Chapter 1 - Terminal Timer
1 - Terminal Timer
According to Google, there was no easy was to die, and any and all romanticized stories about dying peacefully were grossly and willfully wrong and very misleading.
Sticking a fork into an electrical outlet would hurt, yes, but it wouldn’t kill you – neither would a close quarter meet and greet with one of those gel packets that say “don’t eat” or a fall from a three story house.
It was nearly disappointing how little options there were to peacefully die nowadays.
Even more so when one was faced with the diagnosis of terminal cancer and the only choice that was left, was on how much and how long he was going to suffer until he died.
It was unfair.
Gabriel Clayton Beauregard had nothing in life to be happy about. He was not particularly talented at anything, not particularly sociable or well liked, most definitely not attractive and most importantly; he was still a virgin.
A terminal one.
So when a chance to change all of that presented itself, he had taken it. Without a second thought.
In hindsight, not the smartest idea. Or even a good one if one took human decency and morals into account. Luckily, when it had came to that point Gabriel had already lost any and all interest in human decency and their lack of helpful morals, and instead focused on surviving the shit he had gotten himself into.
So, Cancer wasn’t the only killer he had gotten to look into the eyes. But it was definitely the uglier one.
So really, nobody could be mad at his lack of self-preservation when instead of the hard asphalt stone in front of the Hospital, he landed face first on a too tall, too handsome, real-life demon.
Or maybe they could. If they had cared.
“What a passionate greeting.” The man had said. And Gabriel had just stared.
Because the man hadn’t looked like someone that should exist on the same plane as him, nor in or even near such a shabby charity Hospital, and most definitely not under Gabriel.
Which was weird in itself because he had fallen more than those non-lethal three stories, which meant he should have been splattered across the hospital parking-lot and not on top of a man.
“My name is Rama.” He had said as Gabriel had scrambled on his feet. He was patting his dark pants as if there was dirt on them even when there wasnt. “And you are?”
“Gabriel.” When the raise of a dark colored eyebrow was all he received in return he added, “Gabriel Beauregard.”
“Is that your full name?” The man was distracting. In a how-could-this-good looking-people-actually-exist sort of way that was terribly clear in his broad shoulders, tall frame and the jawline that looked as if it would give him a paper-cut if he as much as looked at it too much. All in all. Very distracting.
“No.” He had replied like an idiot. But like an even worse idiot he had added. “It’s Gabriel Clayton Beauregard.”
“Lovely to meet your acquaintance, Gabriel. " His voice sounded triumphant without a hint of pretend to try and hide it. Only at that point Gabriel hadn’t known just what he had been triumphant about. Or why.
In hindsight to that too, he wished his Nonny - bless her still living soul - had taught him less about stranger danger (useless when your face was enough to keep them away) and more about not telling strangers your actual full name.
Really, he wasn’t sure why he had answered the mans questions instead of wondering how both of them had survived the fall/landing unscathed, but maybe it had to do with the unnervingly calm smugness that seemed to wrap around him or the fact that nobody that attractive had even looked in his direction before. So he couldn’t help it.
When he had become distracted by the aching stomachache that had send him to the hospital in the first place, the stranger had gotten his attention right back by continuing his introduction.
“I am a demon, Gabriel.” He had said that with an accent, like his voice couldn’t quiet decide how to speak but it only managed to make him more attractive - at that point Gabriel had also wondered how much he could compliment a guy in his own mind before he wasn’t straight anymore. He was sure there was a limit. Of course, even with his devilish attractive voice, Gabriel hadn’t actually believed him.
“And I am here to make a deal with you.”
“A deal. Two of your desires for one curse of my choice. A rather gracious deal if I may say so myself, especially in your situation.”
He had been right of course. Gabriel had clearly been desperate enough to escape his fate to jump down a who-knows-how-many-stories building to try and kill himself, so really, any kind of deal that kept him alive could count as generous.
And maybe he had also thought that two desires heavily outweighed any curse, no matter what it would be. Two good were always stronger than one bad, or so he had thought.
So while he had still not believed him, Rama, he had considered his options.
“What do you desire? Money? Its one of humanities standards I hear - or maybe fortune? Another classic.” He leaned in close enough for his much too straight nose, that looked like it had absolutely never had a pimple before unlike his own, touched his own. “Or maybe, longevity to combat that ugly time bomb inside of you? Hm?”
Gabriel had forgotten to breath for a moment there. Both because the man, demon, Rama, had been too close and because a sudden hint of insanity let his mind decide on following the action connected to ‘what the hell, lets do it! I’ve got nothing to lose’. Which was right. But still stupid in hindsight.
“Yes. I would like that. Longevity I mean. Not being sick. Not being in pain wouldn’t hurt either.” He sounded like an idiot - worse because of a pun that sounded planned when it really hadn’t been.
“The first desire. Longevity and health. But what about your second one?” He hadn’t stepped back yet but he was tall enough to simply look down on him when he stood up straight. “Beauty certainly would help you.” Gabriel could have been offended but he wasn’t. He had been told and bothered about his apparent unattractiveness since grade school. Honestly he agreed with them. Whatever genes his parents had given him were bad. Incredibly so. His nose was as crooked as his teeth, his skin scarred by acne that still wouldn’t disappear, his proportions off and his hairline already receding at the fresh age of twenty-three. Truly, the only good thing was that he was neither fat nor too thin. Not that that would count as a redeeming feature - but hey, positivity and all that.
So yes. Beauty sounded like a great choice for his second desire. He said so to the apparent demon as well who only smiled in response.
“Longevity and beauty, a tantalizing combination. Two desires in return for one curse - do you agree?”
And he had agreed.
The smile that Rama’s lips curled into was entirely predatory but something told Gabriel that he could not take his words back.
He swallowed against the sudden bout of dread that gathered in his gut.
But by then, their deal had already become final.