The room was dark except for the eerie glow that came from the silver scroll. It floated above the cauldron in the center of the room. Ten hooded figures stood in the room but only three hooded figures were brought into light by the glow.
“She’s getting better”
“So it seems”.
“What are we going to do?”
“The only thing we can do. Obey the list”
“Anyone close on the list?”
“Yes. A couple. The tags will be delivered in an hour”
“When do they leave?”
There was silence in the room as all ten of them let the news sink in. They had less than a day to say goodbye…….
Mary looked out of her window as drops of rain trickled down the glass. In twenty four hours, she would be married and to the love of her life too. She had met Jason about four years ago and it had pretty much been hatred at first sight. She’d thought he was a pompous ass and he’d thought she was a spoilt brat. How far they had come. She smiled to herself as she remembered the first time they had spent time together. They had been chosen at random to host one of their club events. They both belonged to the toastmasters. She remembered her bad case of stage fright. He had helped her overcome that and had warmed his way into her heart. In the midst of her excitement was a dark cloud. The fear of the future…
The Yellow country had two seasons that came at random. The season of gain and the season of loss. Previously, they had always been able to predict when a change in seasons was upon them but this time was different. They had woken up one day to find a total of fifty four citizens missing. The council had held an emergency meeting but could not explain the sudden change in seasons. The season of loss had come upon them like a thief in the night. All they could do now was warn the people whose time had run out so they at least said their goodbyes before they had to go. The number of people on the list kept growing. They hoped whatever had triggered the sudden change was temporary and things would return to normal as soon as possible. If not, they feared they’d be extinct in a couple of months.
Jason was on his way out when the mail man arrived. His heart skipped a beat when he saw the bright red envelope. His worst fear was coming true and there was nothing he could do about it. “Does Mary Parker live here?” asked the mail man. Jason felt his heart sink even lower that he thought possible. “No she doesn’t but I’m her fiance” he replied. “my instructions are to deliver this directly to Mary. Can you please redirect me to where she lives?” “Follow me. I’m on my way there” Jason replied as a heaviness filled his heart.
“Have the tags been sent out?”
“Yes they have”
“What time do they leave?”
“This has got to stop soon”
“Tell me about it”
Mary and Jason
Mary felt her hand shake as she signed for the letter. She knew what it was even before she opened it. How cruel could the world be? How could she be up? She knew the envelope contained a tag. Her worst fear was coming true. She glanced at Jason. He looked like he was in pain. “OMG”. How was this going to affect him? She wanted to hug him and tell him everything was going to be ok. She wanted to spend her last day loving him. Today was the worst day of her life but she had to make it the best day as it was her last day. “Jason! Jason! Let’s go inside”. He didn’t hear her. He seemed to be in a world of his own.
Jason knew he couldn’t let Mary go. No one that had ever gone had come back. As far as he was concerned, they were all dead. He could not let her die on her wedding day. Never.
The day had been spent together. They had eaten, talked, made love for the first time, cried, reminisced and finally fallen asleep. Mary had kept the tag in a metal box underneath her bed. As she slept, all Jason could think of was that in less than twenty hours, she would be gone. He could not let that happen. He slid out of the bed and reached underneath it for the box. He had a plan….
He held the tag in his pocket as he joined the queue. He had said goodbye to Mary a few minutes ago. She thought he was going home. He had escorted her to join the queue at the other end of the port. He knew he was supposed to feel terrible for deceiving her but he felt what he was about to do was the right thing to do. It was too early for her to go. The queue advanced as those in front showed their tags and boarded the Punta that was going to take them to the other side. “can we see your tag sir?” asked the tall skinny dude with the scanner. Jason gave him the tag, held his breath as it was scanned and exhaled when he was let through. The tough part was over. He hoped Mary understood that he was doing this out of love. Better him than her.
Mary was beginning to panic. She couldn’t find the tag. Jason had put it in her bag “Hurry up Miss” said the lady with the scanner. “Please give me a minute. My boyfriend put it in here this morning but I can’t seem to find it. “Are you sure? The tag is quite large and hard to lose. Can you please step out of the line as you search” replied the lady. Mary was very confused. Had Jason forgotten to put the tag in her bag? She had to go home and get it before 5:15pm if not she would get into a lot of trouble with the council. Only one person had ever defied the order the tag held and that person’s whole family had been punished. She started running before she knew what she was doing. “Stop that lady” shouted the attendant as two guards started pursuing her. She felt her arm connect with something sharp but she kept running…
…….Out of breath; she burst into her bedroom. Her chest heaving. Up. Down. Up. Down. Her left hand held on tightly to the gash higher up on her right arm. It was 5:00p.m. Was she too late? She lowered herself to the floor, pursing her lips, bearing the pain. She stretched out her bloody hand to pull out the metal box. It was out. She gently opened it.
It was empty. What? Empty?
Her lips stretched into an unbelieving, cynical smile even as tears fell from her eyes
Ever wonder what happens to a calorie when you hit the gym?
I know this post is almost a year late and I can’t apologise enough. Thanks to those that have been checking up on me and inquiring about SYTYCT. I think its back :). Hope you enjoyed my version to Betty’s ending. I’ll put up the next one soon. Till then, be good. XX.