The other day I had my first writing seminar (thing). In it I was revealed to the epic thing called The Machine of Death. It is an ongoing thing with writers called The Machine of Death. Basically, there is a machine that pricks your finger and then gives you a card with a word or phrase that describes how you will die.
For writers, you get a random word or phrase (somehow) and write a short story about someone dying that way. There is an anthology published with the best sometimes. (More info here).
Anyway, we did these at the writing seminar, and I got Bottomless Pit. Here’s my story I wrote for it.
The machine pricked my finger, processed the blood for a minute, then shot out a small blue card.
I got my card and turned it over slowly.
I felt a chill go over my body before I made my way out from the Machine Room. My friends waiting outside smiled and patted me on the back.
“What did it say?” Trent jeered.
I said nothing.
“Oh, come off it, Trent. You know the rule,” Devan said.
I knew Trent had only been joking when he had said it, but a shiver went down my spine anyway.
Out community had two rules about The Machine. One, all citizens had to get their card on the day they turned eighteen, and, two, that the only people you could discuss it with were your parents.
Our small group, consisting of me, Trent, Devan, and Kathleen walked down the empty street towards our houses, which all lay next to and across from each other. The entire time we walked, I remained silent, carefully avoiding any suspicious-looking potholes.
I was the youngest in our group, and, obviously, the last to receive my card.
I stepped into my house slowly, saying a short and quiet goodbye to my friends. As I closed the door, the last thing I saw and heard was Trent with a strange look on his face, speaking in an even stranger voice.
“Don’t worry, Les. You’ll feel better soon.”
Then the door was closed and I rushed up the stairs to my room. My parents weren’t home yet, so I was alone to ponder over my fate.
What could it mean? It wasn’t like it would be soon or anything (though it could very well be). Bottomless pit.
I flopped onto my bed, tired. I would talk it over with my parents tonight.
I heard the sound of the door opening and figured that my father had gotten home, though it still seemed a bit early.
“Dad? Is that you?” I called down from my room on the second floor.
“Not your dad, Lester.” It was Trent’s voice.
I heard a machine roar into life downstairs. In a moment the floor of my room collapsed, the pieces of it falling into a swirling black vortex coming from the second level.
“What are you doing?!” I yelled down.
“It’s my job,” Trent said. “The Council had drafted me for this job long ago. Before I was born, actually.”
The vacuum caused by the black hole sucked me into the void. Apparently enough air was sucked in with me that I was able to breathe for a few minutes.
And before those minutes run out, I am writing this down, though not physically. I am engraving it in my mind, hoping that some day people will find my body and read my final thoughts, and find out the truth about the Council and The Machine.
I am falling. Falling eternally through the blackness of space. And the air is about to run out.
You can download it here: