Chapter 6: Hunting
“Alice I’m really not sure of
this,” I called from the roof top.
“Oh come on, we won’t know if it works until someone tests it,” she replied.
“Why can’t you use a dummy?”
“I already am,” She giggled slightly.
“Haha funny, no, really I’m pretty sure I’ll die if I fall from this height,” I snapped.
“Just jump, it’s not that hard.” That’s easy for her to say, she’s not the one about to fall to their death. Ok, we’re not that high up but, I could still break something.
“Then why aren’t you jumping?” I snapped.
“Are you crazy? I could get hurt. Now, jump,” she commanded.
I looked back at the metal junk she strapped to my back. This thing looks like it could explode at any time. Alice said this would allow us to fly over the territory without actually being there but, I really don’t want to be the one testing it.
“Jump before I come up there and push you!”
“You’re going to have too because, there is no way I’m doing this,” I yelled.
“Crooked line,” How shouted through the house.
“Get over it, we don’t have time for your OCD,” Eve shouted from her room in which I was standing out her window.
“Jump Blank,” Alice demanded once again.
“Make me,” I snapped.
“Fine.” She began to walk back into the house.
“No! Fine I’ll do it.” Geez, I didn’t really think she’d try to push me off the roof.
I looked once again at the metal junk attached to my back. I took a deep breath flipping the switch to power up the bag. A soft neon glow covered the area of not only the bag but, also myself. I stared down at Alice whose eyes of annoyance spoke a thousand death sentences.
“Alice before I jump, what are the odds of this thing actually working?”
“Umm, eight no, seven percent,” she replied only increasing the growing tightness that stung across my chest.
“If I die, I blame you,” I sighed jumping off the roof.
“I can live with that!”
A scream escaped a lips as I fell to the Earth only to stop a few inches off the surface. Shit, it worked. I laughed a slightly deranged chuckle for the fact that I didn’t die.
A loud cracking noise echoed through the yard. My eyes widened as my face was meet with the dead grass of the home. I groaned pulling myself off the ground looking up at Alice who seemed to be in great thought.
“We’re going to have to test this on something higher,” she mumbled to herself.
“No,” I growled drawing the line.
“Yeah, I wasn’t asking your permission,” Alice answered back.
“You’re just right down poisonous aren’t you?”
“Like a snake,” Alice literally hissed.
I stood up and looked at the girl with distaste and curiosity. “Hey, Alice. Do you hate me?”
She seemed thrown by the question. As if she really wasn’t expecting it.
“I mean did I do something? I didn’t mean to piss you off,” I explained.
“You haven’t pissed me off blank, I’m just scared. Like everyone else here. We all find our own way to deal with this game. Mine is being sarcastic to anything and everything that walks this forsaken plane, as well as making new toys for everyone. It’s the only tie to our old lives we have left. It’s how we earn our names. Did you think I was called the engineer for my looks?”
“Is that why I’m blank?” I asked. I have no idea what I’m good at or how to deal with this, honestly I just go along with the ride. I don’t see a point in arguing something that will never change.
She nodded helping me out of the metal, almost, death trap.
“Don’t expect me to be pouring out my soul to you now,” Alice sighed hitting the back of my head.
“What was that for?” I questioned rubbing the back of my hair.
“Because I felt like it, now, get back on the roof and try again,” she commanded.
I groaned doing what she asked. I continued this process for several hours with different creations. Several, almost all, blew up in my face. One made me pass out and another singed the top of my hair turning it from coffee to black. I think I understand what she said earlier in Spanish.
“Alice can we please take a break?” I asked.
Midday had come and past and How still hasn’t moved from his room. Breakfast my ass. I leaned my legs taking in the cool breath from the ground.
“Oh come on, you can do better. Yes, you can, I’ve decided.”
“And my body decided no,” I huffed standing with a slight wobble.
“Don’t listen to your body, listen to your heart,” Alice commanded.
“Yeah, it says no too.”
I looked over to the girl who seemed to be in great thought. She looked at me with a stern expression and then back at her pile of failures.
“I can’t have you dying on me so I’ll give you a break,” Alice smiled.
“Thank you,” I sighed with relief. My body fell against the earth with exhaustion. Being a conejillo de indias is hard.
A growl over took my stomach creating a loud enough rumble for Alice to take notice.
“What was your first clue?” I moaned.
“You want food?” Alice threw down the sword I had ‘borrowed’ with Eve. “Go get some.”
“What?” I questioned sitting up.
“You have a few options, first steal it but, remember rankings. Two, find the Zeroes and kill enough for credits but, again, rankings. Third, find some. There are some plants growing around the town, most are edible. You’ll be fine,” Alice explained walking back into the house.
“I have my ways,” she smiled walking into the home.
I stood fully up staring at the sword. Ok, I have three options with two of them gaining ranking. I don’t want to get in the top three though I doubt stealing a sandwich would move me so far up. Unless I killed someone for it. Maybe if it were ham. A smile crossed my lips from my inner joke.
“Well, time to go hunting,” I sighed picking up the sword.
I looked at the blue fence with a realization, I have no idea how to turn off the electricity.
I could go ask her to turn it off. Or is she just testing me? Yeah, she wants to see if I’m able to care for myself. Well, I can. Hopefully.
I gazed at the blue coloring with thought. This is a game of survival and if I can’t eat, then I can’t survive right? Ok, you can do this John, or who ever. I can do this.
My eyes looked over at the failures and rubble that had cause the bruises against my skin. A smile reached my lips as I widened my expression. I ran with a sudden energy to search through the crap left behind. I grabbed the metal bag that was supposed to let me fly. Just because it failed at flying doesn’t mean it’s not useful. I bit the blade of the sword so that both my hands could search through the rubble. I grabbed two of the bombs that apparently, were trackers. Well, anyone being tracked by those things isn’t going to be going very far. I slipped them into my pants pockets grabbing the black glove Eve and I had discovered, placing it over my right hand.
I continued my childish grin as I stared at the blue fence. If this doesn’t work- why should I care if it doesn’t? I’ll just have to try something else. I flipped the switch on the bag gaining a blue glow around my body. I ran over to the fence with a yell, much like a bull only to bounce off, unhurt. I can’t believe it.
“It worked!” I exclaimed.
I laughed slightly seeing as my idiotic plan was useful. I walked back to the fence climbing the neon color in the same manner Eve had, but a lot less flexible.
I jumped on the other side with a relief, so I can do something. Now, let’s see if I can find food. Dropping the bag by the fence I ran the only path I knew, back to the town, back to the power box, back to the Zeroes.
I watched the scenery as I ran. This world doesn’t look like a game at all. It looks like a real town, with real houses and real shops. It’s too real to be a program. Then again, the blood and the zeroes. I can’t tell the difference.
I stopped once again in the empty town taking a moment to catch my breath. I scanned my surroundings for any sign of food. Now if I were a psychotic killer where would I put food? Well, if I wanted my victims to discover who I was I wouldn’t make it hard to find food so, that no one would starve to death. That would be no fun to watch. Something within me snapped slightly.
“Is that what you want? To watch us squirm and play your game? What? Don’t like playing prefer watching like a God? Well I’ve got news for you, you’re no God. Only a sick-o who finds watching people fight to survive a Hell,” I shouted into the sky.
“What are you doing?” A voice from behind called.
I turned quickly to be met with a face unknown to me. A boy, maybe nineteen or twenty stood a good distance behind me but, close enough to speak without shouting. He was six foot four, maybe. His hair was a ghostly white against his own pale complexion and dark green eyes. He wore blue jeans with several holes and mud stains with a red t-shirt with a black un-zipped hoddie with cuts along the sleeves. He snarled his teeth slightly as he stood waiting for his response.
“Sorry, I don’t really know what came over me,” I admitted.
I noticed then he carried a wooden bat in his right hand that he carelessly dragged behind him.
“It’s fine I get it, this world has that effect on people, y’ah know,” he seemed unfocused and monotone.
“Hey, my names John, kind of,” I changed the subject.
“Kind of?” He questioned.
“I don’t exactly remember my name, so one was given to me. John, John Doe,” I explained.
“Didn’t your cellphone tell you?”
“I didn’t wake up with one,” I clarified.
“Really? So you’re completely blank?” He concluded.
“Yeah I guess so. I mean before I looked in a mirror I didn’t even know what I looked like,” I laughed thinking back.
“How are you even living? I mean, it’s impossible to survive here without a phone,” he asked concerned.
I don’t know why but I find something unsettling about his eyes. They’re not normal. It’s not like they’re any different than anyone else’s eyes. But, they’re not- I can’t explain it. They just look as if they’ve seen things I could never imagine.
“I’ve been told that before but, I’m doing fine without one,” I replied realizing that I had been staring at him for an uncomfortable amount of time.
“Still. If I could ask, where did you get all of that?” He pointed to Alice’s creations.
“Oh my friend? Well, I borrowed it,” I’m really unsure of what to call her.
“Alice right?” He hypothesized.
“Yeah, do you know her?” I questioned. Who is this guy?
“We’ve met a few times in the past. I can tell you it wasn’t pleasant,” he laughed from his memories.
“I can see why she’s not exactly easy to get along with. Even today, I’ve know this girl for two days and she’s asking me to literally jump off a roof.”
“You’re living with them?” He asked now seeming interested in the conversation.
“Yeah, when I woke up I met Eve and Alice and they just brought me home,”
“Really? Did they now? So I guess you’ve met How?”
“Yes? I’m sorry who are you again?” I asked with concern. I don’t have any idea who this guy is but, I have a bad feeling he’s not telling me something.
My mind returned to the blue fence. It had to be built to keep something, or someone out.
“Ian, or that’s what it says here.” Ian lifted up a navy blue, large, touch screen phone with the name Ian carved into the back.
“Do you know How, Alice, and Eve?” I questioned keeping my hand gripped tightly on my sword.
“We’re all a part of this game. At one point or another we all cross paths,” Ian explained.
“Eve said no one would come into their territory. Why are you here then?”
“Territories are meaningless. I’m not staying either, I’m only here to see where that light came from,” Ian smirked.
“Oh, that was just Eve and me testing Alice’s weapons. Just like now, sorry if that woke you up,” I lied sort of.
“I see. Well, I’m sorry for wasting your time John,” Ian smiled walking closer to me until we were only a few feet apart.
This made me feel slightly uncomfortable for a reason unknown to me. He’s smile was that of a demons. A giddy grin that was too happy for any sane person to possess. In fact, he looked possessed. Those eyes and that smile. It nearly made me sick.
“John do the others know where you are?” Ian asked with a creepy grin.
“Of course they do.” To be honest, no one but Alice knows exactly where I am and I doubt she cares.
“Perfect,” he began to laugh. “I mean killing How directly would be preferable but, if I need to crack your pathetic skull to lure him out of his cage I have no issue in doing just that.”
“What?” I spat with confusion.
He licked his teeth ending with a smirk, “Game over Blank.”