Featured Review on this writing by Sue Harris

Games

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts
Inspired by 'The Arena' prompt at the BoMoWriCha House.

Submitted: January 26, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 26, 2019

A A A

A A A


Games

Whatever they drugged me with was some strong stuff. This is the third or fourth time I’ve opened my eyes since they grabbed me off the street, jabbed me with that needle and tossed me in the back of the van. I’m no one special so why would anybody want to kidnap me?

The room I’m in is empty. There’s not even a bed for me to lay on, just concrete. Plain concrete walls too, no windows and a door that looks to me like it’s not about to open. I walk towards it, grab the handle and prove myself right. There is no movement in it at all.

With nothing to do and no where to go, I sit in a corner with my back against a wall and try to think through the painful thickness that is inside my head. It takes a while for any thoughts to form at all, and as they do, I find myself kind of wishing that they didn’t. The seed has been planted now, at least as to why. Who I am, or rather was, is beside the point if my idea proves to be right.

My eyes close for a while and I let the fog swallow those thoughts. Just drift for a while in absolute nothingness, the only thing that breaks its way through is the pain inside my head.

A scraping noise drags my eyes open once more, and even with the blurriness of my sight I can see one of the walls has disappeared. A further room has opened to me, but I don’t want to look. I don’t want to find out that the idea I had was right. I’ll stay here, sit in denial, then I won’t find myself dragged in.

The Games! That’s what I’ve been seized for, I’m sure of it. Blood sports to please and enthral the rich and the powerful that no one will volunteer to play. For the only prize that these games allow is death.

I can’t deny that I’m curious. I want to get to my feet and prove to myself that I’m wrong in thinking along such lines. Fear holds me back until I find myself being forced forward by the wall I was leaning against. Of course it would not be possible to just stay away. I should have realised that, got to my feet and bravely walked forward, ready to lay down my life for the cause of entertainment. Instead, I press hard against the wall, trying to stop its advancement or at least slow it down. I am not brave, have never pretended to be anything other than a coward.

I shout for a while. At least I think I do; telling them they picked the wrong person. I’m about as far from gladiator material as it’s possible to get. I can’t put on a show, they should replace me with someone who could.

That last thought shocks me. I willed this on to another innocent person. I’d sacrifice someone else for my freedom to go back to my normal life. How could I? Then again, how could I not? It doesn’t matter anyway for the wall keeps moving and no one is listening to my words.

My whole being sinks as I am forced in to that second chamber. Not only do I see the armour, the long and very sharp sword, but I hear the audience too. Cheering, jeering, baying for blood. A weakness overwhelms me, a sickness that drops me to my knees. I can’t do this. It can’t be happening....not to me...a nobody. But that’s it, isn’t it! That’s who they pick; those of little consequence and even less value.

There’s no way to escape this fate that has been chosen for me. All I want to do is to curl up and stop breathing but that’s not so easy to do, no matter how desperate you are to do it. I pick up the armour, half expecting it to be heavy when in fact it turns out to be remarkably light. It’s too big, gapes in places and chafes in others but I’m under no illusion that this discomfort will continue for long.

The sword, on the other hand, is heavier than I anticipated. I can lift it with both hands, but am I going to have the will or the strength to use it. I gulp and tears run down my cheeks. I’m no killer. Perhaps I should just go out there without armour, no weapon in hand and submit to my opponent’s blade.

Just as I decide that would be the best course of action, I can hear the shouting increase to almost fever pitch, only to be replaced by cheers and heckles. The killing blow, I presume, has been delivered.

The door in front of me begins to open, slowly. It takes a while for me to get a glimpse of the blood-stained sand. My mind screams at me to concede, to get it over quickly but my body has other ideas. It’s been taken over by some kind of primitive survival instincts, and the armour stays on, the sword remains in my hand.

Go out attacking, my muscles silently scream, overpowering my thoughts of defeat. And I do. I run out on to the arena, a roar issuing from my mouth before my opponent is even in sight.

I expected to find myself face-to-face with someone much bigger than me but no, we are evenly matched. Of course, she, no doubt has already fought. This is either an advantage for me as she’ll already be tired, or the opposite with her own bloodlust and victory spurring her on.

I’m about to find out. I raise my sword and, bile already bitter in my mouth, I prepare to swing it at my anonymous, blameless enemy. The cheers erupting all around are all I need to know the fight is on.

 

(993 words.)


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