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Prompt: just as you’re leaving a restaurant with your mates, a boy your age taps you on the shoulder and says, “Come with me. It’s time.” What happens?
How Did I Die?
I fumble about in my pocket for some change to tip the waiter. He’s being eyeing me up all evening, and I am _so_ going to bag him before my friend, Meg.
“Thanks for everything,” I murmur when he comes around to collect our bill. He smiles at me, and I wink.
But, then he goes away. Meg laughs at my disgruntled expression. “Shut up,” I say, punching her lightly on the arm. She just shakes her head and follows Josh, another of our friends, out of the booth.
As we pass the other tables, a few glance our way – teenagers, especially slightly tipsy ones, are to be avoided at all costs. I’m the designated driver for the evening, though – Coke’s been my friend for the night.
Just as I’m about to leave, a boy, about 18, taps my shoulder. “Come with me,” he says, a hint of urgency in his voice. He glances behind him and lowers his voice. “It’s time.”
I laugh. “I think you’ve got the wrong person, matey. Time for what?” I check my watch. “The time’s 10:30 if you really wanted to know.” I turn to walk away, but he grabs my sleeve. “What?” I ask. Outside, Meg is waving at me. “Look, I really have to go…” I take a few more steps away, but he follows.
Annoyed, I take him by the shoulders and turn him to the door, giving him a slight push. “Please,” I say, “leave me alone before I call the police.” He laughs ludicrously. “What?” I ask through gritted teeth.
“I wouldn’t turn me away, if I were you.” I raise an eyebrow, but he walks away.
“Wait,” I sigh, as he’s only gone a few paces. He turns and smiles.
“What do you want from me?”
“I think the question is what do you want from me?” I let a stream of air out from between my teeth. This kid is irritating, and I’ve only know of his existence for about 30 seconds.
“Fine then, what do I want from you?”
Winking, he just turns and walks back inside the restaurant. “Liliana,” Meg says at my shoulder. “Are we going, or what?”
“Or what,” I say. She glances at me. “I just need the loo, alright? I’ll be out in a moment.” She rolls her eyes but strops back to the car.
Throngs of people who have all decided that now is the exact time they want to leave crowd the restaurant, and I force my way through them. The boy stands, leaning against the wall at the back.
“So?” I ask.
“So?” he repeats, confused. I stare, and he seems to remember who I was. “Oh, it’s you.” I throw my hands in the air.
“10 points to Sherlock Holmes here.” He just raises his eyebrows. I plough on. “Anyway, what time is it?”
He glances at his watch. “Ten thirty.”
I remind myself to only strangle this boy once I have found out what he wants me for.
“You said… ‘it’s time’. What does that mean?”
“Oh,” he says, “it’s time for you to tell me who you are.” He toys with a wooden bead on a leather thong around his neck. His tongue trails over a scar on his lip.
“Who I am?”
“Yes.” Steely eyes remain fixed on me. “Who are you?”
Maybe following him in here was a bad idea.
“Tell me.” He grasps my upper arm in a tight grip as if he knew I was thinking of running.
Scrap ‘bad’, replace it with ‘terrible’, and you’ve just about got the atmosphere.
“My name is Liliana, I’ve just finished college and I was coming out for a meal with friends to celebrate.” Surely that should cover what he wants to know?
Apparently not, as he leans forward, his fringe tickling my cheekbone. “You… smell different,” he says.
“Well, I’m wearing a new perfume.”
He glares. “That’s not what I mean.”
I stare defiantly. “What do you mean?”
“Humans. You don’t smell like one.” I scoff. This guy is clearly crazy, and I’m debating about calling out for help when he says, “You smell like… like something dead.”
My heart almost stops.
“Dead?” Now I know he’s really quite insane. “I think I’m pretty alive, thank you very much.”
“No,” he comments casually. His grip relaxes a little. “You’re dead.”
“Oh yeah?” I ask. “So how did I die?” He’s really driving me a little mad – thankfully, I can see Meg push her way through.
Then, this boy pushes me against the wall, and his teeth are long and pointed and his eyes are a bright yellow. “Would you like to find out?” he asks.
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