We were going to die in 15 minutes.
The four of us sat in the Death Box, time ticking down. We had entered by our own free will.
Suicidals. Each and everyone of us. Waiting to die. We could leave any moment, but I didn't plan it. I don't think any of us did.
There was Jestine, the blonde. She sat in a swivel chair, twirling about, wringing her hands.
Then Ryan. He had a crew-cut, wearing a grass-stained baseball jersey.
Marcus, an elderly black man, was slumped on the floor, a bottle of scotch next to him.
The last, but not least, Emily, me, the brunette, who had no clue what the hell she was doing here.
The room was bland, steel gray floors, steel walls. Nothing in it, just a few chairs. A timer on the wall ticked down in red digits.
An eerie silence hung. Marcus took a sip of his scotch. We'd introduced ourselves, but that was the extent of our conversation.
“Can I have some?” I asked Marcus. He gave me a feeble smile, then passed it over. A few swigs later, I was pleasantly buzzed.
Jestine finally broke the silence by asking Ryan why he was here.
“Why are you here?”
“Terminal cancer. Decided to go out with a bang, instead of suffering.”
Marcus nodded. “I'm 81 years old, my bones ache, and I can hardly breathe. I'd rather die now than waste away.”
They turned and looked at me. I laughed. “I have no fucking clue why I'm here.”
Jestine raised her eyebrows, but no one said anything.
“Anyone getting cold feet?”
“Not at all.”
His gaze lingered on me, then back down to the bottle.
The place was rigged to blow. I wasn't scared. In 15, okay, 13, minutes, I'd be in a million crispy peaces.
“This is boring,” Jestine said.
“Yeah,” I replied.
“Fight. It'd be fun.”
“I've never been in a fight.”
“Me neither. I avoid them.”
Ryan and Marcus were listening with interest.
“So...” I said “how are we going to do this?”
“Stand up. Punches. First to fall loses.”
“Wow is right. Ready?”
Normally I avoid confrontation. But hey, I had less than ten minutes left. Might as well do something fun.
I stood up, drank more scotch, and faced Jestine.
She swung, I ducked and tried to hit back. She danced away, grinning. I rushed in, swinging away. One fist clipped her jaw. She struck back, bashing my eye. I cried out. “You bitch!”
Ryan laughed and Jestine's smile widened.
I straightened up. We met in the middle of the room, thrashing wildly, back and forth, blow after blow. We rocked. We staggered. The timer ticked down.
Finally she hit me in the nose, sending blooding flying. I swung back, but she ducked and hit me in the jaw. I saw stars and collapsed.
Jestine ran over and helped me up. “That was...awesome.”
“Both of us.”
The timer read 04:38. We sat down, nursing our wounds.
“Well, that was good, but mud should have been involved,” Ryan said.
“Shut up,” Jestine replied.
We sat in silence, watching the timer. Minutes peeled away. 03:23 02:15 01:03 :58
Marcus stood up, staggering slightly. He shook each of our hands. “Pleasure to die with you.”
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