“Well, isn’t this nice. I’m always happy to reunite a family,” Lance chuckled. “Jasper, look who it is.”
Jasper looked in their direction, then put his head back down.
“What? They came all this way to come see you. Aren’t you happy?” Lance asked. “Aren’t you happy to see the people who hurt you?”
“Hurt him? Us? What the hell did you do to him?!” Ben asked, walking towards King.
“I won’t if I were you,” Lance said, gesturing to the side of the room. Blanks lined the wall all of them had their weapons aimed at Ben. “Touch me and you die.”
“Let him go,” Ben demanded.
Lance tilted his head to the side. “I think you’re mistaken. Jasper can leave anytime he wants to. He’s choosing to stay in there. He doesn’t want to leave. Not with you. Why would he? He’s King now. Or he will be after his inauguration ceremony.” Lance sat down on the ground. “You can go in if you want. However, I won’t get too close. He’s very fragile right now.”
Ben ran inside the glass box and stood in front of Jasper. “Hey, Jazz. Are you alright?”
“Is that blood? Are you hurt?” Ben asked, checking over Jasper’s injuries.
“Come on, Jazz. Talk to me.”
“Why are you here?” Jasper whispered.
“What?” Ben asked.
Jasper looked up to Ben with a blank expression. “Why are you here?”
“We came to get you. We know something’s wrong with this place. With him.” Ben looked back at Lance. “We’re here to bring you home.”
“What home? You never cared about me. You treated me like **** ever since mom died. You laughed in my face. You alienated me for three years. Not one word from either of you. Why should I go back with you?” Jasper asked. “Leave.”
“What’s gotten into you?” Ben asked. “I get you’re mad, but–“
“MAD?! I’M BEYOND MAD!” Jasper yelled. “I needed you! I needed both of you, and you abandoned me. Yes, I ****** up. I know that. I hate myself for not answering her calls. Do you know how hard my life has been without you guys? I wake up screaming every **** night. I relive that moment every **** night. If it weren’t for Amber or Ronda, I would’ve killed myself a long time ago. I needed you!” Jasper said through tears. “I was so alone. You don’t get to play the protective big brother right now. Don’t you ******* stand here saying you want me to go back with you. I’ve met more people here that care about me more than you ever did! I should thank you. Thank you for telling me I wouldn’t make it. Thank you for yelling at me, telling me I was worthless. It brought me here. I’ve experienced so much here. So, I’ll tell you again. Leave!”
“THAT’S ENOUGH!” Emily said, walking into the box. “Stop it, Jasper.”
“Em,” Jasper said, wiping his face. “I mean it. I want you two to leave. I’m not going back with you. It’s too late for us to be a happy family.”
“I didn’t come all this way to argue with you again, Jazz. I don’t know what he did to you, but I’m bringing you home.” Ben wiped his face and looked Jasper in the eyes. “I won’t leave you here with this man. You’re right. I was angry at you. I hated you for a long time. I blamed you for mom’s suffering. She was so worried about you up until the end. She wouldn’t have wanted us to split like that. We should’ve been there for each other. A part of me wanted to forgive you back then, but my anger got the best of me. I wanted you to hurt like she did. I watched her die, Jazz. Both of us did. We were angry at everyone. Why did our mother have to die? She never hurt anyone. She was kind. She was a great mom. Why her? It wasn’t fair. It was too much. You not being there because of some robbery you and Tyler did just made the whole thing come crashing down. You’re right. I don’t have the right to try and be the big brother I should’ve been, but I don’t want to keep worrying about you. Em can tell you, when we realized something was going on here, I was one of the first to start looking for you. I even called in a favor to get us here. I probably lost my job just so I could come to find you. I don’t care. Don’t make me lose someone else, Jazz. I can’t handle losing you too. No, I’m not leaving. Not without you.”
“Me neither.” Emily took Jasper’s hand. “I should’ve reached out a long time ago. I wasn’t ready to forgive you either. I wanted to, but I just couldn’t bring myself to reach out. I can’t imagine how alone you felt. That despair must have been suffocating. I’m so sorry, Jasper. When they showed the game you were in with the lock; I couldn’t believe it. I saw the fear on your face. I knew you felt bad, and being reminded of that must have been horrible. We felt that too. Then we saw the massacre with the other players, and we had to come and get you. Not to mention that awful punishment game.” Emily turned to Lance. “That was real, right?”
“It was,” Lance answered.
“So, Jason…god,” Emily shook her head. Then the door to the main room swung open. Jason, Josh, Ronda, and Kate hurried into the glass box.
“Em?” Jason asked, running up to her. “What are you doing here?” He tried to hug her, but she stepped back.
“Not now, Jason,” Emily said, looking away.
Hurt, Jason stepped back. “Okay.”
“Jasper!” Ronda said, hugging him. “You’re okay!”
“Ronda?” Jasper said, hugging her back. He buried his face in her shoulder. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
“You’re crushing me, dummy,” Ronda said, tears running down her face.
“Sorry,” Jasper said, not letting go.
Lance tried to move, but Franklin held his gun up to Lance’s face. “Don’t move.”
“Oh, I see you guys found your new toys. Saves me the trouble,” Lance said. “Hate to interrupt, but this little reunion will have to be cut short.” Lance snapped his fingers, and the whole glass box was surrounded by blanks. “This is my personal guard. I’ve given them enough exceed to last a lifetime. One word from me, and they start shooting.”
Jasper let Ronda go and walked towards Lance. “I’m what you want, right? Let them leave, and I’ll stay.”
“Jasper!” Ronda shouted.
“It’s okay,” Jasper said. “No one else needs to die.”
“That depends on you,” Lance smiled. “There’s one condition you have to meet in order to be King. Once you become King, you can call them off. Blanks are under the King’s orders. I ordered them to kill everyone if you don’t fulfill the condition.”
“What condition?” Jasper asked.
“To become the new King, Jasper Lee Jones, you must kill those who hurt you. Kill your brother and sister,” Lance said with a twisted smile.
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.