The Red Wrist (Vortex Contest)

In the future, the color of your wrist tells what class of person you are.
Blue is perfect.
Purple is approaching perfect.
Green is a lucky-go-happy person.
Pink means no one crosses and likes it.
Brown is dirt poor.
White is stinkin' rich.
Red...Red is power. Red is blood. red.


1. The Red Wrist

She looked down at her wrist. Blue. Perfect? Yea right. The color on her wrist expanded over the space between the base of her wrist and the base of her middle finger. A ring encircled her middle finger, the back a simple line while the front was almost a heart shape.

She sighed. A blue wrist. No one paid attention to her when she had a purple wrist, or a pink wrist. Now that she had a blue wrist...she was the center of attention, expected to be happy with it. In truth, she wanted a red wrist, like her friend. Having a red wrist meant having power, having people listen to you for more than just fashion tips or advice on what to do when a boyfriend or girlfriend left.

"Cosette Roman!" A rough voice called for the girl. She gladly excused herself from the crushing throng around her, fighting to get out. "Cosette Roman!" The voice called her name again and the people fled. Many of them had blue wrists such as herself, but a few of her purple (almost perfect) and pink (happy-go-lucky) wristed friends had come to see her.

"Cosette Roman reporting, sir." Cosette was a rather peculiar name for the times. It meant "little thing". Being perfect or almost perfect was a little thing. Everyone strived for the red wrist, to have influence and not to be just another nobody walking around the street trying to change their wrist.

The person simply motioned roughly for her to get into the craft awaiting them. Slipping inside, Cosette took note of three other blue wrists, a brown one (dirt poor; why would they be wanted?), and a red wrist. Cosette's eyes trailed up to the face of the red wrist. The president - Vladimir Vimp - sat across from Cosette.

"Cosette Roman, as you asked, sir." The door shut and off they went.

"Cosette Roman, Delilah Hunt, Josiah Hunt, Anne Ronna, and Ronan Nit. Four perfect wrists, and one dirt poor. I suppose you are wondering why I've asked all of you here." Five heads nodded eagerly. The red wrist flicked up and Cosette felt as if she had just been in the freezer for hours on end. Frozen. "Four of you are a threat to me; the other is to be promoted. I present vice president Cosette Roman." The frozen feeling retracted from Cosette as the president flicked his red wrist towards the other four. Looking down at her own wrist, it had begun to turn red.

"Thank you, sir." Cosette's voice was soft. Often times the ones chosen to be the VP were the ones that posed the greatest threat to the president, right?

Cosette said nothing as she watched the rest of them die from a ride with a dangerously low core temperature. She could do it now. Kill him and set things right. But being the vice president meant she had power to sell things, to invent, to be creative with things other than her look. It meant being rich. It meant...being with her best friend again and not being looked down upon.

Cosette's thoughts had often turned to Josiah, a former boyfriend and current best friend. What had become of him since he had gotten his red wrist? Had he died? More often than not, these questions went unanswered, but now...she had the chance to see him again.

"Cosette, I have promoted you for a special reason. Josiah Rotette. I need you to kill him for me." Did her ears deceive her? Had the president really just asked her to kill Josiah?

"May I ask why?" Despite being the new vice president, Cosette considered them to still be on a formal level of speech.

"He has betrayed me and gone into hiding."
"How did he betray you?"
"He left a criminal alive. Delilah Hunt and her group."
"I was his best friend when we both had purple wrists. We dated. You can't expect me t-" Cosette was cut off by a quick zipping motion of the president's hand. Her voice...he didn't! He couldn't...could he?

"A new power of the red wrist is to kill the voices temporarily. Only the president has it at the moment. You will do as I say or you will join Delilah and Josiah in the grave." The president sat back as Cosette gulped hard. She hadn't seen this as part of the red wrist privileges. Were people really only promoted to kill other red-wristers? "Capishe?" Cosette nodded.

"That's not really a fair trade off..." Cosette's mutter was professional. She and Josiah had often muttered to each other that the red wristed people weren't being fair to the others. It was like only the red wrists (business men, president, leaders, etc.) mattered, and the other colors were just to satisfy the whims of said red wristed people. Black never showed up, but if you hit brown, you were pretty much dead to everyone anyway.

"What was that, sweet?" The president's comment made her blood run blue. Did he like her? Gross!

"Nothing." Cosette's reply was cold as she felt his had been. "Give me one reason I should even consider killing Josiah. For what it's wor-" Cosette's voice cut off again as Vladimir clamped his fist. A strangling feeling came over Cosette. Not to strangle Vladimir, but that she was being strangled.

"Do I make myself clear, Miss Roman?" The president's strangling lessened as Cosette nodded. A few seconds later, she was gasping for breath as she recovered from it.

"Crystal clear." Cosette's thoughts rambled. How could she kill her own best friend? It seemed heartless to her.

"Being heartless? My dear, killing him is helping the world. Tell me why I shouldn't do the same to you." His finger ran along her jaw line, inducing the shudders only a thought as what might've been running through Vladimir's mind could produce in Cosette. Being a red-wrist now, she could read his thoughts. An unhealthy obsession over her beauty and name had come over him when she was young, and he had waited for her to become a blue-wrist to do this. Sick!

"You're the heartless one, Vladimir." Cosette took her fist and squeezed hard, looking Vladimir in the eyes as she strangled him. The last breath he had called her name, hauntingly, chillingly.

To the day, Cosette remembered that vividly. Sitting in what used to be Vladimir's office, she looked down at her wrist. It was no longer red, or blue, or green, or pink. It was skin tone. The days of wrist coloring and corrupt businesses were over.

"Cosette?" Josiah's voice rang out across the room. She turned around and saw him and their daughter, Jeanette, standing in the door way. "There's a  man here to see you. A Kyle Vimp."

"Show him in please, Josiah. And take Jeanette to her dance class?" Josiah smiled and nodded, leaving Cosette alone in her office once again as Jeanette called out a cheery good-bye.

Heavy footsteps sounded down in leaps a few moments later. The powers she had possessed as a red wrist had strengthened and become permanent, giving her the place of executioner as well.

"Cosette Roman?" The voice haunted her. Almost an exact match for Vladimir's coy, slithy voice.

"Kyle Vimp, I presume. Have a seat." Cosette motioned to the empty chair in front of her. He was Vladimir's only living relative. The only one he hadn't had to kill off to keep his position as president.

"I heard news of my father's death. What happened?" Kyle's eyes stared deep into her own.

"I did what I had to do, Kyle. Now, if you don't mind, I have many other thi-" Her eyes widened as Kyle squeezed his fist. He, too, had once been a red wrist. Cosette had thought-

"You thought you found all of us 'corrupt' red-wrists? Think again. There are more now than you could ever hope to find." Kyle's mouth turned into a sick, cruel smile as Cosette's eyes shut for the last time. Darn red-wrists ruin everything...

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