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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

choices have to be made when the prize of a lifetime is on the line...and lived with.

Isa muffled her screams with her hands as she fell through the ceiling onto a pile of pillows. Landing with a thud, she rubbed her backside as she looked around. She smiled as she realised she was not only in the final room but she was also alone. Tapping her wrist she opened the holomap. The light was blinking on the room she was in, she’d made it. The shortcut had put her in the room before anyone else. She deleted the map; it wouldn’t help her here. This was the last room.

Standing up, she took in her surroundings. The cream coloured walls were decorated with long heavy luxurious floor-to-ceiling curtains that begged to be touched. Walking over, Isa reached out and touched them. As she enjoyed the feel of the them, she pulled the curtain towards her face and was startled when a seam appeared that slightly separated them. She pushed through the seam and saw the wall behind with nothing else. It created a small space. Holding the seam, she turned to look at the other wall.

Three separate doorways were there. Each door was decorated with different intricate patterns. Looking at them caused images or words to appear. The images shifted slightly with each blink or head movement she made. One of them contained the final clue to winning the competition, she just had to figure out which one. On the right side of each door, there was an ornate handle, which also phased in and out. Isa walked over to the doors, looking for a pattern that would bring her closer to the grand prize - a prize that promised to change her life.

The contest’s “opportunity to live a life beyond your wildest dreams'’ grand prize had been advertised six months ago and had lured many to apply. She knew the moment she saw the poster that her life would would be better if she could win. She, along with millions of others, had entered, waited and dreamed about their new lives. A life she wanted to mirror the prosperous past of centuries ago. She often thought about her visit to the museums when she was a child. The museums were maintained to warn about the dangers of the past and the waste abuse, but all Isa had seen was  how much easier life had been. Isa had been born into a world of hardship and rationing; lectures about the past only convinced her that she deserved so much more. The contest had been the opportunity she needed.

When the notification had popped up on her bracelet, her excitement had been palpable. Her neighbours had congratulated her everywhere she went and she had enjoyed the notoriety of being one of the few people lucky enough to have been selected. As the guidelines of the contest were revealed her excitement began to wane as the realisation of how difficult the contest would be sunk in. Her worries were allayed with an unexpected delivery. She had received a link in her com-bracelet a week before the contest. The link invited her to use a map of the contest maze. She had hesitated for a brief moment then downloaded the maze. To her surprise, it not only gave her a route through the maze, but also offered shortcuts to get and stay ahead of competitors. During the contest, she had used the map and it had steered her through most of the contest and had given her the quickest paths to each new room. She had been able to solve the puzzles and challenges she encountered with the map’s help. Now she just needed to finish the last one.  She bit her lip nervously, as she knew she would have to do this part on her own.

Staring at the doors, her heart beat faster. She willed them to show her the clues, but she couldn’t see them; no matter how she turned her head or  thought about the images. She looked nervously at her wrist, she was running out of time. The others would be here soon. There were two other competitors left and they had been ahead of her until she started using the shortcuts. Afterwards they had been right on her heels in each room. Solving puzzles easily in her opinion. She returned to the doors, if she could just find the final clue.

Isa jumped as she heard footsteps heading towards the room. She ran back to the curtains and dived into the space she had found earlier. It concealed her completely.  She listened to the sound of someone in the room. She could tell they had walked straight over to the doors and she held her breath listening.

All was silent until Isa heard an excited exclamation, “The third one!”. Panicking at the possibility of losing her opportunity, she ran out from the curtain and tackled the figure hard. Both landed on the ground, with Isa on top. Looking down she saw that Jill’s eyes were closed. After checking her pulse to make sure she was unconscious, Isa stood up and grabbed Jill’s arms. She pulled her over to the pile of pillows and rearranged them, hiding Jill’s body underneath.

“Sorry Jill, but you don’t need this.” She picked up a final and looked at Jill’s relaxed face. “You have so much already.” She put the pillow down and looked away at the doors, “I need this.” She started to put pressure on the pillow, but stopped as she heard another set of footsteps approaching. Isa jumped up and hid behind the curtains once more.

Isa listened again as another person entered the room. When she realised that the person was standing at the doors, she peeked out between the curtains. She watched as Marie, her final competitor, stood in front of the doors turning her head from side to side and at one point she leaned to the side as if she were trying to look upside down. Within moments, Marie had focused on the third door and cried out, “The third one! Of course, it’s obvious when you see it!”Marie said smiling. As she  laughed out loud she turned dancing slightly.  

Her triumphant laughter was knocked out of her as she was tackled hard. Marie landed painfully on her back with a figure on top of her. Her face contorted in anger and then horror as she saw a pair of fists coming towards her face. Isa brought her fists down twice in quick succession, knocking Marie unconscious. She hastily dragged Marie’s body to the pillows  and hid her next to Jill. Securing the final pillow, she got up and walked to the doors. She looked at the doors nervously. She was running out of time.

What did they both see? She thought frantically. She couldn’t see any pattern, but they had both said the third one. As she looked back and forth, she heard footsteps approaching quickly. She jumped at the groans coming from the piles on the floor and saw them shift when she looked at them. She turned and ran to the the third door, as the handle on the third door phased back into form, she quickly turned it and opened the door.
She smiled triumphantly as she heard a “No!” shouted behind her. Other voices were also shouting, but Isa was already through the door. She would win and collect her new life. They could be sore losers all that they wanted. She would deal with the repercussions later. The door slammed closed behind her and she was enveloped in darkness. “Hello?” she asked hesitantly into the room, “Is anyone here?” her fears began to mount as the silence continued. “Hello?, I’m here for my prize.” She stammered slightly.

“Poor Isa.” She jumped at voices that seemed to come from three points around her. “You poor misguided, greedy child.” The last two words were repeated with echoes. Isa spun trying to pinpoint the voices but found it impossible to do. 

A soft light shone from above her allowing her to see herself but not the rest of the room. “We saw what you did to Jill and Marie. Poor girls. That was not kind of you.” The voices said sadly. “We saw how you won the contest.” There was a pause, “Shame” echoed around the room.

“Who are you to judge me?!” Isa shouted angrily. “I won! What does it matter how? It’s a competition.” She panted angrily, “I had to win!”

“We know.” The voices said. There was a touch of sadness. “It is how you chose to win that offends us. Not that you won.”

“What does that mean?” she asked, her beating faster, “of course I won. It was the third door!” Fear began to creep into her anger.

“You did not win.” The echoes said angrily. “Marie and Jill both found the correct clue that led them to open the first door. Although Jill may have won the prize without your interference, they have decided to share.”

There was a short chuckle from one direction, “It is interesting, that despite your attack, Jill tried to warn you. She woke up in time to see you open the third door and tried to stop you. You feared losing and jumped in here.”

Suddenly, lights brightly illuminated the entire room forcing Isa to shield her eyes. Looking around she saw three large disembodied heads floating before her. Their eyes were empty sockets and their mouth’s grinning at her. She covered her mouth with her hand trying to suppress her screams.

“Welcome Isa. We are Ogendi. We are your prize.”

Isa shook her head, "No, m-my prize is supposed to be wealth, a new life."

The heads looked at her, "Your greed made you believe that would be the prize. That was not stated. We offered 'an opportunity to live a life beyond your wildest dreams'. For you, we are that life. You will serve us for as long as you live. And on this side of reality, Isa, you can live an" the voices said silkily.

The faces smiled malevolently as they approached. Their smiles broadening as her screams increased in volume.

Submitted: April 30, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Cyn S. Rose. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



This is really well-written. A good message to put across too. A real pleasure to read!

Thu, April 30th, 2020 6:03pm


Hullabaloo22, I am so happy that you enjoyed reading it. Many thanks for your time and words.

Sat, May 2nd, 2020 7:32am


A great imaginative story with a good moral ending.
It was very well written and set out.
Your descriptions were good and gave the reader (me) an easy visualisation of what you were conveying.
This had a very nice flow to it and was an enjoyable read.

Thu, April 30th, 2020 6:10pm


Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time and kind words.

Sat, May 2nd, 2020 7:30am

Vance Currie

I read your shorter story before I read this one, Cyn, so I knew already that you are one of the better writers on Booksie. Again, your story was easy to read and visualise. The story itself is entertaining with an appropriately horrifying ending.

Thu, April 30th, 2020 11:29pm


Joe, thank you so much. Your words are encouraging and gratefully appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read and review.

Sat, May 2nd, 2020 7:22am

Craig Davison

I really enjoyed this. Reality TV with a gruesome twist.

Fri, May 1st, 2020 7:54am


Thank you so much. That is exactly what I was going for. Your words are truly appreciated.

Sat, May 2nd, 2020 7:20am


It's a great story. It's entertaining and teaches us a lesson about greed without being too preachy.

Fri, May 1st, 2020 6:03pm


Thank you so very much for taking the time to read and let me know what you think. I greatly appreciate your kind words.

Sat, May 2nd, 2020 7:19am

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