Author: Fatemah Albader
The only certainty in life is that it will eventually come to an end.
But what if there was a way to know exactly, with 100-percent certainty, when your life will end? Would you want to know?
If you said yes, I’d rethink that if I were you.
Consider Pete. He was one of the first to go through The Program. He got his death date three years ago when it was still in beta testing. Back then, you wouldn’t know the exact date, just the day of the week. Pete got Wednesday. Every week, he follows the same routine. He arrives at Mercy Hospital on Tuesday evening, and, by early morning on Thursday, he checks himself out. I wondered if that was Pete’s way of cheating death. Then again, Pete didn’t know how he’d die, just when. Yet, being at the hospital on Wednesdays seemed to bring Pete some comfort, at least that’s what it looked like to me.
And the problem is, once you go through The Program, you cannot go through it again. Even though it has changed drastically since it first began, Pete’s stuck with knowing that his death date will fall on a Wednesday, and never the exact day.
Then there’s Emily. She won the lottery and got her death date six months ago, back when going through The Program was still a choice. Ever since, she’s been too afraid to leave her home. She was told that her death date would take place between 40 and 45. She’s 43 now.
And one mustn’t forget about Leah. She didn’t want her newborn to go through The Program. But they came for him about a month ago, on the day that he was born, now that it’s the law. It’s considered necessary for the efficient use of each person and his role in society. Her kid Noah was given a death date of seven years from now. Deemed untrainable, he was taken from Leah and sent to live out the rest of his days in The Group Home for Untrainables.
As for me, I have no qualms of retaliation from The Program for writing this short. My death date is tomorrow.
And sooner or later, you’re next. And when death calls, you’ll have no choice but to answer.
Albader lets the death issue grow slowly, giving us bits of information that lead to the climax. Well executed. (pun intended).