How do you want to die?
Everyone has to go through it, but for the right price, you could choose how, when, and where.
Travis is one of the world's most well-known Deathwriters, a very rare group of individuals with the unique ability to bring about death through the medium of the written word. A personalized death written on one's behalf usually comes with a kingly price tag, but after a close personal encounter with death, Travis begins to question the entire system.
DEATHWRITER - Chapter 9
Agent Collins’ words bounce around in my head the whole ride home. The whole thing is so bizarre that I don’t know what to do. Should I comply? Ethically, I can’t, of course. Not to mention what I would tell those kids that I’ve already worked with. But it’s either that or I die.
And it’s not like I can just blow the whistle. Who would I tell? The government? The public wouldn’t believe me if I mentioned anything about what I’ve just learned. Okoro’s doctrine is taught in elementary schools, lauded worldwide as an icon of democracy and the power of American social services, an institution that’s existed in its present form for decades. And no one would believe the government has any power over a Deathwriter. That’s just not the order of things.
And yet. Here we are.
But the government can’t be allowed to get away with this, no matter how just they pretend to be. Okoro’s creation has the very real potential to be abused in horrible ways, the likes of which this world has never seen. It’s an incredible, revolutionary tool for good in the right hands, but a terrible weapon in the wrong hands.
No, it has to be destroyed. But how? It’s not like I have any special powers.
Well, that's not true. I do. I have deathwriting. But it’s different. While the stories I write have the ability to shape reality however I want, there are certain natural laws that come along with it. For one, all future events in the story must take place within the same twenty-four hours, meaning I can’t just write out a whole person’s life for them. For another, the stories can’t involve altering the agency of another person to do something they wouldn’t already do. And most important of all, the stories I write have to include the death of a primary subject, and only one subject.
As long as I follow those rules, I can control almost everything else about reality, within reason. But there’s no getting around the fact that someone must die. And ethically, I cannot in good conscience wish that upon anyone. Not even my enemies.
And then it hits me—right here on the 405 as I sit stuck between two semis that are battling for the leftmost lane. I know what has to be done.
How do you want to die?
Honestly, though. Everyone has to go through it at some point. Rich, poor, powerful, humble. But imagine if you could choose.
Imagine if you could choose.
Me? I would choose to die the way I lived. Helping others. Doing something that matters.
Something that makes a real difference.
My mother granted me overwrite permissions over my own death as a gift when I first obtained my deathwriting license, which means I have the ability to change my own death, independent of the government’s ADSA network.
So, this is my death story.
At eight o’clock tomorrow morning, the chief development officer of June Everlasting, Austin Holt, will deliver this death story to the ADSA computing center. There’s a backdoor that’s almost always locked with alarms, but tomorrow there will be a malfunction. Austin will enter through that door, undetected, and encode this death into the system as an update, adhering to government regulation.
The ADSA system will recognize this death story and everything it contains as a valid entry, register it, and then it will modify its own code to include an opt-out option for every single death it has ever created or ever will create. From that point forward, everyone will have the choice to either accept their assigned death or to let nature run its course.
In effect, the government will no longer have total control over its citizens’ lives and deaths.
As for me, I will wake up, make Amber breakfast, and then I will let her know what I have done. I hope she can forgive me. Heaven knows it’s not my own life I’m sacrificing, but hers. I wish more than anything else there was another way, but I can’t bear the thought of giving up anyone else’s life to create this death story.
In any case, we will spend the day together—go to the beach, take a long hike, watch the sunset. Then, at eleven fifty-nine tomorrow night, I will die. It’ll be painless. My heart will just stop beating.
And that will be the end.
- - - DO NOT WRITE BELOW THIS LINE: ADMINISTRATIVE USE ONLY - - -
Name: Travis Warren
DoB: 14 June 1987
DoD: 05 Feb 2025 | ToD: 2359
Cause of Death: Failure of the Heart
Date Submitted: 05 Feb 2025
Deathwriter: Travis Warren
License No.: 7-24R