Inkwellprompt -Dead By Midnight

"Oh no Vivian your image has been drawn."

Esther said running into the house where she meets her mother and her elder sister wailing and crying.

"We heard the news already" The mother replied.

"What do we do now?" Esther asked in curiosity.

"There's nothing much one can do at this point."

"Where on earth is Vivian in a time like this?"

The door was pushed wide open, Vivian walked in humming to a song. On her face was a smile that could lighten a dark room. The braided hair running down her shoulders was the only girly thing on her body, her outfit totally covered her curves and one could easily mistake her for a boy. Her black skin was stained with dirt, her shoes were covered with mud.

"Have you been hunting with the boys again?"

Her mother asked after accessing her from head to toe.

"Yes Mom, actually I was rushing home to show you what my trap caught today, it caught something big"

She said digging through the bag dangling on her shoulders.

"Vivian I have told you several times to stop hanging out with those boys. You will hurt yourself someday."

"Mom, who else are supposed to hang out with. Esther's friends are no fun, they are always sitting around sewing and knitting, Or big sis? All her friends are old and married and boring as well. I like to be where the action is."

"Stop. Just stop. This is not a time for your rambling. Your image has been drawn."

"Oh that explains why people couldn't stop staring at me. Well I think I can handle a little fame at The moment."

"Can you be serious in your life for once? Your image has been drawn, you need to go and see the artist to know how it happens. Visit the priest and prepare your mind to meet your maker."

"I'm not doing such thing. I'm not going to prepare for my own funeral. Is that why you all are moody. Cheer up guys, let me give you all a treat. I'll prepare this large meat I caught and we can have a barbecue."

"Vivian this is really serious, you have to listen to mom. Everybody who is drawn by the artist ends up dead by the end of the day."

"You all are determined to ruin my day. First off, I don't believe in all these superstitions. "

Vivian said as she turned to leave the house.

"Quit being as stubborn as your father. Where are you off to?"

"Leave father out of this, let the old man rest. If today is my last day on earth, I might as well spend the day with my friends, tick off some bucket lists, finally have a taste of alcohol and just maybe I might die happy."

Vivian acted like everything was fine, but deep down part of her was actually concerned with the fact that she might be dead by the end of the day. As much as she wanted to believe that the whole theory was merely a superstition, she couldn't ignore the fact that anybody who turns up on the artist's paintings never makes it to the next day. All these went through her head as she sat at an abandoned beach throwing stones into the water.

"Are my eyes deceiving me, or do I see the ever jolly Vivia actually thinking about her life. I haven't seen you this serious since the day you buried your father."

Came the voice of Jordan one her many male friends.

"Jordan what are you doing here?"

"I got a call from your Mom who told me a thousand things that would happen to me, if you get into trouble. She also said I should make sure you don't take alcohol. I figured you might have used me once again as an excuse to escape your house."

"How did you even know where to find me?"

Sitting down in the sand next to Vivian, Jordan held her hands and said;

"Vivian we have been friend for 6 years, I introduced you to this place to start with. With all the things your Mom said, I was sure you will come here to clear your mind."

"Crazy thing is that we normally come here to have you clear your mind, I have never had to clear my mind."

"There's a first time for everything. Is this about the artist? I thought you don't believe in all that."

"Yeah, I mean - I guess I didn't, but it has never been my image on the paintings."

"Shake it off girl, who knows something strange might happen and the painting would disappear or something."

Vivian looked up and smiled at Jordan.

"Oh no no Vivian. You are doing that thing."

"What thing?"

"You are all smiling and doing that thing you do with your face when you are cooking up a crazy idea in your head."

"Actually I have an idea in my head. Not crazy at all."

"Let me hear your plan."

"I'll break into the artist's gallery, steal the painting and destroy it."

"And you say this is not crazy. Vivian this is stupid and crazy."**

"You know I'm always attracted to stupid and crazy."

"Then, I'm coming with you."

"No Jordan, you don't have to."

"I'm not asking. What do you think will happen to my dumb ass if you get caught?"

"My mom will personally detach your head from your body."

By the time they succeeded in stealing the painting, Vivian had barely four hours to live. They set the painting on fire and watched every piece of it burn.

"This is it, you are free from the claws of death."

"I hope so, but we don't even know if it worked. Jordan can I spend the night at your place?"

"I don't think your mom would be okay with that."

"I really don't care about that right now. if I'm going to die, I want to die in your arms."

12:30 am the next day, a loud scream was heard, it was the voice of a young girl shouting.

"I made it! I'm still alive."

This makes me [the narrator] wonder was the painting theory all a myth, or did burning the painting actually work.

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