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King of the World

By @Briannag288

The Ride: Part One

“Amber, I’m heading out!” Jasper said, fixing his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder. “Don’t burn down my place.”

“Oh, stop it. I’ll be good. Anyway, I won’t stay for long. The train back to my Zone leaves in two hours,” Amber said, putting her hair in a ponytail. She grabbed an apple and sat back on the couch. “You sure this is a good idea? You haven’t spoken to Ben in months. I’m kind of surprised he wanted to meet you. N-No offense,” She said, waving her hands frantically. 

“None taken. Honestly, me too. Even Emily said she’d come all the way from Zone 8. One big family reunion. Too late to back out now. I’ll tell you how it goes. Keep me posted if you hear anything about you know what.” 

“You got it, Jazzy!” Amber said, smiling. 

Jasper nodded at her and closed the door. Before leaving, he looked at himself in the window. “Did I dress too casually? What if they’re in suits or something? Like they need any more ammo against me.” Jasper shook his head clear and continued to the station. It wasn’t too far from his place, but it was far enough for a good walk. 

As he passed, he looked at the buildings around him. Old and falling apart. Some residents were looking at him as he passed by. He tried to ignore them, but he could feel their eyes on him. He stopped walking and turned to them. “Morning,” Jasper said with a smile. The kind of smile that really said, “Leave me alone or else.” The group of people went about their business, and he kept walking. 

“Heh, morning, Jasper,” A voice said from below him. An elderly man sat hunched over next to him. He was covered in old newspapers and tattered clothes. The man smiled at him revealing yellow teeth. 

“Hey, Harold. What’s up?” Jasper said, returning the smile.

“Not much, my boy. Just enjoying the show. You look like a man on a mission. We’re ya headed?”

“Going to meet my brother and sister at Zone 5. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride, but I can handle it,” Jasper said. She tried to hide the nervousness he knew Harold could see.

“Ah, well, you better not keep them waiting. I’m going back to my nap. Later,” Harold said, covering his face with a loose newspaper. 

“I should feel bad, but Harold doesn’t like pitty. I can respect that.”  Jasper thought as he walked past Harold. 

At the station, the line to board was a mile long. Jasper got in line and waited for his seat to be called. 

“OMG! You signed up?!” A woman in front of him asked.

“Uh, yeah, I want to be King! All that money. I can’t wait!” The man responded. 

“What would you even do with all that?”

The man shrugged. “No idea, but the simplest answer would be everything. A big house, nice car, but mostly food.”

“You’d be a crap king.”

“Don’t say that! My first rule would be for you to cut me some slack. After all, once I’m crowned, I can make the rules.” The man turned towards Jasper. “Hey, man, what would you do if you were King?”

“What would I do? I’d live it up in Zone 10,” Jasper said. 

“Ohhh, now that’s nice. See, his plan is better, Nate,” The woman laughed. “Maybe he should be King?”

“I’ll admit Zone 10 would be sweet. Hell, if you did become King, you could just buy the Zone. You could set up your castle there.”

“Whoa, I could. I didn’t even think about that. I bet that wouldn’t even put a dent in my money if I did that. Ronda would love it.”

“I just might,” Jasper said, then quickly realized his mistake. 

Nate’s eyes narrowed. “What? You signed up for The King of the World Competition too?”

“I might have.”

“Uh-oh, Nate, you got competition. Well, best of luck to you, Mr…”

“Oh, It’s Jasper. Jasper Lee Jones.” 

“Jasper, huh? I’m Kimberly Thompson. You can call me Kimmy. This guy is Nathan Graves. He’s super competitive, so watch out.”

“Well, lt the best man win,” Nate held out his hand and smiled. Jasper could see there was no joy in it but still shook it. 

“You act like I got accepted. We don’t find out until the end of the week,” Jasper said.

“What can I say? I’m optimistic,” Nate said, squeezing Jasper’s hand.

“SEAT 45 AND 46 NOW BOARDING!” The station attendant yelled.

“Oh, shoot, those are our seats. See you later, Jasper!” Kimmy said, pulling Nate towards the train car. Before he boarded, Nate looked back at Jasper and narrowed his eyes again. A smile spread across Nate’s face then he continued onto the train.

“Okay? The hell was that about?”

“SEAT 58 AND 59 NOW BOARDING!” The station attendant yelled. 

Jasper walked to the attendant and showed his ticket. Once the attendant looked it over, he handed Jasper back his ticket and was told to go to the right of the train. He threw his bag on the overhead and sat next to the window. He saw there were still a few people left to get checked. Yawning, he decided to take a nap when a hand shook him awake. He was about to go off on whoever it was, but then he saw it was a little girl and decided to calm down. 

“Excuse me, can I sit here? I’m 58. M-My number’s 58,” She said, showing him her ticket.

“Sure, but you don’t need my permission. It’s your seat.”

The girl nodded and tried to put her bag in the overhead compartment, but she was too short. Jasper thought it was kind of cute that she was trying to do it on her own.

“Do you need help?” Jasper asked.

“Nope, I got it. I can do it by myself,” The girl said, still trying to reach up. 

“I can’t watch this. I’ll look like an ass if I don’t help.” Jasper grabbed the bag from her and put it up next to his. “There.”

“I could get it!” The girl said, putting her hands on her hips. 

“Would you sit down already?” He asked, looking back out the window.

The little girl sat in her seat with a huff. “I’m doing it because I want to. Not because you said so.”

“Hmm. Why is a kid taking the train all by themselves?”

“Why is an old man not minding his own business?”

“I’m not old! I’m in my twenties. What are you like ten?”

“I’m eleven, Jerk. Don’t call me a kid! I’m Lilly.”


“Like the ghost?” Lily asked.

Jasper laughed. “That’s Casper.”

“Oh,” Lily said. Her face was turning bright red. “I knew that.”

“Uh-huh, sure you did.” 

The sound of the train whistle made Lily jump. “What was that?”

“It means we’re about to leave. Calm down,” Jasper said, closing his eyes again.

“I’m gonna call you Jasper the Unfriendly Ghost.,” Lily giggled.

“Whatever…kid,” He laughed. Jasper looked out the window as the train pulled out of the station.

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