A pierce through the head and his body drops down to the forest floor from the tree. Pale and blood, he lays there motionless. A game that has overtaken everyone to turn on each other. And I am just a mere subject to this mind game. It’s a fight for survival, a fight to represent oneself. Thrown into such a remote area, you really don’t know what to do with yourself. Bodies surrounding me with such a horrible stench, their numbers don’t count when it comes to the ones that are still left alive. So much killing, but yet I feel there’s something missing.
It all started when massive amounts of carnage and disaster occurred in the year 2056. Countries throughout the globe were ethnocentric and the word peace no longer existed. It was wiped out of our dictionary, and disaster spread like a pandemic. Mass murders occurred, genocide - an end was needed. All dictators finally came to an agreement before nuclear warfare began to come into play that they actually need to come together and find a solution. And thus evolved the fight for survival - a fight for representation. This idea was something different, something completely unreal. These games were to be created on areas where no one could ever reach, except the creators.
They set off in an uncharted area. Ships loaded with waste were dumped. Once filled, it was covered with rock and cement. Areas had desert, forest, lakes, snow, and rain. How could a play so unreal match for such an entertaining game?
Participants were hand chosen by the governments and flown out sedated to this vast wasteland. Hundreds were flown out. Placed in this land, zoned at different areas, they were left to find each other and fight. No weapons, no food - just ultimate survival. No one had a glimpse of what was to come. The governments would censor the games in the town or city of where the next participant would be chosen from so they have no prior knowledge of the place. No one thought it would become so harsh. There was no escape.
I’ve been through many injuries and near death situations. I’m trained for this harsh crap. Other than that, I really had no choice. I, Vanessa, was a bad girl in the eyes of the government. Back in Celesta, where I live, I was sentenced to death. I killed a guy who tried to rob me. Simple self-defense right? No one believed me. I didn’t want to be sentenced to death; I’d rather fight my way through it.
I was thrown into the arctic. When first stationed, I thought I wasn’t going to live. I took back everything I said about training. The temperatures were freezing. I was left to die; left as frozen meat for any possible animals that were near, if there were any. I was beat and gagged. When I woke, I was alone, curled in a ball as if I was still in my mother’s womb. I tried my hardest to generate body heat. Eventually I found a way to make shelter. I used the clothes I had on as my blanket and slept on the cold. This technique avoided my clothes getting wet from the snow and let it cover my body instead. In simpler terms, I was bare ass. I survived this way for just two days. I ate snow to hydrate myself. On my free time, I slept and hunted for prey. I was near the hibernation stage. My horizon looked endless. The entire place was in a white out. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know that I, too, was being hunted, until the first victim came along.
By the time the first victim came along, I had finally found my way out of the ice. Fighting my way through the trees and branches, it reminded me of the days I would go hiking. I heard a whoosh, however, and it stopped me dead in my tracks. My ears became attentive, like when a dog hears something and their ears shoot up. I checked my surroundings, but I found no one. All I found was a branch carved into a spear. I picked it up and began running.
Tripping and falling along the way, my arms and hands began to scratch up. The burn from the cuts didn’t help at all, as I risked infection. I finally stopped behind a tree trunk to catch my breath. The forest was silent.
Leaves started to crumble and branches began to snap from up above. I was being hunted. I peeked around the tree trunk to make sure no one was there. I noticed an arm poking out from the tree 11 o’clock of me. I picked the spear up and brought my arm back. Ready to throw, I held the spear properly as if I was pitching a baseball. But this was no baseball, and there was going to be no catch at the end - just a hit. My arm went forward and I released the spear. It flew in the air, spinning rapidly and pierced the body. In an instant, a squirt of blood came out of the main artery in the arm of the person I hit and then came a loud crash on the forest floor. Insanity.
I walked over to the pale body and took the spear out of his body. More blood came out and got all over my face. Gross. I checked his pockets and found a switchblade knife. I put it in my pocket, and carried on.
My stomach began to growl as the day progressed. I needed to find something to eat. Anything in this forest could be poisonous, and I was not taking the risk of eating the wrong leaf or berry. I placed my spear down and took the switchblade knife out. I peeled some bark off of a nearby tree and attempted to make a fire. After a couple of failed attempts, some sparks appeared and then the fire. Nights in the forest are dark… and they do get cold.
I took my spear and began searching for any type of animal that was near the next morning. There were birds blocking in the midst air, but too fast for me to catch one. I still don’t believe that I killed someone, and my accuracy was that great to kill him on the first try. I smelled something burning in the air. It was light, but my senses have progressively increased. For a second, I thought it was my fire, but my fire was in the complete other direction. I went searching around to find the source of the burning air, but nothing turned up.
I returned to my fire and lay on the floor beside it. The warmth of the fire calmed my nerves. My eyes and breathing grew heavy, and I fell asleep.
When I awoke, I found myself damp. It rained overnight, and my fire was dead. I began the hunt for prey, and that hunt was successful in just seconds. A rabbit bounced in front of me, not noticing me. I took my spear and tiptoed toward the rabbit. The rabbit was still, sniffing around. I pitched the spear to the rabbit and it caught it right throw the chest. It was dripping blood all over the spear, as the force had elevated the rabbit, leaving it mid spear. I took the spear out from the wound and placed it near my campsite. I took my switchblade knife and cut into the rabbit, eating the raw meat without cooking it. There was no time to cook and have a barbecue. I needed to have my meal and go on. All that was left was bones, and I threw them into the bushes to find evidence of me being there.
I began to hear noises again and the volume on my ears shot up to max. I listened as closely as I could. I heard a whisper and looked all around. No one was there. Am I just hearing things? But the sound returned, but this time it was a lot further away. Where the hell is that coming from?!
After every death, parts of the forest would be set on fire to compensate for space. The less people there are, the smaller the arena needed to be. I came across a waterfall on my journey through the forest and took this time to clean myself up. I still had dry blood from the first person I killed. My hands were full of blood and dirt and my body smelled. I undressed and washed as fast as I could. Once I finished, I realized that the water was coming out dark red. I looked up and saw a body on a rock, being held up by just her shirt. The whispers returned, and I feared for my life now. I tried to ignore the whispers as much as possible.
I went up to a tree and sawed off a branch. I needed a backup spear just in case. I carved the branch into a spear and kicked the extraneous pieces of wood into the water. I began to hear branches crack in the distance. I heard hard footsteps. Someone is running this way.
Now this extra spear will be perfect. I knew this person was being chased just by the look on his face. I got ready to pitch the spear. The person finally closer and I lunged the spear right into the boy’s heart. He fell to the floor, spear breaking with the hard impact of him crashing down. The person who was chasing him now comes into sight. I began to pitch the spear, but he puts his hands up for me to stop. I hesitated but I did regardless.
He catches his breath next to me, but I don’t give him any time to relax. I pushed him up against the tree trunk hard, winding him even more. I took the switchblade knife out and put it against his throat.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa there pretty lady. Don’t kill me just yet," the kid said with stops in-between as he tried to catch his breath.
My hand was trembling with the thought of killing him. Adrenaline was rushing through my body. He was cute though… He had long messy hair with a scruffy face. There are tons of these kinds of people back in Celesta so killing one won’t make a huge difference. I pulled my knife back and he caught his breath. I wonder what his name is.
"I’ve let you free. What is it that you want?" I asked.
"First off, the name is Jake. And second, I thought I’d spend a night with you. You look stunning. What can a girl like you be doing here? Geez. You’re like, my dream girl. You have perfect lips, beautiful skin, and blue eyes. You’re an absolute beauty."
I felt my cheeks turn red. Uh-oh, I hope it’s not noticeable.
"Vanessa. That’s my name." The sound of my own voice was completely different from how it normally sounds. I didn’t sound like such a bitch like I used to back at home. My voice had a sweet touch to it. I couldn’t let myself start to like this kid though; it’s a war between everyone. I should just kill him right now. It’ll make everything easier in the long run.
"Do you, uh, mind if I stay here with you tonight?" Jake asked.
My mind was racing with answers. “Yes, of course. Definitely, please. I want you. Make yourself at home, stay near,” is what I actually wanted to say.
What I actually said was, “just… just find yourself a spot, away from me.”
I looked away shyly. I didn’t want the redness in my cheeks to give my feelings away. What the dictators want me to do is stab him right here and now to get on with myself. What everyone at home watching this wants me to do is to kiss him and then kill him. I curled into a spot next to the fire and drifted off to sleep. I didn’t want to know what would happen the next morning, or if I actually start to really like Jake. As the night went on, my eyes opened slightly. I felt his lips connect with my forehead. I smirked a bit, but he didn’t see it as I turned right after he did it. I went back to bed.
The next morning came quite fast and I woke up surprised. I’m glad that I made it this far. Jake was by my side with a fire set up. He had caught a bird and cooked it. How he did it? I have no clue. The birds on this island are faster than normal birds. The smell was so good, however, so I rushed up to get my piece. He smiled when he saw me reaching over to get the bird he cooked for me.
"I caught this earlier. You were sleeping for so long, I didn’t think you were going to wake up," he said to me.
"Thanks. But I don’t have all day. I appreciate your generosity but you shouldn’t be doing this. I should have killed you when I had the chance. I let you into my life and now you’re trying to hit on me?" I looked away once I finished saying that to let the bitchiness fume out of me. He knew that I didn’t really mean that, as I had a hard time getting all of those words out. Each time I glanced over, I blushed at the texture of his face. I took a bite from my bird and walked away. He sat there, looking up, and watching me leave. I turned my head to see if he was still looking at me, but he caught me looking. Crap.
I continued on with my journey and fight for survival. I found a campsite with an alliance of people and I knew that this was the perfect time to strike. The top of the waterfall was nearby, so I needed to plot around that waterfall. I decided to climb up the tree that I was hiding behind. Many of the branches were directly over the waterfall and the enemy campsite. I began to saw down the branches just until they were about to break. I did this for about 10 other branches for the 9 people that were there. These branches weren’t ordinary branches; they were much heavier. And at the height that they are, they can make significant damage, or even be fatal.
All of the branches I sawed down were weak, and ready to break. I moved back onto one branch that was not sawed down, sat down on it like a saddle, and kicked the tree trunk hard. I kicked it so hard that all of the branches that I sawed snapped off in an instant. They made a deep sound when snapping off, a sound much louder than thunder. They came crashing down onto the campsite and killed 8 out of the 10. The other two were trapped. The abnormal branch caught their legs completely. I climbed down the tree slowly and went to examine the damage. The other two, one girl and one boy were both moaning with excruciating pain. The girl was screaming for someone to put her out of her misery. I approached her and crouched down in front of her. I put my hand over her mouth to silence her. The pain eventually got to her when I covered her mouth, and her heart stopped beating. Blood poured from under the branch, covering her body in a puddle. The boy had already stopped by the time I covered the girl’s mouth, making it a lot easier for me.
Killing someone doesn’t give you the best feeling. At the moment and at the place, especially in my situation, it feels great. Eliminating a target and enemy is the best possible thing you could do for yourself. But afterwards, the guilty feeling sinks in. These families were rooting for them probably and in just one second, you took away their hopes, dreams, and child. I’m not the one to blame, and that’s the only way I can make myself feel better about it. It’s not my fault; it’s the government’s fault. All of this could have been avoided.
I picked myself up after this victory and began to smell the burning forest. The arena is shrinking even more and soon, I’ll be face to face with the last person standing. I really hope it’s not Jake.
Now walking away, I wiped my hands on my pants to take the blood off of them. Suddenly, I heard running footsteps behind me. By the time I turned around, I was tackled down onto the floor. My head hit against the hard dirt floor, and I felt dizzy. My torso also hit hard against the floor, winding me. Someone was attacking me. This was my time. I am going to die. I tried fighting off the guy who tackled me, but he was a lot stronger than I was. He pinned my arms to the ground and stared directly into my eyes. His eyes were filled with rage, fury, and extreme mental insanity. His bloodshot eyes made me know that this was probably it. The enemy unpinned my arms, but his force was so strong that it was hard to pick my arms back up.
He ripped my shirt open. This had turned into something entirely different. I wasn’t just going to be killed; I was going also going to be raped. He used all the force he could to dominate my body into letting him rape me, but someone else came from behind my enemy and slammed his head into the ground. The knife that my enemy had flew out of his hand and still managed to stab a part of my neck. Blood began to come out from my neck. I covered it as fast as I could, applying pressure, but it was too much and I began to feel dizzy. Too much blood loss…
I woke some hours later, I guess, from the pain my neck caused me. My eyes were in a daze and my body was super light, yet sore. The air was warm however, which meant that I was not alone. I was able to sit up and observe my surroundings. I look to my left – no one. I looked to my right – no one as well. I turned my body around slowly to look behind me and there was Jake, smiling. My body didn’t even have a reflex. I fell back down and lay on my back, looking up at the forest sky.
Jake’s shadow casted over my body.
“Let me help you up,” he said.
I slapped his hand away, denying his help.
“I can help myself up. Go away,” I said.
He turned his back to me, mumbling words under his breath and releasing anger through his body language. I grew annoyed that he was still around. This is not for alliances. And there could only be one winner. My dizziness finally started to go away, and I was on my way to attempt to back track. I noticed blood coming down a slight slope on the forest floor, so I knew I was near. I saw the bodies crushed under the abnormal branches. A horrible stench engulfed the place.
My anger grew, as I didn’t want to be here anymore. I took a nearby rock and smashed it into someone’s face. The sound was sickening, and blood poured out of the body even more.
“Whoa,” Jake said in the background. He was still following me.
My body gave out on me. I stumbled back. I was going to fall straight back. I fell into Jake’s arms however. It felt like a trust fall, but with so many more emotions attached to it. He leaned over my shoulder and kissed my cheek softly. I felt a rush down my back and goose bumps filled my body. The hairs on my arm rose.
“I told you I would be there for you. I wasn’t going to leave you. Did you not notice what you would have fallen on? It could’ve knocked you out for days, or even kill you,” he said to me.
I was in absolute silence, not realizing and understand what was really happening. I was in Jake’s arm, and I enjoyed it. He gave me a kiss on the cheek, and would you look at that, I liked it. But he was still following me around, and that was the problem. I lifted myself out of his arms, turned around to him, and just said, “Thanks.”
My back was to him. I was trying to understand why he kept doing this.
“Why?” I said to him as I turned around to make eye contact. “Just why do you continuously do this? You do understand that you are only hurting yourself in the end if it comes down to just you and I right?”
“I just really can’t help myself. I find you hard to resist. You make my emotions go insane and I absolutely love it,” he responded.
“But you know you can’t do this! This isn’t a battlefield of love where people fight to the death and the last two are lovers. This is a battlefield of death. And only one person walks out of this,” I proclaimed.
“Then let it be you. You’re much better than the others. And you chose to be here as opposed to everyone else. Might as well fight to get out and actually win.”
My face turned red, but this time it wasn’t because I was flattered and blushing. It was anger. I couldn’t stand this. I wanted to scream but it would reveal where I am. I don’t want to die now, and I don’t want to deal with this stress. I walked for what felt like days. I witnessed the sun set by the river side, something I hadn’t seen in days. It was quiet in the forest today, so I’m guessing my mass murder eliminated a lot of the competition.
I reached the edge of the forest and saw the endless horizon of the desert section of the arena. I turned away as quick as I could, because getting stuck in the desert was not an option and risk I wanted to take. Water was nearby, and so was food. That’s exactly what I need right now; nothing else. The sun was now officially down, and it was near impossible to see. My pupils grew, adjusting to the darkness, and I was able to find some materials to make a short fire to warm myself up before heading to bed. This was another night without Jake, and I hope to not wake with him by my side.
The night felt long, and I simply couldn’t sleep comfortably. I constantly woke up to turn, instead of doing it self-consciously. There were also some times where I would just awake, and not be able to fall back asleep, even though my eyes burned. Strong pulses passed through my body from tiredness. My eyes wanted to close and hope to wake up somewhere else, but sleep wasn’t an option. Maybe my body was paranoid of an attack. It would make sense, considering I was almost raped and killed. That kind of stuff only happens in the ghettos of Celesta and prison. I didn’t think that kind of behavior would transfer over to the arena. People grew desperate, and any chance they can get to fuck, they would take. Maybe I’ll tell that to my kids one day. Just kidding, I am never having kids.
All of these thoughts are racing through my head but I am getting no sleep. My fire had gone out, so I started another small fire. Hopefully the heat could send my body to sleep.
I heard some crackling noises as I slept, but I assumed it was the fire and went back into my sleep. My body allowed me to sleep, and I had to take advantage of this. But the crackling noises became louder, and it felt a bit closer. In response, I just moved myself a few inches away from my original spot, which was right next to the fire. Suddenly, a deafening noise amplified through the arena. I jumped up like a cat being thrown into a bathtub full of water. My heart was racing and it felt like it was going to rip right out of my chest. It began to hurt extremely. Then again, another loud deafening noise amplified through the arena, but it sounded closer. Loud crackling noises roared, and I now knew what was happening. The government was trying to end the game as quickly as possible, by scorching the forest completely. The loud deafening noises were fire balls being sent from airplanes from up above. The crackling noise I heard was the fire getting closer, and my fire going crazy from debris falling into it.
Now up, I tried running away from the fire. South of me, the entire forest was burned. East of me, the back part was burning, and was spreading to the front quickly. West wasn’t even an option. And north… it was my only option. It wasn’t a risk I wanted to take, considering part of the forest in front of me was burning. I had to make a run for it, and whatever happens, happens. Speed I thought I never had kicked into my body. The adrenaline rush was insane, making my vision super blurry. The blurry vision was causing me to stumble. And my hopes of not falling soon came to an end.
I tripped over a branch and fell face first into the dirt that has now turned into ash. I coughed heavily as the ash entered my lungs. I saw the fire approach with my own two eyes, and fear entered by body faster than the speed of light. I tried picking myself up from the ground, but a rocky floor was preventing me from picking myself up. My hands were being spiked by sharp edges of rocks. I knew my only escape from this place was to head to the desert. It wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway, considering the fact that this entire place is being torched.
I picked myself up, barely, and started to run for my life again. I reached the edge of the burning forest, ready to enter the desert, when my body was knocked hard from the side. My neck suffered severe whiplash from the impact. I had no clue what was happening. Everything grew dark. The impact sent me flying. My hair covered my face and the sound of the wind from the speeds I was traveling was soon to make me deaf.
My body finally landed, and bounced up from impact. I coughed heavily upon hitting the ground. After bouncing for about 10 times my body came to a rest. I gasped for air and I began to wheeze. Everything around me was dark. I placed my hand in front of my face and I couldn’t even see that. I sighed, which let out a wheeze, and placed my hands on the floor. The floor felt like rock, which is probably why the impact hurt so much. I stayed as quiet as I could to listen for any possible movements.
A soft laugh emerged from the silence.
“Who’s there?!” I yelled out into the darkness.
I stood up and extended my arms out to try and reach for anything or anyone. Then suddenly, my hands were grabbed, I was pulled in, and kissed. My lips pressed against the other person’s lips, and for some reason I didn’t pull away. My body loosened up from its tense state and wrapped my lips around the person’s bottom lip. Something felt so right about this kiss. My heart was racing and not from danger. The person’s lips felt familiar.
My mind flashed back to when Jake kissed my forehead when I fell asleep the first night I met him. I was kissing Jake. There was no point in pulling away now. I enjoyed the kiss and I wasn’t even going to bother fighting with him now. It felt so real. It felt great. I have never experienced the rush that flowed through my body before. His lips were soft. I was able to feel the outline of his lips, and medium thickness of his bottom lip. His mouth was small, and it fit perfect with my lips. All time had stopped during this kiss.
I finally pulled away after about a minute, and I felt the blood rushing to my face. My cheeks were getting red; so red that I almost broke a sweat. When pulling away from the kiss, I traced my hand from his neck down to his hand. I locked my hand in with his. His hand was slightly rough, and I was able to feel some cuts on it. I passed my thumb over the cuts, trying to soothe them. He let out a slight grunt when I passed over one cut. It felt deep and it was a lot larger than the rest of his cuts. He lifted up my hand to his face and kissed it. If it wasn’t so dark, he would’ve been able to see how bright my eyes lit up.
“I’m not going to leave your side,” Jake said in a soft whisper.
I was silent for a while, still feeling his hand in my hand.
“I’m surprised you didn’t resist,” he said.
“How could I resist from the one thing that felt so real in this hell?” I told him.
“My feelings for you have grown intensively. And I cannot begin to explain them to you. If there was something I wanted more than anything right now, it would be to actually hold you as victor,” he said in a slightly louder whisper. There was a long silence. “There are only 3 more people left in this war, 2 of them are us. And before you begin to tell me that we aren’t supposed to help each other – trust me, I know. You’ve made it clear to me enough times.”
A whisper came out of my mouth, “I’m sorry.” I was barely able to hear myself even in the silence, but I guess he was able to hear it.
“There is nothing to be sorry about. They were perfectly normal feelings. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say, but I think I love you,” he said in a cautious voice.
The feeling was so indescribable. I didn’t think I’d actually give in. But here I am, holding his hand and actually listening to him. I wanted to scream out I love you too but I know that it would make things a lot harder.
“All of this is indescribable for me as well. And I can sense your love for me too,” Jake exclaimed.
How did he even hear me?
“After each time you pushed me to the side and tried to get rid of me, I kept an eye on you. I eliminated all enemies that would’ve stood in your way before you even arrived to your destination. During your unconscious states, I also stood up the entire time, safeguarding your body. If it wasn’t for me, you probably wouldn’t be here right now. And I don’t think I would be smiling as hard as I am right now – even if you can’t see it,” he began to tell me.
I giggled at his words and I felt happy. Why was I such a bitch?
“There are some things that I have to tell you, however. See… I’m not like you,” he told me.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m what you would call a test subject. Just 5 years ago, I was kidnapped and taken into a laboratory. I was beat until I couldn’t hold my own composure anymore. I was put in an intensive care unit, and left there for months. My injuries were severe and I fell into a coma. This is when my life changed completely.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“I don’t know if you remember at all, but about 7 years ago, a meteor crashed onto earth. The meteor left debris in the impact site that pointed to an intelligent life form far beyond ours. Scientists quickly took hold of this debris and locked it away, never to be touched again. That was not the mindset of one scientist though. This scientist investigated the debris. The scientist was able to make it into a vaccine, and while in my coma, injected me with it. That’s why I’m a test subject. Once injected, I awoke immediately. My body felt much different from before, much stronger. I had powers no one else had. My speed was faster than anyone that ever lived. My mind was being tortured with the new ability to read minds. I couldn’t live like this. I tried getting away from all of it. I tried committing suicide, but not even that could kill me. I simply would not die.”
I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. It was something I had never heard of. I do remember the meteor crash, and how quickly it was cleaned up and removed from the air. It was subject of controversy, and the government tried to lock down all media coverage of it. They sent out spies killing anyone that knew about the meteor and the powers that the debris possessed. After the meteor, a new vaccination was being given out, and it was mandatory. It was called Sednizitor, or as many other people called it, the “z.”
“I, too, volunteered to go into this game. I wanted to represent our nation with the powers that I had. I wanted to show off as much as I could, since no one else held these powers. I tried to be as casual as possible, but sometime, normal isn’t enough for some people. Upon meeting you, however, everything changed. And I couldn’t just put you to an end. I felt a need to protect you. And this is why I’m here now,” Jake told me, finishing his story.
“I appreciate it. I really do. I always did, I just couldn’t show it. I don’t know what we’re going to do from this point on. You don’t die, and it’s just me, you, and someone else left alive. But let’s just live for today,” I told him in a low tone.
“Oh, and thanks for practically killing me when taking me away from the burning forest. So much for ‘protecting me,’” I laughed a bit while telling him. He pushed me in a friendly manner, and then grabbed me and hugged me.
We both finally sat down, not realizing we were standing for that entire time. He placed me on his lap and his lips connected with mine. I loved the feeling of his kisses, and I let him continue kissing me. His hands passed through my hair as we kissed passionately. Things started to get a bit more intimate with time. He took my shirt off and passed his hands all over my body. I unbuttoned his jeans as he laid me on my back. Both of us tried to be as quiet as possible, not to attract any attention.