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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
People in Chloe's family have a habit of disappearing on their twentieth birthdays. With Chloe's birthday looming around the corner she races to figure out where they go so she can stop herself from being next.

Submitted: April 27, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 27, 2016



Tomorrow was going to be Chloe’s twentieth birthday. Most girls were excited for this. Twentieth birthdays meant no more being a teenager. There was going to be no teen in Chloe’s age as of tomorrow. She would really be an adult, and no one could say otherwise.

Chloe was not excited. She was anxious and frightened. She was the first born of her generation. While having only younger siblings was fun at times, it meant Chloe would be taken by her family's curse. Her mother always told her, “It's not a curse, just bad luck.” Chloe refused to believe that. But since she was the only sane one in the family who thought it was more than bad luck, she had no help trying to solve the mystery.

Her fellow firstborns had a habit of disappearing without a trace on their twentieth birthdays. Chloe had spent nearly three years looking into each recorded case as far back as her family's history would go. Her aunt Jessie had disappeared while driving in Pennsylvania. All that was found was her totaled car. No body. No blood. Before her was Chloe’s grandfather Thomas. He was having a beach barbecue. Authorities said he went for a swim and got swept out by the current. This happened in California. These two cases alone ruled out gender and location as possible causes.

Chloe knew the details of every case recorded, but none of it helped. She could find no connection. She most often read what little there was to read about the first recorded case. Over two hundred years ago Elizabeth Fortune had mysteriously vanished. Chloe couldn't be sure Elizabeth was the first case, history wasn't fully recorded back then, but her gut told her it was. Chloe used to think if she could just find what started the curse or what was different about Elizabeth, maybe she could stop it before her time was up. But her birthday was tomorrow and she hadn't made nearly enough progress.

She had so many questions. Where did everyone disappear to? How did nobody see them disappear? Why the firstborn? How did the curse start? They just kept running through Chloe's mind. I suppose all my questions will be answered tomorrow, thought Chloe.

Chloe was up all night, staring at the clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The clock finally rang midnight. It was finally her birthday. She was twenty. And sometime in the next twenty four hours, she would vanish.

Though she wanted to remain awake, Chloe drifted off around two in the morning and did not wake until her sister came knocking on her door with a birthday cake.

“Surprise!” Screamed Anna. “I know you didn't want to celebrate, but mom has a party set up at her house.”

“I'm not going,” replied Chloe.

“Mom went through a lot of trouble hoping this could cheer you up,” said Anna. “You're going.” Anna said it like an order, no arguing.

“Fine, I'll go,” grumbled Chloe.

When they got to the party Chloe saw that it was more of a family gathering. A few friends from the bakery Chloe worked at were there, but besides that it was just family. Chloe didn't dislike her family, but she didn't get along with them very well. Chloe found talking to the sane ones tedious. “Do you have a husband yet? When can I meet your kids? Are you going to do something useful with your life? You look like your mom. Stop worrying about vanishing or you'll go insane like Linda.” They barraged her with the same questions over and over. She could only handle so much of them. Sometimes she preferred the insane ones, like Linda, who thought demons rode through the sky on unicycles trying to steal her blue fedora. Her bouts of insanity were oddly specific and rarely interrupted by sane moments.

Chloe braced herself for the party and then spent hours trying to keep her composure. After making her rounds and conversing with all the adults she finally got around to hanging with her friends.

“So how's your birthday going so far?” Asked one friend.

“You look pretty tense,” observed another.

“I've got a raging headache, am totally fed up with my family after only a few hours, and I might disappear. How do you think I'm doing?” Asked Chloe.

“Disappear? What do you mean?” They asked. “Why don't you just go inside and lie down for a bit…”

“Yeah maybe I should…” Chloe mumbled. She wandered inside and laid on the couch. As she began to drift off red clouded her vision. Her headache grew more intense. She slipped into total darkness.

When Chloe awoke she found herself in a room with no doors or windows. The room was illuminated but she saw no light source.

She looked down at herself to see her clothes were not what she had been wearing at her birthday party. In place of her comfy jeans and sweatshirt she now wore a tight red cocktail dress. This dress may be pretty but I would never have picked it out for myself, it doesn't match my eyes, thought Chloe. But when she searched the room and came across a mirror she looked on in horror. Her eyes were no longer green, they were the same red as the dress. And her once blond hair had become a deep blood red. Even her nails had been painted to match. What worried her the most was the glowing red pendant at her throat. It just had a creepy, evil aura to it.

Before Chloe could think more on the subject, she heard a knock. She turned towards the noise just in time to see a door shimmer into existence where there had been a plain wall. The door opened and Chloe took a step back. A man in a tailcoat stepped in, “Ah, Miss Fortune, you're awake. Excellent. Follow me, the Master is waiting to see you now,” he said with a beckoning gesture.

Chloe stuttered, “I… I'm...I'm not going anywhere with you! Take me home!”

“Why must you Fortunes always be difficult?” The man questioned. He held his hand up with his palm facing Chloe. His eyes became entirely black and he closed his fist firmly. The red pendant around Chloe's neck began pulsing. Chloe began walking towards him even though she was doing everything in her power not to.

“Let me go!” Screamed Chloe. The man moved his fist to the side and Chloe's mouth slammed shut.

His eyes cleared. “That's much better,” he stated happily. “Come along now.”

They walked for roughly ten minutes through stone hallways that didn't come close to matching the room Chloe had been in. The place looked like the inside of a castle, but more sinister. Maybe I'm in a dungeon, thought Chloe. This place has enough cobwebs to be one.

They arrived at two very large closed doors. The tailcoat man knocked on the doors. When they swung open he ushered Chloe in and disappeared. Chloe's pendant stopped throbbing. She had control of her body back.

There was a dais at the back of the very large room with a ruby throne in the center. Splayed across the throne was a terrifying man in a suit so black it seemed to swallow light. He had blood red hair matching Chloe's and eyes made of flames. “Welcome to the Underworld, Miss Fortune,” he said with a smile so wide Chloe thought his face might split in half. “I am Death.  You now belong to me.”


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