“245?” There was a knock. The Reaper froze for a second.
Then he realized the knock was coming from the room next door.
That must be 246. The man thought to himself as he opened the door.
The man looked down, met with the big eyes of a tiny girl.
The girl jumped a bit at the sound of her name.
“Y-yes...” she whispered.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you finally.” He smiled.
“If you’d like, you can call me Rick.”
“Rick...” The girl repeated back.
“Yep!” The man smiled once more.
The girl gave a slight nod as she held her hands to her chest.
“Why don’t we have a seat?”
Before she could respond, Rick lifted her and placed her carefully on top of the table.
“There we go.” He then noticed the girl looking down steadily.
“Not the type of striking up a conversation, huh?” He chuckled.
She kept looking down.
“Well,” Rick began.
“Why don’t we start with blood work.” The girl looked up.
“I don’t like needles...” She whispered, then winced presumably at the thought of a needle.
“Hm,” Rick said as he looked around the room, studying it.
“Well,” he clapped his hands together.
“Let’s make a deal!” He smiled.
“Huh?” The girl looked up.
“If you let me draw your blood this once with a boring band-aid, tomorrow, I’ll bring in special band-aids, just for you!”
The girl looked up in astonishment.
“Really?” She asked.
“Really!” He nodded.
“C-can they be bunnies?” She looked hopeful.
“Bunnies, huh?” He thought for a second.
“Alright! I’ll try my best!” He smiled.
The girl gave a nod and smile.
“Ok then! hold out your arm for me, please.”
He looked and saw her carefully raising her arm towards him.
“Good girl...” He whispered.
“On the count of three, follow my finger around the room, please.”
She raised her head and began following his finger.
”Done!” He smiled as he finished blotting, then putting the band-aid on the spot where the needle had been.
The girl looked at him, amazed.
“That didn’t hurt!” She exclaimed excitedly. Rick sheepishly rubbed the back of his head.
“I’m glad to hear that!” He smiled.
“I can’t wait to tell 245!” She smiled happily.
“Uh... yeah!” He looked away.
“Oh! It’s lunchtime now!” She cried, hopping down from the table.
Rick looked around helplessly. He didn’t have the energy or the mentality to tell her that her best friend was now dead.
Especially because of him.
As the girl opened the door, they heard a woman screaming and hysterically crying.
“YOU KILLED MY BOY!”
“YOU KNEW OUR DEAL, AND YET-”
Rick quickly grabbed the child’s shoulders and carefully pulled her back into the room.
“It’s probably not safe out there...”
As he held her shoulders, he felt them bobbing up and down.
That’s when he heard a sniffle.
“That was 245’s Aunt…” She whispered.
She then broke out into full sobs.
“Is he...” She began with breaks in her sobs, raising her head to look up at Rick.
“I’m afraid,” he began as he felt a tiny body grip onto him.
246 began sobbing into him.
Rick glanced out the peephole.
Men were carrying the corpse of the child that he had killed.
This was the first time in forever since he had felt so guilty and so dirty for committing a murder.
But all he could do now was to protect the girl, the victim’s best friend; he had to keep the promise.
He began stroking her hair gently as he let her fully embrace him.
It’s 3 am, and I’m here searching for how to draw a bunny. Rick scratched his head, annoyed.
After he left 246, he immediately went to a pharmacy searching for what he thought would be a no-brainer. How the hell do they not sell bunny band-aids? He sighed as he carefully drew the ears on the last bunny.
There. He sighed.
“This place...” He whispered to himself.
We need to get the hell out of here. He flicked the lights off and drifted off to sleep.
As he walked, he let out a big yawn, stretching his arms. He had not gotten much sleep after all.
He turned, looking to see who was talking to him.
“Huh?” He responded as he let out another yawn.
“You’re not in this department today.”
Rick looked around.
“I think you have the wrong person-”
“No-” The other man began.
“You’ve been too soft with these experiments; therefore, you’ve been moved to the adult’s department.”
Before Rick could protest, the man sneered.
“Hugging those things dirties your pretty white coat, you know.” He laughed, walking away.
Rick stood there stunned, but he didn’t have time to get angry and start a fight.
He began running down the hall, not stopping until he reached the bulletin.
He skimmed through the numbers on the ‘to die’ list. That’s when his heart dropped.
He noticed that ‘246’ was on the list.
No. He thought to himself in utter disbelief.
Her abilities were starting to kick in; she bloomed to be what they would refer to as a successful experiment. So why. Why…?
But he had no time to think; he thought about the plan he hatched up but threw to the side, not thinking that this would happen.
He had to hurry. They had to escape. He began running once more.
“Well, kid,” the doctor began.
“You know, what happens when little brats don’t behave here, don’t you?” He smirked.
“I don’t know…” The girl whispered.
“That was a rhetorical question, dummy.” The man then laughed.
“Then again, you probably don’t know how to write your own name.” He snickered.
The girl sat there quietly.
What happened to the nice man, Rick? Did he forget to keep his promise? They always do... She began to tear up.
“Ah, you’re crying!?” The doctor snapped.
“There’ll be no room for tears where you’re going now, sweetheart.”
He flicked the needle once.
“More like screaming of the damned.” He laughed.
He rose the needle in her direction.
“Demons like you should’ve stayed right in hell!”
She looked up, horrified as she saw the needle coming right at her, panicked; she screamed, closing her eyes and by reflex, swatted the needle away.
There was silence.
She breathed heavily.
She began to open her eyes.
She looked down to see a body lying on the floor. Horrified, she began sobbing uncontrollably.
It was an accident. She just hated needles. She was scared because of the screaming. She didn’t mean to. She didn’t want to.
Suddenly, the door opened.
She jumped up, then noticed it was the doctor from yesterday.
She sobbed even wilder than before and pointed towards the body.
“I didn’t mean to!” She was hysterical.
He couldn’t even begin to care about the scene.
She was safe. She was alive. And that’s all that mattered.
“246.” He grabbed her by the shoulders.
“We need to get out of here and fast.”
“Do you trust me?” He looked her in the eyes.
The girl couldn’t comprehend what was happening, but she gave a nod.
“Good girl.” He said, picking her up and carrying her under his arm.
He began to run.
He ran into a medicine cart, but that didn’t stop him.
He kept running as if his life depended on it. With her tucked under his arm, he ran like hell. He noticed the door towards the end of the hall. Freedom. He thought.
He hadn’t looked back once but heard the alarms going off.
Too late. He thought.
They had successfully made it outside before the lockdown began.
Despite being outside, he wouldn’t dare risk it, so he kept running as fast as possible.
He then turned a corner and noticed a cab.
He banged on the window, startling the driver inside. The driver rolled down his window.
“I could’ve choked on my sandwich!” He cried.
Unfazed, Rick opened the door, quickly put 246 inside, then got in himself.
“Where to?” The driver grumbled.
“I don’t care; take us to any town you can think of.” He breathed heavily.
“Oh, don’t worry, buddy, I’ve got just the place.” He laughed.
“Wait,” he paused.
“Just go!” Rick cried.
The driver quickly put the car in drive and drove off.
“Cash or credit?” He asked impatiently.
“Cash.” Rick sighed, still out of breath.
He then glanced down, momentarily forgetting about the girl accompanying him on their escape.
“246…“ He took his coat off, wrapping it around the girl.
He smiled, collecting his breath. “We made it.” He laughed.
“246?” He stared down at the girl.
“It’s winter?” She questioned.
“Ah, well, actually fall just began.” He said, brushing his hand through her hair.
“It’s cold.” She looked up at him.
“Yeah, it is pretty chilly.” He chuckled. She stared at him for a long second.
“Hey.” She tugged his arm.
“Hm?” He looked back down towards her.
“Are we…” She whispered.
“...Free?” She asked as she kept her gaze on him.
Rick looked out the window on the other side.
“I sure hope so.” He smiled. “Also,” she began.
“Hm?” He looked over.
“Did you get my bunny band-aids?” She asked with a hint of hope.
Kids... He thought to himself, amused.
“As a matter of fact, yes, I did!” He dug into his pants pocket and pulled out three band-aids with bunnies drawn onto them.
The girl’s eyes twinkled.
“You kept your promise!” She beamed.
I sure did. He thought to himself as he began to nod off.
The car came to a jolting stop. “Huh?” Rick lifted his head lethargically. “This is as far as I’ll go.” The taxi driver said. “Alright,” Rick muttered, rubbing his eyes. “How much?” “A hundred and twenty.” “Christ…” Rick looked down at the girl who, to his surprise, was still awake. “Give me a sec.” Rick began feeling his pockets for his wallet. “Eh…?” Rick kept feeling his pockets anxiously. “Don’t tell me…”The driver mumbled. The girl suddenly tapped him. “Huh?” He glanced down. “Your wallet fell out when you gave me the Band-Aids.” She informed him. There was a sigh of relief from both men. “Thanks a lot,” Rick said, begrudgingly handing over a hundred and twenty. “By the way,” the driver began. “There aren’t any hotels within this town, but the people are pretty easygoing!” He laughed. “Hey!” Rick cried out. “W-wait…!” Ho
It had been a few nights since Rick begrudgingly agreed to house him and the girl in Sena’s Flowers. It was a small space, which was fine since it was just the two of them. The girl had been strong in her pleas to claim the bedroom; however, Rick wasn’t having it. “The couch is plenty big for you.” He would tell her. She would pout, yet it was all in vain. After numerous failed attempts, she gave up. One night, the two were having dinner that Sena had brought over from the local cafe. As Sena was setting the table, she pulled Rick to the side. “Hey,” she began. “Yes?” Rick looked at her. “Does she really not have a name?” Rick glanced at the girl and back to Sena. “Not really…” He mumbled. 245’s words proved to be true. The girl’s papers ended up not having much information on her background, thus no name. “Aren’t you tired of calling her ‘kid,’ though?” Sena questioned. “Listen-”
A few days later, there was a knock at the door. “Come in.” Rick tilted his head towards the door. Nothing. “Oi, Sena, I said come in!” He spoke up louder. However, the door opened to Rick’s surprise. It wasn’t Sena; rather, it was another lady. This lady was tall with broad shoulders. Dressed in a white blouse, with a long blue skirt. She had long red hair tied in a messy bun resembling a ponytail. Rick stared for a solid second. His vision wasn’t the best; in fact, he probably needed glasses soon, but this was not his landlady. “Um…“ The lady looked around. “Don’t mind me, I guess. I’m just here to get a few more of my things...” She mumbled as she walked over to the kitchen. Rick was floored. Was she in the right home? Was she an intruder? Would she pounce any second? Then it hit him. Before he and Maru moved in, Sena had mentioned a friend who had previously lived in their home. “Are you-” He
A few days passed since the sign on Sena’s Flowers' door read ‘closed.’ Sena hadn’t responded to Rick’s texts either. Rick put down the phone and sighed. “Yeesh, what a disappointing day.” He turned to Maru, who was staring out the window. “Mm.” She responded, not taking her glance off the window. “What’s wrong, kiddo?” Rick walked over to the couch and sat down next to her. “I wanted to go to the park today.” She pouted. “Don’t worry,” Rick began. “There’ll be several other opportunities to go to the park, just not today.” He smiled, twirling her hair between his fingers. “Mm...” Maru nodded, still pouting. “Ah, wait,” Rick began. Maru turned her head towards him in confusion. “I just remembered I need to get groceries.” He clicked his tongue in annoyance. “Do you want anything while I’m gone?” Rick questioned, turning his head to Maru. “Hmm…” Maru bit her lip while in thought.
“Thank you again, Rick." Abbey smiled as she stepped foot into her home. "No need to thank me, just tell Sena I said hi." He smiled. "Goodnight." She said, shutting the door. * "Hey, kiddo, I'm home!" Rick called up as he was walking up the steps. Maru quickly rushed over to greet him at the door. "What took you so long?" She huffed. Rick laughed and then realized he hadn't gotten the groceries. "Uh," Rick began as he scratched his head. "I forgot." He chuckled. Maru looked at him, confused. "You forgot?" She questioned. Rick sighed. "It stopped raining; if you want to come, we can go now." Maru's eyes twinkled. She grabbed his arm, not realizing her own strength, as she pulled him down the steps. "Wait!" Rick cried. "You need a coat!" He exclaimed. * "Ready now?" Rick asked, fixing her coat. "Mm!" Maru smiled excitedly. "Can
“Rick Summers,” the man brushed by a few of the men. “I’ve been dying to meet you.” He grinned. “I get that a lot.” Rick chuckled nervously. The man laughed. “And he has a good sense of humor.” The man then towered over Maru. “I’m afraid you can’t joke your way out of this one, however.” Rick grinned. “Bet?” The man laughed once more. “You’re quite amusing; it’s a shame I was sent to do this.” Rick looked around cautiously as he tightened his grip on Maru. “Hand her over.” The man demanded. Rick laughed. He just kept laughing. The man looked shocked. “Oi Oi, what’s so funny about what I said?” He asked cautiously. “It’s just not my style to fight in front of a kid, you know?” Rick chuckled. The man smirked. “Well, who said you had to fight?” He asked. “Just hand her over.” Rick knew he was at a disadvantage. The man could easily orde
About a week had passed since the incident; however, Maru had seemingly moved on from it.While Maru quickly moved on, Rick had his concerns.What if the man’s call for the retreat was a hoax of some sort? What if he reported back, arranged something else, or had bigger plans?He couldn’t be sure.*“Rick?” There was a knock at the door.“It’s open, Sena,” Rick answered.The door opened to reveal Sena with a man behind her. Rick's eyes widened as his heart began to race.It was the man who led the rest of the men during the attempted kidnapping.“What are you-” Rick stammered.“Is something wrong?” Sena asked, looking at him in confusion.“Sena-” Rick began.“Can I talk to you?”Sena looked at the man then back to Rick.“Yes, of course."Rick pulled her to the kitchen.“Wh
After their unlikely friendship had begun, Chris frequently visited Rick's house, much to Rick’s annoyance.“Hey, what’re you doing?” Chris asked while hovering over his shoulder.Rick sighed while grabbing his pen.“Looking for a new job, I guess.”Chris laughed.“Hey, hey, don’t laugh right in my ear, idiot.”Chris smiled, amused.“I already have one kid I’m taking care of; I really don’t need another,” Rick smirked.“Hey!” Chris shouted, insulted.“By the way, where is the shrimp?” Chris questioned.“The huh?” Rick scratched his head in annoyance.“Maru,” Chris replied.“Oh, Sena and Abbey took her to the park,” Rick replied, checking the clock.“I think they’ll be back soon.”Chris nodded.“Any luck finding anything?