Fiction: Life, Brought to You by…. (Part 1)

The purple text below was a start written by my friend Richard. I finished the story best I could! I split it into two parts.  I hope you like.

Danielle was too warm to sleep. She tossed and turned in bed but slumber stayed away. But perhaps that was a mercy. The horror film Ant had put in the DVD player after their candle-lit dinner would have given her nightmares anyway. She never liked horror films. But it had been Ant’s turn to choose and Danielle figured he didn’t care much for her fluffy rom-coms either. But that was what relationships were about – compromise.

Suddenly Danielle heard a noise. Someone was breaking in the front door. Danielle sat up and listened. Heavy footsteps were thudding up the stairs getting louder and nearer. Danielle searched for her phone to call Ant or the police, then remembered she’d left it downstairs. She could hear heavy breathing now outside her bedroom door. The handle rattled as whoever was outside attempted to open the locked door. Danielle huddled in a corner of the bed against the wall and pulled the covers up in front of her – as if they would be any protection.
There was a sound of splintering wood and an axe-head appeared through the door. It disappeared and struck the door again, making a large hole. An arm pushed through the hole and unlocked the  door from the inside.

The door swung open and a masked man stood in the doorway.
Danielle screamed.

The axe fell. Danielle fell silent.

“And that is scenario 56.” said an exasperated Dr Fielding switching off the simulation screen. “Bit on the dramatic side but if you want to make a statement. There is nothing like the good old boyfriend with the axe to the head scene. Classic”
“Hmm” Danielle pondered.
“This also comes with the added back story that Ant has been copping off with your best friend.. erm.. Janet..”
“Janine.” Danielle corrected.
“Yes sorry, Janine. He offs you to run off to Fiji with a sheep and cow to breed horses.”
“With a sheep and a cow?”
“Yes, “ said the doctor checking his notes. “That’s what it says here.”
“Do you have anything else?”

Dr Fielding had shown Danielle 17 death scenarios now, including classics such as “Falling Ladder” and “Accident that wasn’t your fault” he was a trifle frustrated that nothing she had seen thus far fitted the bill. This was the trouble with allowing the under 30’s use the services of “Your Way Out Ltd” the end was usually so far away that the initial consultancy, often ended up a pointless drawn out affair. The client often returning many years later to request a standard “heart attack” rather than the “Bungee cord sex fall” they had requested 50 years previously. Dr Fielding swiped his way through the electronic catalogue.

“Here is scenario 27.” He replied. Pulling it across to the large screen that filled one end of an otherwise bland and clinical white room.

The screen showed a grey haired Danielle laying down on a white bed, surrounded by birthday cards and balloons. Some of the cards displayed the figure 1000. Next to Danielle there was a hologramic message casting light from the ground. It depicted the High Sponsor Romana.
“Congratulations on reaching your one thousandth life cycle.” She said. “In these troubled times there are few that make it this far. You are indeed a remarkable demograph.”
The message disappeared. The scenario screen faded to black.

“What was that?” said Danielle peering quizzically at the black screen.
“That was just called ‘Telegram’” replied Dr Fielding.
“Yeah but you didn’t see me.. well die.”
“That’s from our ‘Peaceful’ range. It’s very popular.
“Hmm.”
“Look you are very young. Why don’t you come back, we are developing new scenarios all the time to suit all price ranges.”
“No,” Danielle said with a sigh. “I need to sort it out now. I have a voucher from my Brand Manager”
Fieldings irritated demeanour melted somewhat at this news.
“Oh I see. Then you must take advantage of that offer. I’m sure we’ll find you something.”
“Seems a strange gift if you ask me, I mean I’m 20 years old. Not planning on kicking the bucket anytime soon.” Danielle said with half a smile, that quickly disappeared.
“Yes such is this life. No one knows when our time is up.”
“Thats not what I heard. I heard they know.” Danielle said rising from her chair and pacing round the room. “They know very well they tell us what we can and can’t do, how we live when we die. It’s not fair, it makes me mad.”
“Please, sit down. This is not the time or the place for madness. Your brand manager has been generous to you. Lets find you that scenario.”
“C’mon now doctor. You are a person. You must have heard the rumours.” replied Dannielle pacing. “But aha, you won’t say what you really think. You make money out of it. No biting the hand that feeds you eh.”
“Well yes but..”
“Don’t you ‘but’ me.” Danielle now raging “They made my Mother move away when I was 5. Never seen her since. No-one knows where she is. And you. You sit there and make a tidy packet on hiding the truth. The truth of life here on Earth672. You are worse than the Sponsors.”

Dr Fielding rose to his feet and walked over slowly to the snarling Danielle. He moved his face close to hers and said slowly and clearly “Don’t you ever compare me to them. Ever. You hear me. You come with me.”

Dr Fielding swiped a finger over the catalogue. The scenario screen scrolled up to reveal a black door, a stark contrast to it’s white surroundings. Next to the door was a retina scanner unit. Dr Fielding led Danielle firmly by the arm towards the door. He let the machine scan his eye and the door swung open.
“What are you doing?” Danielle said trying to hide her fear. A fear that was more real than in any of the scenarios the Doctor had shown her.
“I am going to show you why you shouldn’t compare me to the Sponsors” he said bundling her through the door. Which slammed shut behind them.
“Oh please no, please don’t hurt me.”

Part 2

Time square

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