You see it all the time in the news.
Reality tv shows about people or celebrities that are put to the test, but here they have a much darker meaning. You hear the legend when your little, but we all just thought it was a way of scaring children into behaving. After all, isn't that what the boogy man is? A story to frighten children?
The circus, the invitations, they aren't a legend, a story. Every year they broadcast it, and the horrible truth of it is that you can't not watch it, whether it's because someone you love is competing, or you just want to see some poor souls destroy each other and in turn be destroyed.
Thirty four participants this year, every year the number increases by one, for every year that it runs. The seven years weren't aired, and when our screens were controlled by the circus you found that every channel was the same. Death after death after death.
The opening is always the same, a dark glimmering view of the island. The rocks that surround the island are tinged red with blood, and the seagulls themselves seem more than eager for some bodies to chew upon and to feed their young with. The thought makes me sick to the stomach.
The ocean around the island is dark, the depths are treacherous and those that try to escape the island either drown or are devoured, sometimes both. If you look carefully at the screen, behind one of the huge albatross sized seagulls swooping across the screen you can see a body in the water. Vibrant red locks lost in the darkness and a face of pure shock as her lifeless eyes stare at an enemy only she could see.
The advert pops onto the screen and you know it's time.
In three hours, the invitations will arrive, if you deny them. You die.
At least at the circus, you have a one in thirty four chance of survival.
But this year was to be different, everything changed with a single knock at the door.
"Miss Elizabeth?" The dark figured man asked and I swallowed and stepped forward, my parents holding my brother tightly in their grip as he struggled to come to my aid.
"You've been chosen, say goodbye, you leave in ten minutes"
My life had just changed, and it wasn't for the better.