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“Take off the blindfolds,” they said as I started to gain consciousness once again. When they took it off, I shielded my eyes for a second to keep the blinding light out of my eyes. Once my eyes adjusted, I looked around to figure out what was going on. I looked at myself to see that I was kneeling on the ground—very sandy ground at that—and stood up to get a better look at the area.
After wiping the sand off of my shorts, I looked around to see that I was on a very small and sandy island with eleven of us altogether (including me). Six of them were like me, confused and just standing up. The other four watched us get up, all of them armed with baseball bats and one of them with a bandana covering his mouth. The strangest thing about the place, however, was that the island appeared to be surrounded by some kind of polluted water, as it was a shade of light black; maybe an oil spill or something?
“Oh no,” one of the others exclaimed to no one in particular, “no, I already did this once, and I am NOT doing this again!” With that, he charged towards the armed guy with the bandana, who simply took three steps out of the way, causing the man to end up tackling an armed guy behind him, sending them both in the water. I expected a splash and instinctively covered my face to avoid the dirty water from getting all over it, except there wasn’t a splash. I glanced back just in time to see their feet drop down into the “water”. I walked over and peeked over the edge carefully to see both of them silently falling and falling and falling and falling until no one could see them anymore.
The guy in the bandana, who was over glancing over the edge at this point, swore to himself—presumably from the loss of one of his few men and one of his prisoners.
“What the...?” one of the other prisoners asked. At this point all of the other prisoners, except for me, were looking around in hopes of an answer from one of the three other captors, who, as you would expect, were a bit more alert this time.
“Well, that isn’t exactly how I wanted this introduction to go, but I guess we’ll just have to live with it.” The man in the bandana said, still glancing over the edge. I felt like pushing him down there with the other two, but for some reason part of me said to stay and listen to what he had to say.
“Welcome, gentlemen, to The Void. Now you probably have many questions right now, but I am afraid that I will not be able to answer any until you do a small favor for my friends and I here. If you would please look behind yourselves.”
All five of us turned our heads to see the impossible; there were objects just floating in the middle of the air. Planks of wood, blocks of concrete, boulders, and many other solid objects were suspended in the air. They all seemed to be lined up in a way, and they all slowly ascended upwards. It was like a bridge or a path that had a lot of gaps, and was made of many different materials. At the zenith of this path was some strange, orange crystal that shined in the sunlight.
“That orange crystal that you see is called a Void Crystal. As you can see here, the path to it is very dangerous. That is why we gathered you five here; we wish for you to jump and climb the objects and obtain that crystal for us. If you can do this successfully, then we shall return you to your home. You will never have to deal with us ever again.”
That last part didn’t seem very truthful to me, considering how that guy exclaimed how he already did this once before and then proceeded to tackle one of the armed guys into The Void with him.
“What if we fall into this…Void thing? What happens to us if we fall down there, like those two other guys?” one of the younger prisoners asked.
“Well,” the bandana man said, “We don’t know exactly what happens. We can confirm that you don’t die, as you literally can’t die from falling, and we’ve found out that your senses start to numb as you fall. We presume that you fall forever, but we can’t be entirely sure at this point.”
That answer surprised me. I figured that if you fell, you would die of falling or, if not falling, starvation or something. They made it sound like you actually go somewhere once you fall far enough. Even so, he made it clear that you don’t want to fall.
“You there,” the bandana guy said, pointing to a young boy next to me, “you go first. We’ve watched you jump from rooftop to rooftop in your hometown; this shouldn’t be much different than that.”
I watched as the boy, who looked to be about fifteen, slowly get up and walk over to the edge of the island where the path started. He took a deep breath, let it out, and then leaped towards the first object. He managed to grab a hold of the debris, but he had a hard time getting himself on top of it. Eventually he scaled it and leapt to another piece, landing on top of it. On the third jump, however, he tripped on his last step and fell. I heard him scream for a few seconds before it was abruptly cut off, renewing the silence that had remained before.
“This is messed up,” an older prisoner declared, “you just made that kid kill himself! I am not going to do the same.” With that, he went over to one of the armed guys and punched him in the lower jaw. The armed guy quickly swung his bat several times and beat down the man. A few seconds ago, the man was standing up just fine. Now he was on the ground being beat down mercilessly by a guy with a baseball bat.
The armed guy stopped after a bit, leaving the prisoner to curl up in pain on the sandy ground of the floating island. After that, the man in the bandana walked over, picked up the prisoner, and threw him into The Void. He turned around and looked at all of our faces, which were now filled with fear and panic.
“Alright, let’s see…who should go next…” he said, walking in front of each of us. “Eany, meany, miney, mo. Catch a tiger by the toe. If it hollers let it go. Eany, meany, miney…” His finger was pointed at me with the last word coming out of his mouth. “Mo. You can go next.”
I gulped and felt a part of me die. Reluctantly, I walked over to the start of the path and looked at all of the floating debris. I had past experience of stuff like this, but I haven’t done it for a good three years ever since I broke my leg doing it. My leg was healed now, but I knew that I was still rusty on my skills. Nevertheless, I took a few steps back and sprinted forward.
I leapt forward and landed on the wood plank. I looked over to a block of concrete to my right that looked like it had been ripped out of a sidewalk. I jumped and managed to grip onto an end of it. I began pulling myself up, which turned out to be quite an effort considering that there was nothing on top of the concrete block to grip onto. It took me a few minutes, but I finally managed to get myself up onto the block.
I looked towards the Void Crystal, glowing brighter as I ventured closer towards it, and saw it was only four things of debris away. This was where the young boy had failed, however, and I was fearful that I would suffer from the same fate. I took a breath and looked at the next floating object. It appeared to be a metal door, but it was tilted at a seventy-five degree angle. I would have to grab onto the top of the door to prevent myself from sliding down it and straight into The Void.
I took two steps back, ran forward, and jumped right at the edge. I landed but instantly started sliding down the door as I failed to grip onto the top. In a panic I tried reaching up to get a grip even though I knew it was pointless. Half of my body was already off of the door when I realized, in that split-second, that I could grip the doorknob. I got one hand on the knob and held on for dear life. A few seconds later, I had most of my body dangling off of the door, my arm feeling like it was being torn as it was the only thing holding my whole body weight.
Quickly I got my other hand the door knob. And there I was, both hands gripping onto the door knob and me just dangling there, unable to get a better grip then the one that I had right now. I was stuck. There was no visible way for me to get a grip on the top of the door from here without getting myself killed.
Behind me I heard a commotion going on; I tilted my head back towards the island to see what was happening. The three prisoners were trying to fight the two armed guys while the man in the bandana simply watched it go down. From what I saw, it seemed like the prisoners were losing and would probably be thrown into The Void. Nobody would be getting the crystal. At least no one in our group.
Knowing there was no hope for me, and that I was just stalling the inevitable, I let go of my grip on the door and accepted my fate. Once I was in The Void, everything around me just turned black and all other things disappeared. Just pure blackness. I couldn’t even see my own hands when I held them out in front of me. After a few minutes in The Void, I didn’t even feel like I was falling anymore. Just kind of floating. Suspended in nothingness. Slowly, I realized that I was losing my senses: I couldn’t see, I wasn’t hearing anything, I didn’t feel the wind on my back from falling anymore. I had lost complete touch with the world.
Eventually I started feeling lightheaded, and very tired. I closed my eyes—or at least I think I did, as I couldn’t feel or see anything—and started drifting off into sleep. At least I would be sleeping my way to death.
“Take off the blindfolds,” they said as I started to gain consciousness once again. When they took it off, I shielded my eyes for a second to keep the blinding light out of my eyes. Once my eyes adjusted, I looked around to figure out what was going on. I looked at myself to see that I was on the ground—very sandy ground at that—and stood up to get a better look at the area.