I ran to the hospital as fast as I could. My legs and lungs felt like they were burning, but I didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. I was at the checkout lane when I got the call from Ryan. I could hardly understand what he was saying in between his sobs.
I reached the hospital, panting. I walked to the counter, and the nurse looked mildly alarmed at my haggard appearance.
“Are you okay, miss? Do you need to see a doctor right away or…?” She asked.
“No,” I wheezed. “I need to know if Lucretia Miller’s been admitted here.”
“Oh. Doctor Miller,” she said sadly. “She was brought here a while ago with her son. May I ask what your relation to her is?”
“I’m her son’s babysitter. Can I see her?”
“I’m sorry, but at this time we only allow family members inside. You’re free to stay in the waiting area outside her room, though. She’s in Room 203.”
I thanked her and went to go find the room. I found Ryan sitting outside, his face buried in his hands.
“Hey,” I said softly, sitting down beside him.
He looked up at me, tears streaming down his face.
“What happened?” I asked.
“M-Mom- she went downstairs and she just collapsed and she wouldn’t wake up and I- I-“ Ryan inhaled shakily. “I was so scared. I didn’t know what to do.”
“Shhh, it’s going to be okay,” I tried to calm him down. The kid was hyperventilating. “Ryan. Can you take a deep breath for me please?”
He nodded and tried to make his breathing steadier.
“Just sit tight, okay? Let’s wait to hear what the doctor says,” I said. At that exact moment, the door swung open and a horde of doctors and nurses came out of the room.
“How is she?” Ryan asked them.
One of the doctors approached him as the others dispersed. “Ryan, is it?” She asked.
He nodded. “My mom. Is she okay?”
“She’s still unconscious,” she sighed. “We ran a few tests, and it looks like your mom has a tumor. By the looks of it, it seems like she’s had it for a while now. We’re discussing if it’s possible to take it out today.”
“What’s going to happen?”
Hesitantly, the doctor gave him a weak smile. “We’ll have the best surgeons operating on her, don’t worry. You can go in and see her, if you want. Oh, but your babysi-“
“Bodyguard,” Ryan and I corrected her at the same time.
“Ehrm, right. Your bodyguard can’t go in right now. Sorry.” Afterwards, she left.
I turned to Ryan. “Do you want to go in?”
He nodded, wiping his nose with his sleeve. “Yeah. But what about you?”
“I’ll be right here if you need me. Go.”
He went inside, and I sank into the seat. My phone gave a little beep and I reached into my pocket to check the assignment. My mouth went dry.
I clutched my face with my hands, groaning. This day was officially the worst. On the screen, in a small, unassuming font, was the name Lucretia Miller.
I stood up, and making sure there were no witnesses or any cameras, I donned the reaper robe. My whole body felt numb as I walked inside the room.
Ryan was standing beside the bed, holding his mother’s hand in his own. His breath hitched when he saw me.
“No,” he whispered. “No no no. Go away!”
I clenched my fists, summoning all my willpower not to talk to him. Ryan was shaking as he stepped between me and his mother.
“Don’t you dare,” he shouted. “I won’t let you lay your hands on my mom.”
He turned his face towards the door and screamed. “Anya! Please! Help me-“ his voice trailed off as he sobbed.
“Please don’t take my mom,” he said quietly. “She’s all I have. I’m begging you. If you want, take me instead. Just leave her alone.”
I felt a tear roll down my cheek as I watched him plead for his mother. How could I do this? How could I be the monster in this kid’s life? I closed my eyes tightly, wishing there was a way out of this.
There was a way. But Whitey would not like it one bit. I patted his shoulder gently and left.
As soon as I was outside, I got the robe off and slumped against the chair. I braced myself for the inevitable visit I was going to get.
The walls and floor of the corridor slowly appeared to have all color sucked out of them, until they were all white. The clock on the wall stopped ticking. I took a deep breath and prepared myself.
He materialized in front of me soon after, looking snooty in his blindingly white suit as usual.
“Hey, Whitey,” I said.
“First of all, I told you not to call me that,” he said, fuming. “And second, do you have any idea what you just did?”
“I made a kid not be an orphan?”
“You meddled! Reapers do not decide who lives or dies, you can’t just give certain souls special treatment!”
“It’s just this one time,” I said, standing to look at him straight in his stupid gold eyes. “What harm does it do to spare just one soul?”
“You mess with the balance,” he growled. “The balance of the entire world is in disarray because of you. You disobey the rules, you ruin everything.”
“So what? Fuck the rules! I’d like to see you try going in that room and collecting her soul without feeling anything for that little boy!” I yelled. “You’re not a reaper. You don’t know what it’s like to see people’s hearts break whenever you show up.”
We stood there for a while, glaring at each other, until his face went back to its usual cool, detached expression. He took a step back and adjusted his bowtie. What a pretentious prick.
“They will not be pleased when they hear about this, and it will take a lot of time to fix your mistake,” he sighed. “But I will let you off with a warning this time. You better not do this again, unless you’re willing to take the consequences that follow it. Do I make myself clear?”
I nodded. He disappeared, and the color around me returned.
[A/N: I was clearing out old CC from my mods folder and I stupidly forgot that some of the sims I made for this story were using them 😖 The most drastic change occurred to good ol’ Whitey, because I was using a custom skin for him. So he looks significantly different in this chapter compared to his first appearance (you can actually see his cheekbones now, lol!). Other sims also may look different starting from this chapter, but hopefully their appearances shouldn’t be too startling!]