4 comments

Submitted on 10/30/2020

Categories: Thriller Fiction Teens & Young Adult

“So that’s it, then.  Plain and simple.  I’m just going to lose.”  I cross my arms and dare Morana to come back at me with anything less than total agreement.  

“It doesn’t count if you’re already planning defeat!  Besides, you literally just took the fun out of the whole competition!”

“But it’s not fun!  It promotes violence!”  

Morana sighed in exasperation.  “Why on earth did they send you here?”

Here being Tombstone, of course.  

“I had the best grades in class.  Plus, I thought that by coming to live with the royal family, I’d just get to observe your ways, not participate!”  

Royal being the most gargantuan misunderstood connotation I’d ever had in my life.  I thought the royal family would be above all this madness, that they’d be kind, that they’d try to help their citizens stray from their terrible ways…  Yeah, clearly I was mistaken.  

“Kaitlin, you’re being impossible.  It’s just one little competition.”  

I turned and left the room.  “Alright, princess, have it your way.” 

I hurried down the hall before she could tackle me.  I should probably back up a bit.  Tombstone is an ancient kingdom that separates itself from the world.  I attend a school with an amazing exchange student program, and for the first time of all time, Tombstone showed up on the list.  I thought that all the myths about Tombstone were just that-myths- so I practically jumped at the chance to go.  

I never should have.  Tombstone has a very primitive and violent culture.  They have common “Murder Games” just for fun.  Not for the entertainment of others- for themselves.  They have this giant leaderboard in the center of town for who’s in the lead.  Oh, and about the royal family being kind-hearted- this is not the case.   They encourage this madness!  In fact, the king- Mabuz- is forcing me to participate in the next match.  Sure, no one has actually died in thirteen years, but Morana has come home with many injuries.  

In case I haven’t made it clear, Morana is a princess.  Her name means death.  

My competition is tomorrow.  It’s not that I think I won’t do well- it’s the off chance that I would that scares me the most.  

The night is very fitful and restless for me.  When I wake up (I’d say I had about three hours of sleep), I put on my “game gear.”  

Gah, this is like the biggest and most messed up video game I’ve ever heard of.  Maybe I should think of it like that- A video game, yeah?  That’s not too bad.  So when I arrived at the massive arena, I think of a video game.  

I look to my left and see Morona, and quite frankly, it’s not fair how awesome she looks.  Her long, black hair is riddled with streaks of purple, and she looks calm and at total ease with her surroundings.  

I, however, look like a sweating jellyfish.  I grip my sword.  And enter a game stall.  

The way the murder games work is this:  You go into a game stall until the announcer says go.  Once the announcer says go, you run into a massive arena with an undetermined theme.  Everyone has weapons, but once you get hit in your armor, you’re out of the game, and the person who was hit gets carried off for the rest of the game to watch on a giant screen. It actually didn’t sound that terrible to be named the murder games, but I’m more of a sit-inside-and-read person rather than a go-up-to-random-strangers-and-hit-them-with-a-sword person.  (I wish no one was that type of person… It’s 2o20, guys, come on)

“3...2...1… you are ready to go,” said the announcer, and the door of my stall opened wide.  I froze when I saw the massive jungle before me.  I know that panther can’t be real- nope.  Nevermind.  Scratch that.  

I watched as Gabriel- a boy that I knew- ran out and saw me.  He had a gun, and he raised it to shoot me- Oh, god, no, right as he raised it to shoot, an arrow came out of nowhere and knocked him in the head.  “Player 19 is out- 29 more to go!” yelled the announcer as Gabriel was carried away.  I didn’t stick around to look for the killer- I was out of there.   I climbed a tree and held onto my bow and arrow for dear life.  I watched a snake slither on the ground, and I stifled a gasp.   Oh- there! I saw a young girl running.  

I don’t remember what exactly went through my mind at that moment.  It was like I was out of my body.  I raised my bow and nailed her in the head.  

Silence followed.  How did I do that?  I looked down at myself in horror until the announcer broke my trance.  “Player 14 is out.  28 to go.”  Slowly, I acknowledged the adrenaline coursing in my veins.  What’s that?

I like this.  

From there on out, I enjoyed myself.  I was wrong- this wasn’t a video game.  This was so, so, so much better than anything like that.  I enjoyed everything about this- the chase, the shooting, even being chased.  Before I knew it, it’s only Morana and I in the arena.  Don’t ask me how I know it’s her, I just do.  

I see a streak of purple in the trees.  “Oh, you should have never called me Princess,” she said with an evil laugh.  (I say evil.  She was attempting to sound evil, which never sounds very authentic.  I proceeded to say so, and news flash: that’s not a good idea!)

She shot an arrow, and I moved out of the way with lightning-quick reflexes.  I spun and pulled a gun out of the pocket of my armor.  I shot, and it was over.  

“Game over.  Player 16 wins.  Congratulations, Kaitlin Rooney.”  said the robotic announcer’s metallic voice.  

Morana grinned as she was carried off.  

Oh, this was fun.

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4 comments

David Murphy
15:20 Nov 13, 2020

Mmm... Target audience - Young Adult (I assume), so that rules me out! By quoting the story prompt right at the beginning, you really give away the ending which, of course, is going to be the exact opposite. You need to determine from the outset whether this game is in the "real" world (hinted at by the student exchange programme) or "imaginary" (royal family gladiators, etc.). Sorry, but the story just doesn't hang together very well. Nice effort, though, and you should keep going at it.

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This wasn't my favorite story I've ever written, but it was fun to write. Thoughts? (Please be honest!!!)

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02:32 Nov 02, 2020

"It’s 2o20, guys, come on)" U got an "o" instead of a "0", lol. So, I liked the writing style of this. While it's not nearly as strong as some of your other work, it does have a good pace and flow to it. What I saw that could be improved... Firstly, you again let the prompt dictate your beginning, giving us a few lines of snappy dialogue, and then cutting it off. Here's the problem--the first few paragraphs get us into that scene, and then when it's cut off, we go "Wait, what? We liked that! Bring it back!" ;) If you had stayed with...

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