summoning came from something much older and much, much less involved.

Tad knew that he had to respond immediately.

He hadn’t been to the white hallways of Time in quite a while. Usually he avoided the place because he knew that he and Time would almost always end up in a disagreement over the nature of their work. Time was a supervisor, and he stressed the importance of being emotionally detached from everything that happened in the mortal world. Tad’s job was all about fieldwork, and it showed in his investment. Time was so apathetic towards everything that it made Tad worried that it might interfere with Time’s Purpose – which was keeping the metaphorical clocks of the universe turning. And Time was worried that Tad would become too emotional and get swept away by the mortal world.

Those were both valid concerns, Tad had to admit. Especially considering what had happened lately. But he was doing so well now! Making just the tiny, not earth-shattering changes by being among mortals. So why was Time calling him now? Something had to be going wrong. Or about to.

Tad stepped into the corridor leading into one of Time’s chambers. He heard the ticking of the clocks that were there just for metaphor’s sake and braced himself for possibly haughty and more than likely cold behaviour.

“Hey there, man!”

Tad stopped and turned when a rather unexpected voice called out to him. There was something familiar about the muscular man with blood-stained, blond hair and casual clothing, but he was also completely different from what he had looked like when Tad had last seen him.

“War?” Tad asked out loud, “Is that really you?”

War nodded enthusiastically.

“In the flesh! Well, sorta. It’s a joke, get it?”

“Technically, yes.”

“Awesome! Then you’ve grown as a person too, I see! What’s with the new look? No, don’t tell me… I heard you were slumming it with the mortals!”

“I am among mortals now, yes,” Tad said warily, “And I thought you were… well, still recovering from the… uh…”

“The time you crushed me?” War laughed. It sounded like the footsteps of thousands of soldiers, “Not gonna lie, that was a dick move. But hey, it worked for the best. Meditation, training, and lots and lots of time spent trying to pull myself together… it did me a lot of good. I’m a new guy now. And besides, it’s not like the living ones have needed me in the last few centuries.”

He grimaced.

“I mean, have you seen the stuff they’ve come up with? All those bombs and germs and chemicals? It’s sick, man. There’s no glory anymore. I tell ya, I’m just a relic now.”

He shook his head.

“You’re lucky, man. Concepts like me… we change so much that eventually we fade away altogether while what we represent continues. You remember Pestilence and Famine? They’re around, but they’ve basically lost meaning as personifications. People’ve started to just focus on the gritty reality. On the damage and healing instead of the myths. But Death… Time… those will always exist. Those will always make an impact.”

“Oh, I do not know,” Tad said, “Things like you have much more impact as real things instead of as personifications. And mortals will always try to manage Time and I as well. To conquer and to manipulate what we are. We change too.”

“I guess…”

“I am glad you are well.”

“So am I! Existence is great! Aside from the whole becoming obsolete -thing. Time offered me a chance to stay here as a sort of security guard. I mean, even after all these centuries, I can still kick almost everyone’s ass. Hey, we should spar sometime again!”

“I… I will keep that in mind.”

“Speaking of time, didn’t the man himself call you here?” War nodded towards the white door at the end of the corridor, “You shouldn’t keep him waiting.”

“Of course. Take care.”

“You too.”

When Tad walked over to the white door, he heard War mutter a barely audible:

“Stuck-up bastard…”

Tad decided to ignore it.

He walked through the door and was greeted by a stronger feeling of ticking clocks and an empty space. And he may have shed his human form for the meeting. Time usually preferred to meet Death as a force without a shape. But for the convenience of the reader, the next meeting will be told in metaphor, in a legible language, with almost humans and more or less tangible objects.


The cold voice came from above, and Tad looked up at the windows in the ceiling of the room he was in. Time stood in the upper level of his tower. He was wearing white and the universe reflected in his eyes. He made a point to look slightly older than Tad’s human form, even though Tad and Time were around the same age. At least as old as the universe, and probably much older.

“I need you to see something,” Time said, his voice having a slight echo of something older and something younger than he would have appeared to mortal eyes.

“What is it?” Tad asked, idly looking at the clocks that were set on small stone displays that surrounded the room Time was waiting in. Empty blackness loomed where walls could have been. Time glanced at Tad a bit condescendingly, or at least projected the idea of the feeling around himself for show.

“You have been meddling with the mortal affairs and put yourself at a risk,” he said.

Tad sighed.

“Yes. Are you now going to tell me how stupid I am too? Fate has already given me enough grief about this.”

“I do not care what you do as long as you keep the world and yourself together,” Time said, “I know about your little quarrel with Fate. She may be immature, but she is also right.”

“She has left me alone of late,” Tad said, “We talked things through.”

“Fate has been working for me lately. After I reprimanded her for meddling with your affairs, I told her not to focus on you too much and instead to use her foresight to fix things.”

Tad spun around to face Time.

“What? Is something really going that badly?”

Time nodded towards one of the clocks on the displays. Unlike the rest of the clocks, which were white and ticked forward smoothly, this one was blackened as if dipped in tar. Its ticking was sluggish and uneven.

Tad stared at it.

“Oh,” was all he could say.

“Exactly,” Time narrowed his eyes slightly, “This is why I called you here. It is one of the universe clocks.”

“I know that.”

“Then you also know that them not working properly is a sign of things getting bad soon. A sign of chaos. This world needs to be put back on its rails.”

Tad looked at the clock hands. They struggled forward, and almost lost their fight against non-existent gravity.

“The universe can fix itself of the smaller cracks. This is nothing to worry about.”

“Have you really not felt it? The wrongness of what could happen soon?” Time asked, a slight wave of not-quite-anger causing ripples in the void around them, “Has your excursion into the mortal world blinded you that badly? Something will happen, and we all need to be especially careful not to make waves when the universe is showing signs of descending into disarray.”

Tad sighed.

“I know.”

“I do not know what you think you are accomplishing with what you are doing, but at least be careful with yourself.”

Tad turned his back on Time.

“I will. I am trying.”

“I hope so. And I hope your trying will be enough.”

“Thank you for… for caring.”

Time looked at Tad blankly, his universe-eyes letting no real light or care through.

“The clocks need to keep turning. And things need to keep dying no matter how much that might hurt your new acquaintances.”

With that, he was gone. Or Tad was gone, more like. Thrown out of Time’s home and into the void. Tad let himself solidify again and clenched his hands into fists. Fate’s complaints he could handle, but this was Time. The one who usually didn’t care. If he was worried enough to take action, something really had to be going wrong.

Tad knew that the best he could do to keep the world on its tracks was doing his job well. Keeping things together. And so far he had managed that just fine. But Time’s warnings echoed ominously in his mind. Everyone seemed to think that it would be Tad who messed things up this time. That after all these eons of doing his job as well as he could, he would finally slip up and fail spectacularly.

Normally Tad wouldn’t have thought that to be very likely. He took quite a bit of pride in his ability to do his job well. After billions of years of perfecting a good kind of routine and the best methods, he was more than capable of handling things professionally. And even now he could have managed the situation just fine. But then he felt the marks of death over everyone in the Sprigg household. And he knew that he would probably soon be very close to slipping.

It wasn’t a visible mark. Not even close. But Tad could always feel it with every sense he had. He always knew where he would be needed, sometimes days or even years in advance.

Sometimes it was a false alarm, and now he tried to take comfort in that. But most of the time it wasn’t.

Right now it really looked like something was going to happen. Something that would possibly kill everyone in the Spriggs’ house. Amelia, Julia, and Philippe. All of them. Dead. In a few days, maybe. If things went according to the cause-and-effect net they had at one point been tangled in.

Tad was terrified.

He had never thought about losing a loved one. At least not as something that happened to him. The grief of the ones who were attached to the dying was always something Tad hated facing. Sure, he knew that he had to do his job no matter what. Not letting things die would just cause more grief. More suffering. And more planets dying because of overpopulation, among other things. Still, the grief always stung. And now he realised that he would have to face it first-hand as well.

How would he deal with it? How could he? The thought felt foolish, in a way. After all the horrible things he had seen during his career. After all the times he had watched things die, many times unfairly. After all the suffering and anguish he had witnessed and never intervened. He had always made a point to care, but never in a way that stung too much. This time it would be personal.

Of course, he had known this would happen at some point. He had started preparing for it the moment he had started trying to make friends with the living ones – which had happened a long time ago, though before now he hadn’t had much success. Mortals were destined to die by nature. It was something he had accepted long ago. It would be unprofessional not to. To become too sentimental and affected by his work. He had never really had a problem with it before. But now he found himself lost in painful grief at the mere thought of losing Amelia.

But he was never allowed to refuse a dying soul. And he wasn’t going to. He wasn’t allowed to save a person who was destined to die. And he wasn’t going to…

He hoped. And a part of him hoped that he wouldn’t be able to stop himself. When he looked at Amelia and imagined her leaving him, he realised that he really didn’t know what to do.

And then Amelia talked to him about love and all his remaining determination shattered.

Miles away, in a hidden bunker beneath the old cottage in Twinbrook’s swamp, Lydia Deacon worried as well. She stared at her phone. Beagle, that man who had unknowingly helped her and Gaius dodge Death in Valley, had called a few moments ago and asked her about that thief Sanguine. Lydia had told him she knew nothing and pretended to be nonchalant about the whole thing, but after Beagle had hung up, Lydia had immediately made some calls from her cell phone and asked her contacts about Sanguine. No one knew where Sanguine was now, but Lydia had a feeling that Beagle would still trace the man’s last known location to Riverview. Where Death also spent his time, along with his mortal friends.

“This isn’t good,” Lydia muttered, “We’re running out of time.”

“What is it, sis’?” asked Gaius, who seemed so carefree after they had again moved their hiding place, this time into a bunker father had built below his cottage. Lydia would have preferred to stay near Strangetown, because it meant she could be far away from father and father would have less opportunities to claim that Lydia’s accomplishments meant nothing because he always had to help her. But father had pointed out – and Lydia had to agree with him for a change – that here they were much closer to the ingredients they needed for their plans and the air was still saturated with the gemstone-dust-empowered shielding spell that made it difficult for Death to see what was going on in the area.

Lydia sighed.

“Trouble,” she said.

Gaius picked a book from the bookshelf near the thick brick wall and sat down on the couch nearby. He still didn’t seem all that concerned. He probably thought that father’s spells and the bunker’s walls would protect them. Or maybe he was just glad that they had been mostly peaceful together. Lydia knew that was simply a calm before yet another storm. She had a feeling a whole bunch of storms were stirring up, to be honest.

“What trouble?” father asked.

Lydia sat next to Gaius.

“That criminal boss Beagle called. He’s tracking Sanguine, but I have a feeling that he’ll find Death and his entourage first.”

Gaius looked up from his book, now slightly alarmed.

“Really? I hope they won’t hurt them too badly.”

“Oh, I’m sure they’ll try,” Lydia shook her head, “And if the criminals succeed, I’m sure it’ll make Death very eager to get the stone back before he causes more grief to the people around him. From what we’ve gathered, he doesn’t want to cause trouble.”

“It would likely make him speed up his search,” father nodded, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

There was that question again. Lydia had grown to hate it and the smug way father always said it.

“We need to be ready for him,” Lydia said, “He’ll no doubt find us when he really wants to. Then we’ll have to strike.”

“Oh, just like that?” father chuckled, “You really think you can do that without some serious preparations? This is Death we’re talking about.”

“If his new friends get killed, he might be quite distraught,” Lydia pointed out, “It would be our chance.”

“Our chance to really make him distraught.”

“If you’re thinking about your previous plans, then forget it! I’m not risking that kind of wrath, and what you planned is distasteful and plain evil!”

“When you play a game with cosmic beings, you can’t afford to be soft,” father said, “Well, suit yourself, then. I’m just saying that this is a good opportunity for us. If we want to make it so.”

Gaius had dropped his book and was staring warily at Lydia and father. Lydia was struck by the sudden urge to protect him from all this. All the quarrels she and father had… and now father suggesting they cross a serious line. She leaned towards Gaius just a bit.

“We’ll be fine,” she said.

“Are you sure?” Gaius asked, “This is getting… messy.”

“This was already a mess a long time ago.”

“Yeah… I guess you’re right,” Gaius looked at Lydia with widened eyes, “We just have to see this through, right?”


Gaius looked at the book in his lap.

“You know, I hope those criminals won’t hurt those people too badly. I mean, they didn’t really do anything.”

“They tried to hurt you,” father said, “Or at least help Death hurt you. If you ask me, they deserve everything they’re going to get.”

Tad wasn’t sure whether talking with Amelia about dying would be in poor taste or not. Especially after their latest talk. The one about love. Somehow he felt like what they had was more solid after they had talked about it. And solid things were easier to break than intangible ones. It had shaken him, and Amelia had noticed it. She was quite perceptive, or then he was just too easy to read in this form. She had been worried about him, asked what was wrong. Tad hadn’t exactly lied when he had said he worried about extinction – he always worried about that – but it wasn’t what had put him into such a confused, frightened state.

Amelia had said that she loved him like a friend. It was a… foreign concept to him. It made his mind all knotted up. But it also made him feel… happy. More like a person. More grounded. And now… he was afraid that it would all end when it had barely begun. That people who didn’t deserve to die would die because he had wanted to feel more real.

He had a vague idea of how it would happen by now. It would be violent. Possibly involving someone with a vendetta against someone. Tad found it quite unlikely that anyone could hold a grudge against someone like Amelia. Then again, this world was full of people with quite odd reasons for grudges. Tad supposed the criminals they had apprehended in Sunset Valley might have a motive. That would make sense, especially since the mark of death had extended to hang above Miss Leifsdóttir as well now. Tad hoped that was not the case, though. Those criminals had seemed like the kinds of people who could make things very unpleasant. Besides, he had made sure to wipe their memories of the…

Tad’s eyes widened. He had remembered to do that, right? His mind had been so preoccupied with a lot of things back then. Such as Fate and a gunshot wound that hurt. He had probably meant to do it. Not enough to mess with things, but at least enough to make sure the criminals didn’t remember the odd events in the graveyard. And his friends. But he had…

Tad wasn’t one to curse, but at that moment he decided to let out a quiet:

“Oh. Darn.”

He had forgotten. And now he wasn’t allowed to interfere before things escalated too far.

It wasn’t right. It couldn’t be right. Tad wanted to believe that he was feeling things wrong. But… if this really was because of those criminals, then Tad could technically think that it was his and Fate’s fault that the Spriggs were about to die. If Tad really had caused these people to be in mortal peril, he had the right to intervene. But if it was just some stroke of bad luck… he would just have to watch it happen.

The whole situation was all sorts of complicated. Technically even the criminals had been there because of mortal actions. Because of Mr. Sanguine and possibly because of the Deacons as well. He and Fate had just been there to nudge things a bit.

Perhaps he could nudge things a bit again. Just a little…

“Amelia?” he asked at one point, not really sure how long after their latest talk. They were sitting in the Spriggs’ library, and Tad was only faintly aware that he had sat in an armchair for a few Earth’s hours without really being able to focus on reading, “Do you ever feel like you have to break the rules in your job in order to stand it? To stand… living?”

Amelia looked at him with a bit of confusion, but then she smiled. She was too happy. It seemed like their talk by the river had made her more at ease with everything. Tad hated to ruin it even a little bit.

“Sometimes,” Amelia said, “When a client gets some paperwork so wrong that we need to spend a lot of time just getting it right even when I see the person needs the insurance money right away. And sometimes we don’t get to give money at all even though I know a client would need it. But I think with your job it’s probably… a bit more serious than that.”

“Everything counts,” Tad said, “So… what do you do at those times?”

Amelia thought about it for a moment.

“Sometimes I try to find a compromise, but when I can’t, I just… try to think that the rules need to be there, and that I’m doing my best to help people.”

“Right…” Tad tried to smile, “I suppose… I do too. I…”

He didn’t know what to say. He regretted this conversation already.


“Amelia… I… is there a place that you have always wanted to visit?”

Amelia frowned.

“Why do you ask?”

Tad shrugged.

“I just… do not know. I feel… off.”

“Are you sick? That can’t happen, right?”

Tad shook his head, but when he thought about it, he realised that he was feeling a bit ill. Light-headed and almost nauseous. That was odd. He had never experienced anything this close to first-hand illness. It was like his being knew he was so close to breaking the rules, and was reacting appropriately. And his human form was translating it as a sickness. Interesting.

“I am fine. Just thinking about things.”

He fell silent for a moment, and then added awkwardly:

“And it would be nice to spend time with you. To talk. To do something nice.”

“Oh?” Amelia said. She seemed worried, but she smiled a bit when she said, “Well, to answer your question, I have been curious about Champs Les Sims ever since mum came back. She seems to be so in love with it. It would be nice to see it.”

Tad jumped up from his seat, startling Amelia.

“Well, we should go there! Right now!”

“What?” Amelia chuckled, “I have work tomorrow! I can’t just…”

“We can come back any moment you want! It would be a quick glimpse. A quick breath of fresh air!”

Amelia stared at Tad.

“Tad… seriously, this isn’t like you. What’s wrong?”


But Amelia didn’t need to know that. She wasn’t allowed to know that. Tad felt the universe shudder, nervous, almost suffocating. He tried to remind himself that he didn’t need lungs. And that he had no reason to feel sick. This would be just a little nudge…


He was so close to saying something. To warning Amelia and the others about their approaching death. But he knew he couldn’t. It would be one of the worst mistakes he could make. Stepping above his Purpose and the natural order of things. He knew that, and going against his nature was incredibly difficult after all this time. Not to mention it would be disastrous. Even at the graveyard in Sunset Valley, it hadn’t really been him who had made much of an impact. It had been Amelia, Miss Leifsdóttir, Mr. Sanguine, and even the ghosts who had subdued Mr. Beagle and Mr. Arkwright. And really, despite how bad it had looked, the danger of someone really dying had felt very unlikely back then. But now…

Tad slumped back into his seat and felt a headache building up somewhere behind his eyes. For a moment he forgot that he was supposed to be breathing to keep up appearances. He heard Amelia gasp and stand up.

“Tad? What’s happening?”

Tad willed his lungs to work again. Air tasted like blood and drowning instead of the familiar, somewhat old wood dust and books.

“No… nothing. I am just not feeling well. I think I should leave again. I will be back in the morning.”

He stood up and walked a bit unsteadily for a few steps before a hand on his arm stopped him and turned him around. He met Amelia’s worried eyes and hated himself for causing her so much trouble and concern. Amelia’s other hand came to rest on his other arm, and Tad resisted the urge to pull away in surprise and discomfort.

“You know you can talk to me, right?” Amelia said, “I don’t want you to be so miserable. I want to help.”

Tad knew she did. Why did she have to? Why did she have to be his friend and why couldn’t he handle this situation better?

“Thank you,” he managed.

“You really look sick,” Amelia said, and her voice gained a somewhat similar tone Tad had heard mothers use when they suspected their children were not well, “Did a lot of things die? Or is something about to happen? Are the Deacons acting up or is something else making you worried?”

Tad blinked. Amelia had become very perceptive of things lately. That was… inconvenient at the moment. Admirable, yes, but inconvenient. Tad thought about the Deacons and then concluded that this wasn’t at least directly happening because of them. Probably. He couldn’t know for sure. Too many variables and blind spots.

“I do not think we have to worry about the Deacons now,” Tad said, “I… I think this will pass.”

“You sure? Is there a way to cure ill anthropomorphic personifications?” Amelia looked at him in contemplation, “Well, a cup of tea probably helps anyone and anything. And I still have some of the flu remedy that Basil gave me when mum was sick.”

Tad managed a weak smile.

“You are too kind to me,” he said, “I do not deserve this kind of… anything.”

“Nonsense! You deserve all the kindness and more.”

No. He didn’t. Because from his standpoint, he was close to straying from his Purpose. And from a human standpoint, well, he knew enough about life to know that not warning a friend when they were in danger was definitely a horrible thing to do.

“I am sorry.”

“For what?”

“For causing so much trouble.”

Amelia frowned again. It didn’t suit her.

“Where’s this coming from? We’re fine. Nothing terrible has happened.”

“Yes… you are right,” Tad sighed, “Do not mind me. I think… I think I would like that cup of tea you mentioned.”

Amelia’s face brightened. The worry was still there, though, so clear that even Tad could notice it without a problem.

“Sure. Come on.”

Tad really wanted to tell her to be careful. But he knew that not only would it hurt the universe, it would also just frighten her. Perhaps for no reason. He knew that it was better if death was unexpected. That one didn’t have to live in fear and to wait for him. Besides, there was still a chance that it was nothing. Just a false alarm…

Just a mistake that would fix itself…

Two days later Tad realised with growing dread that it wasn’t. The marks were still there, stronger than ever, and he still couldn’t see the cause.

Tad stared at the breakfast pancakes that Amelia had put in front of him. Amelia was sitting across from him, emptying her own plate and still looking so happy – if a little worried of Tad. It made the rebellious part of Tad want to shake her and tell her to stop worrying about him and start worrying about herself. But his more natural side silenced it again. It just wouldn’t be right.

“So, Tad,” Amelia said, “I was thinking of going to the store today. And then maybe do something nice, like watch a film that’s on TV tonight. You want to watch it with me? I know you’re not that much of a fan of TV, but today there’s this black and white film about a guy who plays chess with Death, and I figured you’d like it.”

“Hm?” Tad looked up. He had barely registered her words.

“Tad?” Amelia asked, “Are you feeling any better than before?”

Tad stared at his food and thought about the approaching danger. It wouldn’t start here, he knew. He needed to be elsewhere when it began. And he should just stay quiet and perform his duties as needed.


Tad looked up.

“You know what would be very nice with the film?” he said, “Some of that herbal tea Mr. Hewitt makes.”

“You mean Basil? I can pick up some of his tea for you if you like.”

Tad nodded slowly.

“Yes. That would be lovely. How about you go at… eight in the evening?”

As soon as he said that, he felt the universe shift. He suppressed a shudder. His chest started to hurt and the little amount of pancake he had eaten tried to get back up. That was especially odd considering he hadn’t really bothered making a proper digestive system for himself, and had just settled with something akin to a black hole instead. He was fairly sure pancakes shouldn’t have been able to get back after crossing the event horizon.

“That late?” Amelia frowned, “The film starts at nine.”

“I heard they are busy before that.”

Amelia shrugged and stood up with her now emptied plate.

“Well, okay, I think I can make it.”

Tad closed his eyes. The Nexus people were safe from the violent death. At least at the moment. Amelia would be safer there. She could get some backup from them. Perhaps that would give them a chance against what was coming.

He felt his skin turn colder than normally. He knew he was definitely breaking the rules now, and it was hurting him. He didn’t really care about himself, but more about what would happen to the universe. How far could he take it? Giving a fair chance to the people whose lives had possibly been put in danger because of him and others like him wasn’t too bad, but if the situation escalated the way many of the possibilities indicated, he wouldn’t be able to do enough to help without going too far.

He needed more help.

His senses were screaming at him to stop messing with the universe. And for the first time ever, he really, really didn’t want to listen.

“Be careful today, Amelia,” he said quietly. He closed his eyes. It was beginning. He needed to do his part. And break his share of rules.

“Tad, seriously, are you o-? Tad?”

But Tad was already gone.

The day went by with a worried Amelia and blissfully oblivious Julia and Philippe going about their lives. And events were getting chained together, forming a dangerous web that would soon reach many lives in Riverview.

Around eight fifteen in the evening, Vanja Leifsdóttir brewed a cup of coffee and added her perfect measurements of sugar and cream. Her store had been cleaned up after the day and the moment was relaxed and calm. Everything was in their places and Vanja could almost forget the theories and projects that buzzed around in her brain.

She glanced towards her backyard garden and sighed wistfully before sitting down with a good book that she let float in front of her eyes in order to keep her hands free.

A ring of her doorbell ruined her moment. Vanja stood up and narrowed her eyes, wiping dust from her dress before walking over to the door. She looked through the door’s enchanted glass, checking out of habit that her wand was still with her. There were two people at the door. The other was clearly a female vampire, and the other was a somewhat burly man.

“Hey lady!” the vampire shouted through the door, “Is the shop still open? I really need to buy some sunscreen!”

Vanja sighed. Late night customers. So annoying. Why didn’t people check the business hours beforehand?

“We’re closed!” she shouted back, “Come back tomorrow or send someone here! Or order from my web store!”

“But I really need it now!”

“I said no!”

“Lady, we’re paying customers here. We’ve come a long way, and we can charge you extra for this.”

Vanja sighed again. Her perfect moment had already been ruined. She might as well get some money out of it.

She cracked the door open.

“Okay. It’s thirty five simoleons for a bottle, and-”

She never finished her sentence. A muffled bang seemed to drown out everything, and a blinding pain erupted in her stomach.

She hadn’t even had time to scream.

Author’s Note: Um… I’m back. I wanted to write this whole event before starting to publish any chapters so that things would stay consistent and all. So sorry about the wait! But on the bright side, now I have two more chapters almost done so it shouldn’t take long to get them published too!

So yeah… things… happened. We finally got both Death and Time in the same room. So now you know what happens when two of the oldest, in ways the most powerful things in the universe meet. They look at clocks. Metaphorically. EXCITEMENT! 😀

This has been tricky to write, and I have no idea if I’m approaching some kind of corner I can’t write myself out of. But I’m really hoping I can keep things together until the end of this story arc. Which is nearing its end. After this event, there will be one more big event and then the conclusion/hook for the future. If these people survive, that is. :O

I hope you guys enjoyed, and have a lovely time!

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11 thoughts on “Chapter 36: Out of Time

  1. Vanja! I hope she is only injured, but something tells me otherwise. At least, now she’ll be with her lost love.
    Maybe Tad’s idea to send Amelia out of the house will work? At least, assasins can’t see her in a dark movie theater.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, so much to love amidst so much to fear!

    This line wins the prize for me: “He was fairly sure pancakes shouldn’t have been able to get back after crossing the event horizon.”

    Ha! Go, Tad!

    And… I am blocking out any type of acceptance of that final scene! 😮 Just thinking about tea and floating books…

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 For all the claims that Tad made his human form as human as possible, he sure got lazy at some point (though not sure if creating a black hole instead of making a digestive system can count as lazy). But if that means I get to use the words “pancakes” and “event horizon” in the same sentence, then it’s all good.

      Vanja is a crafty, powerful and somewhat paranoid witch, so maybe there’s still a chance that she’ll make it… until then, tea and floating books for everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh dear. It’s worse than I feared. Although now I know what Tad does when folks close to him are at risk. I want to sit him down and tell him it’s okay, it ‘is’ his fault they are in danger. So he should be able to nudge … As he did… Without too high of consequences.

    Thank you for metaphorically showing us the conversation? between Time and Death. I think time is older? Can there be death if there is no time? Then again I always have felt that time is a human constant and only the ‘now’ is real… And death does occur in the now… So by that logic, death is older…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tad is being overly cautious indeed. I think Time could indeed be slightly older than Death, as universe needs Time to develop from the very beginning, and Death is needed only after there is any kind of life in the universe. Though your logic sounds good as well. 🙂


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