TITLE: The Atoner
The screen flickers in the windowless room. The word “Again?” repeating ad nauseum, voice not dissimilar to a child begging for candy. The room is featureless and barren, the only things that exist within these walls is the screen and myself.
“Again?” I tap against the score. Maybe I’ll have a clue of where I am. The number glitches and become blurry before dropping a book into my hands.
“Again?” I open the first page. Born, plus one point. Learned how to walk, plus one point. I flip through several pages, I’m not reading about someone being born. Ah, chapter 8. Stole father’s credit card to buy a video game, minus two points. Killed ants with magnifying glass, minus one point. Chapter 13. Told Cindy that she’s beautiful, plus one point. Chapter 14. Broke Cindy’s heart, minus one point. Chapter 17. Pissed on father’s grave, minus five points.
“Again?” This… is my life. I look at the pages, all of them recording the things I regret. But does it record things I regret or things I’ve done wrong? To confirm I flip through the pages looking for when my band started.
“Again?” Chapter 23. Formed band, plus ten points. Chapter 24 Broke up with girlfriend to go on tour, plus twenty points. So it’s the things I regret. I laugh as the tears begin to well in my eyes. I laugh as my voice begins to crack.
“Again?” I flip to the last page. Chapter 46. Died during kidney donation to save a kid’s life, plus five points. So this is how I die? Reading all the things I’ve done?
“AGAIN WHAT, YOU ANNOYING COMPUTER?!?!” I slam my fist against the screen. Cringing, I nurse my hand.
“Would you like to try again?” The voice changes to my mother’s. Try again? My life? Is that even allowed? Should I even do it?
“Would you like to try again?” This time the voice belongs to my father. There were so many things I wished I could do with my old man. Tell him that I didn’t blame him anymore. Tell him that he didn’t need to take comfort in the bottom of a bottle.
“Would you like to try again?” My little girl. She must be scared right now…