Outstanding Stories » The Fortune Cookie

“The Fortune Cookie” is one of the outstanding stories (senior) of the second biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Kaartika Chitturi, Northampton School for Girls, United Kingdom.

The Fortune Cookie

It was just another day, or so I thought. I was sitting in the restaurant, taking in the authentic and unique features that caught my eye.

I sat there, all alone in the red light of the Chinese lanterns above me. The waitress approached me with the bill and a fortune cookie. She smiled at me looking almost sorry and walked away. Confused, I picked up the cookie and broke it into a perfect half. The crack echoed spookily in the room, making me jump a little. It was only then did I realize the silence in the room. You could hear a pin drop. I looked around the room realising that I’m the only customer. I sunk into the velvety red chair as I bit into the sugary cookie and let it melt in my mouth. Delicious! I thought. I savoured the cookie until its last crumb and paid for my meal. I looked towards the kitchen at the workers and saw their blank, grim faces. Something is going on; I thought and looked down at the piece of rolled up paper which contains my fortune. I took a deep breath in and opened my fortune, hoping that it would be good and looked at the writing on the paper, dumbstruck. I wasn’t able to read what the fortune was saying. It was written in Chinese. I sighed to myself and left the restaurant, disappointed. I put the Fortune in my pocket, hoping that I could figure it out sometime soon.

I walked back home, feeling rather uncomfortable, as I saw all those familiar faces who didn’t even smile at me. Troubled by all the weirdness around me, I decided to go to a park and calm down. But that just made it worse. The park that used to be full of children and adults laughing and playing happily just seemed so dull and boring. Even the trees and plants looked as if they were going to die. Confused by everything, I made my way to my flat. It was eerily quiet in there. I felt terrified by all the stillness in the room and left almost immediately. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I kept walking and walking feeling tense and finally went to the Chinese restaurant, where everything started. Looking through the windows and I saw nothing but darkness. Slowly, I approached the door and saw the sign – OPEN. Reluctantly, I pushed the door and walked inside, letting the door close behind me. It was too dark to even move inside the strange place. I turned on the torch light on my phone and continued to walk, wishing that I hadn’t. Suddenly one lamp, placed right in the centre of the room turned on. I screamed loudly, petrified at the sudden act and decided to leave. But then a malicious cackle stopped me in my tracks. I turned around to see nothing, but then someone started to speak hypnotically.

“Ignoring your fortune is a big mistake. Pay heed to it. Or else…..” the voice trailed off leaving me puzzled.

I pulled out the crumpled piece of paper from my pocket and opened it. I watched, mesmerized as the Chinese letters transformed themselves into English.

“Leave the city immediately and never return. Say nothing to anybody. If you do then you shall regret it forever…”

I read the fortune over and over again. Drops of sweat trickled down my head and my whole body shivered with fear.

“What are you waiting for? You only have 12 minutes left till you face your death. Go and try to escape it!” Boomed the voice

I quickly stuffed the little piece of paper in my pocket and ran. I kept running and running and I never stopped until finally, I got too tired to run. Sitting down under on a park bench, I replayed everything that happened today in my head still in shock. Before today, my life was normal and steady but today it has all changed because of a simple fortune from a Fortune Cookie, the very Fortune Cookies where some of my best predictions came from. The Fortunes that I have believed in for years and now this comes all of a sudden, that I’m still wondering if it might just be a bad dream. But it wasn’t. It was an unfortunate fortune.

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