My homework set for week 5 was to have my story following on from the first paragraph of a short story called.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.
The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely, and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank around ten o’clock; in some towns, there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 26th. But in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.
Continuation by Gary Oldmeadow
Mac was standing in his small shack. Now Mac, or James McKenzie to give him his full name, turned 50 last week, He looked pretty good for his age, and these days 50 was a damn good age to reach. The average age for most citizens was about 35, it’s been this way ever since the great plague had wiped out 50% of every living creature on the planet, it happened the year before Mac was born.
‘I’m sick and tired of living off bloody scraps, I’m the oldest in the village now, it’s my turn to win the chance to go to the citadel, eat good food, drink fresh water’. He shouted to nobody as he set off for the square.
On the other side of the village, Magister Jayna Kovac, the youngest and first female Magister the village had appointed, was putting on her ceremonial robes for the drawing of the yearly village lottery. She knew the lottery was rigged; she knew that certain citizens would never be allowed to win and leave the village, and anger was growing amongst those people. She also knew she would not be one of the lucky ones that got to stay in the village. Little did people realise that the blood tests they all had to have on the 1st of each month would make the ultimate choice of who would win the lottery, nothing to do with the luck of the draw.
Mac was one of the last to arrive in the square, he spotted one of the few people he trusted and walked over to him. His name was Steve Sutton, Steve was around 4 years younger than Mac and saw him like an older brother.
‘Hey Mac, how’s thing’s? What do you think the chance is of one of us winning the lottery this year are?’
‘There’s more chance of seeing a squadron of pigs doing a flypast Steve’, Mac joked, ‘We still buy our tickets though, just in case it isn’t a fix, after all, you gotta be in it to win it’ Mac said cynically, ‘anyway we’ve literally paid for the chance with our blood each month’
‘Are you still having the blackouts Mac? I’ve had two this month alone, the Doc says he still can’t figure out what’s causing them’.
‘Same here’ Mac uttered back.
Suddenly the atmosphere changed, and a hush fell over the gathering, the town Cryer was announcing the Magister and the beginning of the 45th undertaking of the Citadel Lottery. As he finished his announcement, the large ornate black metal box came into view, carried at shoulder height by 6 Box Bearers.
Waiting in her office on the square, Jayna was feeling nervous about delivering her first lottery, she dashed to the bathroom whilst having a fit of coughing, she spat in the sink, more blood she thought, she washed her face and placed the ceremonial black cap on her head.
As the box was placed onto the stone table, the Magister stepped onto the square and made her way toward the podium to carry out her duties. Almost everybody clapped and cheered, even Steve, only Mac stood stony face hands in pockets. Then the speech was over, time for the Lottery to begin.
‘Citizens, as is our custom, I will draw the first ticket blindfolded, then as each of your names is called by our village Cryer, you will make your way to the box and draw your ticket, remember there will be no looking at your ticket until all have been drawn.
A little over 2 hours later and the lottery draw was complete, once again a hush falls over the crowd. The Magister speaks again.
‘As you, all know the one who has the ticket marked with a ‘C’ will have won the prize of going to live in the Citadel, so without further delay please look at your ticket, then hold it aloft for all to see’.
There was a loud gasp, then everyone began to cheer and clap, ‘it’s the magister, she’s won’. Jayna feigned shock and embarrassment then thanked the crowd for their good wishes. Steve turned to Mac to ask what they should do about it, but Mac wasn’t there. Where the hell’s he gone? Oh God, I hope he isn’t doing anything stupid.
As Mac came too, he wondered where he was, he didn’t recognise the room, he’d never seen anywhere this fancy, then he heard the Magisters voice. He turned, his face red with anger, Jayna asked him to listen to what she had to say. He nodded.
‘Mac, I’ve decided to name you as my successor. In 3 days, I will be leaving for the Citadel’, she started to cough, Mac saw the blood in her handkerchief. ‘I’ve got the plague’ she a tear in her eye, ‘the citadel is really a hospital, the monthly blood tests are to find those who are immune, we take blood from those of you who have the unsolved blackouts and use it to try and find a cure, this happens in every village, town and city around the world. This is why you and anybody over 40 has never been picked’ another coughing fit more blood.
‘As Magister you will need to keep the pretence going, if we don’t find a cure then you and those like you will be the last of the human race’ Mac slumped back, struggling to take it all in.
‘You will need to choose an advisor, someone you can trust, someone to share the heavy burden. I chose you to succeed me as I think you have what it takes to make a good, kind leader for our village, I think you have the strength to conduct the lottery in the way it needs to be. So tomorrow I will announce your appointment. This is how it must be; I am sorry Mac but now we must go and prepare for the future’.