By Layne C.
“About time you got back!” Amber said.
Jasper ignored her and sat back on the couch. The screen changed and showed a small orange-colored room with people standing along a wall. One person stood in the middle in a circle. They wore a blue hazmat suit with a black diamond on the back.
“That guy in the middle is the Black Diamond. He’s in the King’s court. There’s also Green Clover, Red Spade, and Blue Heart. They act like the king’s knights. Also, the game masters.”
“Really?” Jasper asked. “Sounds important.”
“It is. Normally they are chosen from their ranking in the previous game. Anyway, each room has twenty people in it—ten rooms in total. I know #233 will make it. Hey, Ronda texted me. You’re really gonna join?”
“I really am. My annoying friend talked me into it. I don’t have anything else better to do.”
“That’s the spirit, Jazzy! We’ll sign you up after the game. Shhhh! It’s about to start!”
“You’ve got to stop doing that.”
“By order of the king, you will play his game. Four corners. However, this game will not be like the one you are used to. Below the designated corners are numbered tiles. You will pick a tile and stand on it. If I call your number, you’re out,” Black Diamond said. He held up a phone. “This randomizer will determine the number. You have ten seconds to pick a corner and a tile. Go!”
The participants moved quickly to a corner while the lights shut off. A night vision filter came over the camera. Once everyone was in a tile, Black Diamond spoke. ” My phone has selected the lower right corner. Tiles 1, 3, and 5 have been selected.”
“****!” Someone shouted in the apartment next to Jasper’s.
“Sounds like someone lost their bet. Sucks to suck,” Amber said, smiling. “Mine’s doing just fine.”
“It’s just the first call. He could still lose.”
“Ah! None of that. Keep that negativity over there.”
The screen darkened and lit up again. “What just happened?” Jasper asked.
“I guess those people were told to leave. Makes sense; they didn’t cut it.”
“That fast? The screen went out for like a second.”
“Maybe they’re ghosts? It’s possible they may have filmed this. They never said it was a live feed,” Amber shrugged. “Could be editing.”
“Maybe, 17 more to go.”
“The next round will begin in 3…2…1. Go!” Black Dimond said as the lights went out again. This time, when the night vision turned on, the tiles that the previous players were on had an X on them. “Upper left corner. Tiles 1, 3, and 5 are eliminated.” Again, the screen went dark and turned on again. X’s on the floor and fewer people. “This time, I’ll choose five tiles from two different corners…Go!”
“233, you’re my only hope. Come on, don’t let me down,” Amber said.
“I bet he’ll be out this round,” Jasper said, smirking.
“None. Of. That.”
The lights shut off, and Black Diamond turned his head towards the lower-left corner. Something about the way he moved made Jasper feel uncomfortable. “Lower left corner, upper right corner, tiles 1,5,2 and 3,4, 1 respectively are eliminated.
“Hold up! You said only five get kicked. You can count, right?” A guy with #145 on his back shouted. “I shouldn’t get kicked because of your mistake.” The screen turned black and turned back on again. The boy who was making all the noise was gone.
“Ha! That’s what he gets!” Amber said. “Should’ve taken the L with some dignity.”
“You gotta admit it was a bit ****** to lie to them,” Jasper said. “What if that was me?”
“It’s not, and it won’t be. You’re dumb but not that dumb, Jazzy.”
“The game is now over. Congratulations, you all are one step closer to being King,” Black Dimond said as the screen turned black again and a timer displayed along with a player counter. With 95/100 shown underneath.
“Well, that’s that. My bet is safe, and I’m happy.”
“Cool, now what?” Jasper asked.
“Did you forget? We got to get you registered,” Amber said, opening the registration page on the app. “Just need some basic info. Full name, age, medical history, and reason for wanting to be King. Simple.” She tossed her phone towards him. “Oh, and a picture.”
“I knew I should’ve cut my hair,” Jasper said, filling out his info. “Jasper Lee. Age: 23. No medical problems (Besides chronic poorness.). Reason… “Can I put I was forced to?”
“I didn’t force you. Just put the real reason. You want to go to Zone 10.”
“That’s a pretty bad reason. I’ll just say I’m extremely broke and maybe they will toss me a bone…there done. Now we wait.”
When the timer reached zero, King appeared on the screen. “Congratulations, everyone. You’ve earned a good rest while we look for new participants. Please enjoy your time off and to our new players; good luck. The new player will be announced at the end of the week. Your king wishes you the best of luck. Be seeing you.” The screen cut to black, and the King of the World logo was displayed. Jasper didn’t get why someone would think a skull with a crown would make for a good logo.
“Well, it’s getting late. Can I crash here tonight?”
“Sure, couch is all yours,” Jasper said, stretching.
“The couch? What does Ronda even see in you? You have no manners,” Amber said, grabbing a blanket from the storage closet. “Mind if I order some food?”
“No one around here can afford it. I doubt they would even deliver here. Go nuts,” Jasper said, heading upstairs. “As long as you get me something.”
“You get a bowl of fried eel,” Amber laughed.
“Jokes on you, I love eel,” Jasper laughed. He hated it. “But spicy tuna would work too.”
“I’ll think about it. Toss me a pillow when you get a chance. Chop chop.”
“I’ll think about it. Later,” Jasper smiled and walked into his room. He grabbed a pillow and tossed it down the stairs.
“RUDE!” Amber yelled.
“Thanks!” Jasper shouted back.
He sat on his bed and pulled out his phone. Jasper pulled up pictures of Zone 10. “Ronda’s gonna be so happy if I can pull this off. That’s when I’ll do it. Once we get to Zone 10, I’ll ask her to marry me.”
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