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“Ginger!” Lucas called as he walked deeper into the forest. 

She had been missing for twelve days, nearly two weeks, and Lucas would do anything to get her back. He had put up flyers, rewards, arranged search parties, and spent many long hours in the woods calling her name. Nothing seemed to work. He was ready to try anything, even selling all his organs on the dark web just to get her back.  

“Lucas, maybe we should turn in for the night. We have a big test tomorrow,” his roommate, Caleb, advised. 

Caleb was the best roommate he could have ever asked for. They could rant about teachers and class. They would hang out with each other, play video games and joke about girls. He was always there to help, he even stayed up with Lucas every night helping to find his cat. 

“We can search again right after the test,” Caleb said.

“You can go if you want. I’m gonna stay up a little later.” 

“Are you sure?” Caleb asked, yawning a little, it was almost two in the morning and he was exhausted.

“I’m sure,” Lucas replied. 

“Just promise me you’ll go to sleep soon,” Caleb said. 

“I promise,” Lucas assured him. 

Before he turned to leave, Caleb snatched Lucas’s phone and unlocked it. He was one of the few people who knew how to get into Lucas’s phone.

“Hey! What are you doing?” Lucas asked. 

“I’m setting up an alarm. When it goes off, you have to head home, okay?” Caleb asked. 

“Okay,” Lucas agreed. 

Caleb gave him back his phone and the two of them bid their goodbyes. Lucas watched Caleb walk off before returning to the task at hand. He needed to find his cat.

“Ginger! Come here girl,” he called as he continued to make his way deeper into the woods.

His college campus was pretty small, so there weren't many places that his cat could go. She had to be around here somewhere. He was willing to search the whole world if he had to. He just needed to get her back, somehow. 

“Ah, so you are the young man looking for his cat.”

Lucas quickly turned around to see the devil standing behind him, complete with horns and a tail. He stared at the creature for a second before freaking out. 

“Holy Frick! Are you really the dev- Am I dea- If this h-?” he asked, juggling between thoughts.

“Calm down, I’m just here to help you find your cat,” the devil assured him.  

Lucas tried to calm down, but it was a little hard when the lord of hell was standing in front of him. He took deep breaths as he tried to comprehend all of this.

“You can... You can find my cat?” Lucas asked, his voice a little shaky. 

“Yes, in fact, I have your cat right here,” the devil said as he reached behind his back and pulled out a box. Lucas had no idea where he was hiding the box, but honestly, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know. 

“What’s the cost?” Lucas asked, knowing the stories about the devil and how he always made deals with the humans he visited. He began to wonder if those stories were really fiction. “Am I going to have to like... pay you, my soul?”

“First of all, that’s not how it works. Secondly, the only price you have to pay is opening the box,” he said. 

“What do you mean?” Lucas asked. 

“Ever heard of Schrodinger's Cat?” the devil questioned. 

Lucas looked through his brain trying to find any mention of Schrodinger, but either he had never been taught it, or he was too tired to remember. He just shook his head. 

“Schrodinger believed that before you opened up a box, you wouldn’t know if the cat inside was alive or dead, so in a sense, it was both dead and alive. But we know that can’t exist, so either the cat is dead, or the cat is alive. But what if the cat is alive until you open the box, and when you open it up, it kills the cat. Of course, it could work the other way. The cat could be dead until you open the box, therefore saving it,” the devil said.

He handed the box over to Lucas who just stared at him blankly trying to figure out what the heck the devil had just said. Without a second thought, he took the box and held it close to his chest, knowing his cat was inside. 

“Of course, you are too tired to think about all that right now, so how about you get some rest and you can decide whether or not to open it in the morning,” the devil said before snapping his fingers. Within an instant, the devil was gone and Lucas was in his room. It was morning and he was still wearing his clothes from last night. He thought everything was just a dream until he saw the box on his nightstand. 

“Lucas, get up, we’re going to be late!” Caleb called banging on the door.

“I’m coming!” Lucas called as he climbed out of bed. He quickly got dressed. He didn’t have time to take a shower, so he just sprayed himself with a bit of Febreze and put on some deodorant. He gave the box one last stare before rushing out the door.

Lucas tried to stay focused on his test, but his mind kept wandering to the box and Schrodinger's Cat. Ginger was either alive or dead, and there was only one way to find out. 

Lucas got home and brought the box out of his bedroom to the living room. He set it on the small coffee table and stared at it from the couch. He had to open it, he had to see if Ginger was alive in there, but the devil’s words kept coming back to him. “But what if the cat is alive until you open the box, and you open it up is what kills the cat.”

“Hey, what’s up?” Caleb asked as he walked in, “What’s in the box?

“Ever heard of Schrodinger's Cat?” Lucas asked standing up. 

“The AliveDead cat, yeah,” Caleb said.  

“When he opened the box, was the cat dead or alive?” Lucas questioned.

“Well, he never really did the experiment, animal cruelty and all,” he said as he came over and took a seat on the couch, “it was more of just a thought experiment.”

“Ginger is in the box, and she is either alive or dead,” Lucas said as he sat back down next to his friend. 

“Well, open it and find out,” Caleb said. 

“But what if I open the box and she is dead, at least now she is in a place that isn't really dead and isn’t really alive,” Lucas said. He realized how crazy he sounded saying it out loud, but it made sense in his head, kinda.

“Dude, Ginger is either alive or dead. You opening the box isn’t gonna change that,” Caleb said.

“But don’t you think if she was alive she would have come out already?” Lucas asked, trying to find a bit of logic.

“Just open up the box,” Caleb said. 

Lucas knew that Caleb was right. All he had to do was open up the box and he would know the truth. But what was the saying, ‘Ignorance is bliss?’ Maybe if he never opened the box, he could just go on living his life without knowing that his cat was dead. Of course, his cat could be alive...

He stood up, took a deep breath, closed his eyes and slowly opened up the box. Little by little, he opened his eyes and peeked into the box to see some orange fur. He took another breath and picked up the cat. As soon as his hands touched her, her bright green eyes opened and she looked up at her owner.

“Ginger! Ginger, you’re alive. She’s alive!” Lucas cheered hugging his cat close. 

“What did I say?” Caleb said smugly.

“Hurry, go get her some food, she must be starving!” Lucas called. 

“On it!” Caleb replied as he bounced up and rushed to the kitchen. Lucas held Ginger close and hugged her. She was safe and alive, that was all that mattered. 

February 27, 2020 12:58

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2 comments

Shirley Medhurst
13:48 Mar 05, 2020

Brilliant build-up! I was completely expecting a terrible ending... when the cat was OK it made my day. Thank you

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Cory Pines
15:34 Mar 06, 2020

thank you so much for reading!

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