“You don’t have enough points, sir.”
“But I’m looking at my card right now and it says 4525. I thought I only needed 4500?”
The girl with highlighter blue hair at the gate looked at me with her equally vibrant blue eyes and blinked slowly. “Nope.” She said. “You got 15 hundred points.”
I looked at her in disbelief. Her face softened, and she added, “I’m sorry?”
“I guess there is no point in arguing,” I sighed, turning away. Someone must have hacked my account and used my points within the past half-hour, otherwise my card would have updated. I think they update every hour.
How will I get home now? My mind is whirling with thoughts as I wander aimlessly through the crowded streets. Everyone else is going the opposite direction, headed home, I presume. Not me. No. I will be homeless tonight in this high-rise wasteland, unless I can find shelter.
What will 1500 points get me? Maybe I can buy water and a sandwich. I’ve never stayed in the metro area after dark. It’s like being in a foreign city.
The temperatures are dipping. “It will get cold tonight too,” I said to no one in particular. The setting sun casts long shadows of the skyscrapers onto the roads and sidewalks. This concrete land of commerce looks as though it could swallow me whole if I step into it. The darkness calls to me, beckoning with the shadowy fingers of the lamp post reaching….
My hand slips into the shadow of the lamp post and something tugs at me. I pull it away in astonishment. Slowly I reach for it again and let my hand slip inside. The icy cold fingers grab at me urging me to follow.
Startled, I pull my hand back and look around; there is no one in sight. When did the streets empty out? How did everyone disappear so quickly? I must have been lost in thought longer than I realized.
Curiosity is getting the better of me. I’m 55 years old and have done nothing exciting in my life. Should I find out what is in the shadow? But what if it’s dangerous? “Yeah, it probably is,” I say. “Well, are you going to go into the shadow or not?” My conscience wrestles with me.
“All right, I’ll do it!” Looking around, I notice a shadow that doesn’t seem as dark as the others. That one looks less sinister. Stepping forward, my nerves are on edge. Am I making the biggest mistake of my life? It might be the best decision I’ve ever made. I will find out soon enough.
Reaching my hand forward into the darkness, I feel the same cold icy fingers wrapping around my own. I let them tug on me for a moment. Cautiously I step into the shadow. The wind is spinning around me. I am being pulled into the unknown. Closing my eyes, I let it happen. Falling, I am pulled into the darkness. Everything went black.
Waking up, I realize it’s no longer dark. I’m lying on the ground. The ground…. it’s not the cold concrete I expected. It is warm and soft. This is DIRT. I haven’t seen soil since I was a kid at my grandparent’s tiny house on the outskirts of town. They were the last hold-outs. Everyone else had moved into the apartment district. Buried memories come flooding back to me. What is this place, and what is that sound? It’s the murmuring of people speaking. Looking around, I see them. Normal looking folks are walking, talking, laughing….
“HEY, you okay,” shouted a young woman into my ear? It was the highlighter blue girl from the gate! “We’ve been waiting for the right moment to bring you here. Don’t worry. I took your points on purpose.”
The End. 3025 Points to Eternity
Writer’s Digest is a website for information and resources for the writing community. Several times a year, they have a variety of different writing contests, ranging from poetry and photo captions to short stories. This is my entry in contest #75 (unfortunately, I did not place). It was a fun piece to write, and I decided to share it here. The requirements were to keep the story under 700 words and begin with the sentence: “You don’t have enough points, sir.”