“Did you hear me? I said no,” Jasper said, crossing his arms.
“I head you. I was just hoping I was mistaken. You sure I can’t change your mind?” Lance asked.
“I’m pretty ******* sure. You kidnapped us, made us go through horrible ****, almost killed Franklin, murdered hundreds of people, and that’s probably not the worse thing you ever did!” Jasper shouted. “I’m taking my friends, my girlfriend, and whoever else I can find, and we’re getting out of this hell hole. Find someone else to be your replacement.”
Lance closed his eyes and sighed. “You hear that, Franklin? Guess we got to go with plan B.”
Jasper turned around, but it was too late. Franklin stabbed him with a needle and backed away. “I’m sorry, Jaz. I had to do it.”
Jasper stumbled and steadied himself on the wall. “What?” Jasper slurred. “What the **** did you do?”
“I was hoping you would willingly agree to take over for me, but I guess we have to do things the fun way.” Lance turned to Franklin. “I got it from here. Have some of you clover guards come in here. We need to move things along. The Hunting Game is just about over upstairs.”
“Okay,” Franklin said, turning to leave.
“You did the right thing, Frank. I promise I’ll find your sister for you. Shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ll have her location in a few hours.”
“You better keep your promise,” Franklin said, leaving the room.
Jasper’s vision started to get blurry, and the room began to spin. “What did he just give me?”
“Something I’ve been working on. Don’t worry; it won’t kill you. It’ll just make the next part easier. Hey, when you wake up. I’ll tell you the rest of my story,” Lance laughed. His laughter became twisted as the darkness took Jasper over. It was the last thing he heard before everything went black.
When Jasper woke up, he was in a different place. His vision was still in and out, but at least he was alive. He tried to sit up, but something was keeping him down. It didn’t take him long to put together; he was restrained. A bright white light shined down on him, making it even harder for him to focus. He turned his head and saw Lance staring at him.
“Morning,” Lance said. “You were out for a while. I thought you were dead.”
“Where am I?” Jasper asked.
“We’re still in Zone 0. Not where we were before but still on the grounds. How are you feeling? Any nausea? Dizziness? Pain?”
“Let me go, Lance,” Jasper said.
“Hmm, you seem fine. Aside from you being angry. I gave you the same injection I gave Franklin and Carmine. It’s the same injection my mother gave me. It has different effects on people. I gave them larger doses than the one Franklin gave you. I think I finally perfected it.”
“You drugged them? Why am I not surprised?” Jasper said. His vision was coming into focus, and he realized where he was. He was in a giant room made of glass. “What the hell?” Jasper said, struggling against the restraints. “No, no, no.”
“This was the same room I was in. Lucky for you, you won’t have to be in here for years. Maybe a few months at most. Enough time for the serum to work. It’s not immediate. It takes time to work; even then, it only works for a little while. Continuous exposure should fix that,” Lance said, grabbing another shot off the tray next to him. “Speaking of which.”
Jasper winched as Lance gave him the shot. A burning sensation shot up his arm and down his spine.
“The serum accelerates brain function. I’ll give you the serum and study you while you study. Once I believe you’re ready to take over as King, I’ll let you go,” Lance said.
“Study what?” Jasper asked.
“As you are, Jasper, you’re not the best you. I want you to see things like I do. Think as I do. That’ll take time and a lot of pain. But I know you’ll get there. It was difficult too. I thought, “why me?” and “This can’t be real” all the time when I was younger, but now, I’m glad my parents did that to me. I can’t imagine where I would be right now if it weren’t for them. Shame I had to kill them.”
Jasper’s head shot up. “You killed your own family?”
“THEY DESERVED IT!” Lance yelled. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to get angry. They tortured me. They isolated me just so they could make me a genius. They said it was for my own good. Heh, I guess they were right in a way. They were the first ones to test out my early games. Even with all that intelligence, they still died quicker than I expected.”
“You’re a monster,” Jasper said.
“I know that. Not really my fault now, is it?” Lance smiled. He picked up his mask and fixed it to Jasper’s head. “There you are. I want you to start right away. We have a lot to get through. You have a lot to see.”
“Get this off of me!” Jasper said, struggling. When the screen turned on inside the mask, a video started playing. A man in a purple tracksuit was running away from something. He was severely injured and bleeding all over the place as he tried to get away. The man ran as fast as he could but hit a dead-end. He was terrified of whatever was approaching him.
“Please, I give up, okay. Y-You, win! Just let me go!” The man begged. The man was sobbing and trying desperately to open the door behind him.
“You know that’s not how the game works. One of us has to die. I’m sorry, Arthur. I really am. I have a family to get back to. You don’t. Just face your death like a man,” A voice said as another figure came into view.
“This isn’t fair! You have a weapon! I don’t! You said we’d be partners, and now this! **** you, Gregg.”
Gregg raised his gun towards Author and fired three times. Arthur’s body slummed to the ground. Gregg tossed the weapon to the side and fell to his knees. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Then the screen moved on to another video.
“You’re going to watch every single death. I want you to study how they died. Process each death thoroughly. Once you have, then we can move on,” Lance said, sitting back in his chair.
Jasper felt like he was going to throw up. He wanted to look away, but he couldn’t. No matter where his eyes went, the death was still there. He tried closing his eyes, but the sounds were worse. All he could do was scream.
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.