Original prompt: You have made a deal with Death for immortality. Each day for a week, you receive a package that will either try to kill you or save you from death sometime during that day. You do not know which or when. You’re still alive after 6 days. On the last day, you find a young girl outside your door.
When I opened the door to an innocuous water bottle on the first day, something smelled fishy. I knew the rules, so I thought that I should keep it with me and just not drink it, since the liquid inside may have been poisonous. Well, I’m glad I had it with me all day, because when I choked on a big piece of meat as I was eating dinner, I’d have died by asphyxia if not for it.
On the contrary, the knife I found on the second day would’ve killed me if I hadn’t wrapped it in bandages to make sure nothing could happen. As I was doing a bit of cleaning, I put a heavy jar on the table; the table leg broke, and the knife, which was on the other side, jumped to my face. What a scare. I wonder what the police would have thought on arriving at the death scene. Darwin award material right here, I tell you.
Those six days have been quite nerve-wracking, but I’ve managed to survive. One more day, and I’ll be an immortal. After I prayed for an imaginary deity to lend me some luck just for today, I carefully opened the door. And I saw… nothing.
No package? Weird.
However, a young girl was quietly sitting on the front yard. I had never seen her before, so I thought I could ask her if she was lost. As I took a few steps, she looked up, smiled, and suddenly started running towards me, with a goddamn dagger in her hand. I froze for a few seconds, unable to process what was happening, and then my brain kicked on survival mode. I turned back in a hurry and tried to rush back to the house, but I awkwardly tripped and fell to the ground as gracefully as an anvil, my face right on the concrete. As I painfully tried to retain my consciousness, I heard footsteps just a few meters behind me, so I mechanically turned around, and gave a violent kick towards the air, in a desperate attempt. I felt it hit absolutely nothing and I realized with horror the girl was already beside me.
She rose her arm, still eerily smiling, the weapon brandished above me. I was paralyzed both by fear and by dizziness, and the sun, just above her hand, blinded me. I could only see a black shadow hovering over me, almost as if it was Death itself, ready to reap my very soul.
It’s over. What a fool! Tripping at the most crucial moment of my life.
As I gave up and closed my eyes, I felt a faint sting on my chest.
“Got you! You’re it now!”
As I opened my eyes bewildered, the little girl was laughing, and her dagger lay on my torso. On closer inspection, it was a quite realistic plastic toy. As I stayed still, overcome with confusion and relief, I looked at the cute child whose eyes were shining, waiting for me to get up and chase after her. I moved to get up, and she instantly turned around to flee, letting a little laughter escape. I started strolling after her, feeling stupid for thinking she was Death’s last envoy.
“You’ll never catch me if you’re that slow!” she shouted backwards, looking at me in the corner of her eyes while still running.
As I picked up my pace, I suddenly heard an engine’s noise. A car was coming right on the girl’s trajectory, but she still had her eyes on me.
“Watch out!” I yelled.
The car tried to brake, but it hit nonetheless, sending the victim for a few barrel rolls on the road. The body finally came to a stop, and blood started leaking from its broken limbs.
My blood, that is.
In a sudden surge of adrenaline, I managed to catch up to the girl and push her to the front, but the car hit me head-on.
I was barely conscious, but my body hurt so much I almost didn’t feel like it belonged to me anymore. I felt as if I could see myself from above, like a bird’s eye view, slowly drenching the road in a scarlet pool. Maybe that’s what near-death experiences are like. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll make it out.
It’s okay, though. I wouldn’t have forgiven myself for all of eternity if I’d let her die just in front of me out of selfishness. Perhaps, she was Death’s last ordeal, after all. Equivalent exchange? Seems fair to me.
As the last remnants of life were leaving me, I saw the girl draw near my pitiable self. I thought my eyes had been closed since long ago, but I saw her clearly. Tears were welling up in her eyes, as she knelt beside me, putting my distorted, bloody hand in both of her own.
I kept looking at her lovely figure, her eyes reciprocating my gaze. Her face gave off a surreal aura: her features were perfectly symmetrical, and despite the two lines of tears running down her cheeks, she was smiling. A gentle, compassionate smile. It moved me, to the depths of my shattered heart.
So that’s how it ends, I thought. I’m glad I saw that smile of hers.
Her image gradually blurred and soon, I couldn’t feel her warm hands anymore, nor could I feel her presence next to me. All faded to black.
As my consciousness was trapped in the middle of nothingness, a small whisper found its way to me. Just a few words, in a voice so distant I could have easily missed it, even in this deafening silence.
“Please, wake up,” it said, as I recognized the young girl’s voice.
And then, there was light.