Aaron was right. That girl was going to die soon. I don't think even he could've expected it to be that same day. In the end, I did try to stop her death. However, I was too late. I stayed by her side as she died. I even held her hand, hoping that would comfort her. She was too young...then again, so was I. I couldn't help but remember my own death, every agonizing moment of it. It wasn't that I was sad that she died, I just pitied her. When Aaron and I were little, our mom would say a prayer for anyone who died, whether she knew them or not. She told us that it was supposed to help them rest. I said a prayer for the girl, hoping she would rest too. I also prayed that she wouldn't be reborn as a Reckoner.
I waited for 20 minutes to see if she would be reborn. Nothing happened. Standing up, I borrowed the dead girl's phone, called 911, and left. They would find her body. They would bury her and mourn for her. That was more than anyone did for me. Aaron may be my brother, but it doesn't mean he was there for me when I needed him. He was always with her--our mom. Always. But me, I was invisible. Maybe I reminded them both of our dad. Tch, here I go again, remembering things I'd rather forget. I didn't go home. The thought of being around Aaron, of telling him the girl died, of watching him shed a tear for her, and most of all, admitting that I had tried to help her. Instead, I went back to the clock tower. Sitting on a ledge, I stared at the night sky and the dark town below.
As usual, I sat alone in silence while my mind roared with memories as it always does. This time, I remembered the worst day of my life--my mortal death. Three hundred years ago, there wasn't high-tech machines or artificial remedies to help the injured. Back then, methods were crude and primitive. The worst doctors were the morticians. Morticians. The very word sends shivers down my spine, not out of fear but out of remembrance. Aaron and I were assistants to wealthy leaders of the local mob. It was a stupid and dangerous job that our mother hated. I think we had been with them for three years when it happened.
One day, the head of our mob was visited by the leader of a foreign mob in an attempt to establish common business ground. The meeting didn't end well. The mob leader my brother and I served was killed. Being mere assistants meant we didn't draw much attention to ourselves. The foreign mob didn't see us as a threat. We thought we were off the hook. We were so wrong. They came after the two of us and I brilliantly suggested that we split up. Aaron escaped...but I didn't. They kept me tied to a chair in a basement as they interrogated me. When they finally realized I didn't know anything of value, they gave me some strange medicine and knocked me out.
The next thing I remember was not being able to move or talk. I found it difficult to breathe, but that wasn't the worst part. I couldn't see. My eyes wouldn't open. The truth is, I didn't need or want to see. I could hear them. I could hear everything from the clank of the metal instruments to the humming of a saw. Terror filled me. I couldn't prepare myself. At that time, I had no idea where I was or what was about to happen. All I knew then was that I was naked on a cold metal table and the voices that were talking were talking about me.
"What did they tell you?" one man said.
"H-He was p-poisoned. D-Died seven h-hours l-later," another man replied.
I didn't recognize either one of their voices but I vowed not to forget the second man's stutter. I wanted to scream at them both that I wasn't dead because now I knew...they were going to autopsy me.
"Here you are, Ashe!" a voice exclaimed, breaking me out of my memory.
I looked back at Aaron who stood hunched over, apparently trying to catch his breath.
"What is it now?"
"It's that girl. The one from earlier."
"Let me guess, she's dead?"
"That's what I thought too. I was listening to the scanner and picked up an ambulance talking to a 911 operator. They said they got a call about a dead girl in an alley but, when they arrived, there was nothing but blood."
"So, there was no body. That girl died, but she was reborn...as a Reckoner."
I looked away from Aaron and back to the town. "And?"
"...And you don't care. I don't know why I'm surprised. You know, she's probably down there right now scared and confused. You're not going to do anything at all, are you?"
"Why should I? She's not my problem. If you're so concerned, why don't you find her and help her?"
There was more harshness in my voice than I intended. I was sick of Aaron always pushing me to do things like help others and protect them. Let him act on his words for once instead of hiding behind excuses.
"...Fine. I will help her."
"It's about time you actually do something. Now, you can't force me to help someone."
I heard Aaron turn and start to walk away. He stopped after a moment and the leaves protested when he turned back towards me.
"I wish I could remember how you used to be, Ashe. You smiled and laughed then. You cared about other people and you loved them. I wish solely for your sake that you had never become a Reckoner to begin with. To this day, I can't figure out why you were chosen to protect the mortal race."
"...You and me both."
With that, Aaron left and I was alone again. It was better this way.