Just Another Choice

Submitted into Contest #42 in response to: Write a story that ends by circling back to the beginning.... view prompt




You are Dr. John Freeman, a 34-year-old millionaire for finding the cure to Leukemia. You have recently been put in jail for accused murder, and have been sentenced to 113 years in prison. You know you are innocent, but there is no proof. You must get out of here somehow. You get one call with somebody, and you know you must pick wisely. After a lot of thinking, you decide you want to call another doctor, who helped you find the cure but got no credit. You know she would want some money. So now you sit across Dr. Diana Cross, who glares at you from through the glass. You both pick up the phone.

"Dr. Freeman. Fancy seeing you here."

"Watch your tongue, Ms. Cross," you reply, smirking. "I can give you something you desire."

She raises her perfect eyebrows. "Such as?"

"Money. Lots of it."

"Just tell me what you need me to do. We don't have much time left," she says, glancing at the clock, and I know I called the right person.

"I need you to break me out of jail," you say, and Diana nearly drops the phone.

"What? Are you insane?"

"I might be. But I'm talking half a million dollars." Diana ponders this for a minute, and her blonde hair glistens in the light of the prison.

"Fine. But you need to cause a distraction. A big one."


"Tomorrow at noon, or exactly one week from now at noon. I will be ready at both times. I wish you luck." And with that, Diana hangs up the phone and hurries away, almost as if already forming a plan in her head.

If you choose to make a distraction tomorrow, go to #9.

If you choose to wait to do it until next week, go to #4.


You decide that it would be good to have Balboa at your side. He could easily create a distraction, and he could scurry back to you without a problem. That day in the cafeteria, you let him loose.

"RAT!" a man screams, and the cafeteria erupts in chaos. It was hilarious, really, how scared a bunch of criminals were of a rat. Soon, guards pool into the cafeteria, attempting to cool things down. They leave the door wide open. You scoop up Balboa and dash through the door, sprinting down the corridor. You stop at the main entrance desk, expecting to be immediately taken back into custody, but all is silent. Guards sit, slumped, in their desks, snoring. You look up to see Diana holding a dart gun. Your eyes widen in surprise.

"They should have a nice sleep for a few hours," she says, and signals you to the parking lot. "Now let's get out of here and get me my money."

Balboa remains in your pocket, not moving an inch. He understands that he cannot be seen by Diana. Throughout the car ride, he stays there, and you can feel his little chest rising and falling. He is asleep after a long day's work, and you know you made the right choice in keeping him. You are Dr. John Freeman, 34-year-old millionaire for finding the cure to Leukemia, after all. You can't be that dumb.


That day at lunch, you grab a handful of mashed potato and throw it inconspicuously at a fellow prisoner. Quickly, you whip back around to face your food. And then you hear it.

"WHO JUST THREW THAT AT FANG?" the man yells, spit flying from his mouth. He is large and beefy, strong and fit. He has a bit of mashed potato dangling from the side of his beard. You would laugh if you weren't so nervous. You gulp, and you can only help no one points you out. But it was too much to hope for.

"I saw him do it!" someone says, and he raises his pointer finger at you. All eyes in the cafeteria slowly turn to you. No one says anything.

"Is this true?!" Fang shouts, eyes blazing.

"Yes, yes! I saw him do it too!"

"Beat 'em up!"

The cafeteria erupts into chaos, and you knew you got the distraction you needed...but Fang looms over you. Without saying a word, he picks you up and hurls you across the room. There is chanting, screaming, and stars dance in front of your eyes. Fang advances once again, this time chucking you into the air, where you sit for a little before slamming onto a table. All the people sitting at it scurry away. You moan, see Fang striding towards you.

"Don't give up yet, buddy. We've only just begun."

You have failed. You are Dr. John Freeman, a 34-year-old millionaire for finding the cure to Leukemia. You have recently been put in jail for accused murder, and here you will stay for 113 years.


You decide to let things settle down a little bit before trying to break out. You just arrived here yesterday, for heaven's sake! You trust Diana, but you aren't sure how she's going to break you out. After thinking about it, you don't even know how you're going to cause a distraction large enough to allow Diana to follow through with her plan. It's good you have a week to think about it.

Prison is rough. It seems to eat away at your soul, taking away parts of you bit by bit. However, there is one thing that has comforted you. You have discovered a small rat, whom you have named Balboa. He is smart, and even brings you extra food from the kitchen sometimes. You want to bring him with you when you break out, but you know that Diana hates rats. If she spots Balboa, she would freak out, and you may be stuck in jail forever. However, Balboa has helped you, and become your friend at this terrible place. You don't know what to do.

If you decide to take Balboa, go to #2.

If you decide to leave him behind, go to #8.


You decide that if you didn't take him, he would cause trouble. You have no choice. You accept his offer and incorporate him into the plan. As he starts a fight and slips away, with Diana opening the door to the cafeteria, you know you made the right choice. Diana is surprised to see him, but she can't complain; you couldn't have done it without Earl. This was a quick time in jail, but you will never go back. You and Earl will go and hide for years, disguise yourselves, and enter the social world once again. You are Dr. John Freeman, 34-year-old millionaire for finding the cure to Leukemia. You escaped from jail. You are a legend.


That day in the courtyard, you tap a man on the shoulder and whisper, "If you start a fist fight, I'll give you 10 grand when you're out of jail."

The man seems skeptical, but he walks over to a small, older man and, without warning, punches him in the face. This attracts many prisoners, all whom start throwing punches, kicks, and more. After about 2 minutes of fighting nonstop, guards come into the clearing, trying to force the prisoners away from each other. They all wear the same uniform, but one seems familiar...

That one guard signals you over, and you realize it is a woman. Diana.

"Come, quick. They'll have them apart soon."

Without another word, you and Diana hurry across the courtyard, through the open door, and down the prison corridors. She hands you a brown blanket.

"What's this for?" you ask.

"You think that guards won't notice your bright orange suit? This'll cover it up," she says, not even glancing at you. You shrug and wrap the blanket around yourself.

You and Diana make it to the main entrance, and you breath sigh of relief. Yes, there would be a lot of hiding in your future, but anything was better than being in jail. As soon as you arrive home, you hand Diana the check and send her on her way. The next few years will be hard. But you are Dr. Joan Freeman, 34-year-old millionaire for finding the cure to Leukemia. You were in prison for accused murder, but you have escaped.


You fear that he could endanger your plan, and you don't know how Diana would feel with a strange man breaking out with you. Besides, her plan might be specifically for one man. You politely refuse Earl's offer. His eyes fill with rage but he says nothing. You gulp. Did you make the right choice? You shrug and guess you'll find out.

That day, everything goes according to plan. You cause a wonderful distraction and escape the cafeteria with Diana. You get giddy. But it was too good to be true. Waiting for you at the main entrance is Earl, along with several prison guards. Earl is grinning evilly. You sigh and ask yourself why you didn't include him. You should have known this was going to happen. You are Dr. John Freeman, 34-year-old millionaire for finding the cure to Leukemia. You are in jail for accused murder, and here you will stay.


The week is long. The food is horrible. You wish you were anyplace but here. Balboa has been helping you even more, and you feel bad about leaving him behind, but you know that he could jeopardize the plan.

"Hey, Balboa. I know that you probably can't understand me, but I have to go. And I can't take you. I honestly wish I could, but....look, I'm sorry, okay?" you say, and set Balboa onto the ground before you tear up. He cocks his head at you, his small beady eyes staring into what it seems like the depths of your soul. It's only a rat, you tell yourself. But you still feel guilty.

Finally, the day of the escape arrives. You've come up with a few ideas on how to cause a distraction, but you must now decide which one you will actually use. You could either start a food fight in the cafeteria, or you could start a fist fight in the courtyard. The second one seems riskier, but in the chaos it would be hard to see who threw the first punch.

If you decide to start a food fight, go to #3.

If you decide to start a fist fight, go to #6.


You don't want to wait. Prison reeks; it holds a somewhat rotten smell. The men here are big, buff, and they scare you. All you want is out. A man approaches you later that day. His name is Earl, and he knows (you have no idea how) that you are planning to break out. He asks to go with you. You ponder this. This is a complete stranger, and he wants to help you break out of jail? Yes, he could prove to be very helpful; he had muscles the size of baseballs in his arms. But he could sell you out to the guards and you would be stuck in jail forever. What should you do?

If you choose to include him in the plan. go to #5.

If you leave him behind, go to #7.

May 22, 2020 15:19

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Emily Sperber
22:04 May 25, 2020

Very cool approach to this prompt! Great story!


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Leland Day
14:34 May 23, 2020

I should have agreed to break Earl out...Haha, I loved this! Reminded me of Choose Your Own Adventure books :)


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Valerie Hewitt
22:03 May 22, 2020

Ha! Very clever! I escaped and I am a legend 😎 loved this!


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18:16 May 22, 2020

You wrote this piece in a very different way, and I loved it! I was engaged, and I would love to read more!


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Veron Nebu
16:38 May 22, 2020

I loved this story! I got beat up by Fang though...ouch! Great way to tackle this prompt; well done.


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Kavita Rawat
05:20 May 31, 2020

Hey, would you like to read my new story Black Money. Feedback will be of great help. Since you had read my one story so you can compare it and tell me about the mistake.


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Kelechi Nwokoma
01:13 May 30, 2020

Wow, Zea! I really enjoyed this one. The first steps I took made me get out or jail, then I tired another one and got out of jail. I kept trying the various options, and it was really good. Unique stories like this ought to win the contest. Great job, once again!


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King Sacrificer
14:38 May 28, 2020

Hi, here from the Reedsy Critique Circle! I obviously loved the structure - reminded me of the first book I read, 'Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys' - it was really engaging. Though I am not sure if the story belongs to this particular prompt. Apart from the structure, the storytelling was concise and on point. Nice stuff. Good luck!


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10:26 May 31, 2022

How I Got My Ex Husband Back.. Am so excited to share my testimony of a real spell caster who brought my husband back to me. My husband and I have been married for about 5 years now. We were happily married with three kids, two boys and a girl. Four months ago, I started to notice some strange behaviour from him and a few weeks later I found out that my husband is seeing someone else. He started coming home late from work, he hardly cares about me or the kids anymore, Sometimes he goes out and doesn’t even come back home for about 3-4 days. ...


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