Drama Fiction Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

The relaxing inmate is disturbed by the red flashing light in his cell.

“Bro! Tell me it’s not you!”says the prisoner next to him.

“Yeah! It’s me.”says the big guy as he sits on the edge of the bed.

“Don’t worry you can win. You can beat this game!”

“I don’t think so”

Two guards and a priest comes to his gate.

“Get up, face the wall.”says one of the guards.

“So politely asked.”

After facing the wall, the gate starts sliding on the left. His cell neighbor is crying like a little puppy.

“Man, I can’t believe it’s already your turn.”

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”says the confident man.

One guard is holding the teaser stick close to him, while the other one put the hand cuffs on his wrist, tighten them up.

“On your knees!”

He drop on his knees and lower his head as the priest comes in and gives him the absolution.

“Thank you father.”

Then the guards on each side grab him by both arms and take him out of his cell.

A long dark concrete hall connects the prison to the duel room. On one side the windows are way up to the top of the wall, almost to the ceiling. They are too high for anyone to reach, but they let in the moon light. On the other side, three stories of cells. The priest, wearing his ceremonial robe walks ahead of the condemned man, who is flanked by two guards. The prisoners is tall and muscular and known for his history of violence. The sound of his ankle chains dragging on the concrete floor echoes all the way to the top prison cells. Other prisoners listen to the horrific sound of a man walking to play maybe the last game of his life. A silence that is broken by the priest’s incantation of forgiving the dead. Gordon Brandon Cornfield walk slowly to the duel room without crying, head high.

At the end of the hall is a metal door, locked from the inside. One of the guard knocks, while the priest is making a cross sign on the prisoner forehead. The guards waits for the door the be unlock while the sentenced man waits his turn.

Gordon enters the room, taking small steps, because his chains prevent him for taking full strides. Two other guards are standing in the corners of the cold concrete room. A guard pulls a chair for him.

Two walls have two-way mirrors, allowing spectators to watch the duel and witness the man's death. A table is placed in the middle of the grey room. On the table is a four by four checker board; each square holds a shot glass. 15 glasses are filled with water, one has poison. Only ome man in the room knows which is the fatal glass.

Opposite Gordon sits a man, arms crossed.

“For the record, Mr Gordon Brandon Cornfield is seated in front of me, for his death penalty. We are the 21 of Marsh 2121.”says the seated man.

The man turn to the next page from a little pile in front of him and continues.

“Mr Gordon Brandon Cornfield did you have your last meal?”

“Yes.”says Gordon as the man check a little square box on the paper.

“Mr Gordon Brandon Cornfield do you understand what will happen?”


“Mr Gordon Brandon Cornfield do you have any last words before you are forever silences?”

“Yes, can you take these chain off of my wrist? I don’t want to die like an animal chained to a cage.”

“No! We can’t.”

“What’s your name sir?”ask Gordon.

“My name is irrelevant.” Peter normally never Say his name.

“Well, nice to meet you, Mr. irrelevant. I know I am facing the consequences of my actions. There are four armed guards in here, the door is locked and only one of you has the code. I’m asking as one man to another, please take off my chains.”

With a head and eye signs from Peter the guard takes the wrist chain off.

“Thank you sir, your a good man.”says Gordon, rubbing his free wrists.

“You’re welcome.”says the man in a cheap, brown suit. He then continues to explain how the evening will unfold for Gordon.

“There are 15 glasses filled with water, and one filled with a deadly poison. Do you understand?”


“You will start by taking a glass and drink it. After the 30 second count down, I will take one an discard it. This will go on until you stop breathing.”says Peter.

“Do you know where the bad glass is?”ask Mr Cornfield.

“Yes Mr Cornfield, I know where it is, I'm the only one to know.”

Gordon looks at the board trying to find the poisoned glass. But they all look the same.

“For the record it is 10 o’clock PM and we start the process.”

Gordon hesitates for a moment.

“If you refuse to take one, one of the guards has a syringe with the poison and will inject it in your neck.”

Gordon lifts his shaking hand and grabs one.

“For the record, Mr Gordon Brandon Cornfield took the glass on B-2.”

Gordon brings the glass to his lips, waits for a second and chugs it. A big digital clock with red numbers start Counting down from 30 to 0. Gordon feels as if he can hear every time the numbers change. The count down comes to zero.

He’s still alive.

“For the record I discard C-4.”says Peter.

Gordon then takes a big breath and stretches his arm to reach the board. Looks at Peter maybe for the last time, and grabs a glass.

“For the record he takes the glass on the square A-4.”

Gordon looks Peter straight in the eye and nods before drinking the glass.

The clock resets to 30 second. Gordon feels a cold sweat on his bald head. After the elapsed time he’s still breathing. Peter takes out another glass.

“For the record I took out the glass on D-3.”

Gordon knows it’s his turn but he’s scared and his hand starts shaking. He’s having a panic attack.

“Breath in Mr Cornfield.”says Peter.

“I don’t want to choose, it’s not humane to do this to people.”

“What you did was not humane ether.”

After five second Peter reminds Gordon to take a glass.

“You have to take one now, otherwise the guards will inject the poison.”

Gordon looks at Peter with dismay as he reaches for a glass.

“For the record the prisoners took the glass on A-1.”

Gordon swallows the drink sideways and choke on it. Everyone in the room is waiting to see if he’s going to be okay. The guards step forward, but Peter stops them with a hand signal.

“We can’t intervene, you’re on your own in this one.”says Peter.

Gordon finally catches a bit of fresh air, and almost coughs a lung up. The guards get back to stand behind him. Peter discards another glass.

“For the record I took out the glass on A-2.”

After Gordon gets his natural color back he chooses another glass. Again he’s fine. The game continues.

Only four glasses are left on the board, Gordon has never sweated like this before in his life. It’s Gordon turn to choose.

“You have two chances of picking water, and if you do, you walk out of here.”says Peter.

“Has that happended to anyone?”asks Gordon.

“No, not since I’m doing it. But before my time, yes. Once or twice.”

Gordon reaches one more time for a glass that could kill him. He doesn’t hesitate.

“For the record Mr Gordon Brandon Cornfield took the glass C-1.”

The clock count down from 30 to zero.

“I throw away the glass on D-4.”

Now Gordon has only two Choices, between A-3 or D-2. He looks at Peter take a big breath.

“I’m sure this is it, I’m going to choose the wrong one.”

“It’s a 50/50 chance.”says Peter.

A drop of cold sweat runs down the side of his head. He reaches out for a glass, his hand is hovers over the glass A-3. Hesitate and takes the glass D-2. He lifts the glass over his mouth.


He swallows the shot. He’s scared when the count-down starts, looks at Peter. The count-down comes to ten second, and then his eyes rolls back and his head starts to fall back as he leans back in his chair. His arms falls at his side. His bladder drains all the way to the floor.

Peter waits a few seconds and then.

“Let the doctor in.”says Peter.

One of the guards enters the code on the control panel. The skinny doctor with his glasses on the tip of his nose, enters and check vitals signs of

Gordon Brandon Cornfield.

After checking the pulse wrist and the carotid he listens for a heartbeat.

“He’s dead.”says the doctor.

Two of the guards take the body away as a cleaning team enters.

“For the record, Gordon Brandon Cornfield passed away at 10:45.”

One guard reaches for the remaining glass. Peter grabs him by the wrist, stopping him before he takes the glass to his mouth.

“It’s just water, right?”says the guard.

“No, put it back. It’s the poison.”says Peter.

“I don’t understand, how could he...?”says the guard to Peter.

“The power of the mind.”says Peter.

The guard puts back the glass on the board.

“He was so convince that he drank the poison, his body reacted to the water as if it was poison. The Power of persuasion.”

Peter gathers his papers and gets up. He’s ready to leave when he explains to the new guard.

“One out of four inmates dies from water, thinking it is poison. He went all the way, all the way to the last choice, and he did chose the right one, but his mind thought it was poison. All the men on death row call this room the duel chamber. They think it’s a duel against me. When it’s actually a duel against themselves.”

April 17, 2024 12:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Laurie Spellman
22:06 Apr 24, 2024

Great story concept, good pacing, and an awesome end twist. Nice work 👍


M.R. Simon
13:01 Apr 25, 2024

Thank you Laurie, I try to do things a little bit different. Thanks again.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Alexis Araneta
17:59 Apr 18, 2024

What a twist !!! Such good, gripping pacing on this. Creative concept too. Lovely job !


M.R. Simon
18:25 Apr 18, 2024

Wow! Thank you so much Stella.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Trudy Jas
00:35 Apr 18, 2024

Good to have you back. :-) Great story.


M.R. Simon
01:24 Apr 18, 2024

Thank you, good to be back :)


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mary Bendickson
17:02 Apr 17, 2024

Death trap. (Some minor goofs in spelling, etc. Check for mistakes.)


M.R. Simon
18:03 Apr 17, 2024

Thank Mary I Will do.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.