Sci Fi Flash Fiction
‘Death Watch’ by David McAllister
“I’ve brought the money”, I breathlessly informed the man behind the counter. Fourteen flights of stairs will do that to a man. Well, not every man. But a man in his late thirties with a bit of a paunch has got no hope. Especially one like me with a life limiting illness.
I saved every spare penny since they made the announcement three years ago. I remember being sat on my couch staring in disbelief at the TV; my toast slowly going soggy on the plate in my lap. A way of finding out how long you had to live. Who wouldn’t be interested? I suppose you could say the main reason for the popularity of the Death Watch (as it had became known) is to satisfy some in-built human element of morbid curiosity.
However, that’s not the case for me. I already know I am dying. I already know that within the next six months I’ll be shuffling off this mortal coil in a slow, likely painful and unpleasant way. The thought terrified me at first but it’s strange how quick you come to accept and trivialize your own mortality. After all, we are all dying. Just some a lot sooner than others. I’d accepted my fate but I wasn’t ready to go, not just yet. Not since we’d had our own news. A cruel twist of fate by God, if indeed there is one.
The ‘Death Watch’ was within my reach. Ten thousand pounds Sterling is a lot of money to save. Especially when I haven’t worked for months since my diagnosis. I might not have used strictly legal means to obtain these funds but then, when you don’t have long left what do you have to lose? I pressed both buttons on the silver case in front of me. A slow hiss emanated from deep within and an alien aroma assailed my senses making me step back. It soon dissipated and I saw the ‘Death Watch’ in all its otherworldly glory. It looked alive. It looked hungry. It had the appearance of a coiled black snake with a clear vial on the front filled with a blood red liquid.
I carefully slipped my hand into the loop which immediately tightened around my arm so hard that I cried out. A slow hum could be heard as it did so and scrambled numbers appeared. They appeared wisp like, almost like a vapor, from the red liquid; it was on the strange vial that protruded from the front of the device that these numbers showed themselves.
My heart beat heavy in my chest as I tried to anticipate what the number would say. How long would I have left? Would it be long enough? The white wisps started to settle and a three began to appear. Was it to be thirty days? That wasn’t enough, I needed at least sixty. My heart sank. Somehow, it got even worse when a one appeared in front of the three, and then the red liquid settled altogether. Thirteen.
I had thirteen days to live. A half strangled sob escaped my throat. I tried to hold it in and it exploded in a loud wail that startled the man behind the desk. He looked at me with concern and asked if I was okay. Of course I wasn’t okay. I knew I was going to be dead in thirteen days and it wasn’t nearly enough time.
I wandered from the office in a daze and stumbled down the stairs with tears in my eyes. The wind blew cold against my sickly bones. I watched the world carry on around me and the ignorant bliss of passers by trudging through the snow. Laughing and joking and rushing to and fro like busy ants. I saw a young couple both holding the hands of a small boy, lifting him into the air causing him to scream and laugh hysterically. My heart hurt in a way I never thought possible. It was too much to bear. Suddenly the wind seemed to cease and the tears stopped. No time for that anymore. Time for action.
I stepped in front of an articulated food delivery lorry at the very last second and was wiped from the face of this God forsaken earth. If I wasn’t going to get to meet my unborn child then thirteen days was of no use to me. Snow fell around my broken, tangled body. Gently, a snowflake landed on my cheek and melted upon contact. To an uninformed observer, you might have thought I was crying, but you’d be wrong.
About This Sci Fi Flash Fiction
This morbidly fascinating Sci-Fi Horror flash fiction ‘Death Watch’ was written by David McAllister. If you enjoyed David’s style, why not check out him out over on his blog, Twitter and Instagram? Also be sure to follow Lore on Twitter.
This story was originally published on Lore’s medium page before we ported it to our new site here.