Cheating by Erika Lance

To my sidekick Nobbits; without you, I would be a terrible superhero.

“I’m Alive!” Jimmy screamed triumphantly.

Jimmy dusted himself off and decided he had this all figured out. He knew today was the day, but he didn’t believe in prophecies, or fate, or any of that mumbo jumbo that the Oracles had said.

He looked down the street in both directions. The bus had nearly run him over, and he wasn’t taking a chance it would try again. He had four more hours before this day was complete. Then all of the silliness of his death would be behind him.

Jimmy weighed his options; he could go inside somewhere. His house was out of the question since a smoke detector had caught fire this morning which woke him up.

He had also tried the coffee shop around the corner from his house and that had been held up at gunpoint. Luckily, he had been in the bathroom at the time and had snuck out the tiny window, which had torn his shirt.

He thought that going to work might help; after all, he worked in a hospital as a lab tech. When he had arrived late, he noticed all the people in hazmat suits going in and out. When he asked someone what was happening, it turned out that a container had broken in the lab releasing a fast moving flesh eating bacteria into the air. Three had died in the lab before they had contained it. Jimmy decided to find shelter elsewhere.

The more Jimmy thought about it, the more he wished he hadn’t gone to ask the Oracles anything on that Saturday afternoon. His best friend Paul had told him that he most likely didn’t want to actually know what his fate would be. Jimmy’s logic had been he could then live his life to the fullest, which of course, was until whatever day in his ripe old age he was to finally pass into the great beyond.

So, Jimmy was of course stunned when they gave him four days to live. That meant he would die on Wednesday. Jimmy hated Wednesdays. They were simply in the middle of everything and nothing good happened on Wednesdays besides his inevitable demise it seemed.

On top of everything else, Jimmy was given this terrible news from the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life. He had expected the Oracle to be an old grandmotherly type. He expected wrinkles and grey hair. Instead she was radiant. Her name was Opal, which was an old person name, but instead of making her appear older, it seemed to simply be a description of the color of her eyes. They shimmered and changed between blue and green as she looked into the swirling glass orb in front of her.

Her dark hair fell in curls that were pulled back from her fair skin. Even without make-up, her long lashes and rosy lips made her seem as if perfection in a person was possible. Then she said those now infamous words: “Jimmy, you will die in 4 days.”

He shook his head, clearing the image from his mind. Jimmy had renewed purpose in the fact he would survive. Tomorrow he would go see the Oracle again to show her that he was strong and a hero. He had cheated death and that made him a superhero. He imagined she would fall immediately into his arms, and he would be kissing those pump soft lips. He shook his head again and looked at his watch: 8:24pm.

He needed to go somewhere safe. He had no idea where that could be, so he headed to the only place that he knew would offer him comfort: the park.

Jimmy arrived at the park at 9:13pm out of breath. This was after a near miss by a cab and a downed power-line that suddenly appeared in his path. He decided to stay in the open areas away from trees that could fall on him or swing sets that might suddenly collapse.

He kept his eyes out for storms full of lightning and meteors headed towards the very spot he was sitting in. He was excited when he checked his watch for the millionth time and it said 11:57pm. He had only 3 minutes.

That is when he saw the figure coming towards him in the darkness. He prepared to run. He was so close; he wouldn’t let some random mugger take him out. It was then he noticed the figure was shorter and more slender than he was. Jimmy was stunned when the light from the moon showed the face of the person approaching and it was Opal.

“What are you doing here?” he blurted out.

“I am here for you, Jimmy,” she replied and continued her approach.

Jimmy smiled; he would get his reward. He checked his watch again 11:59pm. She was standing right in front of him now.

“I am sorry Jimmy. This will hurt.” And she pushed her lips into his.

He was frozen for a second and then gave into the kiss. It was as amazing as he thought it would be with her soft lips and the hunger he thought he felt from her that sent shivers down his spine.

Then he felt it, a slight pinch at first before the pain spread through his chest. It felt like there was a heated metal rod being shoved through his heart and he pulled back from her and looked down to see a pool of blood forming on his chest and the handle of a knife sticking out from under where his rib cage would be.

He tried to think of something to say, some question to ask that would explain what was happening as his knees gave out from under him. He looked into her eyes one last time; there was a single tear falling down her cheek as he was enveloped in darkness.

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