Bittersweet – the kind I like.
“Have a piece. It’ll calm the nerves,” she said, gently pushing the box of chocolates toward me.
I hesitated. The thin pieces, wrapped in translucent plastic, inclined along the grooves of the package. I doubted it calmed the nerves, but chocolate was a luxury these days. Still, I hesitated.
“No thank you,” I replied.
“Are you worried?” she asked. “Don’t worry. We’ll be there with you.”
She gracefully strode to my side – her long, white robe trailing behind her. Hands clasped together by her waist, she gave a pleasant smile. Unfortunately, it was devoid of my needed assurance. Yes, they would all be there – the elders, as they call themselves. But these people, with their glorified title, would be standing behind me – far from any range of fire.
“I know,” I merely replied.
“Nobody will harm you,” she added. “Remember, you’re the chosen one – the son of man. You speak the truth, and the people will listen.”
Such blasphemy. How did this happen?
All I wanted was to live. And there I was, about to give the last speech of my life. I knew the odds. In this so-called revolution, there were those who’d give their lives to save the world. Some would shed their blood to protect mine, while others would shed theirs to have mine. But I wasn’t one of them – not on the ruling end, and never on the opposition. I merely sought to preserve my life. Being the chosen one was supposed to save me – at least, that was what he said.
“You have the mark. Do you know what this means?” he asked.
“It’s a scar. I fell off my bike when I was a kid.”
“Nobody’s going to ask you how you got it. They just want to believe you exist. And you do.”
“So what, you think I should be the chosen one?”
“Hell yeah. Do you actually think you’ll survive this? When they start cutting the population, you’ll be the first to go – just saying. You have no talent, you’ve not held a job for more than a month, and you’re empty, up there,” he said, poking my head.
He was my friend, yes – a friend who was, more often than not, condescending. And as his friend, I was immune to his candid vocabulary. Sadly, little can be said about others. If only he kept his mouth shut, he would still be alive.
“Imagine what you’ll have as the chosen one. They’ll put you up in a mansion. Feed you food you cannot afford, even before all this. And you know what, I’m sure if you ask them for anything, they’ll give it to you,” he added.
“And what if they find out I’m not the chosen one? What then?”
“You die. But you’re going to die anyway,” he joked.
I thought he joked. I thought he joked about everything, until they came knocking on my door.
The day after our chat, he left in the early morning, claiming he needed to fix his guitar. I didn’t find it odd. He’d been practicing Chopin’s Marche Funebre for days – I thought it natural for the instrument to finally give way. Little did I know, he’d went ahead with a plan we never discussed.
“They’re here!” he announced, hurrying to let the devil in.
I wasn’t a religious person, but I knew to not give the devil a foothold. Instantly, as those black-suited men entered my safe haven, a wave of dread swept over me. And since then, I’ve tried to stay positive. I’ve tried to survive.
When they put me through a physical exam – scrutinizing the scar on my heel – I hoped to be excused as not-the-chosen-one. I hoped they’d see how ridiculous it was to make such vague claims about the saviour. Alas, nothing went as I imagined.
When they provided me a tutor – teaching me their crooked doctrine – I prayed they would see my incompetence. I prayed someone else would declare himself God and take my place. Alas, no one had a friend as brazen as I did.
When they prepared me to be their leader – bribing me with the splendor of my supposed calling – I wished it was all a dream. I wished to wake in my dingy bedroom, free from their unyielding grasp. Alas, reality was a harsh wake-up call.
Now at the fringe of death, made to declare my own sovereignty – of which I, myself, didn’t believe in – I wanted to live. I wanted to run. Alas, I was ushered out the door, into the velvet carpeted hallway, and up a stage set before an audience. They weren’t all friendly – I could see it in their eyes. And as I cleared my throat before the single microphone, I attempted one last time to survive.
“Please,” I said. “Help me.”
Guitar, bittersweet, and condescending were words given by lielabigail, allowing me to write another open-ended story. Don’t you just love this kind of fiction? I joke. But I won’t lie, making readers question the end makes writing so much more fun.
Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words to write a piece of your own. Also, if you could give me more sets of words below, we can save the world. I cannot do this writing challenge without you. So please… help me.
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3 Words, 1 Story © 2017 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.
(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)