By Sofie Chan
Jasper studied him for a moment. He looked for any sign of a lie. “Either you’re a great liar, or you’re serious. How do I know you’re telling the truth?”
Jason tilted his head. “Thanks?” He bent down and put a piece of paper on the desk face down. “There. That’s my proof I’m not lying. Call it a gift.”
Jasper reached over and flipped the paper over. On the other side was a map. and some pictures of a large building that reminded Jasper of a hotel. “Is this where we are?”
“Yep, we call it Zone 0. We’re about five hours outside Zone 1. This,” He pointed to the hotel styled building. “Is the housing building. Zone 0 is just this place. It’s modeled after an old jail. I haven’t even been to the other side of the place. We don’t use it. No need. That’s where we need to go. When everyone else is distracted, we move. I’ve already arranged for a car to be waiting.”
“What’s happening tonight?” Jasper asked.
“The Hunting Game. One person on each floor will be given the title of “Hunter” and given a time limit and a weapon. You can hide anywhere on your floor. The hunter has to find and kill three people each. If their floor doesn’t have that many people, like yours, then the amount of prey is lowered, to be fair. Once at least one person is killed on each floor, the rules change. If the prey makes it to the elevator and off their floor, then they win.”
“Do you hear yourself? That’s insane. No one’s going to–“
“Please don’t say no one’s going to play or something like that. They don’t have a choice. The hunter will be selected after lights out. The prey can do whatever they need to do not to get killed. The only thing is that they can’t block the door. I’ll come to get you before the game starts. If for any reason I can’t, just survive until I get there. During the chaos, we’ll-“
Jason blinked. “Excuse me?”
“I’m not leaving them behind to die. Em must’ve told you I’m stubborn. I’m not budging on this. No way am I leaving them behind just to save myself. I couldn’t live with myself,” Jasper said. “Thanks but no thanks.” Jasper got up to leave, but Jason’s arm shot out and grabbed him by the wrist.
“I know how stubborn you are. Em and Ben told me. Well, mostly Em. Ben hates you, but I think you know that. I strongly suggest you accept this offer. You’ll die otherwise. Maybe not by this game but another. Come on, Jazz. You’re not stupid. You must know that no one wins this competition. King set it up this way. This is your only chance to get out with your life. I’ll even pay for your trip to Zone 10. That’s what you want, right? To propose to your woman. I’ll pay for everything. Just accept my offer,” Jason said, almost pleading with him. “You don’t know how ****** up King is.”
“If you’re really trying to help, then tell me who he is.”
Jason looked him straight in Jasper’s eyes and shook his head. In a low tone, he said, “I can’t.” His voice trembled a little.
“Is he that scary?” Jasper asked.
A light knock hit the door, and they stopped.
“Be ready by lights out, or I’ll drag you out of here. Now, go.” Jason let him go. “It goes without saying, but don’t tell anyone. I’ll know, and if I know, then King will know. If that happens, then we’re both dead. I don’t want Em to lose someone else she cares about.” The sincerity in his voice made Jasper believe him.
Without a word, Jasper walked out of the room and back towards the dining hall. He sat back at the table and was given a new box of food.
“Um, hi?” Josh said, waving his hand in Jasper’s face. “What was that about?”
Jasper looked at Franklin. In a whisper, Jasper said, “We’re leaving tonight. I know a way out.”
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.