I found Patrolman Ron Davis trying to roust the old man from the train station, and one look in the man’s eyes told me that Ron was treading on thin ice. Fortunately, I was able to convince Ron to leave the stranger alone, and he did so.
The old reaper grinned at me and used his cane to get to his feet.
“I wouldn’t have killed him.”
I raised an eyebrow, and the reaper chuckled. “Nay, I wouldn’t have. I’m not the one who’ll collect him.”
We walked toward Aldrich’s, which is where I assumed he meant to go.
“You know,” the reaper said, “Charles has a niece. Her name is Erica. She’s rather interested in photography, much like her uncle was at her age.”
“Is it his time?” I asked.
We left it at that until we reached the Charles’ studio. Once there, we paused outside the door, and the reaper looked at me. “September 17.”
“What will you do then?” I asked.
“I’ll be visiting Florida,” he informed me. “I’m afraid I’ve a few to collect there.”
I nodded and opened the door for him. We passed over the threshold and into the waiting area. Charles saw us, offered a weak smile, and escorted the reaper into the back. They returned a short while later, and Charles’ hands shook violently as he produced the ledger. As he set it down on the table and took out a pen, the reaper leaned forward, put his hand gently on Charles’ elbow, and whispered.
Charles Aldrich’s eyes rolled up to reveal their whites, and he went limp before he crashed to the floor. The reaper gave me a deep bow and left the studio with Charles’ soul in tow.
With a sigh, I bent over the ledger and jotted down what the reaper had told me.