“Hey, excuse me. Is Jasper here?” Lance asked, coming out of the elevator. Lance noticed the look on Jasmine and Josh’s faces and followed their gaze. “Whoa, what happened in here?”
“Lance?” Jasper asked.
“Hey, bud. Sorry for acting weird earlier. Get like that sometimes. I came down to talk, but I think you guys found something more interesting. Wanna fill me in?” Lance asked, walking into the room. “Wow, the rooms are different.” Lance turned around to the others. “Oh my bad, I’m 77 or Lance. Whichever you prefer,” He smiled.
“Did you dye your hair? I’m not complaining or anything,” Josh said.
“What happened to your eye?” Lance asked. “Heh, sorry. You asked me first. No, I didn’t. It turned that way after my parents experimented on me. The stress changed my hair. Like how people get grey hair when they get stressed.”
Josh blinked at him. “Uh, you’re very upfront about it.”
Lance shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I be? You asked. I answered.” He looked around. “Looks like all of us has a story. But I guess we can focus on that later. Who’s room is this? Wait, don’t answer that.” Lance walked out of the room and then back in. “Carmine, huh? Okay, I can work with this.”
“What do you mean?” Franklin asked.
Lance looked at Franklin like he didn’t notice he was there. “Oh, I have a habit of solving problems like this. I look at it like a test. What else do we know?”
“We just got here like five minutes ago. Her light was on, so we thought she was in here. When Franklin knocked on the door a few times, the light went off. Then we found the room like this,” Jasmine explained.
“Right. So, someone was in here. Then they left without anyone seeing them. Clearly, there was a struggle. Did you guys know that the light by our doors only turns on when the assigned person is in there? I found that out on day one. Some people on my floor went into each other’s rooms, and none of the lights turned on. Weird. Hey, other Jaz, is the light on now?”
Jasmine leaned out and checked. “No.”
“Bingo. So that means one of two things; She was in here and vanished, or she died in here and technically is no longer in here,” Lance said with his hand coving his mouth like he was thinking. “Did you guys check everything?”
“No, she just said we just got here,” Franklin said. “The room’s not that big, so the only place we didn’t check was the closet.”
Lance’s eyes fall on Jasper. “Mind looking around in there?”
“Why me?!” Jasper asked.
“You’re right next to it,” Lance said, rolling his eyes.
Reluctantly, Jasper walked into the closet. At first, he didn’t see much, but then he saw something that made him want to vomit. “AAGGHH!” Jasper screamed, falling back into the rack of clothes.
Franklin hired past Lance. “What? Oh.”
Josh was the next inside. “Well, we found her. ******
Carmine laid on the floor with a large machete sticking out of her chest. Blood ran down her tracksuit and onto the floor.
“****, poor thing,” Lance said, moving into the closet and leaning down at her body. “I wonder what happened. Actually, I can probably guess. When we were at the dining hall, she must have come back early or didn’t go. The door was open, so she had let the killer in. Of course, at the time, she didn’t know she was letting her killer in. The killer brought a weapon, the machete, with them, or she had it here already. The blood is still fresh, so it lines up. You guys must have just missed them.”
“We should tell someone. This is against the rules,” Jasmine said, hiding behind Josh.
Lance laughed. “Who? These people don’t care about us. You did watch the punishment show, didn’t you? Plus, who would you say did it? You guys would be the prime suspects. Well, I guess I would be too. They probably already know she’s dead.”
“Everyone in the hallway. Come on,” Franklin said, walking out of Carmine’s room.
Lance looked at Jasper and nodded in Franklin’s direction. “Is he the floor leader?”
“Kind of. Hey, hold on a second,” Jasper said, walking past Lance. “Franklin? I think Lance should join us.”
Franklin looked at him with a puzzled look. “I don’t know. Something’s off about him. I can’t put my finger on it.”
“You saw what he just did, right? He’s crazy smart, and he could help us get out. I agree he’s weird, but he’s not that bad once you get to know him. You said we need as many people as we can get.”
“I know what I said.” Franklin sighed. “Fine, he can join, but I want to hear his story. Was he really experimented on?”
“That’s what he told me,” Jasper shrugged. “I’ll go tell him.” A few moments later, they all came out into the hallway.
Lance had a big smile on his face. “So, The False Kings, huh,” He laughed. “Nice.” He sat on the floor next to Jasper. “So, you want to learn about me. Well, it’s not a pretty story. Though, I doubt any of ours are. No offense.”
“None taken,” Franklin said.
Lance went on to tell his story, all the while everyone listened as if their lives depended on it. When he was finished, he gave an exaggerated bow. “That’s it,” He said, sitting back down.
“How could someone do that to their own son?” Jasmine asked.
“Easily if it meant preserving our family’s image,” Lance said. His eyes drifted to the floor, then back to Franklin. “So, Jasper tells me you want to leave tonight.”
Franklin looked at Jasper, annoyed. “Yes, he found a way out. You both have immunity, right? I guess it works out. How many players are on your floor, Lance?”
“Just me. Everyone else died.”
“Don’t sound too torn up about it,” Josh said.
“I barely knew them. Everyone kept to themselves. When lights never turned on, I put two and two together. How about you, Jasmine?” Lance asked.
“Five,” Jasmine said.
“They sure cut through us. All the more reason to get the **** out,” Jasper said. “I did find a way out. One of the knights showed me where we are. Zone 0, they call it.”
Lance’s eyes widened in surprise. “Really?”
“Heh, finally found something out before you,” Jasper said, smirking.
“That’s definitely news to me. Which one told you? They all seem crazy and untrustworthy,” Lance asked.
“Pot,” Franklin said under his breath.
“Excuse me?” Lance asked, pretending not to hear that.
“Nothing,” Franklin said, looking away.
“Spade Knight,” Jasper said.
“Jason,” Lance said. “I see. Why him, though?”
“He’s my sister’s fiance. I think he wants to get me out to win brownie points with her,” Jasper said. “He’s going to come and get me after The Hunting Game starts. Since I don’t have to participate. I told him, no, but he wasn’t taking no for an answer. I was thinking we could get out before **** hits the fan, but Franklin wants to go during the game. I think that’s dumb.”
“I agree,” Lance said.
“See?” Jasper said.
“You didn’t let me finish. I agree with Franklin.”
“You do?” Franklin and Jasper asked in unison.
“I do. If anyone sees us, they’ll think we’re running for our lives or something. The staff will be busy trying to clean up the bodies. I say we go for it.”
“But what about who gets picked for being a hunter?” Jasper asked.
“You’re safe, so it’s between Franklin and that guy,” Lance aid pointing at Josh. “But since you both don’t want to die, I’m guessing, we should plan around that. One of you should pretend to kill the other. The staff will come and check, and then that’s when we jump them. If we’re lucky, they’ll have a radio or maybe a weapon on them. It’ll help us escape.”
“That’s kind of scary that you came up with that so fast,” Jasper said.
“Thank you,” Lance said, smiling.
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