Mino, The Game Show Of A Lifetime | Teen Ink

Mino, The Game Show Of A Lifetime

August 27, 2012
By Destinisi, Jacksonville, Florida
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Destinisi, Jacksonville, Florida
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Favorite Quote:
Everyone has their own opinion, mine is just better then yours.

Author's note: This is my first book, and it took me roughly 8 months to write. I worked to the bone on this project, but after writing this second draft, I've decided to abandon the book, and work on other projects. I hope you enjoy and please give an honest opinion.

Our apartment wasn’t much. Nothing special in New York. But it was enough for our family. Well what was left of it, which was basically my sick mother and myself. It was a 2-bedroom apartment next to a train. You could look outside the window and literally see the train tracks. We were on the fourth floor, lucky enough to be the only room you could almost touch the tracks from. The train came by everyday at 4 in the afternoon and 11 at night. The 11 o’clock train was so much worse. When I was little, I used to throw small toys onto the track at night and watch the train smash through them, that was until my mom got rid of all of them when she found out I was doing that. The only reason she found out was because one of the wheels from a toy car went straight through her window.

My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was in college at MCNY in 2065. It was my third year there, and I had to keep two jobs to be able to go, one as a fast food manager, and another as a soccer referee for a young adults league. They were all right jobs; they helped me through my time spent in college. But I had to stop going as soon as my mother was diagnosed. At first we didn’t notice anything, she worked as a technician and didn’t eat a lot, but she started losing weight, just a little, unnoticeable really. Once in awhile she would have small chest pains, we weren’t sure why at the time. My mother was a light smoker, and thought that was the cause of her chest pains, so she stopped, and luckily it wasn’t hard for her to stop, but it was too late. One night my mother awoke, and coughed blood onto her pillow. We rushed her to the hospital, scared out of our minds. I was in boxers, a white t-shirt, and slippers when I met the doctor, I’m sure he thought I was crazy at first.
She was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, which is rare, and even rarer in women. But small cell lung cancer spreads faster, so we knew she didn’t have much time left. Over the next few weeks we began to notice the disease more and more. Soon she stopped eating frequently, and went to eat only once or twice a day, with small rations. Her voice started dying out, like a toy with low batteries. Her voice went from sweet and nurturing to low and raspy. She became bed ridden, I had to quit my fast food job to stay home and take care of her all the time. The only thing keeping her alive, was the drug F.E.O.C., or Fighting Effects Of Cancer.
See there wasn’t a cure for cancer yet, only this drug which drastically slowed the effects, prolonging death and of course neutralized the pain. In 2031 cancer became the leading disease diagnosed in the U.S. America panicked and the top scientists worked for 3 years to create only a temporary cure. Taking too much of F.E.O.C. can freeze your cells though, completely shutting down the organ infected with the cancer, but taking the right amount, slows down the disease.
The pills cost hundreds of dollars, even with medical insurance. Soon with one out of every three people becoming ill, they began to produce more, while raising the prices. With people sick and out of work, there became more available jobs, so people worked harder and longer, but also had to drop out of schools early, such as myself, and some turned to other methods of getting the money for the drugs. Some turned to crime, others left the country. Over the years, America’s intelligence level dropped. The economy grew weaker and soon almost crumbled.
The companies running the pharmacies and producing the drugs became the most evil companies known to Americans. People thought they were being greedy, producing more while raising the prices. Soon people became tired of it all, and pharmacies became dangerous. In 2047 the first riot broke out in Nashville, Tennessee. A group of healthy citizens mobbed outside when the pharmacy refused to sell their remaining pills, because of a few people trying to bargain with the pharmacists and bribe them with other means. The crowd became outraged, and a riot broke out. The pharmacy burned down, and only one pharmacist escaped in time, the others died in the building. The crowd almost beat him to death, until S.W.A.T. arrived with police forces. There were seven casualties, including the four pharmacists in the fire.
More riots broke out along the country, and became worse as time went on. In some poor cities looting became more common, and pharmacies had to shut down. In the small town of Black Diamond, Florida, a massive mob broke out including over half of its citizens, burning and looting all of its pharmacies, stores, and government building. The government came in and took down the mob, but covered up the story of what really happened in the town. Its still under lock down today and no one is allowed in. Most of its buildings are gone, and it’s supposedly deserted.
It was 2065 when there was finally an answer anyone could turn to for money. It was the deadliest and scariest answer, but for some it was all there was. That answer was Mino. A game show, but not just a normal game show where you go answer questions for quick and easy cash, or go on obstacle courses with a buddy with an annoying show host, but a game show for your life. President Kelley approved it in 2064 and they constructed an entire building for it, the tallest in the world, and right here in the heart of New York City. But the game wasn’t held there, it was held in arenas built all over the world, hidden from it though.
The game consisted of 7 males and 7 females and lasted only 24 hours from the second the contestants entered. It was on every five days, and showed every second of it on TV, giving viewers the choice to watch a single contestant of their choosing, or all of them. The contestant’s goal is to survive until Mino is released, kill Mino and win the grand prize of 100 million. Mino was the shows mascot, a three hundred pound, black furred, Minotaur with a great axe. He’s trained only to hunt down any survivors left. The contestants also have the choice of killing one another for 10 million each, or they can team up and split the money in the end.
If other survivors and Mino weren’t enough, the designers sent in monsters and trained people to kill you while your dealing with the new environment. A few years ago, all of the contestants but one decided to join together and split the money. They camped out together on a beach with all of the supplies and planned to wait out the game. Well the designers were outraged, so they sent in the one thing never to be killed in Mino. That night when most of the contestants were asleep by the shore, a Kraken attacked and destroyed all of them. The one survivor, who didn’t join them, was then torn to pieces by Mino.
In the five years that the show has been on the air, only two people have ever won it. One of them was Bain Travers; he won on the 4th of July special. The contestants were placed on an island with hundreds of palm trees, and at night fireworks went off to keep them on their feet. Being only six-teen Bain was the youngest in the game. He was very small and fast, and was able to climb the palm trees with ease, which he used to his advantage.
With a crossbow, Bain sat on the palm tress waiting for other contestants to walk by, unaware of him, and be murdered without them alerting others of his presence. He would loot the bodies for supplies and hide them in the ocean or bushes. With him killing off the remaining contestants, Mino was released shortly. It took the beast awhile for it to figure out Bain was hiding in the trees, Mino had four arrows in him before he did, but as soon as he realized it he began knocking down the trees. Startled, Bain dropped the crossbow, and started to leap from tree to tree, barely making his jumps. Just as he seemed doomed, he found an old machete lodged into one of the palm trees. With all of the strength he had left, he pulled it out, and just as Mino made the tree fall, so did Bain, with the machete high above his head. There was a sickening crack as the blade intercepted Mino’s
skull. Mino fell to his knees, defeated at last, with the machete stuck in-between his horns.

Around the globe fans went wild. A champion was born. Millions watched as Bain walked away from the dead monster, and off camera, never to be seen again. After he was taken off the island, Bain went missing. No one had heard from him, not even his little sister who started a campaign to find him. The public blamed Mino for his disappearance, but the company assured they gave the champion his reward. There were attempted investigations, but the government cancelled them all, and President Kelley used his first executive privilege to protect Mino. His sister was devastated, and their parents died soon after.

Five months ago, the first week into August, Charles Dread and his girlfriend entered the game planning to win together. Their arena was a campsite with log cabins scattered all over a mist filled forest. Each cabin had its own horror awaiting its victim inside. Shockingly the couple out lasted the other contestants and timer, after killing a Bigfoot inside of a cabin and surviving hundreds of deadly hornets that plagued the forest that night. When Mino was released, they created a plan to kill him. His girlfriend would stand outside the cabin while Charles shot him with a ballistic knife they had found in the cabin.

When Mino spotted her, he charged for her, and when Charles attempted to pull her up onto the cabin to safety rather than shoot Mino, he plowed right through her into the cabins wall, tearing her apart along with the cabin. Charles fell, and landed on a nail, which went straight through his knee, immobilizing him. Mino erupted with a roar from the rubble, with his axe and Charles’ girlfriend nowhere to be seen. Mino was bleeding from a gash in his head, and had someone else’s blood all over his horns.

As Mino raised his hoof to smash in Charles’ head, he pulled out the ballistic knife, and shot it into Mino’s chest. Mino stumbled backwards, and fell onto another nail, going through the back of his head, killing him instantly. A medic team arrived and patched up Charles, who kept screaming for his partner. He became hysteric, and when he watched the medic team pull out what was left of his girlfriend, he lost it. After going to the headquarters and receiving his money, he went home, denying to speak to anyone from the media. The next day they found his corpse in his bedroom, with a bullet in his mouth.

The world knew it was possible to win Mino, but with the disappearance of Bain, and the suicide of Charles, was it really worth it? After the first Mino was killed, they replaced him with a bigger and stronger one. Currently, Mino the Third is in the show, and he’s better then the first two in every possible way.

I sat on the rough, torn-up, blue leather couch in our living room watching Mino on the small TV. As the credits rolled through, I checked the time, 10:47. The train would be here any minute, I thought I should at least give my mother her pills before it does, hopefully she wouldn’t even notice when she’s all doped up. I grabbed two F.E.O.C. pills and noticed the bottle was empty. We were out, and I knew I didn’t have nearly enough money for more. Without more by next Thursday, she would get a lot worse.

I filled a glass with cold water and ice and made my way to my mothers’ room. Inside it was dark, a little bit of moonlight seethed through her window blinds, and she coughed to acknowledge me. She laid tucked into her bed, with tons of blankets on top of her. I felt the cool air as soon as I stepped in, and shivered. She always liked the cold, I hated it.

“Oh you’re such a sweetheart for taking care of me Xan, I don’t know what’d I do without you.” My mother coughed. Her long red hair was thinning, and she looked old and tired. I handed her the glass of water and pills with a smile, and sat next to her on the bed as she took them. When she was finished I took the glass from her and she asked, “Were those the last?”

I nodded, “Don’t worry, I’ll get you more.”

“Just make sure you stay safe darling.” I leaned down and kissed my mother on the forehead, and she began to fall asleep.

As I went for the door, I asked, “Will you be alright by yourself for a few days?”

“Of course, just be careful with whatever you’re going to do.”

“Goodbye Mom, I love you.” I closed the door gently, and walked back out into the living room as the credits for Mino were ending. The Mino logo appeared once more, and a voice began to speak.

“Desperate for money or fame? Go to Mino Headquarters and sign up to compete for Mino today to be a lucky contestant on Friday, the 18th of December 2070’s show! Details and information will be given! Thank you for watching Mino!”

The only answer… I thought to myself. It was crazy. It was suicide. But it was 100 million. Enough to buy F.E.O.C. and food and a new home and… my watch began to beep. Eleven. I grabbed onto the wall, as the entire apartment began to shake. I could hear my mother scream from her bedroom, but I knew she was all right. After a few seconds the train was gone and my mother calmed down, and soon fell back asleep. I needed the money to save my mother, I was going to play. But I needed someone else by my side, someone who needed the money if not as much then more then me. And I knew just who to get.

Iara Faria sat in her office at the New York Times, worried about her career as a journalist. Over the past year she hadn’t reported anything interesting, luckily her boss liked her. She was sure he was going to fire her though. But there was just nothing interesting in the city anymore with that stupid game show, Mino. Today Iara was in her gray buissness suit with the necklace her mother made her around her neck. It was made from cattleya labiata pedals strewn together. When she was just old enough to go to college, Iara had left her mother in Brazil to go to college in the states. Once in awhile she would get a post card from her, and would send one back, but Iara could never tell her mother how she was a failure here in the states, it would have devastated her.
As a child, Iara always loved reporting. She would sit and watch the news all day long, hoping one day to be a news castor or out on the streets reporting on crimes or celebrations. She took up the job of being a journalist in the New York Times while in college there, and had it for over three years. It paid her bills and she enjoyed it. Well, enjoyed. Recently all she ever did was write a column on the stupid game Mino about a contestant each week. She could never find anything real to report, so she stuck to this to keep her job.
As she was reading one of the post cards from her mother, the guy next to her office knocked on her door and stepped in gently.
“Faria, Luke wants to see you, he says it’s urgent.” The man said, he was short and plump, and seemed to break a sweat from even this simple task. Iara got up from her desk, and pulled a hair tie out of one of the drawers and put her hair into a ponytail as she walked down the hallway to the office of Luke Little, her boss.
Luke Little was an older man with thinning gray hair, combed over to the left. He had dark tinted glasses with a thick white mustache, which he had just recently grown out. Looked better that way. He drummed his fingers on his desk, impatiently, and gave Iara a stern look when she sat down in the red office chair in front of his desk. She was uncomfortable, awkward almost, like she knew something bad was about to happen. Iara only prayed she wasn’t getting fired.
“Ms. Faria, you know you’ve been slipping…” Luke began.
“Yes Mr. Little I realize that but…” Iara started, but was cut off shortly.
“I know I know, you’ve been working hard to make a recovery, but you cant. Listen, I like you Iara, and so does my wife. We love having you for dinner. You’re a great person, a hard worker, and a true friend. But its come down to the wire here. I have two options for you. You can either save your career and become one of the best journalists known to man with an experience of a life time, or give up and leave us, forever.” Iara gulped. She knew where this was going, and she didn’t like it. But she needed to pursue her dream, to make her mother proud, to inspire others.
“You want me… to compete…?” Iara stuttered, as her eyes watered.
“Not me, the men up there do,” He said pointing to upstairs, “They’ve given me no other choice Iara. I’m sorry.” Luke reached across the desk and grabbed Iara’s hand softly. “You know I don’t approve of this, and Id never want this for you. It’s the only solution though to saving your career.” Tears began to crawl down her cheeks. It was a nightmare coming true. She stood up frantically, and screamed, bawling, and stormed out of his office. She walked straight out of the building, and sat inside of her Jeep in the parking garage, with her face in her palms, sobbing.

Club music blared from the Mendoza Mansion that night. You could hear it from outside the security gates as clear as if you were wearing headphones. It was late, almost 4:00 AM, but there was still a huge party at the mansion, with alcohol, drugs, and lots of women. Everything a man could want, but the owner, Anthony Mendoza, was tired of it. He had inherited his families fortune when his father, Danny Mendoza, died from a heart attack at a business meeting for his company.
Anthony was now the President of Mendoza Enterprises, a company that manufactured its own kind of sports cars. Anthony personally owned one of each car his company had produced. As the President, Anthony was lazy and irresponsible. He never cared to the company, always throwing parties and doing whatever he wanted. But he was bored of the rich life. He wanted excitement, the thrill of danger. The only thing he enjoyed more then throwing parties and drinking, was hunting.
He was the greatest enemy for activists. He had his own forest filled with exotic and dangerous animals, that he hunted down for his own amusement. He spent millions just to persuade governors to approve of his hunting grounds, and billions to create them. But the worst thing was, whenever he got bored with one of them, he would have them carpet bombed, and burned to the ground, and began reconstructing another one in its place.
Anthony sat on his couch as the music pumped and women sat all around him in loose clothing. People danced around his house, and trashed it while doing so, but he didn’t care. On his coffee table, packs of cocaine and ecstasy, but tonight he didn’t feel like doing anything, instead he sat perplexed by his 92 inch plasma in front of him, which was showing Mino, which he loved.

“Everyone shut the hell up!” He screamed as he turned up the volume for the TV. The credits were rolling and he was interested in what they said at the end of the show. A woman with long black hair sat next to him, smoking a cigarette and blew her smoke towards him. He turned to her, with a cross look on his face, and shouted, “Would you mind?!” She cursed under her breath, took a big whiff, and blew all of the smoke into Anthony’s face. She sat back and laughed, and the rest of the party laughed with her. Anthony gave her a sly smirk, reached into his sweat pants, pulled out a desert eagle, and shot her through her laughing smile. She flew back behind the couch and everyone stopped laughing immediately.
Anthony listened to the announcement from the show, and then turned off the television. He left the party and went up the staircase to his room. Inside he reached under his king sized bed with 1000 count thread silk sheets and pulled out an alligator skinned suitcase. He filled it with a pair of fresh clothes, his favorite knife, and a revolver with his name written into the barrel. He got into a black suit in front of his mirror, two hundred pounds of pure muscle, seven feet tall, and of course, dark tan skin. With his hair products he made a mo hawk out of his short black hair, and used teeth whitener to make sure he kept the perfect smile for when he was on television.
Anthony walked out of his bedroom, straightening his dark blue tie, and walked out above his party guests. On a small desk next to the staircase was a potted plant, and a small knife stuck into the oak wood. Anthony set down his suitcase, picked up the knife, and threw it across his living room down stairs into the forehead of the DJ. The young teen fell over his equipment, shutting down the lasers and music, and everyone looked up at Anthony, petrified.
“Party’s over.”

5:27 AM. Carley cursed. She was up all night again. She got up from her desk and shuffled her way into her kitchen. The sunlight would soon be seeping its way into her home, and Carley wanted to stay awake to watch the sun rise. She began to brew a pot of coffee, and went back into her office. She turned off her desk lamp and pulled back the shades for the window in front of her. Wasn’t much longer now.

Carley looked over her desk, her mother wouldn’t approve of the mess at all. Papers scattered everywhere, food stains on the desk, and wrappers and empty glasses covered the corners. Cleanliness wasn’t her thing. She opened up the bottom left desk drawer, and pulled out a file labeled, Mino III. She collected the papers and filled the file with them. They were covered on notes of Mino’s physical attributes and appearances and skills. She even had a few photos of him killing survivors. She brought around a small plastic trashcan and collected all of the wrappers, and then proceeded with carrying all of the dirty glasses and washing them in her sink. When her desk was clear, she got out a sponge and scrubbed off all of the food stains from over the night.

She knew she had to stop doing this; she only had a few more days before she would compete on the show. Her flight to New York was in four days. Shed researched since it had came out, intrigued from the beginning. She considered herself the biggest fan; she knew everything from every assassins name sent into the game to every monsters’ weakness. Her personal favorite monster was the Cyclops. She figured by now, if she went in she was guaranteed to win. Her only fear was trusting other people, she knew the odds were lower going alone, and the lowest when trying to murder other contestants. They were the highest when in a group.

Carley sat down at her desk and started watching the sun peep over the horizon, and began to close her eyes, and then remembered her coffee. She dashed to the kitchen and poured herself a big glass of it. Added cream, a packet of Splenda, and stirred it together. She slowly made her way back to her office as she blew on the coffee to cool it down. Carley sat down and resumed watching the sunset from her desk, as she took a sip from her mug.


had met in college, both taking English courses. Felix helped Xan through a lot of his hardships from when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, that was until he was laid off from his job a year ago.

Felix worked as a pharmacist for New York City’s Presbyterian Hospital and supplied Xan with cheap F.E.O.C. pills with under the table deals. He was never discovered, and there was the possibility they never noticed because of how little he took, or because of all the chaos and corruption the drug was already causing. But Felix was let go an early morning in November, with the heavy snow falling through New York due to a blizzard. Felix and his wife Michele had just recently had their first born child, their daughter Brittany. She was only a few months old, and in late November had a fever.

They took Brittany to get checked out at Felix’s hospital, and after a blood test, it was revealed she had bacterial sepsis from a small cut on her hand. The parents agreed to keep the child at home, and they gave her the antibiotics there as the doctor suggested. After two weeks passed by, she was supposed to be cured, but she didn’t recover fast enough. Once they ran out of the antibiotics from their doctor, Felix became desperate to get more.

On the last morning of November, the third day that a large blizzard was traveling through, Felix went to his office early, and unlocked the pharmacy alone. He only took a small bottle of the antibiotics for his daughter, which he hid in his coat. He locked up the pharmacy once again, and walked through the hospital, unnoticed, and went through the parking lot through the heavy snow to his car. As he traveled through the snow, the Chief of Staff happened to arrive at the hospital. With the heavy winds and snow, it was hard for Felix and the Chief to see and maneuver through, and soon they accidentally bumped into one another. The bottle slipped out of his coat and landed into the snow, and as the Chief was laughing lightly about the accident as Felix was apologizing, he bent down to pick up the bottle for his pharmacist. When he retrieved it he looked at it as he was asking Felix why he was here so early, until he read the label on the bottle.

Luckily for Felix he was only let go, rather then arrested. The Chief liked Felix, and Felix had worked hard for him for many years. And after Felix explained his story and reason for stealing the drugs, the Chief took pity on him. Brittany became healthy again a month later, without the continued help from antibiotics.

Ever since he was fired, Felix was doing a lot of work and odd jobs to keep his family out of debt, but over the year, stress had taken its toll on Felix and he would soon not be able to raise Brittany due to his financial crisis. His worst fear was of losing her or his wife Michele, and Xan knew he was willing to do anything for his family. But if Felix died, he at least wanted his family covered for their lives.

“Thanks for having me over, we need to discuss something important.” I said as I sat with Felix in his kitchen in his apartment. He handed me a mug of fresh coffee and took a seat across me with his own cup. His wife and baby played in the living room with a doll I had brought for Brittany that looked like a princess; I always brought her little toys and presents when I visited. She was only a little bit more then a year old, but she could walk, and say random words, not full sentences yet. She was an adorable baby as well, with thick brown hair, just like her fathers, and bright brown eyes like her mothers.

“What’s the matter Xan?” Felix asked me.

“I think I have a solution to your financial crisis and to mine as well. See I recently ran out of F.E.O.C.,” Felix cringed at the mentioning, “ for my mother, and I wont be able to afford any for at least another month. Listen Felix; I know your willing to do anything for the well being of your family, as am I. That’s why I need you to go with me on Mino. If I don’t get the drugs for her by next Thursday, she could be dead. Please I need you to do this with me.”

Felix froze for a moment, with grief, and looked over at his wife and child. They were sitting on the floor by the couch playing with the doll I had given Brittany, and she looked so happy, so innocent. A tear came out of Felix’s eye as he watched, and I handed him a napkin.

“How much do you win again?” He asked.

“One hundred mill.”

“Is there any other way to make money?”

“Killing other contestants, but I suggest we only do that if one tries to kill us.”

“When would we go?”


“Let me speak to my wife about this.” He got up and motioned for his wife to meet them in their bedroom and left me with Brittany. She stumbled her way across the living room and came up to me with a wide toothy smile on her face.

“Xan!” She yipped as she held up the princess to me.

“Do you like your present?” I asked her soothingly, like a child. She nodded her head as she sat down next to my boot and began playing once again with the doll. A few minutes later Felix came out, and walked up to me and picked up Brittany, who was very excited.

He hugged her tight as he asked, “What time tomorrow?” And began to cry.

behind the clouds in the freezing sky. It was too cold to be outside. I had two coats on, a sweater, mittens, large boots, and 3 pairs of pants on, and yet I still felt like I was in a freezer. It was Tuesday, December 15th of 2070 and next week a blizzard was coming in, it was going to be one of the worst New York City had ever seen. I hated the cold, always shuttering and shivering, always uncomfortable, I can’t imagine myself living in Alaska!

Where was Felix, I wondered. I sat on a bench in front of Mino Headquarters, waiting for him. We agreed on two, and now it was 2:20. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect inside. Id never been, personally I wanted to stay as far away as possible from the building. Rumor had it all the monsters in the game show were inside there, living there. I doubted it though, how would they all fit? But then again it was one of the largest buildings in the world. It made the Empire State Building look like a child’s toy. It was one hundred and ten stories tall and ninety meters wide and one hundred long.

“Hey.” I jumped as I heard Felix, who I turned to see behind me in a few coats of his own. His curly brown hair flew wildly in the breeze and his coat tails were covered in dirty gray snow.

“I swear to God I think my butt is frozen to this bench.” He smiled and motioned me to get up. “How did your family take it?” I asked as we shuffled for the main doors.

“My wife didn’t stop crying, and Brittany didn’t understand. Did you tell your mother?”

“No I just told her I was going to get more F.E.O.C. So worse case scenario I die out there and she dies in there. But listen when I do die and if you win, please take care of my mother.”

“Only if you do the same for my family.”

“What if I marry Michele?” I grinned at him. He gave me a cold dead stare. “Just kidding!” I laughed.

“Why did you say when you die?”

“What?” I gave him a puzzled look.”

“You said, ‘Listen when I do die’.”

“Well it is Mino, which is basically suicide, but for peoples amusement. I just hope my death doesn’t make someone rich.” Felix just nodded in agreement as we approached the doors. A man in a gray suit opened the doors for us and waved us inside. He was of average height, African American, and had a wide smile with a thin mustache above his upper lip.

“Welcome, welcome! My name is Demetri Carbonell, and this is Mino Headquarters, home to the greatest game show of all time. “ He smiled. His voice seemed sarcastic, or he was a really good actor because he fooled me. “I’ll be guiding you through the main lobby and to the registration desk. I presume that’s why you gentlemen are here correct?” He asked.

Felix was gazing at the lobby, and I wasn’t really listening so I just kind of shrugged.

He signed and said, “Are you two here to go on the show?”

“Oh yes!” I smiled excitedly. I felt like this guy would rather be any other place in the world then with us right now. The look in his eyes made me one hundred percent sure. He sighed again and started walking through the lobby and I guessed we were supposed to follow so we trailed behind him.

The main lobby was enormous. He floor was made out of solid gold and the walls had diamonds encrusted all over them on gold plating. A fountain made from the finest marble sat in the center of the lobby with an angel crying out the water. On the sides of the lobby were statues of Mino in-between pillars made of the same marble. Each statue had Mino in a different pose doing the same thing; murdering a contestant. One was a man getting his back snapped in half over Mino’s knee, another was Mino tearing off the head of a young girl. There were a few doors lined up behind the statues with armed guards in black suits and shades standing guard, there were guards everywhere.

“Wow these statues are… something else…” I murmured.

“Do you have any of Mino being killed? Like by Bain?” Felix grinned.

“No but im sure after you two are brutally massacred we can add statues of you two.” Demetri sneered. “Here we are, enjoy your time out there.” Demetri stared at Felix, “Ill be watching you, you bastard.” He whispered. With that he walked back to the main entrance, leaving us at a large desk with a woman behind it with a lot of paper work. In front of her desk were two large seats with armrests and the Mino logo on the back.

“Gentlemen! Nice to meet you both, I am Bjori Arapi and ill be registering you for the show!” She grinned eagerly. She stood up out of her seat to shake both our hands. “Take a seat while I finish up these forms for you.” The woman was small and had tan skin with long brown hair, she wore small black rimmed glasses and a thick red sweater, I wasn’t sure if it was for the holidays or just a coincidence. That’s when I noticed she had green pants on. Behind her desk were two elevators on each side with two armed guards on each side, except these guards had bulletproof vests on.

“Alrighty boys, here if you would just sign these forms for the show and well have you prepped and ready to go in no time!” She slid some forms across her desk and handed us each a Mino pen.

“So what are these for exactly?” Felix asked.

“There just the terms and regulations for the game, no big whoop!” She smiled. As I handed her back the papers and pen, I noticed she was wearing strong perfume. Smelled like gingerbread. She looked up behind us and nodded with a grin, and as I looked over at Felix, I screamed. A guard stood above him with a large assault rifle and knocked him in the head with the butt of it, rendering him unconscious. I looked up just in time to see another guard do the same to me. Hurt like hell too.

“Oh… Damn…” I moaned. I tried to reach for my head, I’m sure there’s a bruise, but then I realized I couldn’t move my arm. I couldn’t move either arm, or my legs. “What’s going on?” I screamed. I was on some sort of metal table, with a light just overhead, and I could hear voices, muffled. That’s when I heard a drill. I screamed at the top of my lungs.

“He’s awake! Put him back under right now or you’re fired!” I heard someone shout. That’s when I saw another butt of a gun heading straight for my face. Still hurt like hell.

I awoke again on an uncomfortable bed. I was naked except for my boxers, and it was cold, I already had goose bumps. Where were my clothes? They undress me? I really hoped that lady at the front desk hadn’t seen me, I felt kind of fat. I sat up in the bed to find myself in some kind of cell. There was a toilet, a sink with a mirror, a shower, and a closet. There was a single door across from my bed, which looked heavy and bolted down. I got out of bed and tried to open it, and found myself right. I walked over to the sink and looked into the mirror and was shocked to find my face perfectly fine. No bruises just smooth tan skin, brown eyes, and messy short hair.

By the sink were a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, body spray, hair gel, soap, and floss. I brushed my teeth and washed my face, and then checked for what was in the closet. Inside was a pair of fresh underwear and a black and red jumpsuit with the Mino logo on the left side of the chest. I was really getting tired of that logo. It was on everything from the toothbrush to the underwear.

I took a shower, shampooed and conditioned my hair, then put on the underwear and jumpsuit along with the deodorant and body spray. Then I fixed my hair just how I liked it, flat in the back and outward and up in the front. For a while I just sat on the bed, bored. It felt like hours. I had no track of time, and no idea how long I was out for, or where Felix was. I never knew Mino was set up like this. I was hungry; I hoped they didn’t throw me in there without feeding me. That would suck. It felt like hours. Maybe it was even a day. Eventually I just started singing songs I knew the lyrics to, and thanks to my iPod Touch I knew a lot of songs. I think at one point I even started to dance.

After a long time the door opened unexpectedly and I immediately stopped dancing, which made me wonder if they were watching me dance. A plate of food slid in from the opening and then the door shut again, and I could hear it lock. On the plate was a small fork and steak knife, and a sirloin steak with steaming mashed potatoes and gravy. I grabbed the plate and sat on the bed and began eating. Was this how prison inmates felt for their last meal when they were on death row? Certainly felt like it was.

As I continued to eat I realized what was missing. I looked up in the ceiling, thinking there was a camera somewhere there, and shouted, “I need a drink!” I guess they heard me because the door opened again and a can of Coke slipped in. I put the plate aside and got the coke. As I opened it up, I raised it to the ceiling and said, “Cheers.”

A few minutes after I finished my food, the door opened and two guards stood in front of my room. The one on the left looked Russian or something European and mean, and the one on the right looked like Steve Buscemi with white hair.

“It’s time to leave Mr. Henderson.” Said the Russian with a strong accent.

“Alright.” I said as I stood up from the bed. “Hey tell me, are you Russian?” I asked the man as we started walking down the hallway. He just ignored me. “I said, are you Russian?” I said louder. He still ignored me. “Fine be like that comrade.” They led me down a hallway and into an elevator. I had a smile on my face until I saw the Mino logo on the back of the elevator.

I looked over at Steve Buscemi and asked, “How long was I in that room awake?”

He looked down and laughed, “Two hours.” I knew that was a lie. There was no way that was possible it felt like at least a day.

“How long was I asleep?”

“Until Thursday.” I was shocked. They kept me under for two days, I wonder if they did that to all the contestants. The elevator doors opened and I found myself on the rooftop of the Mino Headquarters. It was freezing, and there was snow everywhere. The blizzard was moving in, and within a few days would be here. I just hoped id be alive in a few days. On the roof was a jet with the door open and a guard standing next to it with a large trench coat on. And of course the Mino logo was on the side of the jet. Why wouldn’t it be?
The guards led me into the jet, where inside was a large sofa placed across a bar. There was a tall slinky bartender in there in a tight little suit with a red bow tie wiping a mug clean. There was a large television with the Mino hosts talking about the contestants for tomorrow’s show, which would start in three hours at midnight. I sat down on the couch and the guards left and shut the entrance to the jet up. I laid back, relaxing when the bartender asked if I wanted a drink.
“Ill just take an iced water, with a lemon.” I think I surprised him with this, because he had a wide variety of wines and beers behind him. The last thing I wanted to be was drunk before the show started. I began to watch the pre-show as the bartender handed me my drink. The two hosts sat at a desk the entire time, talking about the contestants, the arena, creatures, or Mino the entire time. They cheered for contestants spilling one another’s blood, sometimes they even bet who would win on public television. The entire world got together to watch this one sick show. Disturbing isn’t it, how the entire world can unite to watch people fight for their lives because of their greed. All it was was money. People died or went insane from seeing the family members torn to pieces or burned alive, for our amusement. The hosts sickened me.
On the left was Chad Wong, a short chubby man with puffy red lips and fiery red hair, which looked like fire because it stood up. He was the main host and had been with the show since it began. Drew Sann was the co-host; he had replaced Daniela Parra seven months ago when she criticized the show one night because a contestant was killed by an allergic reaction from a plant specifically added to the arena to kill him off. She complained it was an unfair advantage to other contestants. Coincidently, she ‘volunteered’ to compete three weeks later, and was quickly replaced by Drew. She was also the first to die in her show, being killed by a monster that was only seen by her, it wasn’t seen again after she died.
Drew was young, being barely twenty-one but was charming with a perfect smile and rosy cheeks. He was also strong, unlike his partner. He had short brown hair and bright blue eyes; he was probably good at persuading people with his looks. I hated him as well, but not as much as Chad.
The two were going over the contestants; they were now reviewing a woman named Sarah Cotek who was on the show with her sister. I watched for awhile, looking at a couple of contestants, a woman named Iara who was a reporter with a mother in Brazil, a man named Noah who was there with his sister who he’d taken care of. Some of the stories were interesting; some were boring, but at least none of them looked threatening. As they finished talking about a paleontologist, a woman came in from the cockpit from behind the television.
She was small and blonde with small blue eyes and she was wearing a stewardess outfit, but holding some weird device in her hand. When she brought it up to me I recognized it at once.
“Hold out your left arm.” She said with a straight face. I held it out and she took the device and latched it around my arm, it had a screen on the top and needles on the bottom, which shocked me.
“Whoa whoa whoa! I didn’t know there were needles!” I cried. She ignored me and pushed them into my forearm, which also hurt like hell. I yelped in pain, and she pulled a napkin out of her shirt pocket. “A napkin?! That’s what you brought to fix this? No bandages or anything just a napkin?!” I screamed.
“Don’t remove this, the needles are attached to your veins to trace your heartbeat, remove it on your own and you will die. If you win the game we will remove it for you.” She said. With that she left me holding a napkin under the device to collect the blood. When the door shut behind her, I looked over at the bar tender and gave him a pissed look.
“What was her problem?” I asked.
“Were just here for the money, she’s always like that, I know you’re probably going to die out there, so I try to give you a nice evening before you do. That usually ruins it.” He replied.
The device on my arm had a screen that covered my entire forearm. On the left side of the screen were two rows of photos of all the contestants, females on top, and males on the bottom. My photo was on the bottom left, and it was of me smiling in the jump suit. I had no idea how they got that. On the right when you clicked on a person would show a close up of their photo, their name, and their physical attributes like their weight and height.
In the top center was a timer that read 24:00:00, which was the countdown for when Mino was realized unless the game went down to a single survivor. On the bottom was a heartbeat monitor, which traced mine.
“Bar keep what time is it?”
“Eleven forty.” He answered.
“You know what ill take a margarita.” He quickly made one, the stress was getting to me and I was known for my drinking problems when I was under stress. I gulped it down all at once as soon as he handed it to me. “Hand me another fast.” I ordered.
“Um listen buddy, I think you’re a good guy, I don’t want to see you wasted out there, you’ll be a sitting target for everything out there. I really don’t think you should have anymore, for your own safety.” He said calmly. Well I took that personal. Who was he to tell me whether or not I should drink or not, I was going to die anyway he was just a lowly bartender that meant nothing. I thought of punching him square in the jaw and drinking everything he had behind the bar, until my thoughts were cut off by the sound of the c*** pit opening. One large armored guard came out with a huge gun. I almost crapped my jumpsuit.
“I didn’t touch him I swear!” I screamed.
“Wait what?” The bartender cried.
“Its time to go, the next show begins in fifteen minutes.” The large man said, with a thick Russian accent. He motioned me into the cockpit with his gun, and I slowly walked past him trembling. When I got inside I realized it wasn’t a cockpit, it was just a small empty room. No doors, no windows, nothing except the door I came in. “Have fun.” The man said as he slammed the door shut behind me. I grabbed at the handle and started yelling cries of help in the pitch black.
“Help! Let me out I don’t want to go anymore! I want to go home! At least let me have another drink…” I trailed off and stood completely still. It felt like… The room was moving. I activated my device for some light, which it gave very little of, and still saw nothing in the tight little room. Then the device spoke up.
“Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! People of planet Earth!” It was Wong; it was picking up the show. “Welcome to Tonight’s episode of Mino, The Game Show Of A Life Time! Today is Friday, December 18th of 2070! Drew would you mind starting the countdown for the night?”
The device lit up and in the center showed the numbers counting down. “3… 2… 1…” There was a pause, and then suddenly the floor fell out from underneath me.

suddenly a voice in my head screamed at me, ‘You’re in Mino!’ I crawled to my feet and frantically searched for Felix. Chaos had broken out, as the other contestants ran around in what appeared to be one giant warehouse. The walls were made of what looked like tin, and the warehouse was about the size of tow football fields side by side. There were racks scattered around with weapons and supplies, and one guy seemed to be under control and as if he had adapted so fast. I watched him, dazed for a moment as he grabbed a machete from a rack and pull aside a woman that looked familiar. It was Sarah, the sister. I then watched in horror as he grabbed a hold of her head, and slit open her throat with his machete and laughed psychotically. I was frozen in fear, and the girls sister I presumed screamed her name.

There were two exits, one on each side of the warehouse, that people were sprinting for. Some had small bags, others had large weapons, and some just went empty handed. But the man who killed Sarah stood in the center of everything trying to kill and maim and collect supplies at the same time. Felix came up behind me and pulled my arm shouting something, but all I could hear were the girls’ frantic screams for her lost sister. That’s when the man saw me, standing and gazing at me. He was huge; he had to have at least a foot on me. And his muscle, he looked like he could toss me around like a rag doll. He picked up a spear from a nearby rack, and prepared to throw at me. And all I could do was stand and watch.

As the spear left the mans’ hands, Felix tackled me, and it went right above us. He helped me up, and shouted clearly, “We have to go now!” Felix started running past a man with a small bag on his back, and I looked back to see Anthony open a bag with small knives in it. I gasped and turned to run, but crashed head on to the man with the bag. We both fell to the ground, and Felix screamed my name. I slowly crawled around the guy, and then got up. I didn’t look back when I heard a cry come from the man. I didn’t want to look back.

As I was running, I picked up the spear that had missed us, and a small knife from the larger mans bag flew past my shoulder. At last we reached the safety of outside, and we were relieved to see it was a tropical beach. As soon as we stepped into the sand, a shadow fell over us, and suddenly there was a small girl on my shoulders and a man on Felix’s. I recognized the man as Noah from the pre-show, but I had no idea who the girl was.

“Give us everything you have or we’ll brake your necks right now. Consider this a warning.” The girl demanded. She had a soft voice, but it was firm.

“God damn it five minutes in the game and were already giving up everything we have and being chased by giant maniacs.” Felix complained.

“Not necessarily.” It was a new woman’s voice; this one was deeper, and calmer. A short tan woman stepped out a nearby bush with two tomahawks in her hands. “Lets strike a deal you two. Let those guys go Maggie, and I wont kill your brother. I know how much he means to you, and I wont hesitate to kill him.” The woman said. How did she know so much about these two?

“How did you? Why do you care about these men, we should kill them and steal their supplies anyway!” Maggie stammered. She was unsure about what she was doing. Noah gulped.

“We need to stick together, form a group and team up against Anthony and whatever the hell else is out here. You really think you and your brother here can take on everything by yourselves?” The woman replied still keeping her calm tone.

“Who is Anthony?”

“Did you not see the larger man in the warehouse slaughtering people? And to make matters worse he now has all of the supplies left in there, and seeing as how you two don’t have anything and these under you have merely a spear you can guarantee he has a lot in there. We team up and we have a better choice of surviving.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“If you couldn’t trust me you and everyone else here would be dead already. Leave the men alone, we can’t trust them for sure but you have my word I wont turn on you.”

“What should we do with these guys?”

“Um excuse me but don’t we get a say in this ladies?” I asked a little bit frustrated.

“Shut up!” Maggie yelled as she kicked me in the back.

“We take them with us, we search for a place to stay for the night, like a camp. I’m sure their a few shelters scattered around here meant for us to find. We find fresh water and safe food to eat and stay cautious of any other contestants and creatures from the island. It looks like it’s just a forest made of palm trees on this side, and were the only ones on this side that I know of. If they try anything we kill them.” Carley ordered.

“And what if we don’t want to go with you?” Felix sneered.
Carley walked over to him, who was struggling with carrying Noah, and put the tomahawk up to his throat.

“Then we will kill you, steal your spear, and use your bodies as bait. How’s that sound for a deal folks?” Maggie climbed off my back gently, and brushed off my shoulders. Noah began to climb off of Felix, but Felix lost his balance, and ended up falling with Noah toppling on top of him. Carley helped Noah off of him and Felix sat up groaning in pain holding his ankle.

“Oh no… are you alright Felix?” Carley asked.

“I think it’s sprained… It really hurts…” He moaned in response.

“Xan can you help me carry him, we need to move fast, the sun is setting and I don’t want to be out here in the middle of the night. We need to start moving.”

“Where to chief?” I asked sarcastically, but she didn’t notice, or didn’t care.

“Lets move along through the palm trees, but stay near the coast line, were not sure what’s in the water, but there could be a shelter on the beach.” Carley lifted Felix up with her arm, and he limped along with her, as Noah was rubbing his shoulder. Maggie held out her hand with a friendly, but unsure, smile.

“I’m sorry about all that, it was nothing personal. Name’s Maggie Prescott.” Maggie was tiny for a young adult, she looked like she was barely five feet, I had to bend down to be face to face with her, but she had a big bright smile with pearly white teeth, and big brown eyes, that were cute in a way. She seemed strong for her size though. She had long braided brunette hair, which went far past her shoulders.

I shook her hand and said, “Name’s Xan, pleasure to meet you on the ground, and not on my shoulders.” She laughed, and motioned at Noah.

“This is my brother, Noah Prescott.” She elbowed him as he stood next to her, and he shook and stuck his hand out.

“Nice to meet you.” I said as I shook his hand.

“Let’s go people.” Carley said as she started making her way through the palm trees with Felix around her shoulder. As I took my first step onto the beach, I felt a strange sensation, like a pulse through my body. It was a surge coming from the devices needles implanted in my body.

“Did anyone else j-just feel that?” Noah stuttered.

“Yeah I did.” Felix muttered.

“So did I” I chimed in.

“Guys check your screens, I know what that was.” Maggie said. Everyone paused and looked down at his or her devices and we watched as the photo of Sarah enlarged. A large red X crossed out the photo and her heartbeat stopped. Under her name the letters D-E-C-E-A-S-E-D appeared in red one by one. After a second the photo went back to the row and another one enlarged. This one was the man I had bumped into. He was blonde with large blue eyes and a large nose, his name; Garret Aby. He was a banker, from Boston; I guess one of Anthony’s knives had hit him, instead of me. I can’t imagine Anthony really cared; he seemed to only be here to kill. Didn’t matter who died to him.

“I guess we know who dies when from now on.” Felix said.

“Good we can use it to our advantage, but lets continue for now.” Carley ordered as we began.

As much as the island terrified me, unknowing of everything that could be out there, it was still beautiful. The watered glistened under the stars as the bright orange sun went over the shining horizon. The sky was turning from a light pink into a dark purple and stars began to populate the sky one after another, and fast. The sand was lit up by the stars and soon would be completely bright from the full moon casting over, and the trees had healthy leaves and sturdy trunks.

The only thing that seemed odd to me were the animals on the island. There seemed to be plenty of bugs, I even got a nice visit from a mosquito, bastard, and then there were these odd crows around the island. Their bodies looked like normal crows and they had red beady eyes, and then their beaks were long and jagged, made out of metal, to represent razors. They had long jagged knives for mouths, could you imagine. They didn’t seem to bother or mind us at all, so I planned on not doing the same to them.

In the midst of the palm trees, was our group traveling to what we hoped to be a shelter somewhere. In the lead was Carley, carrying a limping Felix, and then Maggie and I held up the back, while Noah walked in the middle shaking the entire time. It wasn’t that cold out, just a little bit chilly, but the jumpsuit seemed to be keeping me warm, and everyone else seemed fine. He seemed like something was wrong. He stuttered with every sentence, and shakes constantly. There was something off about it. Was he nervous, or scared? I tried reading his facial expressions; he seemed bored if anything, maybe he was tired.

“What’s wrong with your brother?” I whispered to Maggie.

“What do you mean?” She replied sounding insulted.

“Well I don’t mean to offend or anything, but dude stutters and shakes, that’s not normal.

“He was shot, a long time ago. It doesn’t matter its not his fault he cant help it.” She seemed very defensive. Her face turned red and she looked away when she said, “It doesn’t even matter. Forget it”

“Alright, alright, sorry!” I apologized hastily.

After a few more minutes of trudging through the sand, Carley shouted, “There!” And quickly made her way through the trees to the beach. It was a small hut. It looked like it was made of leaves, sticks, and mud, but no contestant could’ve made it that fast. It was right along the jungle of palm trees, but still was on the beach, which meant we could hunt for fish in the ocean. Now all we had to find was fresh water.

Inside were two cots that appeared like giant leaves, a small box, and a small campfire in the center. There were a pile of sticks in it, but it was dead. Carley set Felix on one of the cots, and went straight for the box. She sat down next to it and picked it up, and said “Its locked with a four digit number code. Ill get it open some how. While I work on this, Noah would you check the ocean water, see if it’s drinkable?

“Ocean water? You cant drink that, because its ocean water!” I stammered.

“Xan it’s Mino, which means this entire island is man made, which means the water is man made. Because it’s ocean water they wouldn’t expect us to drink it. October 13th on an island with only sand dunes, the only drinkable water was in the oceans. Lots of contestants died from dehydration. Others just from heat. The hosts bet on who would find the water.” Carley snapped.

“Alright Noah go check the damn water.” He made his way bumbling down the beach, shaking as he walked. Carley started murmuring numbers to herself, trying different combinations into the box, each unsuccessful.

“Fourteen contestants on an island… most in-between the ages of twenty to thirty-five…December… December the 18th! Twelve eighteen!” She shouted as the box opened wide. Four large bottles of water sat inside, each with the Mino logo on its wrapper. “Water?” She muttered confusedly. “Water! Noah! Stop him its poison!”

“What?!” Maggie screamed. She sprinted down the beach towards a crouched Noah with a handful of the water at his chin.

“Sm-Smells horrible…” He stuttered, as Maggie ran up to him and knocked his hand over, causing him to spill the water. He stood up full of rage and started to shout at her.

“What the hell are you doing?!” He yelled. Maggie began to cry, and her cheeks turned rosy red.

“It was poisonous…” Maggie sniffled. I walked up to her and she wrapped her arms around me, burying her face into my chest sobbing. I gave Noah a cold stare and he looked away with a frown.

“I’m sorry sis, I was just startled is all. It’s just the game, you know. I’m just shaken up right now… Please forgive me.” He said calmly.

“Just leave me alone…”

“The ocean water is tainted. She saved your life Noah, had a drop even gone down your throat and you’d be dead in a matter of minutes. It’s a fast acting poison called Aquanus that acts only in ocean water. It will make your body immobilize completely, shutting down your organs, all but your heart and brain. You’d die of loss of oxygen, and you’d be alive dieing slowly and painfully, not be able to move a muscle. The bottles of water are a sign not to drink this. They wanted us to open the box, to show us not to drink the ocean water. That’s why it smells bad.” Carley said as she walked along the beach towards us. She grabbed Maggie’s shoulder, and told her, “You did the right thing.” Then she walked up to Noah and said, “You could’ve died. Imagine your sister all alone out here. Without her big stupid brother to take care of her. When I told you to check the water to make sure of it’s safe, not drink it to find out! For that incident you are going to stay here and make a campfire and watch over Felix inside while the rest of us go to find food. Safe food that we can eat!” She scolded.

“How will we know if it’s safe?” I asked her.

Carley turned to me, annoyed with Noah, and said, “We watch someone or something else eat, if they don’t die from it, well gather as much as we can and head back here. Sound good to everyone?” She asked aloud. No one said anything. “Alright good, lets go now. Noah take one of my tomahawks, arm yourself. If anyone or anything gets near the hut, give it a warning. After that, kill it. Xan get your spear, ill take the other tomahawk, then lets head out.” Carley commanded. Then she went back into Noah’s face. “If anyone so much as steps foot into our hut, I will make you suffer for it, and if you even think about touching Felix, or leaving us, I will hunt you down personally and make sure you suffer, I don’t care what your sister has to say about it.” Noah gulped.

I thought to myself, damn, and she walked past Maggie and I, towards the hut. Maggie let go and walked towards the palm trees, sniveling. Noah looked at me with a guilty and terrified look on his face.

“How was I supposed to know? He complained. I just shrugged and walked off. I mean I understand he didn’t know, but he was so close to dieing right there on the beach, and she saved his life, and he just shouted his head off at her. I shuffled into the hut and sat next to Felix, who had a grimace on his face, holding his ankle tight, and sweating profoundly.

“You alright pally?” I asked him.

“That fatso may have put me out of the game for good, I might as well be dead, I’m no use to you anymore.” He sighed. “The worst part is I know my family is just sitting at home, watching me, worried sick. My poor wife…”

“It’ll be alright, I’ll be at your side every step of the way.’ I held out my knuckle, and he fist punched me. “Try to get some sleep man, Noah will watch over you.”

“Where are you going?” He asked concerned.

“Don’t worry, the rest of us are just going to get food, just sit back, relax, maybe even talk to Noah. I’m sure you’d get to like him if you got to know him first.” I smiled.

“Dude you just said you’d be with me every step of the way, now you’re leaving me?” He cried.

“Ha, to bring you back food! We’ll have a feast when we get back, and I wont leave you again, promise. Just stay safe.” I smirked.

Savanna Cotek dashed out of the warehouse as soon as Anthony spotted her. She was the last one to exit out of that side, and also the last to exit the warehouse. In shock and terrified, Savanna wasn’t paying attention to where she was running, and after a few seconds of sprinting, fell into a steep decline in a forest. She rolled downwards, and bashed her head into a tree trunk, rendering her unconscious. All she could think about was the look on her horrified sisters face, as the giant man slit open her throat laughing. His laugh. It made her cringe.

Iara Faria made her way through the dense forest, with the full moon now overhead; it shone light barely through the thick treetops high in the sky. The mist was thick on this part of the island, making it hard to see through the trees, which consisted of only redwoods. She was scarred out of her mind, and jumped to the sound or sight of anything. She dropped her combat knife at the sound of a crow’s caw, and watched as it flew swiftly and gently through the branches as she picked it back up. That’s when she almost screamed at the sight of a figure in a low tree branch.

A set of dark eyes laid upon her, watching her every move. Iara shivered, and shouted, “Who are you and what do you want?”

“Keep quiet or you’ll alert your fellow contestants woman.” The creature spat. It sounded like a woman’s voice, deeper though. “I’m not here to hurt you, unless I should be. But I’ve been watching you, and you don’t seem to know what you’re doing.

“What makes you think you can do better? I’m scared out of my mind.” Iara stammered back.

“I’ve been watching this show ever since my brother went on. He won you know, a while ago. Never seen again. Isn’t it funny how now his sister is on the show, a year after, now seeking her revenge. But you wouldn’t know much about that now would you?” The woman hissed.

“Your brother?” Iara paused and suddenly it hit her, “Bain Travers, then you must be Caroline Travers!” Iara cried excitedly.

“How did you know that?” Caroline scowled, still perched in the tree branch, she fell out of it now and walked out of the shadow revealing herself. She had long thick black hair, and an array of freckles spanned across her cheeks, just like her older brother.

Iara stepped back, “I’m a journalist, for the New York Times, I do a column on contestants from Mino, the day your brother one, it all over the front page. My column the next few days, were on you. You truly amazed me, and everyone, being only a teenager, and starting campaigns to find him. And now you’re here, and so young. How old are you?” She asked.

“Six-teen.” She sneered. “ I’ve been watching this show since my brother was on it, and I’ve trained ever since we gave up on the search, just waiting to come on and avenge him. I’m going to win, and I’m going to get my answers of what happened.”

“How do you know you’ll like the answers you find? Maybe you’re not ready for the truth. Did you ever stop and think about that?” Iara asked as she lowered her knife, feeling more comfortable.

“I don’t and I haven’t, because whether or not I like the truth doesn’t matter, all that does is me finding out what happened. Now I didn’t come her to harm you, I’ve come to ask for your partnership in this show. By the looks of how you handled yourself so far, you don’t look prepared, and I am. But I can’t do this alone.” She offered her hand in partnership, and Iara hesitated, but then shook it.

“Name’s Iara Faria.”

“I’m sorry about how I treated you when you asked about my brother.” Maggie apologized to me, as we trailed Carley in the palm tree jungle.

“Oh it’s fine don’t even think about it, but don’t you think you’re being harsh on your brother. You know he cares about you, and didn’t mean any harm.” I replied.

“I understand that, but I was just so worried. “I just can’t stand the thought of losing him, he means everything to me, and he’s taken care of me my entire life. Ever since my parent’s were murdered…” She trailed off. “But I will forgive him once we get back to the hut, I wish I would’ve forgiven him before we left, I feel horrible about it.”

“I’m sure he’ll understand, just tell him as soon as you see him.” I reassured.

“ But you don’t understand Xan, I didn’t want him to go on the show with me. I wanted him to stay home, I was going on to pay our debt for our home, or we would lose it. He’s all I have left, and now he could die out here. And I just… I don’t know if I could go on…”

“That’s not true you have me Maggie.” She looked up at me with her bright eyes, glistering in the moonlight, and I could see her tearing up.

“Thank you.” She whispered. “My parents died thirteen years ago, when I was only seven. Noah was four-teen then, and still helped raise me, even before my parents were

when it came to poker. He had his buddies over every Thursday night, for ‘Poker Night’. But my father didn’t always have the best of friends, he was sometimes with some crooked ones. If he lost money for them, he would pay them off, or get an injury, but I was never told this. I was always told the story of, “Daddy falling down the stairs,” or,”Daddy slipped in the shower”. Never the truth until I met some friendly officers who were assigned the Prescott murders.

My mother never approved of it, she always wanted him to quit, she would have much rather taken up even smoking rather than gambling with mobsters. But he didn’t care. It ruined their marriage, my mother had even considered leaving him, just because of it. But one of his favorite buddies was Don Mariano.

He was the head of the Mariano family, which was the biggest in New Jersey at the time. They were a group of Italians that controlled underground New Jersey, leading drug runs, controlling casinos, and corrupting the city’s politicians. But Don Mariano always played with my father, and he was a bad gambler, and my father took advantage of it.

My brother and I were never sure why he played with him. Maybe he was part of the family, even though we weren’t Italian. Maybe he worked for the Don. Maybe they really were just good true friends for a long time. No that wasn’t it, because the Don put a hit out on my father, and the rest of our family, after my father lost a couple thousand dollars, and our mother. That’s right, he gambled with his own wife, and lost her. But of course he didn’t pay up, and after a week two men came.

My father was a husky man, real top heavy. He had a large red beard that covered his entire jaw, and had short scraggly red hair. My mother on the other hand, was small like me. She was always innocent in all of it, and it kind of makes me wish she had left my father. But the mafia probably would’ve just hunted her anyway.

In late January, My father had bought the family plane tickets to escape to California, where he believed he would be safe. My brother and I sat in the living room the morning we were leaving, with our things packed, and ready to leave. My mother came down the stairs with my father, both yelling at each other. I don’t remember exactly what they were yelling about, but my brother has told me she was leaving him, for good. She was tired of leaving in fear, and she was taking me with her. I didn’t mind leaving with her, but not without Noah. When he told me this I had started to cry and hold onto him. And as my father stepped in front of the door to open it for my mother as she left, it was opened for him.

Two men, both larger then my Dad, busted through the door, one with a black ski mask, and the other with a Halloween mask of Freddy Kruger. They both wore entirely black and had large silenced pistols in their hands. Freddy Kruger shot my mother first, and she dropped her bags and fell to the ground screaming. My Father turned to run, but was shot through the back of his skull by the ski mask.

Noah grabbed me and carried me through the hallway as fast as we could while the mobsters finished off my parents. He carried me into my bedroom and climbed under the bed with me, holding my mouth closed shut so they wouldn’t find us. After the men finished with my parents, they went into our kitchen, and helped themselves to our pantry. While one was eating, the other went to our stove, and opened it wide, while turning on the gas. Then he did the same with our fireplace. After a few minutes, my brother smelled the gas, and knew we had to leave quickly. Just as he began to climb out, my bedroom door opened.

We saw Freddy walk in, with some kind of food in his hands, and my brother quickly climbed back under, unnoticed. As the man searched my room, he dropped breadcrumbs all over my carpet. I began to sob harder, I couldn’t control myself, and Noah panicked. The man came close to the bed, and then sat down on it. The mattress came down above us, and brushed against my hair. After only a minute went by, ski mask came in and yelled something at Freddy in Italian, that’s how Noah knew they were from Mariano. The men got up and left, and after a few seconds we did as well. My brother lifted me back up, and silently carried me out of my room and into the hallway.

At the end of the hallway was the backdoor, freedom. Noah started creeping down the hallway, as carefully and quietly as he could. Just as he reached the wooden door, there was the sound of a toilet flushing. I opened my eyes to see Freddy Krueger coming out of the bathroom at the other end of the hallway, turn to face us, and shout something in Italian as he reached for his gun in his jacket. As he aimed at Noah who was opening the door as fast as he could, ski mask dove after Freddy from behind screaming something also in Italian.

Freddy shot the bullet, igniting the gas in the house which quickly went to flames, and exploded, sending us flying out of the back porch, after the bullet had penetrated Noah’s left shoulder. I laid next to my brother, covered in ash from head to toe, as my brother screamed in pain. Blood quickly flowed out of his shoulder and onto the grass in our backyard, as debris from our home fell around us.

I began screaming as well as soon as I saw the blood and grabbed Noah’s hand as he laid on his back crying.

“Go next door Mags… Get help…” He wailed. I nodded my head and stumbled around our home, which was up in flames to the front yard, and fell over as a wooden plank landed next to me, scaring me to death. As I lifted my face up from a pile of snow, I saw a black Rolls Royce with tinted windows drive off from in front of my house. The back seat window was barely cracked open and smoke seeped through it from a cigarette. On the back of the car, imprinted right under the hood in large silver cursive was the name Mariano.

“That’s horrible.” I murmured after Maggie finished telling me her story. “How do you sleep at night after experiencing that?” I asked her. She was in tears, crying silently, and constantly wiping her nose. I put my arm around her shoulder, hoping it would help her. She smiled for a second, and continued to cry after.

“He saved me Xan, he got shot while doing it, but he saved my life…” She sniveled. “We would’ve been shot, or worse, had he not carried me through that house that morning. That’s why he’s like that. The bullet caused him to stutter and shake for the rest of his life. And he’s taken care of me since, through all the foster homes, through all of the schools, through everything up until now. I just can’t loose him here. I did everything I could to stop him from coming, but he just didn’t listen.” She cried.

“I understand why now. He did everything he could when it meant the most. It’s so sad what happened to both of you. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s alright, I appreciate you taking the time to listen to all of this while were in a game show.” She said. Up ahead Carley continued leading us through the palm trees, when suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks, looking at a weird shadow. She looked up and saw a bundle of small orange berries, brightened from the moons light, attached to a palm tree up high.

“Margaret, do you think you can climb up this tree?” She asked.

“Yes maybe,” Maggie replied, “But I need something to chop down the berries.”

“Alright here take my tomahawk, but be careful with it. And don’t fall whatever you do.” Maggie began climbing the tree and Carley walked up to me and said, “Let’s stand guard and watch for anything.”

A few minutes went by, and we began to hear Maggie chopping at the berries, when suddenly she shouted down, “Quick hide someone’s coming!” Carley pulled me into a nearby bush and mover part of some leaves so we had a small view of outside. Sure enough, a man with tussled brown hair and a pair of broken glasses on his eyes came in front of, stumbling around as if he were drunk with a knife in his hand and a small backpack on him.
He kept swiping at the air with his knife mumbling things.

“Stay back! Ill kill every last one of you!” He cried.

“Oh crap he’s seen us! I’ll take care of him don’t worry!” I whispered as I prepared my spear to throw into him. Carley grabbed the spear, holding it back.

“He doesn’t see us! He’s hallucinating his predators. Look, he has an apple in his other hand, obviously it poisoned him.”

“Well let’s help the man then!”

“No don’t show yourself, if he’s hallucinating things there’s a good chance he’ll see us as enemies and attack us. Just wait him out he’s sure to leave.” Carley whispered back. After another minute of wild cries and attacks to his imagined attackers, he finally cried out one last time.

He raised his knife and screamed at the top of his lungs, “You’ll never take me alive!” and proceeded with a wild swipe and slit open his own throat. His blood sprayed into our bush. Drenching Carley and I. Maggie and Carley screamed, while I just threw up next to the bush. I was queasy when it came to blood and guts; it was probably going to really hurt me in this game. But that was truly gruesome. What could possibly drive a person to doing that?

He collapsed into the sand face first, never letting go of the knife. After I emptied the steak dinner and margaritas through my mouth from my stomach, I shambled over to the corpse, and turned it over to see who it was. As I touched the body, I felt a pulse go through me, but there was no need to check my device yet with the man right next to me. I turned him over and got a closer look, it took me a second to recognize him, but I did soon enough. It was the paleontologist from the pre-show.

“Robert Covert. “ Carley stammered, still in shock. I grabbed the knife from his hand; he had a tight grip, and examined it. Nothing strange about it though, just a normal kitchen knife. I set it aside, intent on taking it with me, and checked out the apple he had eaten. On closer examination, I saw he had taken a bite into it, and on the outside it looked exactly like an apple, but on the inside, it was grotesque. It was purple goop, oozing from the bite, bright as well. It smelt just like an apple though, like the poison was meant to mimic the piece of fruit.

Carley took it from my hand, and examined it herself. “I’ve never seen anything like this, must be a new toy they’re trying out on us.” She muttered, sounding disappointed. I looked up to see Maggie staring at something while she wiped her eyes. I looked across her to see a freak crow sitting perched on the branch next to the berries. “Well I guess this means we cant trust any of the fruit on the island, we have to-“ I shushed her, cutting her off, and pointed up towards Maggie. Carley stared up, confused, and saw the bird as well. “What is that ugly thing?” She stammered, puzzled once more.

“It looks like a crow, with a razor for a beak. But watch it, I think she may have found the solution to our food issue.” I remarked. The crow began pecking at the berries, and ate a few of them, then flew off.”
“’ We watch someone or something else eat.’” Carley repeated, and smiled at me. Then looked back up at Maggie and shouted, “It’s ok
to chop it down Maggie! Keep up the good work.” She gripped the apple angrily, and slung it at a palm tree, and it busted into a purple explosion. Carley sat down and took a look at her device, “22:38:13.”

“Only an hour and a half in and we already have food, water, and shelter.” I said proudly.

“And three dead and one of our own injured with a madman on the loose. Doesn’t sound to pleasant.” She replied.

“Has anyone ever told you how negative you are?” I smirked.

“Not negative, just serious. Were in a game show for our lives. Not out camping on the beach for a vacation.

“How do you know so much about the show?”

“I’ve been watching it since it came out, fascinated with it really. I mean who wouldn’t be with all of its creatures, poisons, and psychological backgrounds of its contestants. You sit at home and watch as a man watches his best friend get eaten alive, piece-by-piece, by a giant twenty-foot long gator the size of a bus, and then has to kill that gator for his own survival. People go on here, and slay one another, all for money. Greed changes people, greed corrupts people. So I decided to study the game, learn everything there was to know, about Mino, knowing one day, I too would be on the show as a contestant, but unlike many others who have attempted, I will be and I am prepared.”

“But don’t you agree that the show is morally wrong?”

“No, every contestant that ever has and ever will come through those front doors at Mino Headquarters has already or will have a choice in everything they do. Mino does not demand you to kill one another, Mino only demand you to kill its greatest foe, which is Mino himself. The shows message is simple, straight to the point, kill men for money, and kill Mino for more. Every man has a choice, it’s what choice he makes that is morally good or wrong.” I sat there and thought about it for a moment. I could never kill someone for money, or could I? Could I even kill someone to save my own life or another? I looked over at Carley and asked her one last question.

“Why are you here?”

“For the same reason anyone else is, to win the money.”

“ Good enough for me. But there weren’t any real twenty-foot long gators were there?” I asked with a smile.

“Do you even watch this show?” She smiled back and I laughed. “This past March, they had an episode in the swamps and marshes, I think in Florida, nobody knows for sure, but in the swamps were these twenty-foot long gators, as large as a school bus each. Only three were found in the swamp, but all three managed to kill a total of eight contestants, and only one was killed, by getting a manmade stick of dynamite in side it’s mouth.”

“Man made? Impressive.”

I sat back with her, and relaxed for a few minutes, when she asked me, “What should we do with the body?”

I stared at it for a minute, and then saw the backpack. I took it off of him, and it was really heavy, and opened it up and gasped. It was completely full of the poison apples. “He must’ve collected all of them before he bit into one.” I said. “Let’s empty this bag and take it for ourselves, and his knife. Leave the body.”

Caroline and Iara had found a ladder along an extremely tall redwood a few minutes after they had felt Robert’s pulse. After climbing to the top they found themselves a nice hallowed out room inside of the tree near the top. Inside they found two leave cots, a few bottles of fresh water on a wooden shelve, and a crate of orange berries. There was even a pair of binoculars on one of the cots. From Inside they had a nice view of the entire island, with the warehouse, beaches, and the palm tree jungle.

Caroline sat on the edge of their room by the entrance with the binoculars, searching through the forest for any survivors, while Iara sat on a cot inside with an array of leaves and pine needles in front of her. She was working on making a necklace for her newfound partner, for good luck of course. Suddenly Caroline had spotted someone.

“Well, well, well what do we have here?” She mumbled.

“What is it?” Iara asked.

“Found our first contestant, it looks like the sister of Sarah, the woman who was murdered by Anthony in the warehouse.”

“Anthony…?” Iara trailed off.

“Yes, the larger man with the machete, the Hispanic one. Why what’s wrong?”

“Huh? Oh nothing… He just… scared me was all. Go on.”

“Oh alright, well anyway, she’s laying up against a tree, near the exit of the warehouse in the forest. From the looks of it, she looks asleep.”

“Should we go help her?”

“No, it’s too risky. It could be a trap, or she could be hiding from someone, I doubt she’s actually sleeping, seems too easy to get her.

“Let me see.” Iara stood up and walked over to Caroline, who handed her the binoculars, and Iara peered through until she spotted the sister.

“She’s not pulling anything, she’s unconscious, maybe worse.”

“How do you know?”

“She’s bleeding, from her head. How did you not see this?” Caroline paused for a moment.

“Let me see!” She snatched the binoculars from Iara and looked once again at Savanna. “I… I don’t know…”

“Well we have to help her. We can’t leave her like that it’s not right.”

“We have to, it’s not safe to go back there, especially at night.”

“I’m going out there, whether you come or not.”

“I won’t go, and I’m really against the idea of you going Iara, please don’t for me.” Caroline pleaded.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t sit back and watch her like that. I’m going to help her.”

“Fine, I’ll watch you from here. Take your knife, good luck.”

We were making our way back to the hut; Maggie had a group of berries over her shoulder, and as did I. Carley led the way with the knife and backpack on her, which was also filled with the berries. We were content with our findings, and Maggie was eager to see her brother to apologize. As we were soon approaching the hut, I suddenly felt a pulse, causing me to drop my berries, and noticed Maggie did the same. All three of us checked our devices, and gasped, and Maggie screamed. She sprinted through the jungle heading straight for the hut, screaming for her brother.

I ran after her, calling her name, and Carley called for me, telling me to let her go. As I almost caught up to Maggie, I tripped, and fell with a mouthful of sand. I looked up to see the hut, and Maggie running around it, still screaming. I turned my head over back to my device, to see the photo of Noah Prescott with a red X through it, above the timer read the numbers 22:06:58 which were blinking in red. Under his name, the word Deceased had just finished materializing.

Carley caught up to me and helped me up from the sand. She grabbed my arm and pulled me up, as I wiped the sand from my face. “We have to help her… It’s not safe there…” I babbled.

“Let her go, Felix is still ok, I’m sure she’ll be fine by herself. She needs to face this issue alone.” Carley ordered.

“No you don’t understand! Without Noah she could loose it, next thing you know she kills herself because of the grief! She was going to apologize, he saved her life as a child, and he practically raised her!” I didn’t even realize it until I was finished yelling at her, after she had helped me, and talked to me earlier about her, but I was crying, and screaming at her at the same time. My fists were clenched at my sides; I must’ve looked crazy. Carley had taken a step back, and raised her knife.

I opened my palms, took a deep breath, and told her, “Look, I’m sorry,” as I wiped my eyes, “I’m starting to get attached to her, and you. And after hearing her story while we were searching… It just really made me think, and I feel horrible for her, and everything she’s been to. And now she just lost the only person that she cared about, we need to be there with her. I need to.” Carley lowered her knife, and looked sympathetic for only a second, then returned to her normal stance.

“I’ll retrieve the food and spear.” She said as she walked back through the trees. I dashed back towards the hut, only to find Maggie kneeled in the sand with the corpse of her Brother in her lap by the shore. His head and shoulders were soaked from the ocean water, and she wasn’t helping by bawling over him. His eyes were shut, but his mouth was wide open, like he was drinking or eating before he died. Suddenly it hit me, how could I have been so stupid, he drank the Aquanus. It must’ve been horrible, but… Why would he commit suicide? I looked down at Maggie, and felt stupid again.

“Maggie… it wasn’t your fault…” I soothed as I knelt next to her and hugged her.

“Yes it was! I left angry with him! He killed himself because of me! It’s all my fault!” She cried.

“I’m sure it was because of something else Maggie, he had his own reasons. It’ll be ok Maggie. You have to stay sane though, don’t think rationally! You have to stay in this with me, I need you, Carley needs you, Felix needs you.”

“Felix!” Maggie screamed angrily. She let go of me instantly, leaping to her feet, and marched straight into the hut filled with anger. At that time, Carley had arrived back and was setting the food next to the hut outside and walking over towards Noah’s body. I ran past her and into the hut, to find Maggie on top of Felix, who had been sleeping, with one hand on his neck and the other balled into a fist above his head. “What happened to him?! Tell me this instant before I bash your brains into your damn cot!” She screamed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’ve been asleep since Xan left with you! I swear!” He looked over and spotted me standing in the entrance. “Xan help me!” he cried.

“Xan stay out of this if you want to help me!” Maggie yelled.
I walked up behind her and pulled her off of him. She kicked and screamed, but I was still able to get her off of him, and he crawled back panicking. “Stop it! Let me go! Please!” She screamed, “Please Xan… Please…” She stopped struggling, and became limp in my arms as she broke down, crying helplessly.

“Xan what happened?” Felix asked, sweating profoundly.

“Felix… Noah killed himself while you were asleep… He drank the water, which was poisoned… Maggie found him dead…”

“Oh… When did this happen?”

“Just a few minutes ago…” I trailed off again, with Maggie crying in my arms, I looked up at Felix and asked, “Why didn’t the pulse wake you up?”

“I’m not sure. I guess I just didn’t notice it in my sleep.”

“Did Noah say anything to you before you went to sleep? I notice the fire is up like he was supposed to do.” In the campfire, were a few dry leaves and sticks added to it and a small flame that was slowly growing. Noah had started it soon before killing himself.

“Nothing I fell asleep pretty much right off the bat when you left.”

“How could I leave him like that? How could I leave angry with him, leave him alone? It’s all my fault… I killed him Xan… I killed my brother.”

“No Maggie, it was his own doing, his own actions, his own choice. You can’t believe it’s your fault. I need you in this Maggie, and I’m here for you, and I always will be.”

“She keeps blaming herself… I’m worried she might be suicidal herself.” Carley informed us outside of the hut. Felix, Carley, and I were seated next to a palm tree behind the hut while Maggie slept in the cot, still devastated. It had been three hours into the game, and no one else had died, and Noah’s corpse still laid next to the shoreline, untouched since Maggie had found him.

“What a shame that’d be, both siblings to die from suicide, because of each other!” Felix laughed. Carley starred at the sand, and I gave Felix a menacing look. His grin quickly disappeared and he looked away, guilty.

“Well I suggest that one of us is always with her at all times from here on out, to make sure she doesn’t… Kill herself.” I brought up.

“Sounds like a good idea.” Carley agreed.

“What’s the point of that? I mean if she’s really suicidal how will she help us in anyway. She’ll just be a distraction for the rest of the game. I say we let her kill herself, or just throw her out there alone, let Mino or someone else deal with her. Less trouble for us, we need to focus on surviving, not keeping some woman from killing herself.” Felix argued. Carley looked away again, and I started considering the morality of her.

“What the hell are you talking about? She’s a human being and she’s with us we cant just let her do that, or cast her away, that’s even worse!” I yelled.

Felix got close to my face as he got angrier, and I did as well, I was ready to fight. “Why do you care so much about her? She’s just a human being, playing a game for your life, playing a game for money. Did she tell you why she’s playing it? She’s here for the same reason anyone else is! Just like Carley, just like me, just like you Xan. That’s why this show was made, for greedy people by greedy people! She’s just a human being Xan! What was that guy who ate the berries that Carley told me about that spilt his own blood onto you? What was that girl who got her throat torn open within seconds of the show? What was Noah? Just human beings! So why is this one so special to you? You’ve known her for a few hours!”

“She’s someone I’ve grown to care for over these few hours while you have been sleeping! She was here for her brother she never wanted him to come along but he wanted to be here for her!”

“And then he kills himself?! Sure doesn’t seem like he wanted to be here for her does it? Maybe the game got to him! Maybe he just couldn’t handle it anymore! Maybe he had a shitty life even before Mino Xan!” He was right, I thought to myself. Noah had had a horrible life. Witnessing his parents’ murder, being shot as a teenager, raising a little sister on his own. And after all that time, she was going on this show, throwing her life away, for money.

“Would you do this if it was me in there right now? Or what if that was you? What if I had just killed myself on here? Or what if it was Michele. Imagine her, hanging herself.” I said coldly.

“You bastard.” Felix hissed. He let out a shout as he threw his fist into my stomach. Carley backed away as I doubled over in pain. Felix brought up his knee on his good leg into my mouth and I fell over on my back as blood sprayed from my mouth. “Don’t you ever talk about my wife like that again!” He yelled above me. I kicked his sprained ankle from on the ground and he cursed aloud and fell to the ground. Even though my jaw felt like a stick of dynamite had exploded from within it, I still managed to continue fighting. Felix laid on his back in the sand, clutching his ankle in agony, and I crawled on top of him, still gushing blood from my mouth, and began to beat him senseless.

After a few good punches, Carley finally pulled me off of him. I stood up panting, and wiped my mouth as I looked down at Felix. His face was covered in his own blood, and his left eye was turning black. He was breathing heavily, and looked like he was going to pass out soon. He began coughing more blood, which just landed on and around him. Carley attempted to help him up by offering her hand, but he just swayed her away angrily, and turned over in the sand.

I began to dig a grave in front of the hut on the beach with my bare hands. I wasn’t making much progress, but soon Carley began to help me. We worked for about an hour to dig the hole big enough for Noah, and big enough so there would be a couple feet of sand over him. We knew it didn’t mean much, it only meant something to Maggie, and that was all that mattered.

She woke up soon after we finished, and was touched we did it for her, even in the circumstances we were under. Felix was behind the hut the entire time, just eating the berries we had collected, alone. Carley and I carried Noah’s body into our grave, and Maggie sat by watching tearfully. After filling back up the grave, I sat with my arm around Maggie, who had broke down once more, and with Carley on my other side.

Carley walked back into the jungle a few minutes of silence later, leaving me with Maggie. The stars shone above us, brightening up the Aquanus and the beach.

“I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done. It really means a lot. I was so lucky to find you out here. You’ve been so sweet to me, even though we just met.” Maggie spoke up, taking a break from mourning.

“I guess it was lucky you decided to surprise us outside the ware house huh?” I smiled.

“Ha yeah… I’m sorry about that.”

“It’s behind us don’t worry.”

“What happened to Felix?” I thought about telling her the truth, but it would only make her worry.

“He hurt his ankle when he was helping Carley with something, I’m sure he’ll be fine by the morning. I hope.”

“Oh… Well I heard you talking outside with him when I was falling asleep, about me killing myself… And I’ll confess it to you, and you only… I considered it.”

“But you’re over it now, right?”

“Yes. I’ve decided to go on, and win this horrible game, and I will avenge him, once I have the head of Mino in my hands.” She said gruesomely. “But for now…” She trailed off, as she leaned over, and pressed her lips up against mine. At first I was surprised, but then I stopped caring. With all the crazy s*** that was going on, I might as well have something nice happen in the last few hours of my life. I went with it, and after Maggie leaned back, and smiled for the first time since Noah died.

The sane part of me said this was crazy, we had met hours ago, and her brother had just died, and we were on a game show where everything around us was bent on killing us! But then the other half of me said, screw it. Maybe I actually did care about her. Maybe Felix was making a point earlier. I thought of apologizing to him. But after I was done with Maggie. She leaned in and gave me another, longer this time. After, Carley came back with a flower from a bush from the palm trees in her hand. She walked next to Noah’s grave, and placed it on top of it in the center. She nodded at both of us, and walked of once again.

Suddenly reality hit us again. Maggie started crying once again, and I went back to nurturing her. We laid out on the sand, and she buried her face into my chest, sobbing. I thought to myself, nice while it lasted. Was that selfish of me? Probably, but I didn’t care. I guess I was just happy for a moment. Sucks it had to be in Mino.

I opened my eyes. I found myself in a meadow, filled with daisies. There was a dirt path in front of me, leading me to some sort of hut. I didn’t have a care or worry in the world. Every worry from reality was gone, I had no responsibilities, and as if I could do anything I wanted. I forgot about the beach, and Maggie, and Mino, and my Mother, and even myself. I was just free to roam this meadow. But something made me want to explore the hut.

The sky was a bright rainbow, filled with different shimmering colors. There was a cool breeze, blowing through the wind. The flowers swayed to the west slightly, and as I walked along the path, my fingers brushed the petals gently. But as I got closer to the hut, I started to see differences.

The first thing I saw was something move in the flowers to my right. Then I saw another to my right, and then it slithered across the path behind me. I looked closer in the flowers, and saw it. Then I saw them. Cobras. Large ones. The flowers will filled with them, but the cobras didn’t look normal, their skin was yellow, just like the daisies.

Soon a few daisies erupted into flames. One by one at first, they just combusted. With every step I took, more and more set aflame. Soon there were here and there, and then there were patches of them spread out. The sky began to turn dark red, and storm clouds formed overhead. Lightning struck in the distance, thunder shook the Earth below me. My heaven was turning into a hell.

I approached the entrance to the hut, and it looked exactly like ours on the beach from the outside. Inside it was bare, stripped of everything but a person lying on their stomach in the center of the hut. I wanted to leave, run as far away as possible from the hut, the storm, the flaming daisies, leave it all behind. But I couldn’t. I lost control of my body, and watched in horror as I reached for the person. I turned him over, and screamed, with no noise escaping my throat.

The person was the man who had received the knife into his back instead of me. But where his eyes should have been, was instead the purple goop from the apples. Suddenly, the wall in front of me bursted apart, torn down by Mino himself, wielding his axe. He raised it high above his head, and roared, as I sat trembling with the poisoned corpse in my arms, defenseless. Just as Mino brought down the axe, lightning struck me from the storm clouds.

I woke up covered in sweat, and alone. I sat up; I was on the beach in front of Noah’s grave. I must’ve passed out after the funeral. I thought to myself, was any of that real? Kissing Maggie, her crying with me lying here, and then that dream. What did it mean? I looked around, and then realized everything with Maggie that happened was real; the rose was still on Noah’s grave.

After waking up though, I had the feeling of apologizing to Felix. Maybe I did go to far, and he was my best friend, and ally in this game. Nonetheless, I needed him. I heard some talking going on in the hut, and figured he’d be in there.

I stood up and brushed all the sand of off me. I began to make my way over to the hut, and considered what I was going to say to him. I reached the entrance, and gasped in shock at what I saw. Maggie was on top of Felix again, but this time she had both hands around his neck, choking him to death.

“No stop!” I screamed.

“Xan… Help me…” Felix gasped, and Maggie looked up at me.

“No wait you don’t understand!” She cried. But I understood perfectly. She had lost it, and now blamed Felix for Noah’s death and planned to kill him to avenge her brother. I had to stop her, and fast. Felix was reaching for something; it was the knife Robert had used to kill himself. I dove after it, and then made the worst mistake I had ever made in my life. I shoved it into Maggie’s left shoulder, she shrieked in pain and confusion and fell over, blood dripping out of her jumpsuit staining the sand. Felix immediately crawled away behind me, and I pinned her down confronting her with the knife still in my hand. I was still disoriented, but I knew she had turned on us, and planned to finish her myself.

“What are you doing? I loved you! You don’t understand Xan, he tried to kill me! Now I’m going to die!” her eyes watering. I looked at her confused, and then turned to Felix, only to get punched in square in the face. The blade flew from my hand, and I fell on my back. He put his boot on my chest and pressured me into coughing more blood, and as I looked into his eyes, the Felix I once knew was gone.

“Thanks for helping me finish her off Xan, for a minute there, I thought I was the one in trouble. Sadly, she’ll die of the poison on the blade you stabbed her with, so you will get the money, and not me. So in order to make up for that loss I’ll have to kill you as well. Nothing personal though, you know you are just a human.” He grinned demonically.

“What are you talking about?” I coughed.

“Oh it’s really simple is all. See I killed Noah. I forced him to drink the Aquanus. That wasn’t enough though; I want my family set for life. And what better way to do that, then create a Prescott family reunion. Sadly though, you murdered your little friend there,” He motioned over at Maggie, who was clutching at her wound crying, “See that blade, it was soaked in the ocean.” I gasped in horror. “That’s right, the poison is traveling through her veins as we speak, she’ll be dead within minutes. But hey, at least you get the money like you wanted.” Felix laughed.

I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. Felix was going to kill me, I had killed Maggie, and Carley was nowhere to be seen. I could’ve saved her… Instead I killed her. I wasn’t going to let her die like this. And I wasn’t going down like this either. Felix laughed, the fire brightening his face, and as he raised his boot to finish me off, I thought and panicked, and saved my life. With all of my remaining strength and focus, I kicked Felix in his sprained ankle once again. He screamed, and fell over, landing on his side in the campfire. He instantly set ablaze, and screamed in agonizing pain, as he burned alive.

“No!” I cried as I jumped to my feet and pulled him out. I put out the flames by throwing sand on him, as he slightly rolled in it, and then he settled down, lying on his back. He had severe burns all over his body. He was breathing heavily, and slowly. “No you can’t die! I can’t kill you! Don’t you die on me! It’s not right! Why did you do this Felix?” I began to cry over him. I clenched my fists into balls and pressed them against my forehead.

“For my family…” He groaned.

“That’s not the way…” I choked.

“I’m… sorry…” He stopped breathing. I shut his eyes, and looked up at the sounds of footsteps. Carley appeared in the doorway, with the spear, and at the sight of us, dropped it into the sand. She gasped and ran to my side, crouching next to Felix.

I got up and sat next to Maggie, who was propped up against the side of the wall in the hut, still clutching her shoulder and sobbing hard. I continued to cry as well.

“I’m so sorry… I thought…”

“It’s ok Xan, I forgive you…” She sighed.

“I love you.”

“I love you too. Please… win this damn game… for me… don’t end up like him…” She leaned over, and kissed me for the last time, and then sat back, and closed her eyes. I felt her pulse, and then Felix’s right after. Margaret Prescott had died at 20:01:58, because of me.

puddle of her blood unconscious. Iara checked her device to check if the woman was still alive, and sure enough she was. Iara had also just felt the pulses of a young woman and man a few minutes ago, but she didn’t really care, she hadn’t known them. She assumed Anthony killed them, or maybe some creature. Either way it didn’t affect her.

She moved aside the branches and made her way through the mist up to the woman. Crouching down on the ground, she grabbed the woman’s hand gently, and started shaking her lightly.

“Hey wake up! We have to go wake up!” She whispered quickly. Iara cocked her head up; she heard footsteps. A figure appeared through the fog in the distance, and Iara returned to the bush. The figure was large, not tall, but bulky. It was a man, covered in head to toe in armor. He was carrying something as well, on his back. A flamethrower. Two more appeared at his sides, and they spotted the woman. The center one motioned with his hand for the others to surround her, and they ordered his command. Back at the tree house, Caroline watched, cursing at Iara for being so stupid.

The men made a circle around the woman, and Iara could hear the centers muffled orders through his helmet. The other two nodded, and raised their flamethrowers, and lit the poor woman ablaze. She screamed, waking up immediately. She flailed around for a minute, as the men continued to burn her. It took every inch of Iara’s restraint to keep her from screaming. By the time the body finally stopped screaming and moving, it had turned black like the night sky. Iara let out a small gasp as she cringed, and clasped her hands over her mouth, a second too late. The man closest to her, turned, scanning the bushes for anything. The man searching for me caught the attention of the other two, and they came closer. Finally, the center made another order. Iara decided not to stay to find out what it was, and leapt from the bushes, making a dead on sprint for her shelter.

She figured with all that armor on, she could easily out run them. But they didn’t have to run. As Iara ran she heard a rocket shoot off from behind her, and turned to see the men flying straight for her, with flames coming from their boots. They flew over her, spreading the flames around her, as they soon surrounded her. The fire was becoming out of control, and fast. Iara began darting through flames and burning trees to escape them, but they began cutting her off at all of her trails. One of the men flew right in front of her, after burning the tree next to her. Just as he prepared to set her aflame, the tree fell and crushed him, killing him instantly.

The other two soon cornered her, with a ring of flames. The men held up their flamethrowers, aimed at her, and suddenly, a knife flew from behind her, and straight into one of the men’s throats. He dropped his weapon to the ground, and then fell himself, grabbing at his neck, which was drenching his partner and Iara. The only one left, landed on the ground, frantically looking for what had killed his partner. Iara crouched into a ball on the ground, praying. A larger figure then the man with the flamethrower himself, appeared from the smoke and flames, and attacked the man from the back. With a large machete, he slit the tubes connecting the propane tank and flamethrower, releasing the gasses into the air. With all of the fire nearby, the man instantly combusted, but not before the figure had shielded Iara from the explosion.

He lifted her up over his back, and carried her safely out of the fire, back to her tree house, and dropped her down at the ladder.

“Anthony?” She gasped. He was wearing a large coat, which contained hidden knives and assortments inside of it.

“This is your one favor, and a warning. Don’t let me catch you like that again. Next time I’ll hunt you down myself.”

“How did you go through the fire?!” Iara cried.

“The coat, flame retardant.” He reached in and grabbed a cleaver from inside, and handed it to her. “I’m not sure where your knife is, so take this. Be careful.” He bent down and gave her a kiss on her cheek, and began to leave, but then paused after taking a few steps away. He looked at a nearby bush, which looked a bit strange. Then pulled out his machete, and took a step near it. Instantly, two small people leapt out of the bush, they were fast on their feet, and dashed through the misty forest with Anthony trailing them.

Iara smiled, blushing. She couldn’t believe he had saved her life, even more the reason to love him. She was still shocked to see him once again in the show; she had no idea he would be here. When she climbed the to the top of her tree, Caroline stood at the edge waiting.

“What the hell was that?” She said sternly.

Guilt had overcome me. I killed my best friend. I killed the woman I loved. I was all she had left. And I killed her. Manipulated into doing it. He wanted me to do it. Just for money. I had twenty million dollars sitting for me at home. But it wasn’t worth it. I would’ve done anything to go back. To change what I had done. But there was nothing I could do. I explained to Carley what had happened. She understood me.

“I just wanted to give her a small injury, nothing big, just to calm her down. I thought maybe it’d show her the light you know, like as if she was actually crazy. Instead it was just Felix.” I mourned.

“He wasn’t crazy Xan, he just did what he felt was right for his family.” Carley said.

“But I killed him. I could’ve helped him… and her. Instead I killed both of them.”

“They were accidents, both of them. It was either you or him.”

“But he didn’t have to die!”

“It was an accident that he fell into the fire Xan, you didn’t intend that to happen.”

“I know Carley, but it did. And even when he spoke his dieing words to me, I still felt like it was meant to happen. Like there was no avoiding his death. As if fate decided it was going to happen.”

“Like I said you or him.”

“And what about Maggie? For all we know she was trying to protect herself.”

“Did Felix murder Noah?”

“He confessed to it. Maggie must have known, and tried to kill him.”

“Maybe he had tried to kill her first, and then the tables turned on him, and he used you to his advantage.”

“We’ll never know for sure.” We sat in front of the hut, with the three graves side by side in front of us. Maggie’s was in the center, with Noah on her right, and Felix on her left. On Felix’s grave, I had stuck the poisoned blade deep into the sand, with only the handle sticking out. I collected daisies from the jungle, ones just like in my dream, and decorated Maggie’s grave with them.

“Not a word was spoken while burying them. We didn’t have to bury them, we felt it right though. By the time everything was done, it was 16:23:01. When we began to dig the graves for our friends, we felt a pulse for the sister of Sarah, Savanna. Lord knows what killed her, and I didn’t want to know. It didn’t matter; all that did was Carley and I surviving the remaining sixteen hours. With Savanna dead, it raised the death count to seven. Half of the games participants were already dead, and the show wasn’t even halfway over.

We sat watching storm clouds brew overhead, slowly engulfing the night sky. Lightning flashed in the distance, and we sat there eating berries like there was no tomorrow. For us, there was no tomorrow. Only today.

We were going to have to leave our shelter soon, Carley suggested exploring the other half of the island. We assumed the remaining contestants were there as well, seeing as Robert was the only other contestant we had seen here. I guess we were lucky with that. Just as we packed our things to leave, I left a few berries on Maggie’s grave. As I placed them, I felt a pulse, and fell over. I checked my device, a small blonde girl had died, Zoe, at 15:39:52. Could this show go for five minutes without someone dieing? It was terrifying; the pulse was possibly the worst thing I had ever felt in my life. I thought to myself, no wonder Charles killed himself, this experience is just traumatizing from every angle.

trying to escape Anthony, who they could hear treading behind them. They were swift and light, making it easier for them, but fear was overcoming them both. Anthony was loosing them, but he wasn’t ready to give up, until a branch tore across his right cheek. He tripped over a root while clutching at his gushing face, shouting in pain. Up ahead, Zoe and Alex had lost sight of him, and were taking cover behind a tree.
Alex looked back, searching for any sign of him, and through the forest and mist he saw nothing. He turned back to aware Zoe they were safe for now, and gasped in horror at what he saw. Anthony stood behind him, with a tight grip on Zoe’s throat lifting her into the air. She was gasping, losing oxygen, and kicking in mid air. Anthony smiled demonically, as thunder roared above head, and he pulled out a butcher knife from inside the coat he had on.
Alex panicked, and frantically searched around him for a weapon. He picked up a small sharp branch, and lunged it into Anthony’s side. Anthony screamed in agony, and slammed Zoe back against the tree, against her head. With the back of his hand, still holding the knife, Anthony gave Alex an uppercut, and Alex let go of the branch, which remained lodged in Anthony’s side, and stumbled backwards.
Anthony shoved the knife through Zoe’s stomach and into the tree, who screeched in pain as he let go of her throat. She was stuck to the tree, kept in place by the knife. Anthony turned to Alex, who backed away in fear at the sight of his face. A cut had just recently been made from the right side of his lips all the way to the end of his cheek, which was bleeding profusely. He was also covered in mud and dirt, mixed in with blood. Anthony raised his boot at the horrified Alex, and kicked him in his stomach, sending him flying into a puddle of mud.
Zoe continued to scream as Alex began to climb his way out of the puddle disoriented and terrified. Anthony stood next to him, and stomped once on his back as he struggled in the mud. He shouted out in pain as Anthony laughed. Anthony got on his knees, and grabbed Alex by the back of his head, pushing him under the mud, holding him there. Alex flailed around desperately, and just as he ran out of breath, Anthony let go, and stood up. Zoe had spit on him from the tree, and was now screaming his name and other rude things at him.

Anthony made his way back to her menacingly, as Alex turned over on his back gasping. Anthony stood in front of Zoe, face to face, and pulled out another smaller knife. She spit in his face, and he slammed the knife into her left shoulder, and she screamed in retaliation. Alex watched in horror, and then realized what he had to do. He shakily made his way up, and began sprinting once more through the woods, leaving the pair behind.
Anthony looked over to check on Alex, and saw him at the last second as he was escaping. He began to chase after him, and Alex saw the only way of being safe. He frantically climbed up into a large odd tree, using its low branches, and then sturdy trunk. He sat high into it, and watched down below, as Anthony approached the tree, gasping for breath, and found no way for him to climb, as for his size.
Anthony eventually left Alex alone, and Alex laid back in the tree, prepared to rest, when he saw a large axe just inches away from him lodged in the tree. He hadn’t seen it before, and now he was equipped with a weapon. He began to work on it, until he heard the bone chilling screams of Zoe, echoing through the forest. Thunder roared once more, and storm clouds were brewing overhead, and it was only 16:00:00.

By the time we reached the forest on the other side of the island, the sky was completely filled with storm clouds. It was pitch black outside, and I had a hard time seeing five feet in front of me. It began to pour hardly, with the only light coming from an occasional strike of lightning. Carley was by my side, drenched quickly, and was desperate for shelter. With us, we had the spear, her tomahawks, and the bottles of water. I was sad to leave our shelter behind, but by now it was probably under water, and I was concerned for the graves.

“Stop!” Carley said as she walked up to a tree. Lightning lit up the forest, and I saw what grabbed her attention. It was odd, but the tree seemed to sparkle. There was something covering it, like a layer of dust or something that the rain didn’t seem to be affecting. She stood by it examining it, and I walked over and felt it. The dust was smooth, and seemed to shimmer in the lightning. “What are you doing? Don’t touch it!” She screamed through the storm.

“Whoops!” I screamed back smiling.

“This isn’t funny! I have no idea what this is!”

“I’m sure it’s nothing!” I wiped my nose; snot had begun to leak from it.

“Just don’t touch your face with it!”


“Oh my god… you didn’t just… You did didn’t you?”

“I did it just before you told me!”

“Here stand up against this tree!”

“What why?!”

“To keep you safe, we don’t know what that does!”

“How do we know it does anything?!”

“I have a feeling!” She pulled a rope out from behind her, and began to tie me to the tree.

“A feeling?! Are you kidding me?” I screamed as she tied the knot tight behind me.

“Nope, I am leaving now to find shelter. Goodbye!” She shouted, and ran off leaving me tied to the dusty tree.

“What the hell?!” I screamed. The rain continued to pour down on me, and I couldn’t move an inch. I was alone, defenseless, and drenched. I was miserable, horribly cold and uncomfortable.

Suddenly, lightning flashed, and I saw a large figure in the distance, sulkily making its way through the forest. I heard its moans over the roar of the wind and just by the sounds it made could tell what it was; a grizzly. I began to struggle, doing everything I could to get loose, but it was no use. It advanced on me, and began to growl.

“Back away! Go! Shoo!” I screamed. It approached me and scratched at its muzzle, and looked up at me… with its wide brown eyes and curly brown hair. The bear had Felix’s face, just covered in fur. I screamed at the top of my lungs. He was back for revenge. In bear form. Bearvenge. It just sat there looking at me on all fours in the rain, as I screamed for Carley. Where was she? Maybe she was in on it! Maybe she released Felix the Bear! I always knew she was working against me! Plotting! Just wanting the money for herself! Well I was going to make sure she didn’t live to sunrise.

“What do you want bear?” I whispered. It just looked at me through Felix’s eyes. Maybe he’s trying to tell me something, I thought. “What? Tear off my ropes. Ill get you out of here. I promise.”

Without warning, lightning struck a tree nearby, setting it ablaze. The bear looked over at the fire, and began to snarl as he looked back at me.

“Oh… fire… the campfire… Yeah about that… whoops.” I smiled scared out of my mind. The bear stood up on its back legs, and roared, shaking the tree I was tied to covered in dust. I screamed, and pissed myself, and the bear raised its claws, and brought them down on me.

I woke up covered in sweat, and urine. I looked around; I was back in my cell at Mino headquarters. I got up, only in my boxers, again, and checked the wardrobe. Inside was the jumpsuit. It was a dream. All of it. Everything from Maggie kissing me to Felix burning alive. All just a dream. I laughed, relieved, and sat against the wall. It all felt so real.

But wait, this meant that I was still going into Mino, now! I jumped to my feet and into the shower, taking a nice hot long one. It felt like ages since I had taken a shower, I wonder how long I had been in here. The dream was over a day long. After my shower I freshened up again, and felt nice and clean in my jumpsuit. But this one was different; this one didn’t have the logo on it, and instead was a rainbow of colors instead of red and black. It was odd, kind of fruity, but who cares. As I sat on the bed, the steak dinner came through the door again, and I ate it again. It was delicious, again. I asked for the coke, again, and it came through, again. Everything seemed to be happening, exactly the same, again. There were small differences, like the jumpsuit, but nothing major.

The door opened up soon after and the two guards looked exactly like the ones in my dreams, Steve Buscemi and the Russian. This time I didn’t make conversation, and when I reached the elevator, they didn’t get in with me. The steel doors closed behind me, and the elevator began to go up, with me alone inside. I wondered if how they put on the device was real, or maybe that was just my imagination. Suddenly the light overhead went out, and the elevator slammed to a stop. I stumbled and fell over, as I felt another pulse. How? I wasn’t in the game… unless… this was al a dream. Or maybe I was just dieing from the bear attack. Suddenly there was a large boom that shook the entire elevator, and I backed away from the doors, up against the wall in the darkness.

Suddenly there was a louder boom, this time against the doors from the outside. Something was trying to come in. It began to pull apart the doors, and light seeped in from outside, more fire. The thing trying to come in; Mino. He tore off the doors, and his shadow from the fire fell over me. He was gigantic, and he gnarled, and steam blew from his nose. His fists were clenched tight, and his hoofs left prints in the metal of the floor.

Just as he roared, the elevator shook again, and this time fell, leaving Mino behind. The elevator fell fast, so fast; I began to float, screaming. Sparks flew from the torn open entrance, they were a bright blue. I closed my eyes as I braced for impact.

“Xan wake up! You’re so inconsiderate!” Someone shook me awake. I found myself outside, in a nice open field, sitting in a folding chair, in a black suit, in front of an open coffin. Next to me, the man shaking me awake, was my father.

“No… No you’re dead. I saw you die! Get away from me!” I stood up, and almost fell over, backing away from the elderly man with a brown thick goatee, who was my father. I looked around; there were rows of people, all dressed in black. I looked at the coffin, I couldn’t see who was in it, but we were at a funeral.

“What’s gotten into you son? Sit back down.” The man said.

“No! Who are you?!” Tears began streaming down my cheeks.

“What are you talking about?”

“No stop! I saw you hang yourself! You’re dead! You left us! All alone! Get away from me!” I screamed.

“Im you’re father and you will not speak to me like that! Im here and alive, I’ve never left you!” People started whispering things in the background, a woman with long blonde hair stood up from the chair that was next to mine, there was a baby next to hers. She was in a long black dress, and she began to walk towards me, but I backed away. I saw Felix and his family behind my father, they looked sad, everyone did, but he was looking back at me, shaking his head.

“What the hell is going on!” I screamed.

“Baby… We’re at your mothers funeral.” The woman said.

“Who are you?! And my mother’s… funeral…? But she’s not dead!”

“I’m your wife.” The woman said. I turned from her. I had never seen her in my entire life. I walked up to the coffin, and wiped my eyes. Inside laid my mother, with her eyes closed shut. I began to sob, mourning for her. The wind blew through my hair, blowing away my tears, and I turned, to face my family once again.

“How did this happen…” I paused. I turned to find myself in my hallway, in my house from when I was a small kid. The hallway was dark, the light in it was out, and it looked as if the bulb had burned out. At the end of the hallway was my parents bedroom, with the door cracked open slightly. I slowly crept down the hallway, making my way towards the door. Dark red light seeped through it, dimly lighting the edge of the hallway. I approached it, and carefully pushed open the door wide, and dropped to my knees in horror at the sight of my father standing on a stool with his back to me, a noose around his neck. He stepped off, and there was a loud crack, as his neck broke, and he died instantly. I sobbed, and threw my face into my arms on the ground.

I lifted my head up at the sound of crackling fire. I looked up as I wiped my eyes, and realized I was back inside the hut. I watched as I kicked Felix’s ankle, causing him to fall into the fire. I screamed and ran to him, but my hands went right through him. They couldn’t hear me, all I could do was watch, just like the past me did, as Felix burned, and Maggie bled against the wall. My past self began to put out Felix, and I watched as everything happened again.

As I examined the dust on the tree, Xan came up by my side, and felt it. He suddenly brushed his nose, and instantly began to scream, as he dropped to the floor. The scream was high pitched, and made me cringe, but it sounded un-human. I fell to his side, he had passed out.

“Xan! Xan wake up! Don’t do this to me! You can’t do this Xan! I need you!” I began to cry softly. After a few minutes went by in the rain, I decided I had to take him along with me. I lifted him up, over my back, along with our supplies, and slowly trudged my way through the storm. Soon, I didn’t feel like I would find anywhere safe from the rain, and then I thought I had found help. At the sound of another voice, I set Xan up against a tree, who had begun saying weird things in his sleep.

I made my way around a few trees, following the voice, but keeping track of Xan, with only the spear. I heard the voice close by in the woods, but I couldn’t see anything. Lightning lit up the sky, and that’s when I saw him. It was a small man, with an axe, who was chopping wood from a tree, and had a small pile of branches next to him.

“Hey! Hey you!” I shouted at him. The man turned to face me, and I gasped when the lightning revealed his appearance. His entire body was covered in the dust from head to toe, and parts glimmered when the lightning struck, but you could see it faintly close up in the dark. Where his eyes should have been, where just balls of the dust. He had been exposed to so much, he was sleepwalking. It must have completely taken him over.

For a moment or two he just stared at me, then he spoke up, in a low raspy voice, that didn’t sound like his own, “You there! Have you come for the wood?” He asked politely.

“Um… Sure!” I shouted back, with the wind picking up. It was fierce now, and I began to worry about Xan, still propped up against a tree talking in his sleep. The dust covered man set down his axe, and reached for a branch, but then realized they had all been blown away by the wind, or at least that’s what I thought he realized. As he was searching for his branches, I looked behind the tree he had been chopping at, and there was a small cave erupting from the forest ground. I had to get Xan back to the shelter, but I couldn’t have this dustman walking around here.

“Wait a minute… You…” He picked up his axe and stood up straight pointing at me. Lightning flashed and the thunder roared as he raised his axe and took a step forward. “You took my wood! You just wanted to steal from me! Keep it all for yourself and leave me with my partner alone in the woods! We need that wood!” He screamed, “And I’ll do whatever it takes to get it back…” The dustman growled in a deep voice.

“Partner?” I asked. Lightning flashed once more, and I saw his partner. It was the small blonde girl we had seen die when we were leaving the beach, she had a butcher knife stuck through her intestines, keeping her in place on a large redwood. She was covered in cuts, she had been tortured to death, and her blood soaked the trunk and roots of the tree. I screamed, horrified.

The dustman took another step closer and I raised my hands up to back him away, one with the tomahawk. “It doesn’t have to be this way! Just back off and I’ll leave you two alone! Okay?” I soothed. The man froze, and blinked for a second, as if he were coming back to reality. Lightning flashed again, and he saw his partner and then continued with his murderous rage.

“You… you’re just here to hurt and steal from us! Well I’m not going to stand by any more!” He shouted as he charged at me. I dove out of the way of his swinging axe, and he collided head first into a tree. He fell over on his back, and the axe, blade first, fell on top of him, burying itself in his chest. He cried out over the roaring winds, and it lasted a few seconds, before he finally died down. I felt his pulse, and decided to leave his body there, along with the dusty axe.

I made my way back to Xan, who luckily was still up against the tree rambling, and lifted him along with our supplies and made my way back to the cave behind the dustman.

I stood frozen in fear in an abyss of my own worst fears and nightmares. On my left was the image of my mother, in her coffin at her funeral, on my right was Felix burning alive as I sat and watched, and in front of me was my father, hanging himself over and over again. I could hear their voices, all around me, taunting me, haunting me. ‘All your fault… Because of you…’

I was on my knees with my face buried in my palms sobbing my heart out. There was nothing I could do, nothing I could say, I was hopeless. I felt something grab a hold of my shoulder, and I turned to face Felix the Bear standing tall over me. But this time it didn’t have Felix’s face, it had my face. I was looking at myself, in a weird bear form. The bear got down on all fours and motioned for me to get on. At this point, I wasn’t sure what the hell was going on, so I did. Anything to get away from the images I saw. But instead, the bear went towards them. First it went up towards the funeral, and then I found myself inside of it, still on the bear. We were right next to the coffin, and I watched as I came up to the coffin, well the future me.

“This is inevitable Alexander. Your mother will die, and soon. Whether or not you’re there for you is up to you. And you cant blame yourself for what happens in the future, you have to accept what will happen.” The bear said, in my own voice. I didn’t want to say anything else, so I just sat and watched. At this funeral, Felix wasn’t there, and neither was his family or my father. This one seemed more realistic, and I also seemed a bit older then I do now. I saw the woman who claimed to be my wife, and she looked just as sad as I did, and then there was our child next to her.

The bear then walked over to my parents’ bedroom, and I found us standing next to the bed, behind my father. I saw him jump off the stool he had been standing on, and hang himself, but behind him on the other side of us, I saw myself as a small child. I watched as I screamed, and sprinted out of the room, calling for my mom, even though I knew she wasn’t there.

“It wasn’t your fault. He had his own reasons, which you or anyone will never fully understand. But you cant blame yourself for what happened to your family, and for what he did. You must move on, and accept what has happened, don’t let it just eat you away.”

We then continued on to the hut, and watched, as Felix burned alive. But before I could receive another moving speech from the bear, which was me, I put a stop to it.

“No that’s enough! I’m done with this! I control this place and hats enough! This is my mind so I can do whatever I want!” I shouted as I got off the bear. It turned and snarled at me, but I just punched it, myself, whatever in the face. It grabbed its snout and whimpered, and I grabbed at the hut wall, and tore it down. Behind it as just empty space, endless. I turned back, this time to only face Anthony. I froze, and my eyes opened wide in sheer terror, as he raised his boot and hissed, “Goodnight.” And kicked me straight into the abyss.

Noah stepped into the hut with two small sticks and sat by the campfire, beginning to start the fire. Felix sat up in his cot, and laid back against the wall across from Noah.
“So what do you do for a living Noah?” Felix asked.

“I’m a bartender in N-New Jersey. Why what do you d-do?” He stuttered.

“Oh I was a physician. Got fired a while back though.”

“Oh I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine. So why are you here?”

“H-Huh? I’m sorry I can’t really talk right now. Maybe later…” He trailed off, as he continued to work. Felix frowned and sighed as he stood up and made his way out to the beach. For awhile he just sat out there by the water, and then he began working as well. He searched along the shoreline looking for a nice hollow seashell, and finally found one just as Noah came out of the hut excitedly exclaiming, “I got a fire going!” Without a stutter.

“That’s great…” Felix trailed off, hiding the seashell behind his back, which was now filled with the Aquanus. Noah sat down by the beach, as Felix went and checked on the fire.

“So… Do you think I was too harsh back there with Maggie?” Noah waited for an answer, without taking his eyes of the moonlit poisonous ocean. Suddenly he was grabbed from behind, put into a chokehold.

Felix grabbed Noah with his right arm choking him, causing him to lift up his head gasping for air. “Not at all, think you did just fine.” He laughed, raising the seashell above his mouth. Quickly Noah slammed his elbow into Felix’s gut, causing him to spill the poison onto the sand, and loosen his grip on Noah. Noah took advantage and flipped Felix over him, who landed on his back on the sand. Noah stood up instantly and raised his boot over Felix’s face, who rolled away just in time. Felix jumped to his feet, only to receive a punch in the chest from Noah. He stumbled backwards, and regained his balance, with the seashell still in his hand. With a tight grip, he slung his fist with the seashell, smashing it into Noah’s jaw, who fell face first into the Aquanus.

Felix dropped to the sand, and held his head under as he sent the seashell flying into the ocean. Once Noah had gotten enough of the water to quickly kill him, Felix checked his face for any marks or blood. There was a small bruise on his cheek, but hopefully in the dark, nobody would notice. Felix felt the pulse, and threw Noah’s face back into the ocean. He dashed back into the hut, and laid back into his cot, pretending to be fast asleep, and soon the remaining group arrived. With the money in his pocket, he felt like he had done his job for his family, but he knew Maggie would be onto him, and felt like he had to finish her off as well.

As Xan fell asleep on the sand with Maggie, Carley sat next to a tree a ways away from the hut, keeping guard for any intruders, and Felix sat inside the hut by the fire, with Robert’s knife, which he had drenched in the Aquanus. His plan was to attack Maggie when she came in once Xan was asleep. After waiting awhile, he decided to sit outside of the hut, and keep watch on the couple.

Soon, Xan was asleep and Maggie got up, making her way into the hut. When she stepped in, she went for a bottle of water, and behind her outside, Felix checked for any spectators. With the knife behind his back, Felix strutted inside.

“Oh hey Felix, I’m sorry I’ve kind of been a mess lately. How have you been? Is your ankle better?” She smiled, with her back to him. “Not talking eh?” She smirked as she turned to face him. She gasped as he shoved the knife towards her eyes, and she dropped to the ground. She jumped back up behind him in a flash, and twisted his right arm with the knife in it; he dropped it to the ground, and fell to his knees. She threw him to the ground and got on top of him as she prepared to kill him. She wrapped her hands around his neck, and began to choke him.

“No stop!”

Iara sat in a rust old barstool inside Steighners Pub. She was at the bar with her face buried in her hands, sobbing, for she had to sign up for the game show Mino that night. Next to her was a bowl of peanuts, and an empty glass of chardonnay. The bartender had offered to refill her glass, but she had had enough.

The bar was dark and dirty, filled with smoke. It was more like a dive bar then anything else. It was also the closest bar to Mino HQ. The bartender herself looked depressing, she was an older woman with straggly white hair and wrinkled skin.

The entrance opened and a tall buff man walked in with a suit on, carrying a large briefcase with dark shades on. He took a seat next to Iara, and ordered a beer. He looked over at her, and noticed she was crying.

“Hey want a drink? It’s on me.” The man offered.

She raised her head up, ready to say no, until she saw him. She figured one more drink couldn’t help. “Sure” she smiled as she wiped her eyes.

“What’s the matter?” The man asked as the bartender handed them their beverages.

“Oh…” Iara thought about it. Why ruin the evening? “I’m just moving out of town, for work. I’m sad to leave is all. I’ll be all right.”

“Name’s Anthony. Anthony Mendoza.” He held out his hand to her.

“Iara Faria.” She blushed.

“Thanks for dinner, it was really sweet of you.” Iara said to Anthony, as they were leaving the Italian restaurant Mariano’s. They walked out onto the sidewalk, with her arm around his, and he hailed her a taxi. There was a breeze outside that night, and her hair blew softly in the wind. It was really late, but she knew Mino was still open. She had to hurry there if she wanted to sign up tonight.

“Where are you going to go?” He asked her. She panicked. He had told her he was in town for the weekend for business, and knew he would see her on TV is he watched the show at all. She figured maybe it was better for him to see her there.

As she stepped into the taxi, she looked up at him with a sad smile and said, “Just watch your television this weekend.” And closed the door. “Mino Headquarters please.”

The first person Iara saw as she got to her feet in the warehouse was the man who had taken her to dinner just a few nights before. She was amazed to see him, and oddly turned on to see him showing his brute strength to murder her fellow contestants. She wondered if he had seen her, maybe he didn’t care about her anymore. That’s when it hit her; what if he tried to kill her. She grabbed a knife from a nearby rack, and sprinted off out of the warehouse, wondering if she should have stayed with him. She would regret not being with him the rest of the game.

“What is that?” Iara asked while working on a necklace. Caroline sat up in her cot and looked at what Iara was asking about, a crow. But something was wrong with its beak, there was a long jagged razor in its place.

“I’m not sure…” She replied. It sat near the entrance to their shelter, staring at Iara with its beady black little eyes. It cocked its head to the left and spotted the binoculars to the side. It hopped over to it, and pecked at it. “Oh no. Throw something at it, quick.” Caroline barked.

“What are you crazy?” Caroline gave Iara a nasty look, and then picked up a bottle of water, and heaved it at the crow. It smashed into the mutant bird, and it along with the bottle fell out of the tree.

“Great I’ll go get it.” Iara sighed. She set aside her nearly completed necklace and made her way down the ladder. Luckily for her it had stopped storming and the wind was dieing down. When she reached the bottom, she was surprised to only see the bottle of water, with a few feathers stuck to it. The moonlight began seeping through the storm clouds again, but Iara knew it would be sunrise soon. She picked up the bottle and began climbing back up the ladder towards her shelter. As she neared the top, she heard Caroline scream, and watch as three crows flew out of her shelter, along with her knife, the other bottle of water, and the necklace she had finished for her friend.

When Iara reached the top, she saw Caroline lying in a puddle of blood next to her cot and dropped the bottle running to her side. There was a large cut on her left arm, deep and bloody. She was crying and moaning in pain, and Iara propped her up against the wall as she sobbed. She clutched at her arm, and Iara went back for the bottle to clean her wound when another crow swooped in, the one they had hit with the bottle. It flew in attacking her, but instead went for her necklace from her mother, and tore it off, flying away with it cawing.

“No! You bastard! Bring it back here!” Iara screamed at it. The sun was now rising, and soon it would be daytime. Iara grabbed the bottle and went back to Caroline’s side, washing out her wound and using some of the leaves she had to wipe up the blood. Iara began to tear up over the loss of her necklace. What would make them take that?

Floating, drifting if you want in endless space. I was bored. I thought dreams were supposed to be informative, or adventurous, or something. This was just dull. But I guess it was better then watching my dad kill himself. I wondered how long it would last, just waiting and waiting and waiting. I wondered how Carley was hanging up without me. I wondered if anyone of that was even real, I mean when I was in that elevator that seemed pretty real. Maybe that was real and I was already dead. Maybe I am dead, and this is like purgatory or something. I’m just drifting through purgatory, waiting to go to heaven or hell. Maybe I died the minute I got on Mino, or maybe I didn’t even make it to the show.

I wish I hadn’t torn a hole in my reality though; looking back at that, it seems like that was a mistake. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice in space.

“Xan I need you to wake up! I need you!” The voice said.

“Carley?” I murmured.

I opened my eyes. Carley was there in front of me, sighing of relief, with tears in her eyes. I sat up finding myself on a rock, inside a murky damp cave. Outside the sun was shining brightly in the moist woods. Raindrops fell from the treetops and mud scattered the forest floor.

“What the hell happened?” I groaned. My mouth and throat were dry, and my body ached, and I really had to piss.

“That dust, from that tree, you touched it and when it went inside you, you just screamed and passed out. You’ve been asleep for twelve hours Xan, there’s only three and a half left.”

“How did we get here then?”

“I carried you. And the supplies.”

“How’d you find this?!”

“Well while carrying you, I heard a voice off in the distance. Turned out to be a contestant who had way too much exposure to the dust. He was completely covered in it, and in a trance. He tried to kill me… But don’t worry he’s dead.”


“Take a look for yourself, he’s just outside. He lead me to this cave.” I stood up, and began to stretch.

I stepped outside and squinted my eyes as the sunlight hit me; it felt as if it had been ages since I saw the sun. There was a large tree in front of our cave with hacked of branches which I walked around, and then what I saw made me gag. A small woman was stuck to a tree by a knife through her stomach and then had cuts covering her body, and then a small man laid near another tree with an axe lodged in his chest.

I threw up all over a nearby bush, and then returned to Carley. “Did you…?” I pointed over at the corpses, doubled over in pain.

“No I found the girl like that, and the man did it to himself. Go look closer at him.” I went back to the corpse with the axe and kneeled down next. Dust, just like the dust on the tree that drugged me, was all over the body. He was completely dry though, as if there hadn’t been any rain whatsoever, but his blood was even filled with the dust, and his eyes were missing, or replaced by it. Inside his mouth it even covered his gums and tongue. I wondered if his whole body was like that, and I knew how to figure that out, but I was too worried to grab the axe in fear that I would be drugged again.

I thought of an idea, desperate to figure out if the dust really did cover his entire insides, and reached up for a leaf on the branch of the tree that he had hit. With the leaf around my hand, I safely removed the axe and examined his intestines. They were disgusting; they didn’t even look like guts, just sparkly gray bloody pieces. I threw the axe to the side after seeing the dust covering the axe itself. Maybe that was what drugged him, or maybe he found the tree as well.

“Carley have you seen any other dust covered trees or just the one that drugged me?” I asked her as I returned to the cave. As I approached our new shelter, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of a mutant crow perched on my rock in front of Carley. Next to her were the tomahawks and spear, and in her hand was the bottle of water. The crow seemed to be eyeing them instead of her luckily, but then three more joined it. They just sat there with their beady black eyes staring at the weapons.

Carley looked up at me with worry in her eyes, and I just motioned for her to stay still. I crept up behind the crows, and picked up a stick. Carley saw me do so and shook her head slightly, but I ignored her. I took one step towards them with the stick raised above my head, and they immediately reacted. Three of them swooped in for our weapons and grabbed them, with Carley screaming. The other one flew up at me, and cut open my left cheek with its razor beak. Blood spewed out and I fell to the floor on my stomach. The crows flew off with our weapons, leaving us only with our bottle of water, which was half empty anyway.

I sat up, bleeding out of my face, and looked up into the bright blue sky. Hundreds of crows were flying to the center of the island, all in one direction. It must have been every crow on the island, and they had our equipment. Carley stepped out of the cave to come gaze at them as well.

“Should we follow them?” I asked.

“We have to.” She replied.

“Why? The timer’s almost out.” I checked my watch, there was only 3:16:27 left.

“You really want to go up against Mino with only a bottle of water?”

“Maybe it’ll make him melt.” I smiled bloodily.

“Let’s go.”

My wound had stopped bleeding, now all I had to worry about was infection, and out here everything seemed dangerous so I was sure it would happen. We drank the rest of the water back at the cave, so now we wee traveling empty handed to the heart of the island. We knew it was a trap; we were just worried whether not any other contestants would be there. Since the death of the man with the axe, there were only five contestants left, including two girls, Anthony, and then us. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to meet the other girls and I knew I didn’t want to bump into Anthony out here, but I was pretty sure the crows didn’t want to either.

“Seeing as this may be the last time we get a chance to talk… What happened when you were drugged?” Carley asked. I thought about answering her and then decided to tell her, I mean there was a really good chance we would be dead by nightfall.

“I… Saw my worst nightmares… The things that haunted me.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what were they?”

“Well…” It seemed a little bit to personal, but again, I was pretty sure I’d be dead in a few hours, “I saw my mothers funeral, but she’s not dead yet, and it felt so real.”

“What else?”

“I saw… Felix burning alive, as I did nothing, over and over again, and Maggie dieing because I had poisoned her…” I trailed off tearing up.

“You didn’t know, there was no way you could’ve.”

“True, but I acted way to rational.”

“But you just met her, and she was trying to kill Felix!”

“But Felix had killed Noah, and tried to kill all of us… I also saw my father.”

“Did he die?”

“He killed himself, I accidentally walked in on him hanging himself. I’ve always blamed myself for him doing it. My mother raised me all by herself, and I am all she has… Now all I do is take care of her.” My sadness turned to anger quickly. “That’s why I’m risking my damn life on this show. It’s so horrible; she could be dead right now! She’s probably worried sick about me! And what if I die and she is still alive, waiting for me to come home to help her, and she never hears from me again!”

“That’s not true, she could be watching you right now. And if you do die, she’ll get the money you’ve made.”


“Felix and Maggie, each worth ten million.”

“Great… It’s just dirty money…”

“All the money here is. You killed your best friend and the woman you loved, just for money.”

“I did it to survive!” I shouted.

“Was Maggie for survival?”

“That was an accident and don’t you ever talk about her like that again!” I yelled at her, nostrils flaring, fists clenched, my face in hers. I stepped back and took a deep breath, “I’m sorry, I just need to get out of here.”

“It’s alright I’m sorry too. It’s been a rough day.”

“I’m starting to see why Charles killed himself…” I trailed off. We continued walking in silence as I checked the time, 02:49:31. The flutter of crows filled the air as we approached our destination, a large circular muddy pit. It wasn’t too deep, but it was extremely wide. Above it, all the crows circled it, cawing like madmen. There had to be thousands of them, it didn’t seem like there were that many on the island before, and I wondered what had set them off. This had to have been one of the games designs; triggered to finish off what was left before Mino. Then Mino would destroy the remains on a wild rampage.

We crept up behind a small tree with thick branches and examined the pit, in the center were all of our equipment in a neat pile, along with other equipment. As I cleared my throat to ask Carley what we should do, she tapped my shoulder and pointed to our left. A short distance away from us, two women carefully came out of the forest and made their way to the center slowly.

“What do we do?” I whispered to Carley.

“Well seeing as they’re here for their equipment as well, lets talk to them. Maybe we can team up with them, after all there isn’t much time left, I’m sure they’re just here for Mino, not us.”

“Sounds good, as long as they don’t stab us in the back…” The woman on the left was tall and Latino with long brown hair and tan skin. The woman on the right was smaller and thin, with long thick black hair and freckles. We came out of hiding, and at the sight of us, the black haired girl backed away, but the brown haired one smiled gently.

“Hey!” I shouted, “We come in peace!” I laughed. The one who had smiled seemed to giggle, but Carley just rolled her eyes and waved them down. We met with the brown haired girl, and the black haired one stayed back, weary.

“I’m Iara nice to meet you.” The girl smiled, as she greeted us sticking out her open palm. I shook it, and then so did Carley.

“I’m Xan, and this is Carley.”

“I’m sorry about my friend, Caroline come over here it’s fine!” Iara reassured. The other woman came up to us, slyly, and I offered my hand, but she ignored it.

“Listen, those ugly freak birds took our equipment, and we need it to fight the uglier freak Mino in a few hours. We both agreed it would be best if we all teamed up and fought him together. How’s that sound?” I asked politely.

“Sounds fine to me! Caroline?” Iara asked.

Caroline looked away and mumbled, “As long as I find out what happened to my brother. I don’t care how, as long as it happens, that’s all that matters to me.”

“Aren’t you Caroline Travers? The famed Bain’s brother?” Carley asked enthusiastically. Caroline just nodded in response, her hair falling over her eyes. She seemed as if she wanted to keep to herself about all of this.

“Now it was nice to meet you two, but if you will excuse me, I’m here for my mother’s necklace.” Iara said as she began walking to the pile. On top of all of it, was a necklace decorated with pink flower pedals. She took it back and put it over her head, back around her neck. As we all followed her down to our supplies, I looked around at the crows. They were still just roaming around above us, their caws filling our ears. They were scary; I just expected them to all swoop down at once.

As soon as we had all of our equipment back, I noticed a large cut on Caroline’s arm, it looked fresh, and I figured it had been from the crows.

“Did they attack you too?” I asked her.

“What?” She murmured.

“Them.” I pointed up, and suddenly a large shadow cast over all of us. We looked up and watched in horror as the crows all joined together, morphing into a gruesome giant.

“Run.” Caroline ordered. All of us began a dead sprint for the forest, but as we neared the trees, a line of fire erupted around the edge, enclosing us inside the pit.

“They want us to fight it!” Carley shouted fearfully.

“We can’t! There’s no way we can fight that thing!” Iara cried. We turned back to face it as it landed in the center, crashing into the mud, shaking the entire island. Caroline fell over, and Carley helped her handing her one of her tomahawks. Iara pulled out her knife, and I did the same with my spear. Iara now had two necklaces around her neck, the second looking like it was made from leaves and berries found on the island, and had a tight grip around her mothers. She looked over at me, noticing I was staring at them, and shouted, “It’s for good luck!”

The giant crow was tremendous. It opened its wings, and tons of normal mutant crows flew out of it heading straight for us. In the center of the giants head, laid a single red crow in a nest, perched over and controlling them all. We began to fight them off, killing them as they dove at us. They came from all directions, and as soon as we finished off a group, another wave was sent in. All the while the giant its self continued to shake the ground, and just as we slaughtered a mass number of the smaller one’s the giant opened its beak.

I had never heard a more bone chilling sound than the screech the crows exclaimed. I dropped to my knees, my eyes shut tight, and my hands slammed over my ears. There was a slight ringing in my ears even after it was over, I wasn’t sure if I could go on. I looked to my left and watched Caroline moving swiftly with her good arm, protecting me while I was down with her tomahawk.

I stood back up and continued to fight in the mud. The crows continued to come, faster and faster, but everyone seemed to be holding themselves up. I looked up at the red crow for a second, and saw it look back at me and caw. Suddenly all of the crows attacking us went straight for me. I held off a few, but it was too much. I missed a smaller one with my spear, and with its razor beak wide open it tore a chunk out of my left arm. I screamed in agony, and dropped to the floor, my spear now in the mud.

Carley ran to my side, and retrieved my spear as the crows returned to attacking the rest of the group. I looked up, my face covered in mud, and watched dazed as the giant crow opened its beak once more. I opened my eyes wide in terror, and gripped my ears, preparing for another horrifying shriek. This one, even with the preparation, was much worse. I watched, with the rininging shaking my skull, as Iara dropped her knife a few yards ahead of me. With her back to me, she fell over sideways to the left, and laid in the mud.

“Carley…” I called, groaning in excruciating pain as the ground rumbled beneath me. “Carley… Throw the spear at the red one… Kill the red one…” Carley looked down at me as I called for her, and I pointed at the red one. Carley looked up at it, and aimed the spear preparing to throw it. As she did so, a large fat crow swooped in below her and sliced open her leg as soon as she threw it. I watched as the spear flew through the hordes of mutated crows, and pierced the body of the dominant red crow. It let out a final dieing screech, and fell from its nest with the spear still in it. The remaining mutants flew out into the sky, leaving the pit and all of us alone for good.

Everyone was on the ground, clutching at our ears in pain. The ground had finally stopped shaking, and after a few minutes of continuous ringing I stood up, triumphant in our victory. I saw Caroline standing, woozily, and together we watched as the flames surrounding the pit died out. I knelt down next to a sobbing Carley, still holding her right ear.

“Xan…” She moaned, “Xan I can’t… I can’t hear out of my right ear… It’s deaf…”

“Oh… Oh no… I… I’m sure it’s only… temporary. I’m sure it’ll wear off. Just give it time.” I soothed. I looked at Carleys left leg, and examined the wound, it was deep. I looked up to see Caroline standing over Iara, her hand clasped over her forehead. “Will you be alright for just a moment?” I asked Carley. She nodded slowly in response and I patted her hand and got up.

When I walked over to Caroline and Iara, I noticed immediately what had disturbed Caroline. Iara laid in the mud, gasping for air with one hand gripping her mothers’ necklace tightly, the other holding on to her intestines, which had fallen out of her stomach and into the mud. I gasped and sat next to her in the mud, pulling her up onto my lap. Caroline joined me and sat at her side. I brushed her hair and stared into her wide brown eyes, which had now turned into a deep red. Blood was now leaking out of her mouth as she was gasping for breath.

“I’m sorry…” She gasped.

Caroline looked away, rubbing her face with her palms in distress. “It’s not your fault.” She sniveled.

“Yes it is… We should’ve stayed in the tree house where we were safe from all of this…”

“No we had to go out here for our supplies. We couldn’t fight Mino defenseless and you know that, don’t act stupid.

“I’m so sorry Caroline… I wasn’t very useful like I wanted to be…” Iara coughed bloodily.

“No… you were the best partner I could’ve asked for.” Caroline turned at looked at her friend sadly. “You should have never come on this stupid show…” She choked.

“I had no choice…”

“You always have a choice, it’s whether that choice is morally right or wrong… that’s what makes a person a person…” I said tearfully as I looked over at Carley. I thought about how I made the choice to murder my best friend. I though about how Iara had made the choice to come on here, thinking she had none. I thought about my choice to come on here, thinking the same thing.

“Caroline… Take this necklace I made you… Keep it with you… it’ll bring you… good luck…” Iara said as she took off the leaf and berry necklace. Caroline raised her open hand as Iara handed it to her, and heavily breathed her last breath.

Caroline took the necklace, and closed Iara’s eyes shut while saying, “Thank you.”

We sat around the center of the mud pit, just waiting for the timer to run out. I sat next to Carley, who was half deaf now, and had a bad limp, and across Caroline who’s left arm was messed up horribly. As for myself, my shoulder was torn apart, and my cheek was cut open. We decided to leave Iara’s knife with her, and of course her mothers’ necklace on her. We hadn’t seen Anthony, and Caroline had told us how they had gone on a date just before, and how he had saved Iara’s life from some guys with flame throwers and rocket boots. It was weird to hear about the soft touchy side of a murdering psychopath, but maybe he wasn’t psycho after all.

The story of the flamethrower guys made me think Carley and I had it lucky with only the dust, but that was horrific. But neither the dust nor flamethrower people compared to the crows. Had I known what they would’ve become when I first saw them, I would’ve killed every single one of them, but when Caroline told us about the water bottle and the first crow, we all assumed that’s what triggered them. We were lucky to survive the attack, but it was still at a great cost.

“I shouldn’t even be here…” Carley groaned in pain.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I’m only here for the money… I was so stupid.”

“Well what makes my case any different? I’m only here for the money.”

“Yeah but you’re getting that money for your mother who’s dieing. I’m getting it so I’ll be set for life. That’s it. I’m just greedy like anyone else.”

“Iara was here for her job.” Caroline spoke up.

“And Felix was here to provide for his family.” I mentioned.

“And was it worth it?”

“Well he got his wife and kid ten million, so I guess so.” I replied.

“But he murdered his own teammate, and tried to murder another and you. What would his wife think of that?”

“He did what he thought was right… And it just got to him… I think…” I muttered. We sat in silence and I checked the time, there was only ten minutes left.

“We shouldn’t be dieing for money… It’s just wrong. There are other ways for all of us. The only one that should be here is Caroline.” Carley said.

“Why only me?”

“You’re the only one not here for money.”

“Not true,” Caroline said, “Anthony’s not here for the money, he’s here for fun.”

“Well,” I smirked, “Guess you were wrong Carley, he’s the worst.”

“Promise me if I die, you won’t let that crazy bastard win.” Carley said. I laughed and shook her hand.

“Caroline… Where do you think your brother is?” I asked her. She paused for a moment, and brushed her hair away from her eyes and looked at me, I noticed her eyes were a dark blue.

“I have no idea… I’ve just been searching for answers ever since he disappeared, I’m willing to do anything just to know.”

“What if you’re not happy with the results?”

“I’ll be happy just to have them.” Suddenly the timer on the device hit 00:00:00 and it began to beep. I looked and watched the screen fill with the logo for the show, the word MINO in capitol letters with Mino himself inside of the O, with the letters splattered on.

“Mino has been released.”

Anthony sat back in the tree watching as the group fought the crows, which all ignored him of course. He kept an eye on Iara especially, but also paid attention to the only male competitor left, other than himself. The group seemed banged up, all except Iara, which was perfect for him. His plan was to kill the rest of them, sparing Iara, and then slaughter Mino himself, claiming victory over the pathetic game.

Suddenly he stood up, in distress while looking over at Iara, she had fallen over. He took out his earplugs, and listened for her, but couldn’t hear anything. With his flame retardant coat he could easily get through the ring of fire, but he decided to stay low and undetected, she wasn’t worth dieing. He leaned back and continued to watch, and was impressed when the woman killed the giant with the mans’ spear.

When the fight was over, he watched carefully as Iara’s partner and the man examined Iara. She had severe wounds, it looked like they were in her stomach, and he knew she wasn’t going to make it. He waited for a long time, even after Mino was released, just for the remaining group to leave. Once they were gone he made his way out to her. He approached her corpse, and opened up his coat. Inside, he grabbed a rose he had just for her, and placed in her hands. He sighed, and walked back into the forest.

“Follow me, and keep up I’m limping for crying out loud!” Carley demanded. She led the way through the sun lit forest as fog filled the island. It was their way of pronouncing Minos arrival, and it also made it a lot harder for us to spot him. We were moving fast, desperate to find the warehouse thinking it would be the safest place to fight him. As we were roaming, I looked around constantly, and then saw the cave we had stayed in.

“Carley were going in circles!” I shouted to her. She stopped and leaned up against a tree, gasping for breath, and Caroline and I stopped behind her.

“We have to keep moving… The fog is growing thicker and soon we’ll just be stuck in it.” At the moment we could only see ten yards in front of us, and it was growing thicker faster.

“It doesn’t even matter, look behind us. We’re leaving a direct trail to him, it wont be hard to find us.” Caroline sighed. She was right; Carley and I were still bleeding. Our blood was just a direct line to us, and at this point there was no way to stop it. If Mino were sent in to solely hunt us down, we would be sitting ducks. “Carley you don’t know what you’re doing, I’m taking over.”

“I’m sorry were lost in a forest filled with fog with a giant monster from hell tracking us down, that’s my bad!” She screamed in retaliation.

“We have to go this way!” Caroline shouted, pointing to the left, the opposite of the cave.

“No we have to continue going straight!”

“Who put you in charge! You already got my only partners killed! I should just leave you two banged up pieces of crap here! You’re no good to me anyway!” Caroline shouted.

“Caroline…” I began, but Carley cut me off.

“I got Iara killed?!” Carley cried, “She’s the one who went for the necklace herself! You neglected her anyway!”

“It was for her own good!”

“Oh yeah, How’s that?!”

Caroline paused, ”…It was in case I died… I didn’t want her to get attached to me…”

“And how did that work out?” Carley sneered, “Now she’s dead, and her last thoughts were that she wasn’t good enough for you!” Caroline looked away, distraught.

“Carley…” I started again, but once again Carley cut me off.

“No that’s enough out of both of you! I am in charge here! Ever since this show came out I have been training for this very day, and you two are not going to get me killed!” Carley shouted, moving away from the tree and in front of the empty fog, “You tow don’t stand a chance without me, I am your best hope to killing Mino! Without me you two will end up being his dinner! I am the professional, I am trained for this, I am” Carley was cut off, as a large axe erupted from the fog, and cut her half across her waist from her right side.

My eyes opened wide in horror, as Carley’s remains toppled over. I felt her pulse and watched Mino himself came out of the fog from behind her. He was demonic; his black horns were thick and long, pointed like a dagger at the ends. He was over ten feet tall, and looked as if he could toss Anthony around like a rag doll. He had thick black fur and wild wide eyes. Other than a large pair of baggy black Mino shorts, he was completely naked, with his hoofs drenched in Carley’s blood. He blew smoke out of his snout at the sight of us.

Caroline freaked out, and she threw her tomahawk straight into his chest. He let out a roar and dropped his bloody battle-ax, and took a step back. It was lodged right to the left of his neck, in-between his neck and shoulder, and he began to bleed quickly, but he didn’t seem to mind. His roar made my head feel like it was going to explode, and by the look of Caroline’s facial expression, I took it hers did too.

“Run! We have to run!” I screamed at the top of my lungs with Mino’s shadow casting over us as he took a step forward. I grabbed Caroline’s hand with my good arm and sprinted into the forest in the direction she wanted, with the spear bouncing on my back. We had no idea what we were doing; at this point we were just trying to not end up like Carley. Barehanded, Mino began charging through the woods after us, knocking down trees as he went along.

“He’s catching up!” Caroline cried as she looked back. Just as Mino had caught up, I dived into a bush with Caroline. He stormed past us, confused. I assumed he wasn’t the brightest of monsters, and I was right. I looked around for our bush, and a rush of relief hit me when I spotted the forest entrance to the warehouse, just a few yards away.

“We have to get inside.” I whispered.

“What are you crazy?” She hissed.

“Listen, this is not the place nor the time to argue, just listen to me this one time!”

“Alright lead the way.” The fog had severely thickened and made it almost impossible to see anything but the warehouse around us.

“Ok go!” I cried. We made a dash for the entrance, and as we neared it we heard a roar. From our left sides, Mino charged through. Caroline was sent sprawling into a redwood, screaming, and I was knocked over and my spear flew a few inches behind me. As I desperately tried to reach for it, Mino stood above huffing, puffing, and with the tomahawk still stuck in his chest. He reached down with his large hand, and grabbed me by the neck. He lifted me up above his face, and began to roar at me, spit flying in my face.

I gasped for air, time was running out. I gripped at his hand, trying to break loose, when suddenly it hit me. I reached over at his tomahawk, and with all of my strength tore it out and began to hack away at his arm that was holding me. After a few chops, he roared once more and dropped me, clutching at his blood splattered arm. I fell on my back, and instantly began to crawl towards my weapon.

As soon as I reached it, I turned over on my back again, just in time to greet him. He lunged at me, only to receive my spear in his stomach. He screamed in agony, and I dug into him deeper. He reached out for me, lifelessly, and finally gave up, collapsing backwards with the spear and tomahawk in his body. There was a tremendous crash when he fell, shaking the island.

I stood up, breathless, and amazed. I had just killed one of the greatest monsters to ever walk the Earth, all for one hundred million dollars. I stumbled over to Caroline, who was still sprawled out next to the tree she had hit, and was now bleeding from a gash in her head. I reached down to help her up with an open hand, and saw her gasp. I raised my eyebrows, and felt a large machete travel through my chest, and watched as my blood was spilt onto the forest floor.

As the blade retreated through my chest, I coughed blood onto Caroline. She screamed as I fell over on my back, looking up into the face of Anthony Mendoza. He was smiling, evilly, and he got on top of me, with my blood covered machete in his hand. He grinned excitedly as he looked down over me.

“Oh boy did you screw up kid. You took the one kill that meant everything to me.” He laughed.

“What… What do you want…” I choked, my own blood was filling my mouth, and I could feel it dripping down my sides.

“All I wanted was the thrill of the kill! My biggest foe here was Mino! To conquer and dominate here! And oh I did that, up until Mino was released, that’s when you had to step in. You think you’re so great killing it don’t you!” He shouted at me.

“Why… Why does it matter to you? We won…”

“You think I care about that?! All I wanted was to be the champion of this game, to have the glory of murdering Mino himself! I killed three contestants and the Fire Squad themselves! Welcome to my collection.”

“Why... Why are you doing this… to me?” I coughed.

“This is all I’ve ever wanted.” He sneered, as he lowered his machete onto my throat. “Goodbye, Champion.” Caroline tackled him off of me, and I turned my head slightly to watch. The machete clattered to the ground, out of Anthony’s reach, and Caroline was on top of him, with a small rock in her hand. She repeatedly smashed it into his skull, as he screamed for mercy, and his blood splattered all over her and the forest. After a few more hits, his scream went dead, and she climbed off of him. Her face was drenched in his blood, and she looked exhausted. She stumbled towards me, and fell next to me, lying there. We watched the sky, and gazed at a rainbow forming above us.

“I’m sorry.” She gasped.

“Oh it’s alright… Who knew he was coming from behind…”

“Just hold on, it’ll only be a minute, they’re coming for us. They’ll save us.” She reassured.

“Caroline,” I began as I looked at her. She turned her head and brushed aside her hair as she looked at me. “I got impaled through my chest, I’m going to die. There’s no cure for impalement.”

“I know but maybe they have something that can-“

“Caroline I’m going to die.” She just sighed and looked back at the rainbow. “Carley was right… I shouldn’t be here. Neither should he. Neither should Carley. Neither should anyone but you. I could’ve made the money another way. Anything but this would’ve been better.”

“You did it for your mother, and now with the money from killing your own friends, and Mino, she will be set for the rest of her days.”

“That’s true, but without me. Listen can you do me a favor?”


“Take care of my mother, she doesn’t have much time left. And neither do I.” I groaned, the pain was excruciating, but
I planned to wait it out until it did me in.


“Well you got what you wanted, you’ll find out what happened to your brother now won’t you?”

“I hope.” We paused for a moment in silence, and I looked over at Anthony, past Caroline, and watched as he twitched a final time and then felt his pulse. I checked my device, curious of what it was doing right now, and saw that it showed Anthony’s photo and read the word Deceased under his name. In place of the time, was the word Overtime.

We were all that was left out of fourteen contestants. And soon Caroline would be the only one.

“Okay, I think I’m going to die now…” I wheezed.

“Are you sure now?” She asked quietly.

“Yeah, I’m feeling it… Just loosing sight of everything… I don’t see a light… Oh wait there it is…”

“Goodnight Xan, thank you for everything.” Caroline sniveled. At least I think she did, for a moment.

I closed my eyes, and when I opened them, I found myself on a cloud, high above the island. In front of me was the rainbow, seeping through the cloud, and next to it, was the bear, except this time it looked like a bear.

“Oh crap.” I groaned. I looked down at my body, I was in a white T-shirt and shorts, and I was in perfect shape. I felt my cheek, smooth and clean, my shoulder was still intact, and my chest didn’t have a gaping hole in it. I was so relieved, that pain was probably the worst I had ever experienced in my life. I looked over at the bear, which didn’t look intellectual like it did before. “Hey… Um I’m sorry I tore a hole through my reality back there…” I trailed off, looking away guiltily.

The bear just moaned and stood up on its hind legs, tall and proud. I thought it was about to give me another lecture, but then it offered me its claw. As I grabbed it, and I said sarcastically, “What is this like another spiritual journey or-“ I was cut off by my own scream as the bear lifted me over it’s back tossing me off of the cloud and back down to Earth.

I screamed the entire way down, and I was falling straight for the island once again. I fell slowly, as if I was lifeless. I looked around me while falling, and saw all the deaths that had taken place on the island. I watched as Noah was poisoned by Felix on the beach, or Anthony torturing the woman that was stuck to the tree, or even the Fire Squad burning Savanna alive. I could hear their cries, their pleas for mercy. They were all around me, Carley being chopped in half, Robert tearing his own throat open. I shouted at them all, I just wanted them to go away. As I fell I watched the clouds set ablaze, and the sky turn black in front of my eyes. I looked back down to see where I was falling, and it wasn’t the island anymore.

I was headed right for a giant pit, just like the mud one; only this one was made of stone. It even had a ring of fire around it. But this time, my enemies were waiting for me there. On the left, Felix was there, burnt to a crisp, with the poisoned dagger in his hand. On the right, Anthony stood tall and proud, his face and head covered in his own blood, and wielded with his machete. In the center, was Mino, bigger and stronger, back with his own battle-axe. They were all waiting, to finish what they started. As I neared the end of my fall, I closed my eyes, bracing for impact.
But when I opened them, I found myself back in the meadow with the daisies. I stood up and felt the soothing breeze through my hair, in the sky was the rainbow from the island. I looked down at myself; I was still in good health and white clothing. I looked up to see Maggie a few feet in front of me, smiling with her rosy cheeks and wide eyes.

“Am I dead?”

Caroline stood up; she wanted to get away from all of the death. She decided to walk through the warehouse to the other side, and await rescue there. She left Xan, Anthony, and Mino where they laid, and made her way through to the other side. Inside, the lights were still on and bright. Weapons, clothes, and bottles of water were sprawled out everywhere; everything Anthony didn’t take with him. She walked by Garret’s body, the knife still lodged in his back, and then Sara’s, lying in a pool of her own blood.

Outside, Caroline found herself in sand near a beach and forest of palm trees. She walked out, and decided to wash all of the blood off of her in the ocean. Just as she neared the shoreline, she stopped in her tracks, as she heard the blades of a helicopter nearby. She looked up into the sky to see a small helicopter, with the Mino logo painted on its sides, descending towards the beach entrance to the warehouse. She left the shore and returned to the warehouse, just in time to greet the man who had exited the helicopter as it landed.

“Bain?” Caroline gasped.

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This book has 1 comment.

on Sep. 7 2012 at 6:00 am
Vagabond SILVER, New Delhi, Other
8 articles 0 photos 107 comments

Favorite Quote:
Every end is a new beginning;
What a caterpillar calls an end the rest of the world calls a butterfly;
"Begining are normally sacary endings are normally sad,
it's in the middle which makes life worth living"

OMG!! I SIMPLY CANT BELIEVE IT... epic!! tottally epic... check my story too and comment i would gladly love your feedback... it is  "A New Era"