The Game of Life

What do you do when you're stuck in a world you can't get out of?
When your brain is controlled by a society if you're poor.
When a game show decides if you live.
Or if you die....


2. White Lights


Before anyone sees me, I sprint out of the studio. The bright, white lights are giving me a headache, and I feel like I might pass out. I can see my sister in the audience, chewing her lip so hard that it trickles with dark red blood. My parents are beside her, my mother crying and my father hiding his face from the cameras, zooming in on them, prying, getting into their personal space. Why, you might ask, does he not say anything? It's simple. He doesn't get a choice what the cameras do. See, our state is divided into two. They say it's on who can bring most to Base, and who can bring least, but it's not that. It's who is richest, and who's poorest. The poor people don't get a say in what they do, mainly because Base feels they don't bring enough to society. The rich...well, you get the picture. Right now, I know what I'd love to do. I'd love to run away, but I can't. My mind is flooded with images of what is about to happen to me. I don't know the answer, and the studio has no Connectron, so we can't connect to the IntoSystem. I hear it used to be called the internet, where you could go on websites? I don't know, but nowadays, it's in your brain, and you activate it through a chip called a Connectron; which they don't have in here, for obvious reasons. I don't know the answer. Which means one thing. One simple, horrible thing. I am about to die. I race backstage, looking despairingly for something, anything. I spot a drawer, in the corner of the room. It's grey, made out of metal, hard and it hurts me knuckles when I touch it. It stings so much it brings tears to my eyes, but something has drawn me in, and I know I need to open it. I have to. There's something in there, for sure that I need to see. Why is my brain telling me this? I don't understand! Everyone's brains are connected to Base, why is my brain telling me to open something so forbidden? But I have to. I need to. For some obscure reason, I need to open this drawer. How ridiculous do I sound, getting so dramatic about opening a grey door? It's crazy, but it's like there's this knotted rope attaching me to the grey door, and no matter how hard I try, it pulls me closer and closer. It's not just curiosity, either, it's something bigger than that. There's something inside here that my brain wants me to see. I resist the stinging, the pain running through my fingers and tug the drawer. It doesn't open. It's now that I should walk out the door, go back to the studio and accept my fate. But that's not an option. I tug at the drawer, but it doesn't move. I blow on my fingers, to try and relieve the burning sensation. It's at that moment that the producer, really an employee from Base, shouts out, "Action in 3! Has anyone seen 1034869?" 1034869 is me. I don't have a name, apart from the one my mother calls me. It's a strange word, so strange that I can't tell anyone. She calls me 'Grace'. But there's no time for pondering in the past. I have three short minutes. I tug and tug and tug at the drawer, but it won't budge. I realise I'm making a terrible racket, and to my horror, I hear footsteps getting closer. I can't breathe, but I need to move. Fast. I climb into the cupboard and hold my breath. Someone is in this room. "I head something, J." The man says. In the other division of our country, they are called by letters. "You're dreaming, P. Who would go in here? It's strictly private!" A female voice says. "J, I heard something. And if you choose not to believe me..." "Is this what it's about? P, we broke up months ago." "We can give it another go..." I stifle a giggle. At least they've forgotten about the accusations. The voices get quieter and quieter as they move out the room and into the corridor. I fumble through the darkness of the corridor, when my hard moves onto something hard. It's dark, but not dark enough that I can't read the words. The box is printed with the words 'Padlocks and Codes'. I beam. This is my answer. I grab the box and try to open the wardrobe. It doesn't open. I push harder. It doesn't open. I look around me in the darkness. Something catches my eye. I scream a silent scream. I'm not alone, here in the darkness. Because, if I'm not mistaken... There's something in here. With me.  
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