Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)
TITLE: Life in the 'Centre of Death'
By Helen Curtis
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It was a delicious day. The sun was high overhead; its warmth released the scent of jasmine through the air, tantalising the senses. Melissa Franklin was “feeling the love”, and she sang as she returned to the verandah with the day’s mail, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine! Here’s some mail for you-u-u, la da daaaa da daaaa! Whad’ya get ma, anything exciting? Mum?” Mrs. Franklin’s face turned ashen white when she saw the letter on the top of the pile.
“Oh dear God, no. Dan. DANIELl!”
“What is it Judith, you look like you’ve seen a…” Daniel halted as his eyes fell upon the large, blue envelope on his wife’s lap.
“Mum, dad? What’s the matter? What’s in the envelope?” Melissa looked at her parents, panic threatening her composure. Judith, unable to think rationally, went inside to put the kettle on, leaving her husband of 33 years to explain to their beautiful sixteen year old daughter that a supercomputer and pen-pushing government bureaucrat had determined their expiry date.
“THEY CAN’T DO THIS! What right does any government have to choose how long someone can live?” Melissa looked once again at the happy family on the brightly-coloured brochure attached to Checkout’s notice of expiration, the date twelve years into the future highlighted in red. The brochure read,
We’ve considered all the factors – genetics, socio-economics, intellect, family trends – and provided your government with a realistic model of your future. From this data they have provided the enclosed expiration date. Checkout(tm): helping nature take its course.
Images of her grandparents’ sudden departure ten years earlier scrolled through Melissa’s mind. Tears of anger and disbelief flowed freely as she poured her heart out to the God of all creation. With all my heart, I promise to fight for them, for everyone. Guide my steps, Father, and give me your strength and wisdom to stand.
The wait had been a test of endurance and patience, but finally Melissa started to see God’s plan unfurl. On the day of her 26th birthday she was appointed as Morgue Coordinator: Checkout Euthanasia Clinic, a position which gave her full access to all patient records and daily processing schedules. Almost immediately, she and Ben, the Clinic’s Head Anaesthetist and sympathiser to “The Cause,” surreptitiously met with a team of pro-lifers to pray and develop the next part of their strategy. For two years they went through agony, carrying out their ‘jobs’ and praying that God would make the way for life to bloom in the 'Centre of Death'.
Finally, God said "Go"!
There were fifteen due to be processed that day by Ben; they were equipped to liberate just four. God, may your mercy, grace and forgiveness be upon us today. His part of the plan went like clockwork; the machines all flat-lined as he injected the solution that would end their lives – or so the other workers believed. Thankyou, God, for stage props and fake syringes! Now, it was up to Melissa. Before her lay four body bags, each one containing a “corpse” ready to be processed and shipped to a pre-selected funeral home. Melissa waited impatiently for her assistant to leave for the evening. “There’s the buzzer. Quick, everyone get up! Don’t worry, the funeral director’s one of us. He said sometimes the cremations just ‘happen’ to get done earlier than planned.” Melissa winked as she beeped the back door open. “Shhh, go quietly; we’re not safe yet.” Ben saw them approaching and jumped down from the driver’s seat. “See? I told you this old heap would come in handy one day!”
Melissa and Ben left the Checkout Clinic that night with the first four souls ever to evade the government’s Compulsory Euthanasia Scheme - their parents. They would go on to save many souls from Checkout's clinics around the nation; but that, as they say, is another story.
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