Chapter 2: Who Am I?
“Ugg,” I winced raising my chin
slightly placing my hand against my forehead.
I opened my eyes slowly staring out to a sky of orange and red. A chill of air rushed past as I stared up into the openness. I blinked with confusion. Pain traveled across my head causing me to flinch.
I gazed over to my left. The gray of the road took the majority of my line of site, along with several small shops; maybe a strip mall? I turned my head to the right to see a large wooden pole with a breaker box hung on it.
What’s going on here?
I sat up with my hand pressed against my forehead hard to try and relieve some of the mind numbing headache. I searched the area for any clue as to where I was.
How did I get here?
“Hurry up!” A girl’s voice entered my hearing. My eyes darted to my right.
A young girl, maybe seventeen or sixteen ran towards me watching slightly behind herself. She wore a dirty blue t-shirt with a green belt and short black skirt. Black combat boots came a few inches below her knee giving her no trouble as she ran. Wires were tighten around her wrist, as if they were bracelets with a single black cord across her neck. Her eyes were hazed with coffee color. Her pink hair was tied into short pigtails with a black ski cap cutting the color off at side bangs that hung over her right eye.
“Why are you so slow?” She called behind her as she ran straight for me.
“Well if I has some help I might be a little faster,” a Hispanic voice called from behind her.
Another girl around the same age appeared over the horizon. Her hair was messy tied in a bun with pencils sticking out of her tangled brunette locks. Her eyes were narrowed and determined with a dark gray coloring. She seemed focused and annoyed on something other than the pink haired girl. She wore a black tank top against her larger chest. Rubber bands and duct tape covered the girl’s arms. Lastly, she wore tan command-o pants that met her black sandals and purple painted toe nails.
I noticed in the Hispanic girl’s hands, she held two oddly made guns. She growled firing at something that alluded me. However, instead of a bullet a blue orb flew out that looked as if it were covered in lighting itself. A bright blue light flashed as the orb expanded after hitting the ground, creating a small explosion.
I yelped from the unexpected noise. The pink haired girl finally met up with me but, it seems I wasn’t her target. She ran over to the breaker setting a purple bag onto the concrete. She quickly unzipped the bag pulling out a computer. The girl removed the black cord off her neck opening the metal case of the power box. She plugged in the cord and then attached it to her computer where her fingers began to type furiously.
I sat in total confusion and loss as to what was going on. The pink haired girl looked over at me as if this was the first time she had noticed me.
“Hey wanna help me out?” She asked in a sweet voice.
I did not reply only sat in loss.
“Here, protect me while I download the info I need and I’ll share it.” She pulled a knife from her pocket throwing it over to me.
I looked down at the strange weapon. It wasn’t a normal knife, or at least not anymore. It kind of looked like a taser was attached to the metal giving it a blue glow.
I picked up the knife by the rubber handle looking at it with curiosity.
“What the Hell?” I questioned turning over the knife.
The pink haired girl looked back towards me, “get up and fight.”
“What?” I asked looking towards her.
She perked up turning back towards the Hispanic girl, “hey Alice, we got a blank over here.”
“Oh perfect just what we needed. Now I could really use some help over here,” she growled sarcastically.
I looked over to the girl who seemed to be fighting nothing. It just looked like she was dancing around with a gun, firing wildly into the air.
“What is she doing?” I inquired.
“Fighting the Zeroes. Look I know this is all new and you’re really confused in all but, I need your help m’kay.” She seemed worried looking all around us.
She stood from the computer for a moment turning to face me. The pink haired girl reached across her back pulling forward a staff maybe two feet with tasers attached at both ends. Her eyes locked on me. I gulped staring wide eyed at the girl. She threw the staff to my right.
A squeal ringed in my ears as she hit whatever she was aiming for. My eyes blurred for a moment before a cloud of purple smoke filled my eyes. I looked around me as I could now see what the two girls had been fighting.
Creatures varying in size and shape appeared around us. I looked over to the Hispanic girl. At least six monsters surrounded her. They all took a form much like dogs but, they looked more demonic and a lot scarier. I jumped as I could now see the zeroes.
“Now fight or die,” the pink haired girl smiled in a creepy manner returning to her computer. I stood from the ground with the knife given to me.
“What do I do?” I asked much like a confused child.
“Just protect me until the download is complete,” she explained.
I scanned over the several black blobs that seemed to mush and reconfigure their shape as we stood in standoff. One formed into what looked like a rabbit. It looked almost cute. A hiss came from the creature as it jumped towards me, with razor teeth ready to strike. I yelled stabbing towards the animal cutting it in half. Ones and zeroes appeared where the rabbit had been before disappearing into the dusk air.
“Wow,” I said to myself.
“How much longer Eve?” Alice called firing at one of the dogs and avoiding the bite of another.
“Ninety percent complete,” Eve answered.
“Can’t you make that go any faster?” Alice barked.
“Well I don’t know maybe if you didn’t turn my processer into a toaster I could have,” Eve laughed disturbingly.
“I put it back.”
“Not correctly,” she sung.
“Not to be rude but, can anyone tell me what’s going on?” I asked killing another of the Zeroes.
“It’s, ugg, can we please do this at a better time?” The Hispanic growled killing a dog.
“Ninety seven, just a little longer,” Eve called.
A bird blob formed from the goo flying towards me. I dodged a hit to the face and instead let the beak cut against my arm. I hissed cutting the bird with the blue blade.
My eyes darted to the small wound. Now I’m really confused. Red drizzled down my arm but, it wasn’t real blood. It looked almost digital. As if my skin were made of tiny squares around the cut.
What the Hell?
“One hundred,” Eve shouted putting her laptop back into her purple bag along with the black cord wrapping it around her neck.
“Come on blank and we’ll explain everything,” Eve smiled overly peppy towards me. To be honest she’s pretty creepy but, I need answers.
“Alice,” Eve signaled.
She nodded running over to us. I followed the two girls away from the mall down a careless street. I looked back as we ran and noticed, the zeroes aren’t chasing us. They don’t seem to want to leave those boxes.
Speaking of which, what did these girls mean by download? Also, what’s a blank? So many questions rang through my head as we ran.
Time passed and I continued to follow the crazies in silence. Soon night had fallen and we reached a neighborhood. I searched the streets with interest. Besides these two and those blob things, I haven’t seen a single person or animal. Where am I?
Eve stopped running as we came to a two story home. It was a white coloring and looked slightly worn down compared to the other homes in the area. A large fence covered the yard with a blue glow. It was the kind that would wrap prison yards with signs covering the yard. Go back, no food, game over, all written in bold red lettering. A nervous pit filled my stomach as I scanned the home.
Alice walked to a panel on the gate of the fence. Her fingers moved swiftly against a key pad that looked as if it had been taken off a garage door. The blue light died out from the fence line as Alice typed.
I stared at the girl unsure of what to do next. Eve however, had no issue in that field. She quickly sprinted towards the gate climbing it much like a monkey, avoiding the barbwire with practiced technique. Alice was next, she slipped between two pieces of gate attached poorly together but, enough to keep anyone out who wasn’t looking for that exact spot. Eve motioned for me to come next. I gulped, moving over to where Alice had gone in. I squeezed through the chain hitting the yard hard. Alice huffed walking to a switch on the porch of the home. She switched on a dial that had come from a timer. The blue light returned to the fence.
“What is that exactly?” I asked pointing towards the blue.
“That’s what electricity looks like in this world,” Eve smiled unlocking the front door.
“This world?” I choked following the girl into the house.
The inside of the house looked just as mad as the outside. Wires traveled the length of the ceiling with several pieces of metal scrap laying against the wall. From where I stood I could see down a short hallway into a kitchen. The table was round and wooden but, was covered with piles of junk ranging from empty cans to smashed TV’s.
I looked to my right to see a sandy, carpeted, staircase to an upstairs that merely looked dark.
Eve walked into the kitchen taking a left turn to somewhere I couldn’t see. Alice pushed my back forward to motioning me to walk. I did was I was told walking deeper into the crazy. Alice pushed me to the left and through an archway in the kitchen to a large living room with two couches and an armchair with a white coloring that sat in the center of the room. I walked to the center of the living room. A high ceiling fan lite the area with a soft glow. Eve lay across the sofa to my right. I noticed that several notebooks filled the carpeted areas along with countless crumpled balls of paper.
“So, blank, I bet you have some questions,” Eve growled playfully.
“Can you stop calling me blank?” I honestly have no idea if it’s an insult or not but, I don’t really like it.
“We call new players blanks due to the loss of memories,” Alice sneered.
“I’m not a blank.” Ok, I think it’s an insult, maybe.
Eve laughed like a child, “what’s your name then?”
“It’s…“ I stopped. What is my name? I can’t remember. I only remember waking up on that street. Was there anything before that?
“See? You’re a blank,” Alice barked.
“If you want to know you’re name pull out your cellphone; it should be carved into the back,” Eve smiled pulling out her own.
It was a square phone that could easily fit into the girl’s small hand. She turned over the shiny front to a back, where the name Evette was carved creepily into the grey.
Alice did the same, her phone was a large touch screen with a white case with a tree painted on the case cut center by the name Alice.
I reached into my jean pockets to feel nothing. I noticed a gray jacket with black strips on both sides going from the shoulder down the arm length to the torn cuffs. I reached into the hoddie’s pocket to find it empty as well.
“I don’t have one,” I concluded.
“You can’t survive in this world without one. Are you sure? He always leaves a phone,” Eve explained.
“Yes I’m sure and who’s he?” I questioned checking again.
“He’s the programmer, the Game Maker, he put us all here,” Eve answered.
“Programmer? Like in a game?”
“Who done it. The goal of this world is to discover who put us here. We have to figure out his true identity before it’s too late,” Alice added to the conversation.
“Too late?” I inquired.
“Before we’re twenty-one,” a male voice entered my hearing.
I turned to the arch way to see a boy who looked older that the other girls. He was a tall guy, maybe six foot’ five. His limbs were long and tired looking. He appeared as if he had just gotten up. His hair was a night black with an uncombed tangle to it. Black locks fell across his green eyes who seemed annoyed but, also seemed as if they couldn’t bother with dealing with any of us. He wore a solid white t-shirt with blue jeans and a tan belt. I noticed his finger nails were chewed down to the numb and his eyes gave me the impression he hadn’t been sleeping much.
“When a player reaches twenty-one or is killed by a Zero or other player it’s game over,” he told as if it were rehearsed.
“Your body is found,” he added. The man pulled out his cell phone that read How. It was keyboard based phone with a tiny screen in black.
How read, “The rules of this game are simple, survival. Each player has until their twenty-first birthday to discover who I am. Each of you hold an important skill to win my game. These skills become your screen name and will appear on any message board concerning you along with an image of your face as not to confuse who is who. The goal is to find clues scattered across this world. When a player finds a clue, part of his/her memory will be returned. Basic needs are still required to live such as eating and sleeping. When a clue is discovered money along with vital information as to my identity will be rewarded to that party. Money can be used to buy food and supplies. If a player is to steal, kill, or find a clue their rank will increase on the Watch Board. The top three ranked players will then have a bounty placed upon their head for other players. If a player’s bounty gets too high, I may just come after you myself. Only with one team can you have the hope of discovering me and returning to your normal lives. Good Luck players! Live or die, it’s all up to you. –The Game Maker.”
“If we don’t play we die,” How finished.
“How do you know so much?” I asked.
How looked at me with a deadly glare, “I’m player one.”
“I was the first in this world and I plan to leave it,” How added.
“Eve, take him to the junk room upstairs he can make a room out of it later,” Alice commanded.
“Yes Miss,” Eve laughed saluting in a comical way.
“Follow me blank,” Eve smiled walking back to the front.
I followed still trying to digest what had just happened. Eve walked with a small skip in her step. How could anyone be happy here? Those rules, they’re made to kill us. It’s not like I have a choice though, I have no memory of who I am or were. I’m just blank.
Eve showed me to the first room on the right of the long hallway. I counted five doors, all shut so that the world couldn’t see what they held.
I opened the room jumping back as crap fell out. Wires and panels, clothing, cans, and I think that was a bar of soap at a point, covered the floor of the room stacking up at least a foot. Well, I guess I get why they called it a junk room. I stared forward to the opposite wall of the small room. A cracked mirror rested across the wall showing my reflection. I am tall, not as tall as How but, I’m at least six foot. My hair is shaggy with a coffee coloring, falling into my blue eyes that seemed almost gray. My skin is snowy with a slight tan, apparently I hadn’t gone outside much in my old life. I wore a green t-shirt with short sleeves reaching my blue jeans. The gray jacket still lay wrapped around my thin torso making me look even skinnier than I was. I’m not very muscled, maybe I’m smart then? Or I could just not like exercising. But, I’m skinny. Anorexic? Nah, I still look a healthy weight. I think I’m seventeen maybe, eighteen?
Eve noticed me staring at the mirror with wonder. “Get a room you two,” she smiled walking around me down the hall.
I watched her walk to the last room on the left side of the hall. She paused before opening the door wide.
“Hey, I think I’m going to call you John,” she called curiously.
“John? Why?” I asked.
“John Doe, cause we don’t know who you are,” Eve giggled.
I smiled lightly seeing her reasoning, “I like it.”
She smiled warmly walking into her room, closing the door. I sighed walking deeper into this junk. I noticed a pillow and towel within the piles of useless garbage. I closed the door to the storage room finding anyway to be comfortable.
I lay trying to avoid the sharper pieces of metal in the rubble. I looked up at the white ceiling in the white painted room.
My name is John Doe and I’ve woken up in a game of who done it, designed by a killer, and I’m sleeping in a storage room of three teenagers who are completely crazy. Well, this is going to be fun.