Count-Down

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The shrill sound of the alarm clock pulled out Mavis out of sleep.

Only one thought passed through her mind this morning as she woke up. It was a very strong and assertive: No.

She did not want to wake up.

Groggily, she groaned and twisted to turn the stupid shrilling beep off, catching sight of the timer that was engraved her right wrist.

No, this timer wasn’t a watch. It wasn’t counting up to midnight or noon; it was counting down to a certain event. This event varied between two major things in a person’s life; it could either mean the day of someone’s death, or the day they would meet the person they were destined to spend their life with.

After pressing the snooze button, she brought her wrist closer to her face to make sure she was seeing correctly.

Mavis’s clock read eight hours and forty-three minutes.

In roughly nine hours, she was either going to meet the person she would marry or she was going to die

Hopefully, it’s the latter. A small voice said from the back of her head. She pushed it away.

It was true. Mavis didn’t have the best of lives. She was bullied at school because she was a straight A student and her demanding responsibilities at home made it hard to keep up with homework. On top of everything, She would often be her worst critic, judging every inch of herself in the mirror until she felt worthless in both mind and body. High school had taken the best for her, smashed it, and then lit it on fire. She was only a freshman.

She was still incredibly tired, so she attempted to rub the sleep from her face. She shook her head out to try and get rid of the grogginess and then braced for the wall of cold that would assault her when she flipped the blanket off of herself

Once she had done so, she begrudgingly got ready for school knowing that by the end of the day, she’d either be dead or in love.


The day proceeded normally. Her teachers praised her work; the students glared at her and called her a goody-two-shoes.

Someone tripped her during the passing period before lunch, snickering as her papers flew all over the hall. No one stopped to help. They just walked all over her papers in a hurry to get to lunch, leaving dirty footprints as they took their leave.  She fought tears. Her clock now read two hours and fifty-five minutes.

The end of the day ended in art. She was grateful. The teacher let the students listen to music because it boosts creativity, but it also eased Mavis’ anxiety and calmed her nerves. Getting lost in the music and the drawings- even if they weren’t that great- helped her relax and block out the world.

By the end of the day, her timer said 0000:15:98

In fifteen minutes her life would change forever. It seemed like the implications of the entire situation hadn’t caught up to her. She was starting to feel nervous. She would either die or fall in love on her way home from school.

Automatically, her brain started making calculations; the chances of her falling in love while walking home versus the chances of dying.  The odds of dying greatly outweighed the other.

She took a deep breath while collecting her stuff to leave school, already accepting her fate. Deep down, she almost felt grateful it would be over in just a few short minutes.


The man at the crosswalk held his sign across the sidewalk, baring kids from walking into traffic.

The crowd that Mavis had gathered with was particularly large today, but the traffic on the road was no different than normal.

She glanced at her timer again. 0000:01:00. Exactly one minute. Her breathing sped up and fear began to seep into her stomach.

One minute of life left. A car would hit her.

In what seemed to take forever, the guy manning the crosswalk finally walked into traffic with his sign held high. When he had reached the middle, he beckoned for the collection of children on the sidewalk to cross.

Mavis stood, petrified. This is it. She thought. She let everyone pass her. If she was going, she wasn’t going to take anyone with her.

When everyone had passed, she put one foot onto the asphalt, then continued, her breathing speeding up. She wasn’t afraid. She was nervous.

She got most of the way across the crosswalk before several things happened all at once.

The car that was meant to seal her fate was at least two feet away from her. It was going way too fast in a school zone. Mavis saw and accepted that. She made no attempt to move. However, in that moment things seemed to slow down.

As the car got closer and closer, strong arms strung themselves under her armpits, then wrapped around, the person’s hands on her shoulders.  Then, she was yanked back out of the path of the small blue car.

The car whizzed past, barely nicking the edge of her sneaker, all while the guy with the stop sign was blowing his whistle furiously.

Mavis, however, was still being supported by the stranger that had just saved her life. Her knees were too weak to be trusted with her weight.

She was in shock. But… but my timer? She glanced at it again.  0000:00:00

Wide-eyed and terrified, Mavis realized she was still leaning heavily on someone. She looked up at the person who had grabbed her.

“Are you okay?” He asked, his green eyes sparkling with concern.

Mavis nodded slowly at first, like she was still making sure she was okay herself, then faster, knowing that she was, in fact, still okay.  After she had confirmed that, she realized she could stand up again, her knees wobbling slightly.

After she stood up, she looked at her wrist again. 0000:00:00. She should be dead.

Puzzled, she looked up at her savior.

“I assume your timer just ended?” He asked. “Mine too. The name’s Mathew, by the way. Looks like we’re soul mates.” He flashed at her a brilliant smile.

Despite almost dying, Mavis couldn’t help but smile either. It was a shaky smile, but a smile nonetheless.  “Mavis.” She said.

Mathews smile got even bigger. “Awesome.” He held out his elbow in an offer for Mavis to take it. “I’ll walk you across?”

She nodded and hesitantly strung her arm through his.

Yet another realization struck. If Mathew hadn’t had been there, her timer was counting down her death, but because he was, it was counting down to when she’d meet the love of her life.

She looked up at Mathew, mystified.

He noticed her looking and looked back. He rose an eyebrow, but was still smiling. She shook her head.

“Thank you, Mathew.” She said.