I first sensed a death when I was thirteen.
No, not saw one. That’s fairly normal, people seeing someone else die. And we hear about people dying all the time.
No, It wasn’t a physical sense, it was as if I just knew. I was walking past this hospital, and I looked up, and I just knew, deep down, that someone had died that very second.
It got worse. Soon, I was sensing death all the time. Do you know how many people are dying around you? In hospitals, in nursing homes, in houses. And that’s just the people. Cats killing mice, people swatting flies. I sense all that too.
I’m not crazy. I’m not imagining things. I haven’t got a paralysing fear of death that has caused me to invent a fantasy in which I have a death-based superpower in order to reclaim my power over my mortality. See, I read.
No, I have a power. A gift, if you want to call it that. Trust me, if I had a receipt, I’d return it. But I’d never re-gift it.
It’s got stronger. I can look at someone now and know when they’re going to die, how they’re going to die.
I saved someone, once. Standing at a busy road, I looked at him and just knew that he was going to be hit by that car that wouldn’t stop in time. So, when he put out his foot to cross, I stopped him. Pulled him by the arm, back onto the pavement. The car whizzed by, and I felt dizzy for a second. When I looked at him again, I knew things had changed. He was going to have a heart attack in his garden, but in thirty years. His heart was pounding – I could feel the beats as if they were my own, counting down to that day when the bushes will need trimming.
He said, thank you. I said, look after yourself, especially your heart.
And then I walked away like I had just punched the Joker.
Things were looking up. I could change the deaths. I learnt that then. Not all of them, obviously, but the harsher ones, the more pointless ones. The accidents, the murders. What else could I do? With time, and maybe a costume?
But then things took a turn for the worse. I started noticing them. The ones who weren’t quite right.
Like that six-foot blonde I saw the other day. Normally, I wouldn’t have given her a second thought. But something was off with her. Then, in a sickening moment, it made the strangest sense.
I could sense nothing.
She was never going to die.
But, something worse?
The look in her eye. I could tell.
She had sensed me.