Author's note: Yes. This story sounds kind of dark, and quite frankly, that's the point. I hope you like this short about consequences.

Original Post: Penana . com story ID: 12883 issue 3 of the contest Kill Time

He was three years old. Ah! The joy of being so young. Infinite possibility, infinite hard work, infinite opportunity. If only I could be three years old again.

But I could. I knew I could. I wouldn't exactly be three again, 'cause that's impossible, even for me, but I'd have all of his time, however much he had left. All I needed was to kill him, to absorb his life force.

Some said that when you murdered someone, you gained all the time they would have had left if you hadn't murdered them, and then some, depending on whether they were cooperative at the time of death. What a game. Murder a healthy three-year-old and gain upwards of fifty years. Murderer a grouch with stage-four lung cancer and all you get for your hard work is three weeks. Not so worth it.

I was one hundred and forty-five years old. I didn't know why I bothered to keep count, but I did. Many things had changed in the last hundred years, and perhaps I did it to distinguish myself from you youngsters, walking around in thirty-year-old flesh. Oh, what I would give for thirty-year-old flesh. Well, I guess I'll have to settle for thirty-year-old time.

But there he was. Only three years on him and he was already misusing his precious time. Oh, what I could do with the time he had.

Only one problem. His father was the best Time Killer catcher in the country. And I wanted that little boy's flesh. If only that'd stopped me. Then I wouldn't be talking to you in a padded cell.

It started the day I saw him on the swings of the park I frequented for people watching. You know, watching one person is illegal and considered stalking, but if you say you're watching more than one person, it's called people watching and not illegal. Funny how the law works. Also funny the guards let me talk to you but don't let you respond.

The little boy. So beautiful for a little boy. Curly black hair. Skin the shade of coffee, perfectly smooth. Engaging hazel eyes. Perfection in a three-year-old. I once had a son. He was never that perfect, even before they stole him from me.

And even so, if they hadn't taken him away from me, he'd already be dead. It was a shame, outliving all of your family, all of your friends. But hey, I had time.

I sat there, following that little boy. So amazing. So captivating in the ways he wasted his time. He had some much of it. He just didn't know. The bliss of ignorance. I wanted him. I needed him so bad.

You might be wondering why I was wasting my precious own time stalking people. Well, I had about a year of stolen time left, and I knew not to wait until it was up before finding a new target. My last target had forty years, and that was nearly forty years ago, so it was about time.

Unlike some other Time Killers, I only killed for necessity, not for fun. But that still meant I was good. Really good. Not the best, but when your targets were usually children, you didn't need to be the best.

Back to the boy. Yes, his name was Jason. Jason Cavil, a rich little three-year-old. I followed him home every night without his father noticing. I was quite good at that.

He lived in a fuchsia house on Kiwi Lane, with the rich ones. Quite far from Last Drive, where I hid in my tiny gray shack, but that didn't bother me. It wasn't that I didn't have money. I was a hundred and forty-five years old. I had plenty of time to save up monetary representations. But having a cheap-looking living place shaded me from the government. Thus, I had a decked out, three thousand square-feet, two-story basement that I actually lived in.

Day after day, I watched him, and followed Jason home. It was a game, finding the perfect time to strike. Most wouldn't play it right, so the Time Killer catchers caught them. I've had quite a few kills over the years, so I mostly knew what I was doing.

But Jason's father was the best. And I wasn't. I wished I knew how to tell when someone was empty. I wish I didn't complacently call everyone else's play as time wasting.

Because, it turns out, it could tell you a lot about their time.

It was a dark night. I assumed everyone in Jason's home was asleep. It was raining hard, the water plopping against windows and roofs and bodies.

Walking down Kiwi Lane with a dark parka on a night like this shouldn't have been suspicious. In fact, others were doing it, heading home after a late night party, or heading out to a late night party.

I ducked past the fuchsia house's rushing gutter and put my hand on the door. I recalled my girlfriend, Emilia, and suddenly, her lock picking ability returned to me. Some days, I regretted killing her. If I hadn't, she would be here right now, and I wouldn't be so lonely. She was a Time Killer, like me, before they took our child, before I stole her time.

After blowing the house door lock, I crept down the marble hallway. I knew the schematics of Jason's house inside and out. I had been studying for the past month, getting ready for my heist. Yes, stealing time was like stealing anything else of large value.

I silently rushed up the velvet-carpeted stairs to the third level. There were four bedrooms there, and any of them could have been little Jason's bedroom. But most likely, the other ones would be empty.

After careful consideration, which consisted of spinning around a few times and picking the one I stopped at, I pushed open the third door.

The night was dark. The child's room didn't have any night-lights. Pitch-blackness spilled out into the hallway and mixed with the hallway light. The lamp illuminated the shape of a bed in one corner. A soft beeping sound filled the room, but I didn't think much of it. I silently closed the door and stepped towards the memory of the hunt in total darkness.

I didn't know about the door sensor. I didn't know the parents were awake and they'd already called the police. If I had, I would've gotten out that second.

But I didn't. I rushed forward and ended the little body's misery with my knife. A soft beeping noise stopped and there was silence.

The life force floated in the air for a moment, as it always does. It swirled, confused by its newfound freedom, and then recognized me. It recognized me as its liberator, its new owner. And it joined me, gifting me four months.

I paled. Four months? I whipped up my flashlight and looked at the bloody mess in the bed.

It wasn't Jason. It was a girl, perhaps five years old, connected to all sorts of tubes and machines. The softly beeping device I had heard earlier had been a heart monitor. Of course, it had flat lined. I clicked off my flashlight, my heart falling.

All I had accomplished was gain four months from a terminally ill child. But that wasn't the end of it.

The door flew open, foreign light spilling into the pitch-dark room. Jason's father, Officer Cavil, pulled a gun on me. "Put your hands up and turn around slowly," he said with a strong, but understandably apprehensive voice.

I hid my knife under the dead girl's bed pillow, raised my gloved hands, and turned to face my captor.

He was a tall man, muscular, and I immediately knew him. The famed Officer Cavil. The best Time Killer Catcher in the country. And I, someone who was nowhere near the best Time Killer, was standing over his daughter's corpse with bloody clothes.

I have about two weeks of stolen time left. After that, I'll be living the time I would have had if I didn't become a Time Killer when I was twenty-seven. That's still quite a lot of days to spend in a padded cell. Alone. With only Emilia's spirit to guide me. I really do wish I hadn't killed my girlfriend for only twenty years.