Story Contest 2018 #1 - Outstanding Stories (Senior) »

Do YOU Give Up?

“Do YOU Give Up?” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Nitai Sonnenfeld, Israel Academy for Science and Art, Israel.

Do YOU Give Up?

-I-

Terror.

Eland saw it everywhere in the last few months. So much sorrow and sadness. It was terrible, but what could he do? It was immensely hard for him not to do anything, and although he wasn't their king anymore - of course he wasn't; a few months ago, every king either got executed or exiled like Eland, he still felt like that. But the betrayal wasn't enough to make him hate them. He still thought of them as “his” people and he would still sacrifice his own life to save them if he could, but these days the opportunity to sacrifice yourself to save your beloved was a luxury.

"Is that you?" Eland heard as he turned and looked at the old man who said the words. "Is it you, Eland?"

"Who..." whispered Eland

"It's me, Zane"

Eland stared at him, not recognizing the name at first.

"Zane?" Eland said in surprise. "You are still alive!"

"Listen, Eland. I found a way we can help your people. We -“

"- No."

"What?"

"No” repeated Eland "there is no hope. We have no chance. We're doomed."

"But -"

"- Stop. We're doomed. Fighting is meaningless."

"No. No! Please don't tell me that. You gave up too. You can't. You just can't. It's impossible."

"Well, I think we have a proof that it is possible. I can lose faith. And I can't keep fighting. I give up".

Eland fell forward, dead.

-II-

About 1000 years later

Terror.

Dr. Kazintsky, having just become a doctor, had to observe all the horror and the misery while he was researching what he called “The Death of the Triers”, a strange and extraordinary disease in which he only knew that it kills people, triers, trying to accomplish something difficult and ambitious. But it didn’t kill every single “trier”, nor did it kill in a pattern he understood. Trying to figure out what the pattern is and how the disease can be cured, he was racking his brain but even though he was trying harder than ever, he hadn’t made any progress so far.

A day later, just as he arrived at his dwelling, a thought struck him; the "triers” die because they “try” to succed in the conquest for knowledge to help their loved ones and not for their own pleasure. He wanted to check out this new and promising theory as soon as possible and he already went over how he was going to experiment and prove his new theory true. In his head, he was repeatedly working out the parts of the research needed, obsessed, and fixated like never before.

One day later

He nervously paced through the hospital corridors, tormented, and bedeviled by the thought that his theory might be wrong. He couldn’t allow the abhorrent disease to kill again. He had to eradicate it. He had to-

“-Dr. Kazintsky, Dr. Kazintsky.” He heard” Dr. Kazintsky, one of your subjects, from the group of the lonely “triers”, has died just now. Do you know what that means?”.

Devastated as a result of the heartbreaking news, Dr. Kazintsky rushed to his office accelerating as he neared his destination. He entered his office and collapsed onto his red sofa, crying hysterically for hours, hours that felt like weeks for his crushed soul. At this time, he swore to himself: “I will never give up, I will fight this disease and I am willing to die defeating this evil creation devised by god, or should I say, the devil?”

Sometime later

“Dr. Kazintsky, your subjects are ready to start “trying””, George, his lab assistant said calmly, “Should we start the experiment?”

“Do whatever you want.” He replied furiously as his train of thought was interrupted. He knew he had to be right! His theory is going to remove the shadows of this mysterious disease and free the world from its grip. He is going to be the savior of humanity! He waited nervously for his assistant to finish analyzing the results and show him the conclusion of this experiment.

“I am sorry, doctor. The analysis of the results shows no correlation between the difficulty of the mission and the number of deceased “triers”. I apologize- “

Dr. Kazintsky lost consciousness and after hours of lying down on his sofa, he awoke. He was ruined forever. He couldn’t do anything but cry out in agony for failing his life’s undertaking to eliminate the disease. He heard someone, he guessed Dr. Polvectz, stepping into his office, trying to collect some documents on the case study. Dr. Polvectz hovered over him and tried to tell him something. He couldn’t hear it, nor did he care anymore. As Dr. Polvectz didn’t stop trying to tell him about the new lead, Dr. Kazintsky cried out: “I give up!”

Dr. Kazintsky rolled off his sofa, dead.

-III-

Three thousand years later, somewhere in the world

Dear beloved diary,

Today I figured out what causes the “triers’” death. The triers die as a consequence of saying “I give up” just as they fail to successfully complete their goal. I also discovered that most of the inventors in history died due to this disease. Well known geniuses have died while failing to give the world what they considered their contribution should have been, and after saying the phrase “I give up”. The human racehad lost so much because of this cruelty and today I will go to the Language Academy and demand to ban those three words for humanity’s sake, in hopes to rescue the human species from dying because of this devil-like disease.

Your one and only, Dr. Drenbel

Sometime Later

“Oh, hi, Dr. Drenbel. To what do we owe this visit?” asked the surprised Language Academy secretary.

“I have a very important mission, a mission that can save humanity. I need you to ban three words; I, give, and up”-”

Dr. Drenbel fell onto the secretary, dead.

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