Author : Gabriel E. Zentner

Today’s the day.

I’ve got my ticket, got my number. Granted, everyone’s got a number. It’s not your standard lottery, and I suppose the odds are so much the worse for that. That being said, the stakes are a lot higher than a few hundred million bucks.

The world is ending. It’s really ending this time, not like way back when we had Y2K and Judgment Day and all that. This is extinction-level stuff. No way out of it.

We still can’t do much in space. Radiation, solar flares, you name it, it’ll cook us or desiccate us or… well, you know what I’m talking about. All those heroic cinema dreams of sending off brave astronauts as the last scion of humanity… yeah, not so much.

So, there’s the lottery. Every human being on the planet has a ticket, from prisoners to priests to physicists to punk rockers. What’s the prize? Why, immortality, of a sort. If your number comes up, they upload your consciousness into some kind of probe, and shoot it off into space. Not much of a chance for species survival, but hey, I suppose it’s better than nothing.

It’s time. They’re starting to read the numbers. I watch the vidscreen, transfixed, my palms sweating and heart pounding.

One hundred numbers down. Nothing. I grip my ticket tightly.

Two hundred. Not me. The ticket is slick with sweat.

Three hundred. I’m starting to think I’m going to die like everyone else.

Four hundred. I can’t watch this anymore.

Five hundred. That’s the last number. They didn’t call mine. I can barely hear the instructions to the lucky five hundred as my ears begin to pound. I’ve just received, along with most of the other ten billion people on the planet, a death sentence.

I guess we can’t all be lucky.

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