Hi, this is my first time showing my writing in this wikia or to anyone for that matter, so I'm kinda nervous people will point out my bad writing! I consider myself more of an essay-writer, so I write with a structured/rigid style. My prose might sound off or too strict so please bare with me! :(
Anyways, this is my first *complete short story ever. It was originally for my school's newspaper in its writing section, but my submission was late so this would be the first time other people will lay eye on it. Yikes!
Oh and one more thing, the whole thing might sound weak and uninterested. This story is more of a test run, if I have it in me regarding creative writing so any constructive critiscism is needed and much appreciated!
The five digits were spaced evenly on a smooth white parchment. They were alone aside by a bar code located at the bottom. The numbers were bolded, its size slightly larger than those found on a dartboard. It was specifically made as if it wants to reassure the holder that the feeling they have in gazing at it is genuine. A sense of importance, a reason to hold onto this piece of paper as if it was connected to your life.
Tickets. Lottery tickets.Pieces of paper that dictates what people can get in their pitiful lives. Every store in the United States once a day would pick tickets through a lottery that would allow the ticket holders to one thing from the store. Food, clothing, household supplies and even houses. It's through these tickets that we get the necessary supplies we need to live.
If we're lucky enough that is…
The sun lifted itself up from the grey veil of the horizon. Though gloomy clouds banded together to produce a dark curtain of mourning, the sun was strong enough to penetrate the lightest parts of the barrier. It casted thin strips of yellow light, giving the paved roads a yellowish hue.
My legs were walking, but my brain was contradicting in telling them not to. It was so early in the morning that all I could think of was just to fall and lay down on the pavement. But something kept me from doing so. An impulse to walk down the street, hand it to the store owner hoping that it would get picked in the raffle.
I was aiming to get a fresh batch of bread for dinner. Mother is serving pasta later tonight. Only happens once a month. It’s been awhile since we’ve eaten fresh bread. These last few weeks hadn’t been lucky for us. It came to a point that we were compelled to just accept the free food that the town hall gives out daily. The problem was their quality. The bread was so stale that biting on it sent you straight to the dentist.
This time mother allowed me to use the ticket I got from work instead of using hers, a ticket I feel to be lucky. I work as a driver for a ceramics store distributing contents from various factories to the store itself. One ticket every week doesn’t seem to justify the toiling and extensive hours of working. Fortunately for them, I’m not the complaining type. I just shrug it off and just hope it would get picked.
Mega Mil’s is the favored grocery store we go to. Most would seem to agree with us. It being the preferred store for most in the community wasn’t just a mere coincidence. The sympathetic owner willfully chose to make one more drawing after the required ten for grocery stores, risking his safety for his fellow people. This resulted in a better chance for people to obtain food for their families.
As I walked towards the store located down the block, more and more people banded the streets.
I saw their hands clutching their tickets so hard that some stuck out with crumpling edges. I could see through their sunken, sun-beaten faces the sorrow and the pain they have attained. Their dry eyes caused from tiredness and tears indicate the desperation of their lives. These people bore all the suffering imposed upon them.
The air turned stale, like a rotting body. The streets were crowded with people exhaling. I felt congested, yearning for some space.
I forced myself out of the crowd and into the sides of the street. I stepped onto the sidewalk slightly lifted above the road.
In the corner of my eyes I saw a group of people gather together and clamoring in one spot. I darted towards them to find out what the commotion was.
I stopped to one of the man belonging in the cluster. He was kneeling on the ground, his back bent and his arms frantically moving in front of his body.
“Excuse me?” I tapped his shoulder. “What-what is going on?”
He stood up and turned around quickly. The man’s face had a sweat on his brow. He scratched his hands together.
“She was dead! I didn’t take anything I swear!” He spoke uneasily.
Another man stood up. His face was filled dismay. “There was nothing left from her…” His voice trailed into nothingness.
He gathered himself and walked away.
Without notice, the rest of the gathered people stood up. Their faces were also filled with dismay. They stepped back, letting disappointment overcome them.
Without them huddling I was able to make out what the reason of the commotion was.
On the sidewalk, a woman’s body can be seen on the floor. The clothing near her neck was blotted with a straight scarlet line.
Everyone stared at her. No one moved. Silence was quickly broken however, as more and more people realized what had happened.
“C-c-call the police!”
More and more distinctive voices joined in, sorrowful and shocked.
My attention was averted however, to a couple of men on the alley across where the dead woman lay. One of the men had a bloodied hand.
I hesitated for a minute but was soon forced to act. I walked slowly across the dead woman; sprinting once I reached the narrow alley. The two seemed to have noticed me for they have ran towards the end of the alley before I closed on them. They turned right on another narrow alley and I did the same.
My heart was pounding so hard that it was the only part of my body indicating I was still alive. The idea of catching them was all alone in my mind that I forgot I was almost running towards a wall. I stopped short and allowed to myself to catch my breath. We were on a dead end. The two men now recognizable as being a couple of teenagers understood the predicament they were in.
“S-stop! I know what you two did. You two aren’t going away!”
I gasped for breath. My chest was heaving uncontrollably. I stared at my two victims. They were just fine on the other hand and looked as if they never ran at all.
“What’re you talking about?! We didn’t do anything!” The taller of the two replied. His voice was shrilled. The tone behind was defiant but not threatening. By the look on his face, he was being honest.
My mouth opened but was quickly silenced when his accomplice spoke.
“We’re tellin’ the truth mister! We saw ‘er body already dead on the groun! We didn’ kill ‘er I swear!”
He protested, trying to break through my mind so as to allow myself to believe him.
I replied after I had finally caught my breath
“Well what is it with your hands?! It looks like-” My interrogation was cut short. The shorter of the two spoke.”
“His han’ accidentally brushed on ‘er clothing when we uh…” His voice trailed.
He was hesitating in telling me something, his eyes were staring down at the ground. He quickly gathered his thoughts and continued.
“His han’ brushed on ‘er when we was trying to uh..find ‘er tickets.” He stared at his friend thinking he might’ve said something.
But the other kid just continued his silence. His eyes were fixed on me. He was contemplating as if a realization had come to him.
“Please mister, belive me!” The other continued his crestfallen plea of innocence. He fell to his knees sobbing.
“Hey! Hey kid! Stand up!”
He obeyed my commanding voice. His sobs were softened as he stood up. He looked like a crying child asking forgiveness for taking a cookie on the cookie jar.
“I believe you. You two didn’t kill that lady. I shouldn’t have chased you so quickly.”
“You shouldn’t have! We didn’t kill ‘er and you know that.” He finally spoke. I realized his voice seemed much older than the other one now that I’ve stopped gasping for breath. He must be the older brother I thought.
“We jus’ wan’ the tickets for a chance to get food. Look mister, we haven’t eaten for days. I hope you understand. We jus’ couldn’t help ourselves.”
“Yeah, I understand.”
I saw him help his younger brother to walk who by now had stopped crying. His gentle hands were on his shoulders slightly pushing him so his legs would move.
“We’ll head back to main street. I hope you won’ tell the police about us. We’d greatly appreciate it.”
I answered reassuringly, “Yeah, don’t worry about that. I-I won’t tell a thing.”
I followed them back to the street. We walked in silence. I didn’t know them but I had no desire to know more about them.
We took one more turn to the left and on the end of the alley was the street where I darted off from. I stared hard enough to see two men with uniforms standing near the body of the dead woman. They were clearly investigating the murder scene. I noticed that they didn’t see us. The sun didn’t penetrate the high sky-rise of the buildings. We were covered in partial darkness shrouding the dwellers with obscurity.
“We’ll go through here to avoid them seeing us.”
On the left was a metal door with a rusty handle. The younger brother grabbed the handle without hesitation, twisting it and then pushing on to the door. The inside was completely engulfed by darkness. No light penetrated. He stepped inside willingly and unafraid signaling his brother to come with him. Before his brother could come in, he turned towards me. His tone was a mixture of curiosity and hostility.
“Why do you have a knife on your pocket?” His eyes stared directly at me. They were shaped like a bullet piercing right through me.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I reached for my pocket to show him that nothing was there, to prove him of my innocence.
Interestingly enough, my hands fashioned a silver knife. What shocked me the most was how it was stained with what appears to be blood. It was a dark scarlet covering the tip.
“How the-?” I closed my eyes to think for a minute or two. At that moment, I realized I must’ve left it in my pocket after plunging it in her yesterday. I opened my eyes and saw that he was staring at the knife. His eyes were now burning with hostility.
He opened his mouth and spoke with a menacing tone. “That lady… ‘Er body was already rottin’ before people got to ‘er.” He walked towards me. His knuckles closed tightly. “I presumed it was a knife that was used to kill. And I know she wasn’t killed today.”
The younger brother emerged from the shadows. “What’s going on?” He saw my knife. His eyes were quickly filled with fear.
Without hesitation my hands plunged through air and into clothing and flesh. He collapsed.
In a split second I seized the knife from the cadaver and plunged it once more, this time on the other remaining soul. His voice was muffled by the pain the knife had caused him. He collapsed just like his brother. The body fell on the pavement, lifeless and withered.
I released my hands from the knife which was now engrossed on the body of its target. I gazed back towards the direction on the street. The cop was nowhere to be seen. The body of the dead woman was still sprawled on the ground however but now enclosed with yellow tape. No one had seen what I had done.
I bent down through the yellow tape and walked across the body. The police car had disappeared as well. The procession of people did not. The influx had now been diminished however. No one paid attention to me as I bent once more through another layer of tape.
I had intended to let her body rot on the street. Blaming it the next day on an innocent and vulnerable soul would seal my fate. Now I have to find someone else to place the crime on.
I reached into my pocket and took out the handful of tickets I had acquired last night. I remembered how she asked for my help she now dearly regretted.
“Mister! Oh mister Please!” She shouted towards me under the moonlight.
I was walking back home after trying out my luck on the last raffle of the day. Dissappointed with how many tickets I had waged and lost, I had every attention that night to get ahold of more.
I inched towards her. Her face was visible under the light emanating from the lamp post. It was wrinkled and old. Her eyes were ancient, her lips chapped.
“Can I help you, lady?”
“Oh yes dear!” She signaled me to come closer with her bony hands.
I saw her shaking hands covered with a white glove as pure as the summer clouds, reach for her purse dangling from her arms. Without pulling it back, she spoke to me.
“I must’ve forgotten to put back my wallet. You see, I was..” She laughed
“I gave Albert tickets for his store. You know that store right? Mega Mil’s? You sure do know it for its infamous eleventh drawing. Ridiculous isn’t it? Well, I came down tonight to see him. I had given him enormous amount of tickets for his…decaying store. I told him that I’d rather not see him get arrested.” When she knew I was still paying attention she continued.
“So…I told him that if give him the tickets he needed, I would personally tell my other associates not to tell the police about his illegal activities. Of course he accepted.” She was telling it all to me in a prideful tone.
A feeling of animosity reached me. Why would she do such a thing? The rich… They always are the enemy.
She was fumbling in her purse again and I took this moment to just walk away. I noticed something that prevented me from walking much farther. With the available luminance aiding my sight, I saw a small sized knife on my pocket. Without thinking I pulled it out and had it rest on my palm. She didn’t seem to notice me as she continued talking. I however, was done listening to her. In a fit of rage I swiped the knife through the air. In the darkness I saw her body collapse, her neck bleeding uncontrollably. I hurriedly wrestled the purse from her arms. That daft old lady. Her wallet was still in here.
I took it from her purse and opened to reveal its contents. There were probably hundreds of them, pieces of paper filled with numbers and barcodes. I took it all. I took it all and thrust them in my pockets. I made one glance at her lifeless body.
She was dead and I was standing as a rich man. That’s all that mattered.
The sun went down on the horizon replaced by the glistening stars and the ever bright moon. The moon was a huge bright lamp and the stars were candles lit across the sky. And then dawn came and it brought with it the disappearance of the stars and the moon replaced with a rosy sky. Pink streamlined fingers covered the ceiling of the world.
The building had a gloomy appearance. Thick steel bars lined the façade of the windows. The doors were of titanium; huge and heavy were its appearance as if it was keeping in a giant. Uniformed men armed with advanced weaponry patrolled the grounds of the building.
Twenty men stood on a wooden platform lifted two feet above the ground. A five digit number can be seen on the front. On each of the platform, an armed man stood on the back. Their guns were pointing directly at them, their fingers ready to pull the trigger. Their faces wore a mask of indifference, neither a mask of joy nor sorrow.
They were facing a tall man. His face was no different. Any trace of emotion was covered so properly by his straightened mouth, his steady eyes and his erect posture. His hands grabbed something from a black box alongside him standing atop a table. It left the box now with a piece of paper stuck on the fingers. His eyes turned its gaze on the newly acquired attention.
“We’re changing things a little bit you see? The black box here have various tickets you all had stolen that we found at the time we arrested you. They were all marked indicating who it…‘belonged’ to. I find it to be much more…” He paused before continuing. His lips moved slowly and then he whispered, “…fair” And yet, everyone clearly heard what he said.
“You see, per a constitutional amendment, all you convicts are supposed to be dead by the end of today.” He proceeded to speak his terms. “But then, I realized where is the fairness of that? I know I’m breaking the law here, but fairness is something that must be upheld all the time. So I have decided, I will only sentence one person to death today, and the only fair thing to do is to pick from the tickets you all had stolen. After all, you must be punished on the extent of your crimes.” His voice emanated. It clearly was meant to be heard by all of them.
He handed the ticket he fashioned out from the box to one of the armed men alongside him. The man stared at it. Without hesitation he raised his hand and pointed to one of the platforms. An explosive sound pierced through the air radiating the sound to everyone’s ears as a man pulled the trigger on his gun.
A boy on one of the platform collapsed. On his back came about a discharging of blood.
The man dropped the piece of paper on the ground. He no longer had use for it.
“Well, wasn’t that fair? A man died today not because I chose to, but because it is what the tickets had chosen. After all, everything in this society is fair because of them.” He smiled, and his smile was marred with sadism.
The rest of the people on the platform stepped down. They walked out of the building as free men paying no attention to the blood-stained body.
The paper lay on the pavement. Though it was stepped by a multitude of people, the numbers on it was still recognizable.