I stood up quickly as the siren blared and the red lights flashed. The door beside me flew open as Blake, Kai, and the two adults rushed out.
“They’re here. Follow us,” they said. With that we began running. All around I heard voices and footsteps. As we came to a four way the two adults looked at us.
“Skye, You go to the left. Kai, to the hallway to the right, and Blake keep going straight ahead,” they said.
“What about you guys?” I asked.
“Don’t worry. They’re not after us. They won’t do anything except try to get information out of us,” said the lady and I nodded before running down the hallway they told me to. As I ran I brushed my fingers against the wall for a few seconds, coming to a stop at the turn, listening. I heard nothing but the sirens so I turned and kept running. My breath was already shallow as I was a little out of shape. Even though what happened in the simulation did everything to my body that had happened I was still sore from lying there so long. I was worn out. I clenched my teeth as my body began slowing with the pain of running as I continued to try pushing myself. Gosh darn it. I thought before hearing footsteps and yelling. I pushed myself even harder to run as I swung around the corner, pain pulsing through my legs.
“There she is!” called one of them as I ran down the hall. No. I have to keep going. I thought before I heard a shot and something hit my leg. Then, my leg went numb and I fell to the floor. I tried to push myself up but then someone grabbed my arms and pulled them behind me as I averted my eyes to the floor.
“Sorry kid. But you know the rules,” said a male voice before there was a shot of pain in my neck and my vision went black.
I woke up with my vision a little foggy before it cleared. The walls around me were pure white and I was lying in a bed, but this time there was nothing over my wrists. I sat up and looked at the white walls, noticing no exit or any windows at all. There has to be some way out. I thought, remembering the nether with it seeming to have almost no escape except for one, the portal. I slid off the bed before putting my fingertips to the wall, feeling for anything strange. Then, there was a ringing and I turned away, looking around.
“H- hello?” I asked, glancing around nervously before a chill went down my spine.
“Welcome Miss Skye,” the voice said and I breathed in sharply. H- He’s here… I thought, my breath shaky as I closed my eyes.
“As you probably know it won’t be long until you and your friends are put in what you should’ve been preparing for the last so many months. It didn’t take long to track you down, but that’s a story for another time,” he said. “You have two hours until you are sent in along with everyone else who has been drafted in. Good luck…” His laughing after those last words turned my blood cold before the call stopped. All I worked to avoid… Everything I tried to get ready for and failed. I almost escaped. We almost escaped… I thought. I opened my eyes and slowly steadied my breathing before sitting on the bed in silence.
“We were so close…” I whispered, my eyes filling with tears.
Almost two hours later…
All I could do to prepare was to mentally get ready for the stress of what was going to happen. I’m going to be thrown in. But this time it could be real or it could be fake. I thought, taking a breath before sliding off the bed. I pulled on my black jacket and zipped it up as I looked at the wall before me. Then, the floor in front of me opened and a table rose in front of me. On top of it was a bracelet and a square piece of paper. I have no choice but to play this sick game… If the person who made it knew the party game was going to become a death game would they have still made it? Would they risk what was to come if they knew… If they knew what the game would do? I thought before putting on the bracelet and picking up the sheet of paper. Numbers came up from the black screen on the bracelet. 2 minutes. It read. I held the plastic covered paper in my hand. As of now it was blank, but soon it’d reveal my fate. I rubbed it in my fingers, feeling it’s strange texture, before glancing at the timer on my wrist.
“Just under a minute,” I whispered. Looking down at the ground before taking a breath. I didn’t want to do this, but there was no escape and even if I didn’t do it now I’d have to do it later. Then, I was blinded by a bright light that enveloped the room as I heard something shatter. Once I regained my vision I was on top of a building in a large city. The sky was filled with stars with only a sliver of the moon to light up the sky. Then, as I looked to see what my role was my finger slipped and my eyes widened as I dropped the cards on the ground. I had not only one card, but two…
I’m so dead. I thought, closing my eyes and breathing. He got our information from in there and who knows what he saw or if… My blood went cold. He could’ve been the one in there… the other him. I realized, part of me hoping it wasn’t true. But there was a feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me it probably was. Then, there was a knock on the door.
“C- come in!” I called and the door opened to reveal my friends, Kai and Blake. There was tension between the two of them. Who knows what happened after they came back… after I faded. I just took a breath and pulled my knees to my chest, wondering if they knew the info I had been told. They walked up and sat beside me, on opposite sides. Kai was the first one to break the silence.
“So, we made it,” he commented and I nodded.
“Yeah. But now... now what?” I asked. “We have no choice at this point.”
“We have to play that sick game. This was our escape… or at least we hoped so. But we couldn’t escape forever. Eventually they’d find us,” said Blake. “Do you think… they know where we are?” I looked up to see the lady and she shook her head.
“I don’t know… If they do we’re done for. But if not we’ll just have to see what they give us. What happened in there… It game us an idea of what we might be given,” I said. “But before that happens. We need to forgive each other for whatever happened and explain ourselves. All of us were manipulated and used by someone. Now, I remember everything I did in there and it wasn’t pleasant.” Kai flinched a bit, remembering what I was talking about. Blake slid off the bed and sighed.
“I guess... I guess I’ll explain myself first. Let me start by saying sorry to both of you for not only lying to you but for turning on you guys. I had no choice and it was almost as if that’s where fate was leading me in there,” he began. “I started in that underground place where I took you, Skye. It was originally abandoned and the others weren’t originally there either. For a long time I was alone and I fended for myself in that place. Getting my own food and water with that place as my home. It was like that until he showed up.” My arms got goosebumps at the mention of him and I looked down.
“He just appeared one day. In the beginning he looked like one of us. He just looked like a teen just a little older. There was no shadows until he learned of his power. He showed it to me and slowly, even though I didn’t know it, began manipulating me with his shadows and whispers into my mind until I was his pawn. Soon the others showed up and I was over them as a leader. By then I had no way of escape and that’s when he sent me to your village to capture Skye. He thought you’d be a powerful asset and so I did my job, getting you Skye. Inside I didn’t want to do it, but I had to… After that of course, he got Skye on his side and we went back to the village. Then, I ended up falling in the fire that happened that day.”
“Right. You were burned after Kai ended up snapping me out of the mind control,” I said and Kai nodded. “Anyway. I talk about that later. Go on with your side.” Blake nodded.
“So, I respawned not long after. Once again I was all alone and I was in the same clothes you two saw me in during the battle. I made a home and once again learned how to survive, not remembering much from my first spawning and what happened. Only bits and pieces were there and I tried to push them away. That’s when I ran into Scarlet in the neather and of course you know what happened or at least most of it. I thought I was safe when I was with both of you, remembering most of what happened. But then, he got back in my head. In the night I heard his whispers and I couldn’t get rid of him. Somehow he had found me again and was determined to have me back. That’s when I slowly started going dark again. Originally, that trip up the mountain to the cliff was just for the view. But as we were running up my mind was filled with his voice until my own was drowned out.”
“So, was that creeper yours?” I asked and he shook his head.
“No. When we were up there I tried to defy him but it seemed he wouldn’t have it that way. For a few seconds my vision went dark and once I could see again the creeper was blowing up and I couldn’t warn you in time. Once the creeper blew up I was blown down the hill, bruised and damaged. I had no idea if you were safe, but I didn’t even have time to look before him and his followers showed up. I was punished for defying and then once again I was under his control. Then, I was sent to find you and from then until I was locked into the room I was under his control. Once you two left a plan was put together and the rest you know. In the end I had no choice but to fight. If I didn’t I don’t know what would’ve happened. He might’ve put me in the dark or he could’ve punished me. There were a number of things that he could’ve done and I just couldn’t take that risk. Sorry… but I had no choice.” I nodded before looking down at my lap, legs hanging over the floor. So, most of the time he wasn’t in control of himself. He was manipulated just like I was. I thought before glancing at Kai. Blake came and sat beside me and sighed. I looked at him and gave him a half smile before looking back at Kai who wouldn’t meet my gaze.
“From what I know what happened to me was with both of you. Part of it with Kai and the other iwth you Blake. So, I think it’s Kai’s turn to explain himself. I’ll give the bits that we’re missing of my part in the end,” I said and Kai nodded.
“Okay,” he said, standing up. “Let me say sorry. It’s just hard getting over what happened in there. I know I can trust you, but broken trust is hard to repair. Blake nodded, even though I could see the pain in his eyes. He knew that the trust we all had may not ever be the same and with the new information I was told by the others I knew it probably wouldn’t be.
“Anyway. Onto my side of the story… Well, I started out in the town that you, Blake, found Skye or Scarlet and the same one that you, Skye, burned. There were some NPCs there, but some of them made me wonder if there were people behind the screen. Some of them seemed very humanlike in their actions,” he commented and I nodded, remembering the people there. “When I started there I was taken in by a small family. After a few days of being there one of the villagers found Skye on her own, hurt but still alive. A different family of two parents took her in and we grew up together. At the time we were younger than we were in the real world. It was like we were kids again.”
“Yeah. It was the same with me. I was younger than I am here when we first started. I wonder how long we were in there in their time,” said Blake before looking back up at Kai. “Go on.”
“Anyway… We both grew up helping out the town, gathering food and wood and the supplies that were needed. But of course we played like little kids do. At least we did until you showed up and took her away,” he said with a sigh, his eyes flashing with anger for a second. “But after she was gone I had to take care of the village. Not long after some other people showed up and a small group of people to try and protect the town and punish the criminals were put together. I joined and helped out in the overworld while many of the others were spread out among the land and the nether. Soon enough I was warned about your guys’ plans. We knew you were coming, just not when so when you came in days later we weren’t prepared. After Blake fell in the flames and Skye got out of his control I had to take her to the nether. She didn’t fight back at all and it seemed as if we both knew the consequences. She was locked up in one of the cells of the nether and I visited her from time to time until the others decided the date of the consequence to happen. Skye made me promise to try to get her back to the nether once or if she ever came back. In that same day she had to die. Weeks later she respawned and we took her back to the nether. But she didn’t seem to remember anything from before. Not long after she escaped with your help and for a bit I was stuck without knowing what to do. It wasn’t until I went out into the overworld and took out that creeper that I saw you guys. There really was a creeper there though. It wasn’t a diversion. Once I realized Skye was with you I tried to figure out a way to get her back as she had no idea who you were, but I did. I didn’t know if you still remembered anything so I couldn’t really trust you. So, I eventually decided to join up with you, hoping to bring Skye back to where she had asked me to bring her before. But she didn’t remember anything and so I had to hint at our past. Then, the cliff incident happened. I had to use my water abilities to save her from falling into the water and dying. It was like someone told me something would happen if I didn’t. But the rest you know. We trained for the fight against you and him before going up that hill.” I nodded, thinking it was everything until something else popped up.
“Wait. What happened in between the time I was destroyed and when you two came back?” I asked. Kai came and sat on the other side of me and Blake.
“Well, we both kinda just froze. It all happened so fast that neither of us really knew what to do,” said Blake.
“In seconds you and your shadow were gone with only a sword left on the ground. The two of us talked quietly both trying to figure out what had happened. Then, the world slowly started to fall apart. Pieces of the sky were literally falling,” said Kai.
“Then, just before pieces of the sky hit us. We were both taken out and here we are now,” said Blake. Kai nodded to him before there was a knock on the door before the man and women walked in.
“It seems you all understand what happened in there. But now, I need to tell you all the truth. Skye, you already know this so…” she began and I nodded before sliding off the bed and walking past them, into the hall. I leaned against the wall. As the door closed behind me I pulled my knees to my chest and sighed, putting my head on them. I closed my eyes, wondering how they’d take the information and how long we had. We had escaped only long enough to be found again. Now, they were going to find us and we were going in no matter what we did. We tried… I thought before an alarm blared through the building.