Counting

Avatar Author: Robert Quick A no-name, aspiring author who can't stop writing. Looking ahead, he strives for perfection. Shackled by various forms of entertainment, he dreams of success. Most stories here are an invitation to YOU, to join me in cre... Read Bio

“Eleven thousand five hundred ninety-one. Eleven thousand five hundred ninety-two.”

Salva sweated. Her ragged blouse molded itself to her chest but she ignored it. She had a job to do, an important job, perhaps the most important job in the history of mankind.

“Eleven thousand five hundred ninety-three.”

The number kept growing. The numbers had to keep flowing. If they didn’t, people would die. Each number she added, was one more life spared.

“Eleven thousand five hundred ninety-four.”

A yawn fought its way out of her, blurring her surroundings. She pinched herself to stay awake. This was far more important than sleep. How long had she been awake? It seemed like forever.

“Eleven thousand five hundred ninety-six—no wait! Ninety-five!” Salva cried.

A mechanical voice, meticulous in its pronunciation spoke for the second time, “ERROR. REDUCING POPULATION TO LAST CORRECT ANSWER.”

In an instant over eight billion people were reduced to their component atoms.

Wishing that she were one of them, Salva wept.

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Comments (7 so far!)

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  1. Avatar s13 Interwrit 005 Erica

    This is… fantastic!
    It’s a kind of science fiction, isn’t it?
    It was filled with a sense of suspense. In the meantime, I think it tried to convey something tragic behind the plot. A girl, doomed to “protect” human beings, under a cruel policy or something forcing her to do so. It’s a difficult job, and also a cruel fortune.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    I was picturing starfish…
    But in the end you were much more gruesome. Disintegration.

  3. Avatar As Large as Alone

    I read this one yesterday, but didn’t commment right away. However, it kept coming back to mind. It reminds me of the surprise ending of “Ender’s Game” to some extent…the horror of realizing that what you did has harmed others— It’s grand.

  4. Ahfl_icon THX 0477

    Very bizarre. Sounds almost delusional, or at the very least a Twilight Zone episode. Nicely written for suspense and tension.

  5. Avatar Stockholm

    Amusing. In a way that makes me sympathize for the frustrated individual. I wonder how much stress someone would have to go through in a test like that.

  6. Avatar Stockholm

    Salva short for salvation?

  7. Avatar Robert Quick

    Yes.