“What the ****?” Jasper thought as he looked at the monitors. Each one had different numbers. Even, odd then both. Left, right, and center. “It could be anything. I’ve seen the combination before. What does she mean?”
“Eight minutes, Ninty-nine!” Rose sang over the monitor. “Would you like another hint? I can give you another one but…it’ll cost Seventy-seven some time. One hint equals three minutes.”
“Pass,” Jasper said. He went over to the box and looked at the input boxes. Something about them didn’t sit right with him. “Does it count if I enter it in and don’t press enter?”
“It counts,” Rose said. “Anything entered will count.”
“Shit,” Jasper thought. “Why are the boxes spaced out?” The input screen had the first two boxes next to each other divided by a slash, and the other one was to the far left of the screen. “Is it a date?” Jasper’s eyes widened, and his head snapped towards the first screen. Even numbers. “If it was a date, which one is it?”
“Five minutes, Ninety-nine!,” Rose said. “The audience is getting bored. So, I’m just gonna give you a hint as a reward for performing so well in the first game. Here it is; the numbers are important to you. If the roles were reversed, Seventy-seven wouldn’t have gotten it. There that’s it. Four minutes.”
“What the **** does that mean?” Jasper asked, confused. “How’s that a hint?”
“Important to me? How? Lance wouldn’t have gotten it?” Jasper asked himself, then it clicked. The wind was knocked out of Jasper’s chest, and he fell to the ground. “It…it can’t be. No way. No.” Jasper looked up to the monitors as they cycled, and then he saw it. Shaking, he went over to the keypad and visualized the numbers. They lined up. The only thing that didn’t was the last box. “What could the last one be?” He asked himself.
“Two minutes, Ninety-nine,” Rose said.
“**** it,” Jasper said, punching in the numbers. He was confident in the first two numbers, but the last one was impossible. “I could go with the obvious Ninety-nine, but that can’t be right. That has nothing to do with that day. Or does it?”
“Less than one minute. Seventy-seven doesn’t look so good,” Rose said. “Are you sure you want to be King? A king doesn’t miss a call to action.”
Jasper’s world slammed to a halt. “These assholes.” He entered the numbers 03/08 99. Beep! The trunk opened with a click, and Lance pushed the lid off, coughing wildly as he ripped the mask off his face.
“Hey, I knew you’d get it,” Lance coughed. “Oh, and I lied. I didn’t know what the combo was. I just knew it was a date.”
“These *******,” Jasper growled.
Lance looked down on saw the date. “March 8th? Then your number. What’s so important about that? Is it your birthday or something?”
“That’s the day my mom died. The code was a reminder.”
Lance climbed out of the box and did his best to dry himself. “Hey. he did it. Can we go now?”
The door opened as a response, and the screens switched off.
“Come on, Jas. Let’s get out of here,” Lance said, offering Jasper his hand.
“Y-Yeah,” Jasper said as he took Lance’s hand, and they left the game behind. They went back to Lance’s room to regroup. Jasper didn’t say anything on the way back. Not until they got into the room.
“How’d they know?” Jasper asked.
“Huh? You’re talking about the game, right? I have no idea. These people know a lot of things. Still, the possibility of them knowing the day your mom passed is weird.”
“It’s more than weird. That game felt like it was made for me. What if you were the one outside trying to figure it out? We both be dead.”
“Not entirely true. I could’ve figured it had something to do with you. Why it started from 80, I don’t know. Did she give you any hints?” Lance asked.
“Yeah, they were vague as hell. At first, she wanted me to pay with time. A couple of minutes for a hint. Then she just straight up gave me one for free. It wasn’t until she said, “A King doesn’t miss the call to action.” That confirmed it. They knew. They knew I didn’t pick up when she called. How? I never told anyone when that happened.”
“Don’t have an answer for you.” Lance sighed. “I’m gonna go dry off. You know where everything is. The only thing is don’t go into my closet. Anything else is fair game.” Lance smiled then went into the bathroom.
Jasper couldn’t get past the fact that someone knew about that day. That exact day. Only a few people knew about his mother’s death, and fewer knew when it happened. Jasper went over the list in his head. “Ben, Emily, Amber, and Ronda. They all knew when it happened. None of them would do tell the people behind King of the World. So, who was King, and how did he know?”
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