By Claire Riley
Josh entered Damon’s room, and it was something out of a samurai movie. There was no bed, just a matt on the floor, blades of all types lined the walls, and Japanese artwork furnished the place. Josh walked over to a dresser with pictures of who he guessed were people in Damon’s life. One of them was of him next to a woman. They looked like they were on some mountain Josh didn’t recognize.
“They look happy. Maybe his girlfriend? Sister? Friend? They look close,” Josh thought, putting the picture back. “How can a psychopath look so normal?” Josh asked himself. A picture of the twisted smile Damon gave him flashed in his mind. “Was that the same guy? Or was it that drug?” A wave of pity washed over him. He brushed the feeling away. “He tried to kill me. Why do I feel bad for him? He was crazy. He dragged my pain out. So, why do I feel sorry for him?” Josh stumbled. His head began to throb with intense pain. “What the hell?”
“About time it kicked in. I was getting worried,” A voice said. “Do you feel it? Hurts, doesn’t it?”
Josh tried looking around, but no one was there. “Wha–“
“Shut up and listen. You’re in danger. You all are. My blades were coated in the same drug they gave us. King’s orders. He knew we were going to die. *******. I guess I’m glad I’m dead. Plenty of time to help you. Consider this my parting gift to my replacement. My weapons are useless to someone who can’t use them right.”
“Okay,” Josh panted. “I’m going nuts.”
“Yep, call it a side effect. We all see hallucinations. Or maybe I’m a ghost. Who knows? Now, on your feet. I have three minutes to teach you how to use a blade. The rest is up to you,” Damon’s voice said. Josh took out one of the blades Damon used on him and studied it. “Now, throw it at the wall. Aim for the bluebird picture near the door. I want you to hit the eye.”
Josh looked up and saw the small picture. “That tiny thing? I can barely see it.”
“You killed me. That means you have some talent. Even in the state I was in; you beat me. Hitting a picture shouldn’t be that hard. Don’t think, just do it. Hold the blade between your fingers/ Don’t throw it by the handle. Flick it like your throwing a frisbee. Clear your head. Also, close your eye. If you see what you’re aiming at, then your miss. Once you get that down, you can use your good eye, eyepatch.”
“Even in death, you **** me off,” Josh said, closing his eye and tossing the blade, so the blade landed between his index and middle fingers. He pictured the room going dark, and the only source of light was the picture of the bluebird. He smirked. “I got this.” He pulled his arm back and threw the blade as hard as he could.
Franklin sat on Jessie’s bed and stared at the cabinet of different guns. Long, short, automatic, everything you could think of was in there. The only thing that was blocking him from them was a keypad. Jessie’s room wasn’t too far off from his own back in Zone 1. Well, that wasn’t true. It was leagues better. It reminded him of the old west—Franklin’s favorite. One gun did catch his eye, The Smith & Wesson Model 29. For some reason, he wanted it badly.
“What would be the passcode? I don’t have much time until we need to get going. Agh, I want that, though,” Franklin said as he crossed the room and looked at the keypad. He noticed that the numbers 0,1,5, and 9 were faded. Whatever it was, Jessie didn’t make it easy to guess. The input screen had six boxes, but some of them looked like they could hold more than one number.
“Jessie, what would you have put?” Franklin said. He tried a few different codes. After the fifth incorrect, he started getting frustrated. “Ugh, what the hell? I didn’t figure Jessie for a lockmaster.” Then it hit him. “Oh, you got to be kidding me. He’s not that stupid. Wait..”
10 5 19 19 9 5. *Click! The door to the cabinet opened, and the bounty of guns was his. “Who puts their name as the passcode?” Franklin shook his head and grabbed the Model 29. It felt natural in his hands, which felt odd because he old fired a gun once, and it was yesterday. “Why am I so excited?” Franklin thought. He aimed the gun at a target Jessie had up on his wall. A few shots were already in the target. All of them are in the center. Franklin backed up and fired a few shots. Some of them made it in the center, but most were in the outer rings.
“Lame,” A voice said.
Franklin jumped. “What? Who’s there?”
“How dare you think you can touch my stuff? How did I lose to you?”
“Jessie?” Franklin said, still trying to find him. “You’re dead.”
“Yeah, I know that. I’m relieved, actually. This is the first time I can think straight in months. Now, it’s your turn to go crazy. I’m sure Jason told you about the drug King gave us. Well, you’ve been given it before. Now, it’s in your system. It was before, but not it’s really in you. All of our weapons were coated in it. I wish you would’ve been the one who died. I didn’t expect you to rush me like that. King said you weren’t that tough. I underestimated you. I bet you wish the real me would say that.”
“So I am going insane?” Franklin asked. “It’s not like before, though.”
“When you attacked Josh? No, that was different. Also, stop wasting my bullets. Save a few for King. Maybe one for that Jasper guy too. Two Kings would be catastrophic. You need to right the wrong you did. You can’t let Jasper run around with King’s knowledge in him. Both of them have to go. No one else needs to go through this. Let’s face it. King lied to you. He doesn’t care about Wendy or you. No one tells you what to do. If you let either King live, then they will have control of you forever or until they replace you like they did me. You know what we have to do.”
“I can’t kill Jasper. It’s not his fault,” Franklin said, shaking his head.
“He may not give you a choice. You’ve seen what King is capable of. Do you really want two of those monsters running around? You couldn’t save your family or your home. Look at it this way; you’re saving Jasper like you wanted to. Just in a different way. Look at the target again. Picture King’s face and fire again.”
Franklin focused on the target and fired three shots.
Jessie’s voice started to laugh. “Bullseye.”
Franklin smiled. “I promise, Jazz. I’ll save you. One way or another.”
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