The Choosing

“So who’s going to die today?” Clark asked, rubbing his hands together. He plopped down on the gym bleachers. The principal and teachers stood around keeping the kids in line while everyone waited for this week’s Messenger to show up with the Death Envelope.

“Clark, these are real people’s lives. You can’t treat them like they’re worthless,” a girl above him smacked him on the back of his head, but he just laughed it off.

“Don’t worry about her, she lost her dad like, two months ago,” Sam, Clark’s friend explained, sitting next to clark. “At least we don’t have to worry about that. Both of my parents are pardoned, and aren’t yours also?” He asked.

Thankfully, Clark was saved by the Messenger running into the gym. He didn’t have the heart to explain that his mother lost her job that Monday. She had a job interview today, and he was praying she would be pardoned there too.

The Messenger exchanged words with the principal, then walked out of the gym. “Alright kids, you know how this works.” He adjusted his glasses to read the half-sheet of paper better. “Out of our county this week, five people were chosen to be put to death due to the rising population…” he continued to recite the explanation for the Choosing, even though it had been set for two years. Clark could feel the air practically sucked out of the room as kids held their breaths.

“Just read the names already!” A kid shouted, with a few more chiming in from the other side of the stands.

"Alright. For this week’s Choosing, the five people chosen were…Audrina Bishop, Melanie Sutton, Barry Fitz, Daniel Harding, and Valerie Hobbs.” He closed the envelope, pausing for that to sink into the students. “You are dismissed.”

Clark blinked, realizing what the last name had been. He shot up. “Wait! Stop, that’s my mother!” He ran down to the bleachers, trying to reach the bottom, but he was swept away in the chaos of his peers. “There’s been a mistake!” He shouted again, but all he could hear was the echoes of other student’s laughter.

Comments 2