Time traced one long finger across her lips as she sat in her clock tower, watching as the three demigods approached her lair. Death led the way, his mouth set in a rigid line. His royal-purple cape blazed behind him, caught up by the breeze of his gait. On Death’s right was Life, whose brow was furrowed, his hands crossed behind his back. Birth, who was taller and more graceful, followed behind in stride. Her expression was unreadable.
Time thought, with a wry smile, that she’d never seen Death look so mad. She wasn’t afraid of Death’s anger. But she’d never broken a commandment before, never overstepped her domain and crossed into Death’s realm.
And Death was coming for a reckoning.
She made her way down the spiral staircase to the bottom of her tower, finding that the demigods had invited themselves in and were waiting. Birth nodded politely to Time.
Time strode over to greet them as if she had asked them in. “Please. Have a seat.”
Death’s violet eyes flashed at her. “You.” He blew his breath through his nostrils, making them flare, and, although the force of it couldn’t have made his long white hair stand on end, Time amused herself with the thought that his breath was what raised hell.
“What can I do for you, Death?” Time asked.
“You know damn well what you’ve already done, and it wasn’t for me. It was against me. You have flouted me!” He sputtered and stopped, rage damming his tongue.
Time raised an eyebrow, determined not to show that fear was creeping into her chest and setting it on fire. She sat down on her leather couch, smoothed her black dress, tucked a copper strand behind her ear, and fixed her eye on a point above his head. “I outrank you.”
Death’s eyes bulged and his hands clawed into fists.
Birth cut in. “Time, we know you outrank all of us.” She looked to Life for agreement. He nodded. “However,” Birth continued, “Death is a little, well, upset that you didn’t consult him before you—well, you…”
“Ripped a page from someone’s book?” Time supplied.
Death slammed his fist against Time’s mahogany coffee table. “It wasn’t just a page, Time!” The color of Death’s face almost matched his cloak.
“His ending. I tore out his last page and destroyed it.”