“Today is a great day. Today you all turn eighteen. With your action today you will prove your devotion to God, country, and your future. Their blood flows with your acceptance of the duty and right you are all here to fulfill.
They all opened the box before them and removed the golden dagger. Ushered onto the killing floor one by one, the sacrifices stood with a knowing realization that their final moment had come.
As Norah stepped in front of her elder, she whispered, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t do this. I don’t want to die,” he begged.
“But you are sixty today, and it is my duty to remove you from society so I can enter it,” she was holding the dagger to his throat.
“Please, I have a family.” The old man was looking at her helplessly.
As all the other eighteen-year-olds slit the necks of the ones who had been brought to their deaths, Norah dropped her weapon and refused to take part.
“You have failed, and you shall pay,” the Captain declared, “Take her away. Who among you will take a second life? Who here will stand tall and deliver this man to his fate?”
Several hands went up, and the Captain chose one of the eager kids nearby.
After being taken to a blackened cell, Norah sat in the corner and felt she had done the right thing. ‘At least I will live my life in knowing that.’
The next morning, she awoke to the sound of the door opening, and the guards led her to the killing floor.
“I will not kill today either,” she yelled in defiance.
As they forced her down the hallway, she caught a glimpse of herself in one of the windows and could not believe what she saw. She had aged. Her hair was grey, and her skin had wrinkled.
“Happy sixtieth birthday,” the guards laughed.