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The Fluco Beat

  • February 20FCHS will be offering the ASVAB test to interested sophomores, juniors, and seniors. For details, please email [email protected]
  • February 20The FCHS Music Department is hosting a "Night at the Movies" Concert at 6pm on Thurs. Feb. 22. Tickets are $5. See Ms. Harkrader in room 1517 for details.
  • February 19The FCHS Library will be hosting a Read-A-Thon on Thurs. March 7. It is $1 per 30 minute block or $10 for the entire day. Funds go to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.
  • January 20Juniors and seniors taking the SAT in March should check their email for information and a calendar invite from Ms. Blevins. Email [email protected] with questions.
The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

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FCHS Journalism
Image created in Bing Image Creator by FCHS Journalism.

The Gift

“Happy birthday!” everyone shouts as I walk through the door. My children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren are all standing inside. Many of their friends are here too. It’s a shame my best friends couldn’t be here to see me, but I can’t complain. It’s not their fault they couldn’t make it, because today marks the day that I turned 123-years-old. I am officially the oldest known person to have ever lived.

My family passes gift after gift on to me, many of which I feel I don’t deserve. We eat, we talk, and we laugh. It’s the happiest I’ve been in years. Hours later, once most of my family has left, my daughter helps me into bed.

“Thank you for this,” I say.

“Don’t mention it. You’ve more than earned it, whether you believe it or not.” She leaves and I fall asleep in what I assume to be seconds. I open my eyes to find that it’s still dark.

Then something moves in the corner of the room.

My eyes widen. I find myself unable to move, unable to speak. Not because I can’t, but because somehow, instinctively, I don’t want whatever it is to see me. As my eyes adjust, I see that whatever it is it isn’t human. It’s massive, so massive that it has to hunch over in the room. It appears to be wearing a cloak of some sort and it has a face as pale as the moon. It inches closer and I can’t help but stare.

“You…” it addresses me, jutting out its finger. “You are not what you think you are.” Its voice is unnaturally deep and gravely. I force myself to hope that it’s only here to talk. I finally see its face in all its horror: It has a skull where its face should be, no eyes, and a forehead shaped like that of a hammerhead shark.

Despite my trembling, I muster the courage to say something. “What are you talking about? Who are you?” I ask.

“I am Hades, the god of death,” it responds. “I am here because you are not supposed to be. You died, and yet you still walk the Earth as if you belong here.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I respond. “I haven’t had so much as a cold in over ten years!”

“You’re wrong,” he states. “You died from pneumonia yesterday, from cancer the day before, and from a car accident the day before that. Each time you die, you somehow reshape the universe around you into a universe in which you inexplicably survive. You are an anomaly. The first of your kind. Even I am unable to determine where your power comes from…or how to eliminate it.”

I pause, unable to fathom the words he’s telling me. I wonder if it’s a nightmare of some kind, but deep down I know it’s not. My scattered throughts slowly begin to crystalize. This is real.

“So…what do we do?” I ask, shocked.

“There’s only one thing we can do,” Hades responds. “Zeus won’t allow a mere human to walk in the land of the gods. You have to take my place as the god of death.” I pause, unable to fathom what this will mean for me.

“Does that mean I’ll die?” I ask.

“No. When you die, your body is left behind while your soul moves on. Time and time again you have proven that you somehow defy this reality of being human. If you come to the land of the gods, on the other hand, both your body and soul will disappear from this world and live beyond this plane of existence. You will be gone in the blink of an eye. Likely, your family will think you’ve been kidnapped. But this cannot be helped.”

“Can I say goodbye?” I ask.

“I don’t think you understand the urgency of the situation. Your very soul is rewriting space and time. If you stay in this world any longer you could puncture the universe itself.” I look around the room as if expecting to see such a “puncture,” as he calls it, erupt at any moment. “On the bright side, you’ll get to live on in the Underworld, not as a soul roaming the plains aimlessly and without purpose, but as a god.”

I always knew I would have to move on from this world soon. Anyone who reaches 100-years-old knows that their remaining life is likely measured in days, minutes, or seconds, so I’ve been expecting the end of my life for years. Yet somehow, now that I’m faced with it, I can’t accept it. I can’t leave my family.

“No,” I say, sitting up farther. “I won’t do it. I can’t leave my family after everything they’ve done for me.”

“You don’t have a choice,” Hades responds, placing a bony hand on my shoulder. “I know how you feel. You have the universe in one hand and your family in the other. Each of them is pulling you in different directions.”

“You don’t know me,” I say.

“Maybe not,” Hades replies. “But I do know that whether you believe it or not, you really have both hands on the same thing: the wellbeing of the universe, including your family. You can only save them by taking my place.”

I close my eyes. I know that he’s right and I hate it. He holds out his hand. I hold out mine. Our fingers touch, and in an instant I feel his power flowing through me. I feel the feelings I have for my family slipping away.

I feel eternity.

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    Melanie AllenJan 10, 2024 at 9:34 AM

    Hmmmmm. Very Interesting! A very unique and creative view of looking at death, eternity and the after life. Somber and dark, but closure at the end of the story. Well done.

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