The Countdown

Okay, we wrote a little short story for the winning prompt! I hope you enjoy.

prompt4

The embedded clock on my arm clicks down to sixty minutes left. I have no idea what’s going to happen to me, no one ever does; but I did know that it was going to change everything.

I was born with the clock just like everyone else. You don’t think much of it when you’re a kid; I mean you usually have a few years before it goes off, why waste time worrying about it. Watching the clock could drive you insane; and you didn’t want to end up in one of the instructions before the moment even came. It wasn’t until this last week that I’d really paid attention to it

You see, the clocks are counting down to something; some major life event would happen as soon as your clock hit zero. It could be death, meeting the love of your life, pregnancy, being drafted into the army. I mean anything, anything.

I was starting to feel the crazy drifting in, locked in my dark room. I knew you couldn’t hide from the event. Many have tried and failed. But it didn’t stop me from trying.

What do I have to lose?

I had no prospects of pregnancy, thank god. I liked to sleep a little too much to deal with a crying baby every minute of every day.

I popped my headphones over my ears, blasting my new favorite song: the new song by Comet Strike. Its upbeat music tempo backed the demons downthat threatened me.

I was surrounded by big, fluffy pillows. Soft sweatpants and sweater, if I was going to die I was going to do it comfortably.

My phone vibrated against my arm again. Probably Becca trying to see if I was okay and if I wanted her to come over. It was better if no one witnessed it. She still had two years left on her countdown and as I saw the flashing thirty minutes on my arm I was filled with jealousy.

This was unfair, what kind of purpose did this torture have? There are rumors that in the past people didn’t have these clocks. They had no idea when anything would happen to them. Lucky. This is much, much worse.

Would I get good news or bad news? Crap, with my luck it had to be bad news. There are just not enough of the good stories. It seemed like it was always bad.

My parents were one of the lucky ones, and they were confident that I would be too. But I didn’t think so.

My mother and father had the exact same time down to the second. But they didn’t know until the very moment that it happened though. They had both gotten drunk and ended up conceiving my big brother Ryan.

Ryan wasn’t so lucky. His timer ended on his seventeenth birthday and my parents had thrown him a huge party to celebrate. Hoping his event would mirror theirs, they invited every girl within the town. His didn’t. He burst an aneurysm right there in front of everyone, a laugh still on his lips as he collapsed to the ground.

I was sure that my fate would be just like his that my parents would be hurt again like when Ryan died.

Twenty minutes to go.

Time was going by so fast now. I couldn’t take it. I squeezed my eyes closed. Hands clenched around the blankets in fists. I wanted to scream but it would just make my parents come running. It had been hard enough to keep them away from me. But I was legally an adult; they had to respect my wishes.

I cracked an eyelid peaking at my arm. I wish I was brave enough to pull my sleeve down, to let the time tick by and let go. I couldn’t. I wasn’t.

The song started again and again. Every two minutes and thirty seconds. I lost count of how many times it did restart.

Ten minutes.

Oh, god. Oh, god. What will my parents do if I die? I’m all they have left. The last of their happiness would be snatched. Even the good things end up being bad things, don’t they?

There’s really no hope, is there? Everything I knew was going to be gone in the blink of an eye. Goodbye life. Goodbye to me. Goodbye to my chocolate brown, wavy hair that I’d gotten from my mother. Goodbye my lily-pad eyes inherited from my father.

Five minutes.

Good to my best friend Becca, who had such a good chance at something good. She was too bright to snuff out early.

Four minutes.

I screamed into my pillow, turning up the volume of the song as it restarted once more. I wished I had gotten to see the song in concert. But the tour had started in England and they wouldn’t be back here for another month.

Three minutes.

I lay still. Hoping it all will be painless, whatever it is.

Two minutes.

I breathed in and out, in and out trying to slow my racing heartbeat. I could feel my nerves vibrating down my fingers and toes. I was tingling all over.

One minute.

I closed my eyes counting the seconds, breathing slowly but my heart just kept pumping, pumping.

Three, two, one.

 

“Charlee.” That’s my name. The voice tried to pull me out of the darkness. I felt like I was swimming, suspending in air. “Charlee. Can you hear me?”

I mumbled gently, my arms felt heavy as I tried desperately to wipe the sleep from my eyes. The closer I got to the surface the more I felt my head pounding like I was waking up from a hangover. But I hadn’t had anything to drink last night at all. No I was lying in bed watching my time countdown. My time countdown. It clicked.

I bolted up, wincing slightly at the sharp pain in my legs.

I pulled my sleeve up and my clock was blank. My time had come and gone.

“What, what happened?” I gasped, yanking a nurse by the arms.

I caught sight of myself in the mirror; a large bruise circled the left side of my face. My hair was matted, sticking up in all directions and I was pale. My stomach was bloated, and big.

The nurse pulled my hands off her clothes and took a step back, hands laced behind her back. Ready to deliver the news.

Obviously I was hurt in some way, but how? And how badly?

“You were struck unconscious Charlee, before you were attacked and left for dead. Moments before you were attacked both of your parents suffered shots to the heart. You’ve been in a coma for three months. And, I don’t know how to tell you this but… you’re pregnant.”

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