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They say you come to know a person’s true personality when you are no longer beneficial in their life. But what about the people who never were, what if they were the ones who truly define you. The crowd. The people you see and ignore every day or the ones you meet at the subway and then forget that you ever met them. We all are under the impression that great stories or weird experiences can only be found in some misty mountains or deep dark forests or for some romantics, in a café where you just happen to meet someone who happens to have a great story to tell. But that is not true, sometimes even the most extraordinary things or the things that would change your life forever, turn it upside down or might also leave it hanging on some stranger’s decision whom you’ve never even met happen in the most ordinary places and in the most ordinary circumstances too. Something of the sort happened with me, leaving me in the most unexpected circumstances, forcing me to think about my choices. The consequences of it and most of all the importance of people, even the strangers because sometimes they might just be the most important ones.

It was a typical Monday morning, the sun shining bright and the wind was blowing. I could see the people all dressed up going off to work and Mrs. Radley was watering her flowers as usual. She had a beautiful growth of crimson red roses and amber coloured lilies planted in alternate rows all across the garden. It looked really beautiful in the morning sun reflecting of the sun’s light and shining in their own ethereal hue. They were the only things that had kept sane these past weeks. I was addicted to my work and sitting idle and doing nothing was not something I liked but I had no option I had broken my leg in the fall and now I was in a house arrest by Rachel until I got better. She was fussing about the house as usual rummaging all over and making a mess of the god damn place but that was her, doing something with proper planning was an art that she never learned. She was a messy girl. It sort of irritated me sometimes but I liked her a lot. She was a sweet and loyal person and also she was the only one who actually succeeded in putting up with my nerve cracking behaviour and even more so actually grow to care about me. But I still didn’t really appreciate the house arrest. She went off to work and since I had nothing else to do I opened my laptop and started watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It was past noon when I was suddenly woken up by the doorbell. I went to open the door with some difficulty, outside was a man in a black suit and a shaved head and a box in his hand. He had dark brown eyes and a square jaw with sharp features. He was about six foot tall and in good shape. He looked like a government agent or something but his face was completely blank, totally devoid of all expression. He held out the box he was holding but never uttered a single word. I didn’t know what to do. It was so weird for some stranger to just show up and offer a package without saying anything. After staring at the box for what I think was quite a lot of time I finally found my voice and asked “Who are you?” but as I expected he didn’t answer so I asked again “Who’s it for? Is it for Rachel? Did she send you?”, again no answer. I looked at him then at the box and my gut told me it couldn’t be anything good but my curiosity got the better of me. I took the box from him and as soon as I did he turned and left without a word. I closed the door and went inside. I kept the box on the table, my head racing with all sorts of thoughts. I regretted the moment I took the box but now I couldn’t do anything about it so I decided to open it. Inside was a printed note and another box but this one was different. It was a yellow coloured plastic box with a big red button on top of it. I took the note it had my name on it. I opened it and read “Miss Sophie, this note is to inform you that you are a candidate for the prize of a Million Dollars only if you wish for it. However there are certain terms and conditions that you will have to fulfil if you wish to become a Millionaire. All you need to do is press the red button on the box that you found with this letter but remember if you decide to press the button you will receive the said amount in cash at the cost of the life of a stranger. The life of a person you do not know will be taken if you decide to press the button and take the money. But if you decide not to press the button then nothing will happen but you will not get the money either. You have 24 hours to make your decision. Choose wisely and remember that you cannot tell about this to anyone. If you do then you will face consequences. The same man will come tomorrow at the same time. Please hand over the box to him.

With regards,

The Benefactor.”

I sat there starring at the letter. It was so absurd, more than once I thought of calling Rachel but the warning in the letter seemed too real. At first I thought it was some stupid prank then I thought that maybe it’s real but I don’t have to decide or anything I could just return it like it was given to me or better yet, throw it away and forget it ever happened. I decided I’d throw it away, so I took it outside but I couldn’t do it. The prospect of it being even a little bit true was too tempting. I brought it back inside trying to figure out everything. It was around that time when that thought in the back of my head actually started to become more prominent. I didn’t want to think about it but it just won’t go away. The thought of “What if?” What if it was real? What if I could really get a Million Dollars for just pushing one button? But every time I thought about pressing it the same fear came back. The fear that someone would pay with their life for my Million Dollars and I didn’t want that either. I didn’t want someone to die just because I choose money over his life. I thought about it for hours going back and forth with the thought of pressing the button but every time I was about to press it I could see my hands turn all red. Blood red. I even tried sleeping hoping that when I’d get up all this would be gone. That it would turn out to be just a very bad dream but none of that happened. It was 11 and Rachel had called up to say that she’d be spending the night with Richard, her boyfriend. I really wished she was here, though. It was the first that I actually was afraid of being alone. I kept wishing for her to come back but I knew that was not going to happen that I’d have to go through this on my own. That it had to be my decision. I thought about all the aspects of the situation. So here is how it was, I’d get a million dollars if I press the button but if I do that, someone would die. That someone, would be a stranger, someone I don’t know, and someone I had never met. That person could be anyone, he could be a criminal or an old person or someone suffering from a disease or he could be someone just like me. I didn’t know what to do. What to choose, the money that I needed or some stranger’s life?

***

I got up from the sound of my phone, it was Rachel. I picked it up.

“Hey, I’ve been trying to call you all morning! Where were you?”

“Just here. I was sleeping I’m sorry. What time is it?”

“It’s twelve you sleepy head! Alright well I didn’t come home so I just wanted to check on you.”

“Well I am fine, thanks. Listen Rachel I’ll talk to you later, alright. I just have something to do, okay?”

“Alright, I guess. But do call me later okay?”

“Yeah sure.”

I hung up. I couldn’t believe that I slept for so long. The man was supposed to be here in an about 30 minutes. I got up and went to the living room. The time was unbearable, every second that passed seemed like an eternity. I felt like I was in this infinite time loop going through it again and again and with every passing second the pain would just increase. Time did not seem to heal it. It just kept getting worse but finally the doorbell rang and I rushed to the door and there he was. The same man from yesterday looking exactly the same but this time with a black briefcase. He stretched out his hands and I handed him the yellow box with the letter and the button pressed. He gave me the suitcase and just when he was about to leave I asked him “What are you going to do with it?” not expecting any answer whatsoever but this time he replied and said

“I am going to give it to someone who does not know you.”

 P.S.:- I am Rama Singh and I study in City Montessori School in Lucknow, India. I am in my senior year and I usually write mystery or fantasy stories for it works as my stress buster and also this would be my first story being published online. I do have blog on Quora with the name syngrafeas.quora.com where I post some of my poems and have an account on Quotev by the user name Mockingbird7693 where I post my short stories. That is all! Not going to give you my life story.

 

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