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Sudoku 4: The Importance of Being Apathetic
by Michael S. Collins

“Oh, that Mimsy girl died earlier”, said Asha's unnamed superior.

“Why?” she said.

“Apparently she tried some Sudoku on the floor next to her pal, and it’s cursed. Funny, really.”

“Damn” cried Asha. “Completely forgot about that Sudoku puzzle. Hey boss, there's a chance I could be dead tomorrow, any chance of a raise.”


“Damn you.”

And she ran home.

Yoshi was waiting.

“It's OK, mum” he said. “I finished the Sudoku earlier.”

She breathed a sigh of relief. The boy sat scribbling into a notebook, and drinking from a cup of coffee. Everything seemed calm and happy, for a minute at least. Then, Asha took a look at that newspaper. She couldn't help herself. The caption had changed, the solution inked in brilliantly. The caption: “A shame only one of you could do it.” Asha's hands held the paper. She heard a faint sound behind her.

“Is dinner ready?” Yoshi asked.

She looked at her watch. It was 6.30! Exactly a week ago, she bought the newspaper! She'd forgotten all about it.

Asha turned to face the television. Yoshi sat in his chair, watching.

The television was static – it always had been static, they hadn't paid the bills, but this time it was even more particularly static. The image that filled the screen remained static.

She turned to the newspaper. It had fallen to the floor, so she crawled over to it, in a trance almost. The girl in the cartoon strip, smiled back at her. The caption read: “Goodbye, ya daftie.” And then, the girl started to move, in her own cartoon frame. Her entire head, then her shoulders, then the rest of her. She crawled over the floor, the cartoon girl; the television set flickered statically in the background. Asha dropped back in terror, as the girl with the dark black hair, wet like paint, and her white flowing dress, slopped against the floor. Oily strands of hair pulled along the floor.

“I don't believe it” said Asha.

The telephone rang, but no one listens to it. The girl twitched, and grabbed at Asha's foot. Asha screamed, but no one paid much attention. She slowly lifted herself up to full height, by holding on to Asha's arms and forcing herself upwards. She was a fairly nice looking girl, but the stuff of Asha's nightmares.

The girl's gaze met Asha. Asha screamed and dropped dead. The boy continued to watch, not caring much. He was an apathetic teen, after all.

“Oh, hey Sudoku” he said.

She turned to him and smiled.

“Hey, Yoshi” she said. Her black hair fell in front of her eyes. She grinned.

“You solved my puzzle; no one's ever done that before.”

“Well it was easy, really, if you think about it.”

“No one ever thinks. You know the amount of people I've had to kill in this city. Bloody Glaswegians.”

“You don't have to kill me” said Yoshi.

“I wouldn't do that” said Sudoku, “has anyone ever told you, you look quite hot?”

“Sudoku, do you have a boyfriend?” he asked.

“No.” she said. “Why, you asking?”

“I'm asking.”

“I'd like that.” And she fell into his arms.