The Game

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Chapter 8: 304

I woke up a week later. Eve was sent to get me from territory two and take me back home. A feeling of despair filled my thoughts as the realization set it. We’re not going against a guy just watching, we’re going against the God of this world. As long as we are playing the game we are at his command.

I said nothing to Eve as we walked back to the house. The week out helped my wounds heal, at least it’s not all bad. I need to just keep telling myself that. Maybe, it will come true.

I feel defeated. He holds my life in the palm of his hand but, it just doesn’t make sense. How can I be in two places at once? He was clearly next to me as he clenched the phone. Why did it have any effect on this me?

He really is a game maker isn’t he?

“Don’t look so glum John,” Eve hummed despite the sour situation.

I said nothing only gave her a tired look.

“I mean yeah, he has control of your body with your cellphone and yeah, there are two of you, but, hey, you’re living now aren’t you? And you gave us a new idea on the Game Maker’s powers here,” Eve smiled looking on the bright side of the black painted situation.

Powers? He’s not a super hero either. Still, maybe she’s right. He doesn’t do anything without a reason. I’m sure everyone here at one time or another cursed his name. So then why punish me?

We reached the fence that was already turned off for our arrival. I slipped between the two fence posts as Eve followed behind, I guess she was too tired to climb.

We walked into the house where How and Alice waited for us at the kitchen table. How still hadn’t put on a shirt and Alice still held the same annoyed expression. I walked to the kitchen table setting down the toys I had borrowed from Alice. Without a word I stood, blank, bruised, and beaten.

How was first to speak, “the Game Maker moved you up the list. You are now rank nine. What exactly did you do?”

I only looked over to him unable to explain.

“I know,” Alice hissed. “He killed someone. I watched it all on Eve’s cameras.”

My eyebrows narrowed as I turned to the girl. I snarled my teeth slightly as she knew that isn’t what happened. Olive and Alex said that Ian had lived and asked for medical attention himself while I was out.

“Oh, does Blank have bite? Well, go on,” Alice sneered.

“Alice you blow everything out of proportion, John why don’t you tell us what happened?” How stated calmly.

“I didn’t kill anyone,” I whispered in fear that he was listening.

“Then?” How pressed for details. I’m sure that video threw him for a loop. God knows it did to me.

“I was going into the town to find food and I ran into this guy,”

“Alice,” How growled. “We have plenty of food from the garden in the back.”

“Not my fault he believed me,” Alice laughed.

That bitch. I could have died because she wanted to play a trick on me. I could feel the temperature off my body rise as my eye twitched, slightly, in anger.

“You mean that I was stabbed, choked, and knocked out because you wanted to have some fun?” I gritted my teeth as I spoke.

“I was board,” Alice smirked.

“Bitch!” I screamed in anger.

“Excuse me?” she stood from her seat and we found ourselves in a staring contest.

“I could have died.”

“How is that my fault?” She gestured with her hands to her face.

“It is your fault. If you had told me that there was plenty of food here I wouldn’t have run into Ian,” I spat.

The room became a deathly quiet. That seemed to shut her up, whatever I said. Eve also seemed to have a loss for words. How narrowed his eyes on me.

“You met Ian?” He snarled.

“He’s the reason I was in territory two in the first place. I walked into to the town and well, I kind of snapped telling off the Game Maker and that’s when he just appeared behind me. We talked for a little bit. He asked me where I got all of Alice’s things and if I knew you How. After that he said he was going to use me to draw you out of hiding so that he could kill you. He attacked and I fought back, nothing more,” I recalled, explaining what really happened.

“So you killed him?” Alice concluded falsely.

“Are you insane? Oh wait, clearly you are. You the great engineer, who’s inventions nearly kill anyone who uses them. It’s not like you’d care if they did. You’re a heartless wi-“How cut me off.

“That’s enough, out of both of you.”

“No, let him finish,” Alice stated coldly.

“Witch,” I spat.

“Coward,” she replied.

“Stop it both of you, Eve help me out here,” How called.

Eve laughed playfully, “John and Alice sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”

“What?” we both shouted in unison.

“First comes love, then comes sex, followed by deep emotional regret,” she continued.

Both of our mouths were wide and full of unspoken questions. We looked at each other and both cringed at the thought.

“Now that you’re both actual listening, we have our plan. How?”

“The address of the building is 578 Arizonian lane in the city. It’s a warehouse on the edge of our territory. We’ll be going to search for the next step into discovering the clue set by him,” How explained.

“So Alice, John, and I will-“Eve began.

“No, we’re all going,” How stated. “Only one team can win, we are a team and I’m getting really sick of hiding behind a cage.”

“Shall we?” How smiled standing from the kitchen table.

He began to walk out of the home with Alice in total shock following behind him.

“What do you mean you’re going?” Alice snapped.

“Alice don’t baby me, I’m rank one for a reason I can take care of myself,” How smiled.

“But,” she began.

Eve came out of the home with her purple bag as well as many of the weapons I had taken with me. She handed the sword back to me and gave How the glove along with two of the bombs. She then handed Alice two guns and smiled sweetly. She seemed so much like a puppy just waiting for master’s approval.

How walked to the kitchen knob on the porch turning off the blue of the fence. Eve once again climbed as Alice and I slipped past the two post. How was the only one of us left. He stood as if he was unsure if he should leave. I wonder when the last time he left the house was. He quickly snapped from his daze, before climbing over the fence with haste.

How took the lead as Alice ran beside him in a protective manner. Eve and I followed behind. I looked over at the pink haired girl. Her hair gleamed in the sunlight. I noticed her tongue stuck out slightly of her mouth as she ran. Her eyes shot over towards me. She stuck her tongue out farther in a childish manner. A smile met my lips as I continued running. I lowered my jaw in a comical fashion. A small laugh escaped her lips. Alice shot daggers at us causing our fun to stop. I looked back over at Eve who had crossed her eyes and puffed out her cheeks, I couldn’t help but laugh.

Alice stopped us, “do you two think this is a game?”

“Well actually yes,” I replied still laughing.

“This is a matter of life and death got it?”

I shut up. I’d rather not get into a fight with miss psycho right now. My reasoning is very simple, if we’re attacked, she has the guns.

We reached the warehouse. It was a large building, clearly abandoned but, not like everything else around here. Abandoned in the sense that it was meant to look worn down and empty.

How walked up to the door and rattled the metal. “Locked.”

“Of course it is. How many games have you played where the door was just wide open?” I pointed out.

“Games?” How questioned.

“Like videogames, those kind of games,” I cleared up.

“You remember what kind of games you played?” How questioned.

“Yeah, I think so. I can remember the game itself but, not me playing it,” I answered.

“I guess you’re not completely blank. Then again none of us are completely empty. Alice remembers her engineering skills, Eve still knows how to hack, and I still know strategies. It’s who we were,” How clarified.

“I guess so. Anyway, he’s playing a game right? Well in a game the answers are always obvious at first.”

I scanned the warehouse for a clue of how to get in. The building was wooden but looked sturdy enough not to just break down. A window, slightly broken rested on the right side of the building on the second story.

“Eve come here a minute,” I called to the girl as I ran over to the side of the building.

Eve did what she was told and I motioned for her to get on my shoulders. The pink haired girl nodded and did just that. She’s a lot lighter than I had thought she would be. Alice and How joined us as I moved against the barn side.

“Can you reach?” I asked pressing my face against the side.

“Just a little higher,” Eve called.

I felt her move her legs to the point that she was standing on my shoulders. I heard a click and her weight slowly vanished from my body. I looked up to see that she was crawling into the unlocked window.

“What do you see?” I called up to the girl.

“The place is pretty empty, hey, I think I can unlock the door.”

The three of us walked back to the front and waited for Eve to unlock the metal door. Several slams and bangs could be heard from the other side.

“Eve? Is everything ok in there?” How asked.

“It’s… fine… just… trying… to… break… this… stupid lock!” Eve started to muffled through the door.

With much effort from the girl it finally gave. The door opened and Eve stood shinning in sweat with a fire extinguisher in her hand. Several dents were across the metal bottom of the red cylinder.

“Hey, come on it,” she huffed out of breath.

I walked into the building with Alice and How following. The place was bare and filled with a thick layer of dust. I noticed the window was right above a platform that are normal for painting tall ceilings. Other than that platform nothing seemed to be here. It was just empty.

How took out a small notebook from the pocket in his jeans as well as a pen. He began to note the scene much like the cops would on TV. Eve and Alice seem to just be walking aimlessly around to see if they could find anything of interest.

Hmm. Well, this is still a game right? Every game makes it easy at first so that the players won’t get to annoyed and give up. The Game Maker wants the player to keep playing and he’s willing to do anything in order to do that.

“I’m going to be right back,” I said walking outside of the building.

I walked into the midday sun and looked up at the blue sky. I know he’s looking at me. We’re so close and he knows it. I turned to the door without going in. The address number was written clearly on a plaque that hung slightly off. Something bothered me about this. It wasn’t so much that the plaque was crooked but, rather that it had three numbers. Most buildings have four unless they are a part of a larger building complex, like apartments. This is no apartment, so why only three? I walked closer to the metal rubbing my thumb across the numbers. I traced their pattern and mastered their shape. A dent came right after the five but, other than it was clear and free of mark despite this being such an old building.

I walked back into the empty barn with an idea.

“Hey How, can I see that notebook for a second?” I asked.

How nodded handing over the paper and pen. I opened the booklet to an empty page, this seemed to bother How but, I continued anyway. I wrote quickly hoping that my idea was correct.

(9(5.78)^2)= 304

“Is that the address?” Eve questioned looking over my shoulder at the math.

“Yeah but, I don’t know what this has to do with anything,” I added.

“We had a three digit number now we have a new one,” How voice seemed curious.

“Eve try putting this number into the last power box code, the one where you found John,” How commanded.

Eve saluted sitting on the dusty, concrete, floor pulling out her laptop.

“Hey Eve, question; why do you guy search for power boxes?” I realized I never asked.

“They let us hack into the Game’s server temporarily, letting us use cameras that the game maker has installed around this world. It’s kind of a way to spy on others,” Eve explained typing hastily in her computer.

An error code filled her screen, “nope.”

“Any other ideas?” Eve asked me.

“Why me?”

“You got us this far,” Alice added without almost any sarcasm.

I gulped, “umm the clue is in plain sight, try seeing if anywhere on the floor creeks or if something on the wall moves.”

The three nodded following my instructions. I gave How his notepad back and help search myself. It has to be here somewhere.

Where did you hide it?

“Hey guys, I think I found something!” Eve hollered from across the room. A panel in the floor came up near where she kneeled. I walked over to the girl and stared down at the floor. A blue latex glove rested against a cold grey flooring. It had been clearly used due to the stretches and the blood. Eve reached her hand into the small pit to grab the item.

“Don’t touch it!” How shouted but, it was too late.

Eve took hold of the rubber pulling it out for everyone to see. How yelped grabbing his throat in a painful manner. Confusion and concern painted everyone’s faces as his wails of pain echoed through the bar. How stumbled away from the pit before collapsing, unconscious.

“How!” Alice yelled running over to the boy.

Eve threw the glove, wishing that she had listened to his warning. Did How know this was going to happen.

All phones rang breaking the cold silence. Eve and Alice checked their messages. I looked over Eve’s shoulder to read the text.

Congratulation players on discovering the first clue in discovering my identity. Looks like Player one had an accident, I assure you he is fine and when he awakes he’ll be a new man, or should I say old?

-Game Maker

Another message come onto Eve’s phone but, Alice’s did not ring.

Hacker, I’ve entrusted an object in the folds of the glove that I’m sure you will find very interesting.

-Game Maker

Eve moved carefully in reaching into the blue latex. Her hand shook as she touched the material. A card, much like a bank card slid out of the rubber. Eve stared at the plastic card with interest. She quickly put it away grabbing the glove and putting it in her laptop bag.

“We need to get How home. We can figure out what to do after that,” Eve commanded taking leadership.

I walked over to Alice helping her carry How who lay limply and unresponsive against the cold earth.

So this is a clue? How obvious could you be? 304?

It spells How. I thought you’d be cleverer Mr. Game Maker. I hope you don’t make it too easy.
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