Monday, April 23, 2018

Microstory 826: Hurt a Fly

Today is the day. I’m more nervous about this than any other time in my life. I thought I had accepted what was going to happen to me, but as the hour approaches, I start doubting my resolve. Four years ago, the King of this country came across a movie scientists eventually realized had come from another universe. We either don’t know how the DVD got here, or they never revealed this to the general public, but it changed our lives forever. In the story, all crime is legal for one night, including murder. This inspired the King to adopt a similar structure. His people made the connection between this movie, and a short story we came across seventy years ago. Though technology hadn’t advanced enough back then to determine the story’s origin, we now believe it too originated from some other universe, because no one by the author’s name ever existed in ours. It was about a small village where one individual is chosen every year to be stoned to death, upon the superstition that there was some correlation between that, and a good harvest. Our King decided to combine these stories into one. He would draw one name in a lottery every year, and make all crimes against the winner legal for one day, so people could purge them from the world. Of course, in a kingdom of millions, the odds of your name being drawn are almost negligible, but someone has to be chosen, and this time, it’s me. But I have a secret that no one else knows.

Though purge day lasts for twelve hours, lottery winners usually die within the first, because there is nowhere to run. But I don’t have to run, because I can fly. I take a deep breath and step up onto the stage. Wearing my ceremonial grey suit, I smile for the cameras, which is something I’m required to do, so people know who they’re trying to kill. There’s been a history of illegal murders on this day, because people pretend to be the lottery winner, just to die famous. I stretch a little and loosen up, do a little dance to make the people laugh, and wait for the bell. As soon as it dings, I launch into the air, surprising the entire world, all at once. I’ve never met any other human who could fly, so it appears to be impossible, and it certainly isn’t easy for me. It’s not like in the movies, where they just have to jump up and go. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of energy, and I’m not entirely confident in my ability to sustain myself for as long as I’ll need to. When I fly, it’s like I’ve turned the wind into a slippery hill. I have to constantly climb up that hill to stay above the surface, and it’s always only a matter of time before I slide back down.

After the crowd gets over their shock from what I’ve done, they start running after me. They can tell that it isn’t easy, so they’re just biding their time until I come back down. I’m just glad that the King decreed that guns were illegal for this event, because of how impersonal, and effortless they are. He wants a show, and it’s supposed to be my job to give it to them, which I believe I’ve delivered, and I think that entitles me to become the first lottery winner to survive. I stay up as best I can, but man am I getting tired. I move like a heart rate monitor. Up, down, up, down, up, down. But I never fall, and I never land. I try to rest on roofs of the castle towers, but people are always waiting for me there. I try to seek refuge in the Keserint Forest, which no past winner has ever lasted long enough to reach, but I find a horde or rebels there who are just as interested in killing me as any law-abiding citizen. After three hours of this, I’m just not physically capable of staying up. I gracelessly drop to a meadow, and try to massage my shoulders, and my pelvic muscles, which support most of my weight when I’m flying. I look into the distance as a band of excited killers come to claim their prize. They’re happy that it’s finally over, but appreciative of how much more thrilling this year has been. Everyone always wants to be the one to make the final blow, but the stakes are even higher for me. They’re but meters away, but I’m even too tired to try to run. I place my arms behind my back, and close my eyes to yield to my fate. Suddenly, I feel arms grip my shoulders, and lift me into the air. I turn my head to find another human who can fly, carrying me away from the crowd. It appears to be far easier for her. She smiles at me. “We’ve been looking for you your whole life. Let’s go back to our universe.”

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