The Prize | Teen Ink

The Prize

August 25, 2021
By Leo56678990 BRONZE, Kolkata, Other
Leo56678990 BRONZE, Kolkata, Other
1 article 1 photo 0 comments

“One shot...and I knew I had made my choice”

Volunteering at a nearby nursing home for the elderly was not my idea of fun,but at least it proved to be a peaceful pastime.The nursing home was built on plush green meadows,with soft violets peeking out from beneath the grass.It’s atmosphere was filled with the chatter of elders spitting out speeches about their back pains and arguing about who won housie yesterday.However,I had no problem with it as they were quite amiable towards me,and we usually have long conversations about some of their families.

The place was quite homely, actually...But now I regret thinking that.

Mr. Cardozo was one of those particularly difficult people to win over.The man always had a frown plastered across his face,and I swear he never replies to a single “good morning” anyone greets him with.His facial features were quite wrinkled and dry,just like his attitude.

He was not really a bad person though...but I fear I was.

My nightmares started when each of the members of the nursing home started dying off,one by one,of natural causes.Sometimes I woke up screaming.It did not seem right,but I knew that I could not quit.This hobby was my way of giving back to society,I was not going to give it up for nothing.

That evening I had to fill in for my friend,Tanya's spot as the announcer for housie.The game bored me to death,but I willingly obliged.Much to my annoyance,Mr. Cardozo had won the “prize” of the  game.I did not know what that prize was at that time.

Then he ushered me to follow him.

At first  I hesitated, but then my curiosity got the better of me.I followed him down the dimly lit corridor of the nursing home to the infirmary room.There was a nurse present there,and she looked like she had awaited our arrival.She smiled at me lightly,and then gently turned around Mr.Cardozo’s wheelchair to face the wall.

Then she took out two guns from her first aid kit.

She handed me one and then kept one for herself.My brain started doing a tiny nervous dance and a quick rush of blood went to my throat.That was when I shakily asked her “What is this for?”

“It Mr. Cardozo’s prize, remember?”she replied

I stood there in shock.Assisted suicide was no prize,for anyone,not even the most bitter people.The thought of it being offered as a “prize” in an old age ,disgusted and scared me at the same time.

“Just do as I say,and you will leave unharmed.Do not worry about the sound of the shots...takes time for the police to arrive anyway.”the nurse said calmly,with a smirk.


I looked at Mr. Cardozo and noticed tears streaming down his eyes as the nurse held him at gunpoint.However,he still ordered,”Shoot”.

My nerves were shaking and the last shred of my hope slipped away.I was helpless,hopeless and defenceless.I did not want to take a person’s life or get arrested for it!Why did I have to follow him into this room ?I needed to escape,but the nurse had unfortunately locked all doors and windows….I did not stand a chance.

At this point,my brain started analysing. Should I shoot or should I flee? Should I scream or should I keep quiet?Should I choose a satisfactory life without any regrets or should I opt for a burning life in Hell?

That is when I heard it.The “boom” that ended a life with a shaky and accidental pull of the trigger.It was that one shot,and I knew I had made my choice.

The author's comments:

I am Lepakshi and I am 15 years old. Writing, to me has always been an outlet for expressing my thoughts which otherwise remain bottled up, waiting to come out.

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