Glaring at him for several seconds with her arms folded across herself Sarah felt as if the weight of the whole world rested on her shoulders. As though it weren’t enough that she was being told she had to make a life and death decision she still had no way of being certain that this man wasn’t just some psycho who had broken into her house with an outrageous tale.
Doing her best to calm down she thought everything through once again and concluded that as unreal as it all seemed he must be on the level. The watch had some sort of compelling presence to it and for the life of her she couldn’t figure what could possibly be in it for this man if he wasn’t telling the truth. He wasn’t asking for money much less anything else.
Still, it was all a bit surreal and she was at a loss to know what to do. She buried her face in her hands for a minute and then looked up to see him sitting patiently with an expectant look. Not quite believing what she was about to say she took a deep breath and addressed him.
“All right, I’ve made my decision. Before I give you my answer I have one more question. How will the person chosen die?”
“It will be quick and utterly painless Sarah. There is no need of suffering. It is regrettable that this must take place at all but there you have it.”
Sarah nodded and looked down and closed her eyes. “I would not be able to go on knowing I had chosen death for another human being. Especially not even knowing whom that person was. Therefore I choose myself.”
Looking up she saw that he was smiling at her. He raised his hands and began to clap, slowly at first and then faster. She stared at him, bewildered and unsure what to say.
“Very well done Sarah. I knew you had it in you. Please relax; I can now inform you that you are not going to die. Not now at any rate. I regret that you had to endure this whole interview but my employer insisted that it be done this way. You’ve passed the test.”
Sarah’s jaw dropped and she felt confusion and anger welling up. “Interview? Test? What the hell is going on here? You mean this was all some sort of elaborate hoax?”
“No, Sarah, not at all. Allow me to explain. I work for a very wealthy man who is coming to the end of his life. He has a terminal disease and will not be with us much longer. He is estranged from his family, has been for quite some time now. He decided some time ago to leave a large portion of his estate to selected worthy causes but he wanted to leave a sizable portion of it to a worthy individual who would use it for a good purpose.”
He began coughing and asked for a glass of water. Sarah got him one and he continued.
“A search for suitable candidates was undertaken and a list was made. He selected three people in the end and then devised this test to determine which one of you would be the recipient. He wanted to be certain the recipient would be someone with impeccable integrity. You were the last to be tested and the only one to pass. Congratulations.”
Sarah was dumbstruck. “You mean…I’m to receive…”
“Fifty million dollars Sarah. Yours to do with as you please, but we are aware that you have undertaken extensive research in microbiology with the aim of a cure for leukaemia. We have followed your reports for some time now.”
“I…I don’t know what to say. But what about the watch? It has such a presence…”
“All in your mind. It’s merely a prop. Again, I’m sorry about the charade. My employer insisted that things be done this way.”
“Who is my benefactor?”
“He would prefer to remain anonymous. This concludes our business for now. I will be in touch in a few days with further details concerning this matter. One again, congratulations Sarah. Well done.”
With that he walked to the door and was gone.