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January 4, 2018

20 Days of Chill: win or lose - fiction

20 Days of Chill
Today's prompt is 'win or lose.' Another fiction piece.

Death has a grip on Allison. Trapped in an elevator full of strangers, Allison must decide which one is death in order to win and live.

But the seven strangers in the elevator with Allison all appear normal. There is a teenage girl looking annoyed, a graceful young woman in a white coat, an elderly couple in their sixties, a twenty-something man with his fluffy white dog, a middle-age man, hair in disarray wearing a shirt untucked with a loose tie around his neck and his four-year-old son.

A while ago, Allison was in the basement of her apartment complex waiting for her laundry to dry. The fire alarm sounded and then she was racing up the smoky stairs. She got out but instead of the streets, she was in a cemetery with death. He wore a long black robe with the hood over his head. His face was always in the shadows no matter which way he turned his head. Instead of just taking her, he asked her if she likes to gamble. Then he made a bet with her - if she wins, she gets to live and return to her life but if she loses, she comes with him willingly. It was a very simple gamble.

But Allison, standing among the seven strangers, now realizes she have made a terrible mistake. There is no way of her winning. Not when she couldn't even decide which one of them is even slightly different from the rest. She would choose the boy as the mostly likely candidate as it is unexpected and death is always unexpected. But the elderly man seems interested in Allison as he glances at her several times with a strange smile on his lips.

The man with the dog have said they just have to wait for rescue. He is the one that pushed the emergency button and he is the one that spoke on the red phone with someone. Allison assumes there is someone or else they are waiting for no reason. But Allison has a reason but she could not bring herself to choose.

Allison squeezes herself into a corner. The man with the dog peers down at her and then he smiles and says, "Don't worry. I get into these jams several times a year. There's nothing to them. You just have to wait them out." He pats her on the shoulder. His hand is warm.

The man with the son speaks. "Does anyone have anything to eat? My little son is hungry. Anyone?"

Allison looks around but everyone is shaking their heads. Allison digs into her bag which she is surprised she has considering she has been wearing sweats and was holding nothing just a moment ago. She pulls out a granola bar from her bag and holds it out to the man. He nods and says, "Thank you, young lady." Allison nods.

The lights above blink out. Everyone gasps. Then it comes back on but the lights is now red. Allison looks around the elevator. Anyone of these people could be death. Their faces soaked in red lights freaks her out a bit. It's the boy, she thought but he is sitting on the floor eating the granola bar. There is nothing that says he is anything but a boy. The boy's father looks up at her and smiles. Allison returns a smile and then looks away.

It must be the old man. Allison doesn't like the way he stares at her. Her father often has that look when he misses Allison's mother, and Allison looks just like her mother. No, it must not be the elderly man. Why would death be at the end of the spectrum when it is so obvious? The boy at the beginning of life, that should be death. It makes sense that death wants to be young and new. There is the teenage girl. She looks like she have a lot of sprit, like someone who can fight anyone. But the young woman - so elegant, so graceful, Allison images someone like her must be what death would want to be. But there is also the man with his dog - cute and non-threatening - the complete opposite of death. But the elderly woman - she looks mean with angry lines upon her face. Death could be like that - someone who takes and doesn't give a damm.

Allison sighs. She sinks down onto the floor. It feels cold. She has lost. She could never defeat death. Her own fear of dying could never be squashed. And her fear of dying without at least getting her laundry folded and put away, irritates her. She wants to leave in a neat and orderly way with all her things and affairs in order.

This is not fair. There is no way Allison could win this bet. Everyone of these people represents death in all their stages - young, old, new, frail, elegant, messy, vivacious. If Allison has to choose, she would choose them all.

Then the elevator walls disappears and is replaced with white smoke. She keeps trying to take a breath but there doesn't seem to be enough air. Someone pulls her away and guides her outside into the streets. She lets out a long breath. The fireman asks if she is okay. She nods. He leaves her. She is alive. She lets out a laugh. But in the corner of her eyes, she notices someone is watching her. She turns and there is death. He seems to smile though Allison could only see darkness in his face. He waves at her with a pale hand. Someone touches her on the arm. She turns to a woman holding a blanket out. Allison nods and the blanket is wrapped around her. She turns back but death is no longer around. Allison smiles. She is alive and that is all that matters.

For more '20 days of chill' visit A 'lil HooHaa.
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