Prolouge - Russian Roulette, 2045 AD
The receptionist, a small, very pale blond woman with bright pink eyes, led Victor and the other participants down a dimly lit hallway.
They passed six doors, three on the left and three on the right, chillingly, Victor could swear he heard muffled screams coming from the furthest left, followed by a loud splash.
The pink-eyed-tour-guide, who’s eyes, Victor was beginning to suspect, weren’t contact lenses, clip-clopped them down to seventh door painted blood red at the end of the hallway.
“Gentlemen” Pink-eyes squeaked in an unnaturally high pitch. She opened the large door, its hinges creaking loudly, and ushered the five of them inside. The walls were red and black alternating panels. No windows or natural light. Victor noticed a suspicious stain on the ceiling, his stomach clenched.
Pink-eyes motioned with her tiny pale hands for them to take their seats.
“She will be with you soon” she squeaked, Victor thought he could almost hear a nervous edge to her voice “please, please sit down.” She left the room followed by a definitive noise of a lock clicking into place.
Victor looked around at his company as they sat at circular oak table. Each of them had briefcases, he himself had a dusty, scarred brown one.
The man to his right was a very fat, his face covered heavily with a raspy beard. He was sweating profusely and rubbing his little sausage-like fingers together. Was he nervous? Or greedy for the prize? The man to Victor’s left was very ordinary looking indeed, he probably lived in a small ordinary apartment, with an ordinary sofa, on which sits an ordinary cat. His intentions, at least, were clear - he was sick to death of being ordinary- something the prize could change for him. The next company along was a sly looking elderly man, he looked as if he would not hesitate to push an old woman before a bus. He smiled cruelly with rotten, yellow teeth, at the final participant on his left, who just stared back at him blankly. This man had a sheen of sweat coating his brow, however his eyes were glassy and his yellow paper thin hands were trembling. He was clearly a Silk addict.
“Clack” the door unlocked.
In she entered. She looked at us, a smile played along her lips, but did not part to show her teeth. She too was very pale, with ice blond hair, but her eyes - to Victor’s relief- were nothing more than a common brown. Despite this, Victor felt an air of superiority from her, it made him very nervous.
“You all know ze rules?” she asked in her thick Russian accent. Victor nearly laughed out loud - how fitting.
The group nodded in unison, they all knew how to play this game.
“Veddy good, and ze prize haz been mentioned yez, you all have ze money to play?” her lips barely moved as she spoke, Victor put it down to the characteristics of the accent.
All five men put their briefcases on the table, each containing thrity-thousand pounds.
“Ze prize, ov course” she said, answering her own question, “Iz a chance to come and live exclusivley within the Zelman Province. Own a houze, a car, and have a job working within Zelman Corp. Thiz iz all waiting for you, all you haz to do, iz beat me in an eazy game of Russian Roulette.” She nearly laughed, but suppressed it by turning and reaching for the revolver.
“Zere are three bulletz in ze first round, and two bullets in ze second round. Shall ve begin?” She looked down at us all seated around her table, yet again, and laugh threatened to surface.
Victor looked around the table, the yellow toothed man looked ready and eagar to play, Victor found himself hoping that yellow-tooths brain would soon be on that wall. He looked at the woman, such a shame a beautiful woman will be dead at the end of this he thought, get a grip Victor! This is your chance to get out of this wasteland and doomed city.Victor shook his head.
Ever since the Zelman wars sixteen years ago, Victor had been kicking himself for siding with the Altman governing body. Of course Altman and his wife would lose the war, people cannot expect to rule with kindness and compassion, it makes them weak. Now thanks to this hippy-ish weakness of love thy neighbour, those who sided with Awful Altman were left to be punished amongst the infected wastelands of a once great city. If he had shown his loyalty to Zelman, well, he wouldn’t have been here gambling his life away.
“Shall ve begin?” she repeats, surfacing Victor from his thoughts, “You first” she hands the revolver to the fat man who licks his dry lips. He spins the cylinder, places the muzzle to his head and pulls the trigger.Click.
BOOM. The fat mans brains and skin rocket out from the other side of his skull, splattering the wall and barely missing Victor. The Silk addict jumped and screamed a horrendous guttural sound. Victor’s stomach turned.
“Your turn” She nods at Victor. Victor swallows hard, and reaches out for the revolver, trying to maintain his shaking hand. He follows the fat mans actions, spinning the cylinder. Sixty percent chance of not getting shot. I like those odds, sort of. He thinks. Slowly, his finger traces the trigger, and pulls. Click. Victor holds his breath and screws his eyes shut. Those around the table witness the face of total terror, and then almost painful relief as Victor feels the other side of his head, and takes a mental note that his brain is still safely encased.
He releases the revolver and hands it over to the ordinary man, whose brain escapes with a nasty explosion all over the yellow toothed man, whose brain, to Victors morbid delight somewhere deep down, follows suit.
“Vell” she says, “Zat leaves uz az the lucky last”. She reloads the revolver with two bullets. “You’r turn” she holds out the gun to the Silk addict.
The addict looks at her for a long time, finally registering where he is and what he is doing, because his eyes suddenly snap, and he’s screaming whilst lunging at the woman “I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE! I KNOW! I KN-” he falls away, clutching his throat in his yellow hands, dark oozy blood starts trickling at first through his fingers, then pumping ferociously out of a fatal slash across his throat. Horrified, it does not register to Victor that she holds no knife.
“Vell, zat was unexpected and a bother.” she states, “Now we have more ov a chance of being shot” she tells me. She sits down in the Silks now empty chair, holds the muzzle up to her delicate white temple, and shoots.Click. BOOM.
The gun goes off, and Victor can’t believe his luck, he’s won! He has made his way to the promised land! His life will be forever fruitful and joyous, oh the wonders of his new life. Where to begin! What to do! I - he stops celebrating.
There was no blood. No eruption from her other temple. He looks up. She’s smiling at him.
A sick, disturbing smile that sends chills through his body. This smile reveals the fullness of her sharp, white teeth. Razor sharp.
Victor glances up as she pulls the gun away from her temple, the bullet rolls away from her skull, flattened like a pancake, a small cut on her temple is already healing itself. She holds the gun out to him.
Somehow, he still thinks he can win this. His mind hasn’t processed the obvious in front of him, he is so desperate, so in need of a new life, that he spins the cylinder, holds the muzzle to his head, and in his final thought he finally realises, she’s been here before. Which means she’s never lost.
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