The Improbable Probability of Changing the World Tonight

River wants to die. Lane wants to give her the best last week of her life.

// Cover by Lily Anna
// I uploaded the prologue to this ages ago but only just started work on the story after the competition was announced


2. The Beginning

When your best friend of seven years announces that they want to kill themselves, there are a few ways that you can take it. Some reactions are preferred to others, but most people just pick and choose, depending on how they’re feeling in the moment.


There’s denial, saying that they’re just feeling sad and there’s no reason they could want to die.


There’s anger, claiming that suicide is an easy way out. Why on earth would you want to act like a coward?


There’s bargaining, a whole monologue of listing reasons why they shouldn’t do it and what you’re going to do to make things ‘right’ again.


There’s depression, going on and on about how they’re your best friend and you don’t deserve for them to leave you alone.


When River announces that she wants to end her life on her own terms, her best friend of seven years reacts in the fifth way, the unexpected way: acceptance.


“How are you going to do it?” Lane asks, focusing on their friend’s glassy eyes and tearstained cheeks more than their own emotions. Her copper curls have lost their shine. There are creases framing the edges of her skirt and Lane presumes that she must have slept in it the night before.


River shrugs. “I haven’t decided yet.” Her breath catches in her throat and she can’t tell if it’s from her nerves of finally putting her plan into words or if her oxygen tank is just running low. She adjusts the tubes around her face to make sure she’s getting enough air.


“When are you going to do it?”


There’s a pause. “Two weeks.”


There’s another pause, flooded with unspoken words and questions that Lane is afraid to ask. They think they know why their friend was choosing to do this, why she was choosing to end her own life. Asking how they could help would be weird. Telling her ‘good luck’ and leaving her alone would be unacceptable.


River doesn’t take her friends silence as a positive silence. “Are you… okay with this? Well, not okay. I’m just hoping you’re not going to anything to-”


Lane laughs, the sound forcing River into silence. The tears that begin to stream down her face aren’t from sadness. “Don’t be stupid. I’m going to make sure you have the best damn weeks of your life.”

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