There’s something about the people on TV that makes me wonder if everything is made up. I watch one TV show, a game show, and wonder if it’s really real. Do they really pick the people randomly? I don’t know.
So even though I’ve entered my information in the raffle (as the law states), I’m not so sure. I think they look at each person’s record and pictures and past and pick the people that fit the show. You know everyday characters… the clown, the bad girl, the diva, the hot country boy… those ones. I bet each person on a reality game show is picked for either their looks, talent, and a perfect record.
If that’s the case, I know I’ll have a chance. My sister wouldn't. She has a bad record… Before our 18th birthday, she’s stolen and cheated and gambled and more. If they pick perfect records, there’s no way she’ll be going on.
But now that we are 18, we are forced by law to enter our names for the game show. They pick them “randomly” on live television and people are sent to their headquarters, where they will compete in a made-up world scavenger hunt. The losers are sent home and are never seen again, probably from shame and ridicule. The winner is sent home with a lot of money and all the fame they can handle. I have posters of each of the past 9 winners.
I plan to be on the tenth.
My sister walked in. “Announcement tonight.”
I nod excitedly, hide my paper and pencil.
Piper flipped over the couch and grabbed the remote. “I wonder what it’s about…” She went through channel after channel, finding the one we wanted.
“Yeah… it can’t be the contestants, it’s too soon for that.”
She didn’ answer. When he saw her favorite movie come one, she stopped searching and looked at her watch, then stared at the TV.
I glanced at her then down at my paper and brought it out quietly, fiddled with the pen in my left hand, and read through silently for the tenth time.
“Dear Collins Edworth,
I hope you got my first two letters. I can understand if you didn’t, you being so famous and all as the Grand Master and lead game host, they have to report anything odd, and I come from an odd town in an odd district.
I’m writing regarding your game show, The Game of Life. I’ve entered my name in the raffle and have anything I need ready to go, just in case. I wanted you to know that your show is my absolute favorite, and while you say the raffle is random, I don’t think it is. You see, I have a perfect record. You can ask the Master of my district and he’ll tell you; all good grades, good behavior, good family, good friends. And I know being good at everything is everything.
So if it really isn’t random, I would really love it if you picked me. I know this is immature and I can enter next year, but I want to win now. I want to be the youngest winner ever, and I can only do that at 18.
My twin doesn’t want to enter, so please don’t pick her.
Chloe Vandish of Wilmsburgh”
I signed the letter and quickly folded it and put it in the addressed envelope with my district’s crest, told Piper I’d be right back and ran out to put it in the mailbox, then ran right back in. The channel was already changed and flashing bright blue and yellow. I smiled and flopped onto the couch as the interview host Flick appeared and the music faded.
“Hello, my precious district audiences! We’re so excited to start our new season of The Game of Life, are you?”
People in the audience on TV cheered and screamed. I would give anything to be there.
Piper scoffed. “These people are ridiculous. This show is ridiculous. Who would want to be on here?”
I chucked. “Yeah, really…” but inside I was bursting. I could not wait to see the announcement. Ever since our parents died, Piper and I became very different people. We grieve differently. She became someone who didn’t care because nothing matters. I became the person who keeps to themself, afraid that if they say or do something wrong, they might be hurt. She doesn't know that I love this show.
“Tonight, we have a very special announcement… will everyone please welcome Mr. Collins Edwroth!”
People cheered again and I smiled secretly.
As soon as Collins sat down, I saw Piper reach for the remote and grabbed it before her.
“What are you doing?”
“I want to watch this…” I started watching TV.
She scoffed. “It’s not that important, we’re probably not going to be picked.”
“I know… I just want to see what it’s all about.”
She crossed her arms and sighed. Collins was talking on the TV, so I zoned in and listened.
“Well yes, we do have some exciting news! You see,” He looked at the audience. “Our contestants have already been chosen.”
My heart dropped. My last letter hasn’t even been mailed yet. There’s no way I’m one of them.
Flick gasped dramatically. “Oh? And do we have a good group this year?”
“Everything’s good here in the Future States, Flick!” The audience laughed and Piper rolled her eyes. “But yes, I think from our drawing we have a very good group of young men and women who have volunteered for this exciting time! In fact…”
He kept talking as Piper moved around on the couch. “Volunteered... It’s a law to register, they make it sound like everyone gets a choice!”
I shushed and ignored her as she shot me a look.
“... so go ahead and check your mailboxes everyone! You might just be a lucky winner!”
I heard Piper mutter something under her breathe and I turned it off. “You’re right, that was dumb. Let’s go to bed.”
“It’s only ten..”
“I have a date tonight.”
I scrunched up my face. “After ten? Curfew has already passed.”
She smiled and stood up. “It’s Derek. Of course it’s after ten.” Ah yes, Derek. The illegal love from the beat down part of Wilmsburgh. He was way above us, no relationships like that are allowed. She went to the door and grabbed her coat.
I called after her, remembering the letter that I just put in there. “Are you gonna check the mail?”
She laughed and opened the door. “No way, there’s no point. They don’t need us.”
I laughed. “Yeah.. have fun!”
“Oh, I will.” As soon as she closed the door I got up and pulled back the curtain, watching her get into her back. Once she was out of sight, I threw on some shoes and ran out to the mailbox to get my letter. When I opened it, I froze.
Inside, my letter was gone, replaced by a large blue and yellow envelope.
I took it out, saw the official York crest, and nearly screamed. I ran back inside after slamming shut the mailbox and made sure the address was correct.
I actually did it….
I ripped it open and yanked the pure white paper out and froze again when I was the first line.
Piper Vandish of Wilmsburgh!
You have been chosen as a Contestant for ‘The Game of Life’!
We are very excited to meet you…”
I flipped through the three pages of rules and regulations and other contestants, getting angrier at every word. When I got to the acceptance page, I got the most wonderful idea.
This is my lifelong dream. This is not Piper’s.
But we’re identical twins.
I filled out the form in my room and folded it up, putting with the suitcase that I had already packed.
I went to the mirror and established what was different between us. My hair was longer, so I cut it. My ears were pierced, so I took them out. My eyes were blue… I’d have to work that one out later.
I finished quickly and waited hours for Piper to come back. I never thought I’d be doing this. I didn’t do anything. I hardly got any sleep. When I heard her come through the door, I put my hair back so she wouldn’t notice the difference and put on my pajamas. I waited half an hour for her to get to her bedroom and then walked out to the kitchen, got what I needed, and knocked on her door, taking a deep breath.
“Can you come here for a second?”
I heard her groan and walk three steps to the door. She opened it and I quickly wrapped the rope around her neck, pulling it tightly.
Tears came to my eyes as I realized what I was doing. But I wouldn't stop. I watched her face turn red then purple then white. She clawed at her neck and my arms. But I wouldn't stop. I watched her eyes roll back and close. I let go and she fell to the ground.
For good measure, I took my knife and cut her throat, watching the blade swipe across effortlessly. I barely cried at all.
I was truly willing to do anything to get my lifelong dream.
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"Fraud" - Part two coming soon!