Death by Numbers | Mohammad Hasan

Life becomes a video game as two friends try to outdo each other and see who has the best health.

Death by Numbers

Mohammad Hasan

The Insufficient Credit Award


“You coming to the skate park after?” Alex asked, looking over at John as they wandered down the street, gobbling down the rest of their chips before tossing the empty containers into the bin.

“Yh, maybe,” John replied in a noticeably reluctant voice as he wiped his hands on his trouser legs, before looking up at Alex. “Well, my mum keeps warning me to not let my health score drop down too low and every time I come back from the skate park I’ve got some new injury she has to deal with and I think she’s had enough. I might just have to give it a miss today until she’s calmed dow—”

“Show me your wrist,” Alex interjected abruptly and before John could pull away, Alex had grabbed his arm and pushed up the sleeve exposing a digital device fixed onto his wrist displaying the number 75.2.

“Come off it, that’s fine,” Alex said, pulling back his own sleeve and revealing a similar device that read 74.7.

John jerked his arm out of Alex’s grasp and snappily said “I’m not coming today, Alex. She doesn’t want it to drop below 75.”

Alex stared at him awhile before saying “Your loss,” in a seemingly resigned voice. As John walked on, however, he held back a little and delivered a swift kick to John’s right leg, sweeping it out from underneath him and sending him sprawling to the floor in utter bewilderment.

Chuckling in fits of laughter, Alex stooped down to help a still confused John stagger back up to his feet and said “Well, you’ve already below that now so you can come skateboarding.”

John gingerly dabbed at the deep cut across his arm with a tissue but not before giving Alex a cold death stare to let him feel his displeasure.

Alex’s laughter soon subsided but John was still seeing red, and as a cyclist approached them he impulsively shoved Alex into its path. The cyclist narrowly swerved away, gesticulating irritably as he rode off but Alex kept stumbling backwards falling headfirst into a bin.

It was now John’s turn to laugh uncontrollably as Alex rubbed his head in pain.

“What’d you do that for?” Alex said, struggling to get back to his feet.

“Well, if my health score was gonna take a hit, then so was yours and now your score will be back below mine.” John said, still unable to hold back his laughter.

Alex joined in unconvincingly but as John turned around and started walking off, he lifted up the bin and launched it at the back of John’s unsuspecting head, making him drop to the floor in agony.

He rushed over to John who was cursing and swearing at the top of his voice and helped him up, but discretely trying to sneak a glance at his wrist all the while to see if his health score had dropped below his. A smile was just beginning to spread across his face as he saw the number when John’s fist collided into his jaw rocking his head backwards under the impact.

Alex’s face hardened as he advanced menacingly towards John and grabbing him by his collar he threw him into the road and watched as a car struck him in mid-air. John crumpled to the floor a few feet away from the car and remained motionless.

Alex hurried over to him and disregarding the blood flowing from John’s body, he ripped back his sleeve to see John’s score and was puzzled to see that the number on the device was 0. Suddenly it hit him.

“Hmm,” he thought to himself. “Maybe I went a bit too far this time.”

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