A dug-up letter and map were in Leonidas’ hands. He read it on the hill marked on the map with a red X.
Your getting close to the sixth floor, and I’ve probably already beat you up badly. Sorry, it’s part of the job. I’m guessing you hate me, and well I understand. I’m only paid if your angry.
You reminded me of my son when I first saw you on the television. I tested it last time we met, and you even have some of his blood beating through your heart. They recycled him because he didn’t inherit ‘It’. The thing that you have when you sing the song. I became a chef to get close to you and hoped you would reach the fifth level first.
I’m more than meets the eye, son.
I’m currently working in espionage for district seventeen. They’re not as cruel as the bastards here.
Please hate me for what I will have to do for you. I’ll be meaner next time, you will have to attack me back, or ill hit you harder.
My son was known as a bull in the academy up at the top. He didn’t give up even when the blades took him away. Your proof of that, Leonidas. I wish I could tell you more, but they would figure it out.
Leonidas followed the directions on the map’s bottom edge and burned the letter in the hole she dug underneath his feet. I’ll buy into your game, Christina, but the only mom I had was chopped into vegetable paste in front of my eyes.
He tottered dizzily over towards the doorway. There had been a drug laced on the edges of his ‘moms’ fork. He fell down dreaming on a patch of grass, exposed to the lashes of the wind, as his drool watered the weeds inching towards him.
“So how did the meeting go with Leonidas?”
“I’m sure he’s sleeping right now.” Christina giggled.
“Good, the little shit deserves it. Borgus is about to arrive at his first site on floor six. You fine with three candidates?”
“I’m your girl, masseur. I’m just hoping for that promotion.”
“I’ll try your food sometime after this is all over. Now, don’t leave the Mud hungry. It’s hard enough to find a needle in a haystack let alone a pile of shit.”
“You got it boss.” She clicked off his voice and looked over at Leonidas. “Dream well, Stan.” She muttered, not even spooking the bats by the doorway, as the camera panned following her.
“You interested in that one boss?” The recruit asked with his head buried on the desk.
“Yeah, you got a problem with that?”
“But, isn’t she married to someone in the clean-up troupe on the defending line?”
“She hasn’t seen that man in years. I’m just trying to get some home cooked food recruit. It’s not like there’s a law against it anyway.”
“Alright boss, just warning you, remember she’s a little past your level.”
Leonidas dreamed of his Warrenshire mom, her brunette curls, and tangy humor. He was five years old and sung in her arms playing with a knight’s sword. His father left them a week ago, he never came back, but it seemed like he was forgotten by the town. She spun him to the dismay of the sun as it was passed by the moon. Time turned as he grew taller in his dreams and saw her in the balmy winter season knitting a sweater on the old chair. She looked happy, but the Knights stormed the house.
“Stop it!” He awoke sweating with the weeds coiled to his blood drained skin. He broke free and lashed upward. The weeds coiled towards him like snakes as he ran to the nearest path. The ground was covered with the bifurcations of the growing branches. It touched his skin, with lush vigor, and he slashed and dove into the gates striking the bats that flew downward towards his body landing on the mossy floor.
It doesn’t get any easier, does it? He held his ears covering them from the buzz of their wings. The missile like bats had sharp vampire teeth and zebra skin with their monochrome red eyes and big elf ears. The only thing he could do was begin dealing out slashes. He was still giddy from the poison detoxifying in his struggling gut. They didn’t stop attacking as he reached the line of rope strung over the abyss. Oh, screw it all!
The boy on a rope waved his sword while his agile footsteps struggled reaching for the end. He couldn’t sound the depths of the land below him, nor fathom the number of bats that had gobbled up his blood. The rope was full of a type of oil, and he nearly slipped, prancing around like a seasoned acrobat. His feet landed him on the ground as he looked back at what he traversed. He felt like a spec of dust in the huge maze, and he was only near the end of the fifth floor.
A few minutes later, on the sixth floor, Borgus arrived at the house and knocked with his dual blade set, the Twin King Wands, looking like a walking pile of flesh. Christina flipped a few sides of food for him and let him in before turning on the television. He didn’t talk but sat down and ignored the carnage that ensued. Christina felt afraid, gripping the gun beneath the table, from the monster sitting before her, and his listless atrocities.
Please don’t let this man met me son. She stayed quiet as he finished his food and left out the door. He walked into a pile of half-dead monsters and cut away what was ever still alive.
We fooled them, dad. He kept on a stolid face and started slashing away towards the next level.
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