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Friday Fiction: Random Prompt

Having left college all those years ago, one might think I would have forgotten my college professor, but social media had kept us in touch. Although not on speaking terms, he was always on the peripheral of my online conversations and I would wonder if at any moment, he would comment or like one of those interactions. Alas he never did and thus we never engaged. That is, until I found him outside my home carving formulae into my front door.

“How do you know where I live?” I asked, peering at the older man with caution from my window. He wore a short sleeved T-Shirt with an image of a silhouetted figure throwing a computer screen at a colleague; the words “You’re being monitored” were written below the image.

“One of the many joys of social media is that people make it abundantly easy for others to find them. That is what they want after all perhaps not in the same level as I have taken it.”

“You stalked me?”

“I prefer researched.” Perturbed, I replied

“I actually don’t care what you prefer, what are you doing?” He lifted the blade momentarily to gaze at me bewildered, as though my question was ridiculous.

“Fixing the atrocity of your equation in that last online debate you shared on one of your many social media sites.”

“What equation was that?”

“This one right here.” He stepped back and apprehensively looked over the carving on the wooden facade. I exited the house in order to see what the man had etched into the door.

“This isn’t my equation… I’ve never tried to solve such an equation.” I’d never seen such an equation in my life either.

“Oh of course not. When I said “your equation” I did not mean you created it nor that you were the genius behind it, I meant it is an equation that concerns you.”

Regardless of how I looked at it, the letters and numbers made no sense to me. Scribbles that seemed beyond mathematical while still quite simply mathematical in perspective.

“How does this concern me?”

“Well…” He flicked his dark eyes towards me in uncertainty, “Your online interactions seemed to have sparked quite a bit of controversy amongst your colleagues, friends and a general aggregation of the online populace. Therefore I took the liberty of calculating the risks of your continued behaviour based on previous interactions and possible future interactions, likened it to the favourable and less favourable opinions and… well the short of it is that it calculates the exact date of your death.”


I turned to face the bearded man who wore a solemn look on his face. I continued. “How does that even work, no man can tell the time of his death even with ridiculous calculations such as those based on… based on speculation and complete hogwash!”

“Oh but one can – with the right mathematical equation granted and I dare say these are nowhere close to hogwash.” He gestured at the door with his head “And it’s all right here son. It’s all… right… here.”

I could not decipher it, the equation and was unsure of the man’s sanity. Had he lost it during the last few years or was he completely wrong; or was he a genius who had stumbled upon something that man had never been privy to.

“What day does it say I am to die?” I asked to amuse the man though I must confess curiosity.

The man turned dark, sad eyes to me,

“According to the algorithm, you will die in a week’s time – hence my visit. I am here so you can have peace with what will happen… and to give you time to make things right with any whom you have wronged.”

This was sounding like those hoaxes on social media that seemed to go viral very quickly and fizzle into nothing – Will you live to be 100? Take this quiz to find out! I shook my head at the man; he may indeed be crazy after all.

“Oh if only we could escape fate.” He placed a hand on my shoulder. “I see the disbelief in your eyes. I guess only time will tell.”

He walked away then, leaving me confused, distraught and exceptionally nervous.

Today’s prompt:

Write about a brief but scary encounter with one of your old professors


About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African published author. He has short stories appearing in both international and local anthologies, and has published his first book, Beneath the Wax, which opens his three-part novella series "Wax". He is an avid reader, blogger and writer.

2 responses »

  1. This prompt brings a lot of memories, lol.
    Great story, too.


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