“I woke. It was groggy, and dark. Mostly dark. My feelings slowly came back to me. Quite sluggishly. It took a while, but I finally built up the courage to open my eyes. I stifled a croaky, hollow laugh. How stupid of me. It was only dark because I was too scared, too petrified to open them. Pathetic.
“My first thought, before the dull ache I had developed in my temples, was devoted to trying to determine my location. A house. A dark house. I sat up slowly. My thoughts briefly returned to the ache in my head. It throbbed slightly. I raised one hand to my right temple, and the thought that I was still wearing nail polish flitted through my head like a butterfly, unable to decide where to sit itself and changing direction randomly. Last night had seemed so long ago. Fragments of it returned to my head.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” a voice boomed. “I am proud to present Kara James, our most prestig”-
“Truly an age ago. I could not remember a thing.
“Once more, my thoughts returned to my location. A dark, rotting staircase; rotten in smell, rotten in looks. I was faintly aware f the air- slightly too clean for the kind of place I was supposed to be in. Slightly too dry, too new. I couldn’t even begin to put my finger on it.
“Nevertheless, I continued. I decided to first truly get my bearings.”
“God I felt ill. Sod-all, I felt like I’d been spiked with something hard. Crack. Or worse. These pharmacies could stick anything they want into Antidepressants, and half of us are too moody anyway to notice.
“My first thought was for Amy. A strange thing to think of, the morning after she ditched me like that. Going strong for six Goddamn years, then she goes and throws that on me. Ridiculous. But hell, I thought. I’d do it a thousand times if I eventually got her. But first I’d need to escape this hellhole.
“Of course, I’d already worked out where I was by that point. A boiler room. A grimy, damp, noisy boiler room. It was huge, monstrous. I remember that the furnace was emitting a flickering light, yet when I touched the pipes, they were all cold.
“The game will not cause harm to you, If they agree with all that you do.”
The words were, though at first reassuring, understood to be sinister. Of course. I couldn't even remember what The Game even was, just that it was the reason I was in this Hellhole. It was playing with me. Yes. That's what The Game is. Dark entertainment.
“The short ditty flashed across my mind as I realised what it meant for me. It explained why the boiler was cold. If someone was driven to insanity, they could run here and throw themselves into the fires, and be done with it. But whatever I did, I couldn’t kill myself if I tried. I rubbed the cuts on my arm. I was too much of a coward, yet as I turned to face the door upstairs, I wondered whether whatever lay on the other side would end my misery for me. Dark entertainment.