Death Runner

Aliya lives in a world ruled by the Great Society. She is about to endure a dark and hateful future, so the Society will make her a sacrifice to kill her. Her days ended but her future stopped. If they can keep her for that long.


2. Death List

"Everything's ready." Mum nodded and she slipped my coat over my shoulders. I shrugged it off again and sighed. Mum's effort were tiring at the best of times, and today I wasn't in the best mood. Could anyone be when death was approaching faster than a racecar? She sat down on a chair and tapped her fingers on the table, which irritated me even more.

"Have the Rulers decided that too?" I snapped. My life shouldn't be in the hands of strangers, people who's only memory I could conjure up of was when I was a baby and the official weighing happened. I remember a blurred face picking me up, and also that the scales were cold, but do those tiny facts make it alright to kill me?

"Aliya!", Dad yelled. His gut was resting the newspaper he was reading and he closed it now as he spoke, "This is for the best."

"Why? Have you been looking at the death list?" I accused and I pushed the paper towards myself. The front cover boasted of the recovery of good school behaviour. This was because up to three Rulers sat in each lesson and we were scared straight into good discipline. I flicked through the pages, each well thumbed, looking for the marks on the death list page. But that page, the three before and five after were all crisp and clean, as they were when the paper arrived this morning.

"No. I didn't with Daneal and I won't with you." Dad sighed. I glanced through the door next to Dad at the candle burning in memory of Daneal. When that candle burns out, Dad swore to Daneal on his death bed that he would get a Suicidal Request, and if that failed, he would commit suicide on his own terms. Daneal was five when the sacrifice system began and it wasn't well thought out. He was picked because of a tumour seen developing at his annual medical test and he was allowed to die at home, due to his young age. Dad swore Daneal was of full health, and the Suicidal promise was made.

"Dad." I shook my head. Mum looked up from her fingers and turned to Dad.

"You have to do this, Dali." Mum grimaced and she pulled him up.

"I don't, Mercia. Every parent only has to go to one death." Dad stood his ground and I smiled. Dad was soft inside and Daneal loved him the most. The connection they had was special and I hadn't expected Dad to come. After Daneal died, it took three weeks for Dad to get back to work. Going to work while depressed was against the rules.

"Leave it Mum." I adviced and she let go of Dad's hand. She stepped back and looked him in the eyes.

"You're only daughter." Mum taunted.

"Leave it!" I cried. Mum huffed and stormed outside with her little wicker basket on her arm. The door closed and she began picking flowers to display in the house as a sigh of memorial.

"I'm sorry Aliya." He smiled and left the room with a click of the door. I could hear Mum picking flowers outside and I closed the window slightly, leaving her humming outside. The paper crinkled as the wind rushed through the kitchen and it fell onto the floor. Tempted, I picked it up and laid it down on the table, where I sat next to it.

"It would be good Aliya, if you were positive when you died. That way our family would be in a good light afterwards." Mum nodded thoughtfully as she came back through the door.

"Oh yeah. I'm about to die, let's think happy!" I mocked and Mum rolled her eyes. She put the flowers in a crystal vase but hid them below the window so no one thought I was already dead. Memorial flowers could be taken down if a dead person had not yet been killed. Next door at the Millinsons' house, they put flowers out two days before Mr Millinson died. They found his wife's fingerprints on the flowers and she was arrested and kept in jail for five months after that. Small things that break the rules are sometimes punished more then big rule breakers, "When did Debi Millinson come back?"

"A couple of weeks ago. The Rulers came to check up on her last night and they're coming back in a fornight. I heard them saying as they left." Mum grimaced, looking across as the Millinsons' green garden.

"For putting flowers up a day or two earlly?" I sighed.

"Rules are rules Aliya. Today of all days you need to be proud of the Great Society and what they have done for you." Mum nodded and she went silent. I'd managed to go a whole ten minutes without thinking aboutt my fate. My death.





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