It began with a sharp splash of pain. Then it rippled through his body and engulfed his whole being. He rocked forward, the street blurring in and out of focus around him. The empty street swam about before him and began to fade. And it was gone.
Moments later his eyes shot back open. The pain was gone, and he was standing alone in an ocean of pure whiteness. He looked down at his hands and opened and closed them.
"Am I . . . am I dead?"
"Bingo," came a reply.
"That doesn't matter, Nicholas."
"How do you know my name?"
"That doesn't matter either. What matters, is that I have the power to let you live."
"What are you talking about?"
"I have the ability to give you another chance. I know you don't want to die yet," the voice replied tactfully.
"Are you . . . are you the devil?" Nick asked, his voice thick with fear.
A chuckle cracked through the voice. "No," it replied, "you are not so fortunate. Turn around."
Nick spun quickly and saw a necklace floating before him. A gold chain with a strange silver talisman that gave off a faint blue light. "What is it?" he asked, as he reached out to touch it.
"Does it really matter what it actually is? Put it on, it will save your life."
Nick, in blind awe of the necklace took it and slipped it around his neck. "What-what does it do?"
"It is a living creature, never forget that. It can think and feel and know, so take care of it, and it will take care of you. It has a soul that is as every bit as real as yours. This amulet has the ability to pull you back and forth in time on a whim, and it may just be able to maintain your existence. . . . If it so desires, that is," the voice replied cunningly.
"What must I do?" Nick asked, cupping the beautiful amulet in his hand.
And in an instant, the white faded away and the street stretched out before him, cold and lonely. He touched his neck, finding that the amulet was still there. He looked at his watch. It was 2:17, just a few moments before he died.
"What the hell am I supposed to do?"
"You seem worried," whispered a soft feminine voice.
Nick glanced down at the necklace. "You, you talk?"
"Apparently so," the amulet replied.
Nick was practically in tears with fear and stress.
"Look, kid, this is weird for both of us. But, seeing as how you did manage to get me out of that god-forsaken Limbo (no pun intended), I'll help you out."
Even as it said this, the world slowly bled away and was replaced by one exactly like it, only slightly brighter. Nick glanced down at his watch. It was now reading 2:00.
"There," the amulet said, seeming proud of itself.
"So you can move through time!"
"It certainly does seem that way, doesn't it. Anyway, you've got about twenty or so minutes until zero hour."
"Well I'll just go somewhere else," Nick replied.
"How do you know your murderer won't follow you? How do you know he isn't already?"
Nick glanced around.
"Look, I've got an idea. All you have to do is find a way to stop him from killing you, but let him think you're dead. Get a piece of metal and put it in the back of your jacket or something."
"Why are you helping me?" Nick asked.
"Because if you die, or worse, I go back to Limbo and I'll be stuck in this damned talisman forever."
"Or worse?" Nick gulped.
"Well, you could cease to exist. We run the risk of that just by time traveling and messing around with fate. Anyway, there isn't much time to waste, get going."
2:13 found Nick in a junk yard, handing a grisly, bearded man a ruffled five dollar bill for a piece of sheet metal.
"Good," whispered the amulet. "Now stick it in your jacket and button up. That should hold it in place."
Nick shakily obeyed.
"Let's get back to the present," said the necklace.
The world bled away.
It was 2:17 again, and Nick was uneasily walking down the alleyway. Suddenly, footsteps. And then it hit. The sheet metal bent sharply into his back, but did not give. The force of the blow sent Nick reeling forward to the ground. Nick hit hard, but managed to regain himself and glance down the alley. He looked up just in time to see a dark figure round the bend.
Nick hopped up and dashed to the corner and glanced down the road. Gone.
"I think he knows I'm not dead," Nick sighed.
"I think so, too," replied the silver amulet.
"Can I ask you something?"
"I suppose," it replied.
"Do you have a name?" Nick queried.
"Before I became imprisoned in this accursed trinket they called me Ellesun."
"Well, Ellesun, what do we do now?"
"Is there really anything we can do? We just have to wait."
Nick frowned. "So I'm supposed to wait until I get killed?"
"Oh relax, chances are he's done for the day. If you failed at a murder would you hop right back into it or take a little downtime to collect yourself?"
Nick shook his head. "Do you have any idea what this is like for me?"
"It must be horrible having arms and legs," Ellesun hissed grimly, her voice thick with cynicism. "It's so wonderful being stuck in this damned pendant."
Nick couldn't help but laugh. "Okay, okay; I'm sorry. And you're right, it could be worse."
Nick could hear the smile in her voice as she replied, "Just doing my job. Now go do something fun and relax a little."