The Game

When Daniel "DJ" Joonsoon picks up a mobile phone on a Stockholm train one morning, he has no idea that his life is about to change forever.

The phone's invitation to play "The Game" is too tempting to resist and he soon finds himself embarking on a series of dangerous missions.

But fun soon turns to fear as his Police detective sister is dragged into the action. As their lives spiral out of control DJ faces a challenge he never expected. Can he outwit The Game before it's too late or will The Game play him?

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1. Wanna play a game?

The text flashed up on the scree for the umpteenth time, for the umpteenth time DJ clicked it away in irritation. No he didn't wanna play any bloody stupid game; all he wanted to do was to figure out how the mobile phone worked, and whether it was possible to do anything as simple as make a phone call with it?

Almost thirty degrees his top sticking to his back, his mouth already dry and predictably he was out of fags; the only consolation was the breeze generated by the speed of the train, forcing its way through the pathetic little ventilation window above him.

He sniffed his shirt a couple of times, the checked his breath. The results were pretty much as he had expected. An away match, hangover, and the smell of something rotting inside his mouth. An almost perfect Sunday morning if it weren't for the fact it was actually Thursday morning and he should have been at work at least two hours ago. So much for probation period.

But so what?

It was only a McJob anyway; a bunch of losers with a fully paid wanker in charge.

It’s important to be one of the team Joonsoon. Yeah, right. Like he was going to hum Kumbayah and play round the camp fire with them. The only reason he was there was so he could make a new claim for unemployment benefit afterwards

He had noticed it shortly after the rain had left Rosenberg. A small, silver coloured object on the seat on the other side of the isle. Someone had been sitting there a minute ago, but had gotten off and the train was already moving again. So, there was no point waving and shouting about it now. People had a responsibility for their own damn stuff, didn't they?

So he looked around quickly, searching for security cameras with a practical eye and once he had concluded that the train was far too old for cameras he changed seats so he could examine his find.

As he had thought, a mobile phone, and his morning had suddenly gotten a bit better.

A new model, touchscreen? Sweet!

It was odd, but he couldn't find the manufactures name anywhere, but maybe the phone was so exclusive that there was no need for one? Unless the engraved lettering on the back was actually a brand-name?

136, it said in light grey lettering slightly less than a centre meter high.

He couldn't even remember hearing of a phone company with that name...

But what the hell,

It must be worth five hundred dollars or so from the Greek who dealt in stolen mobiles. The alternative was spending a couple hundred disabling the IMEI code so the owner wouldn't be able to top the thing working then he could keep it for himself.

But that was hardly and option...

Last night he had blown a definitive hole in his already overstretched finances. He had nothing in his account for ages and he’s already used up all his other life-lines. But with a bit of hustling here and there he'd soon be back on his feet.

You could never keep someone like him down for long; the mobile was living proof of that. He held the phone up to the light to examine it more closely.

It was small and neat, hardly bigger than the palm of his hand, and the shell was made of brushed steel. A small hole in the back indicated that it was equipped with a camera, and at the top was a clumsy black clip, presumably so you could fasten it to your clothes. The clip was in marked contrast to otherwise minimalist design, and he was about to see if he couldn't take it off when the screen came to life

 

Wanna play a game?

 

It asked, showing two icons for Yes and No.

DJ jumped in surprise. In his comatose, hung-over state he hadn’t even checked to see if the phone was switched on or not. Careless! He touched his finger to the No icon. The tried to work out how this thing worked. If he was lucky he'd be able to use the phone for a few days before the owner managed to block it. 

Instead of producing a normal start up menu it repeated the same old question:

 

Wanna play a game?

 

And as he did last time, and every other time, he clicked it away with irritation.

Bloody shite phone!

He swallowed a couple of times in an attempt to stop him self throwing up. Fucking hangover, he ought to know better than to mix drinks. He was so desperate for a cigarette he thought his head was going to explode.

As for that girl, God, she was a dog, but what could you expect if you went out on the pull in the burbs? He had made a quick exit in the morning to avoid making some lame excuse. To judge by the lack of her response the feeling had been mutual

But he wasn’t really in a hurry to get back home. A stop to see the Greek, some easy money that ought to be enough for a hangover pizza and then a few beers. 

There was always space for that in the diary.

If he was lucky there would be enough left over for a bit of weed, because the phone was no box standard design like the ones he usually came across. Five hundred to a thousand kronor pure profit. Not a bad day at all excluding the hangover and the sweltering heat.

The screen had flashed again and his finger almost automatically went over to the No icon before he saw this message was different to the others.

 

Wanna play a game, Daniel Joonsoon?

 

DJ stiffened.

What the fuck...?

He glanced around a few times. Was someone playing him?

There were maybe ten, twelve passengers spread around the carriage: apart from a mother with two hyperactive kids almost all of them had seemed to be in the same sluggish mood as him. Hanging heads, glassy eyes and sweaty. Not one of them had so much as glanced in his direction. He checked the screen again. The same text. How had the phone known his fucking name?

He looked around but he was none the wiser. Then he clicked the no button.

A new message flashed up almost immediately;

 

Are you really sure you don’t want to play a game, DJ?

 

He almost flew out of his seat. What in holy hell was going on here? He shut his eyes tight and took a couple of deep breaths and regained his control over his galloping anxiety. Just keep calm. You're a smart lad and this isn’t fucking Twilight Zone.

Either this was a candid camera or else one of your mates is mucking you around. Probably the latter...

Manga was the top of his list of suspects. An old friend from school, good with all things technical, owned a computer shop, got furious with anyone that took the piss out of his new found Arab God and he had a really sick sense of humour.

Yep no doubt about it. This was one of Manga's sick jokes! Relief spread through his body.

It had been ages. He had actually thought that getting married and his new religion had turned him soft, but the little bastard must have been biding his time for this.

First he had to work out how it all fitted together and then find a way to turn the joke back around.

It was bloody well thought out so far, he had to give it to him credit for that.

DJ looked round once again.

Nine people in total in the carriage, twelve if he counted the three young kids.

Three teenage girls, an alcoholic, two stereotypical blokes about the same age as him, somewhere around thirty he guessed. An old boy with a stick, a pretty decent girl of twenty-five or so with a ponytail wearing running gear(it must have been he hangover stoppin him noticing her earlier), and finally the woman with the kids.

Whichever of them Manga the Muslim had managed to recruit, they had to have some sort of electronic gadget to be able to send the messages. Sadly, that didn't exactly narrow the choice down. Five of them were texting away, and if you counted the earplugs the alcoholic was wearing then you could push the list to six.

His weary brain came to the conclusion that it was more the rule to play on your mobile than not. If you weren’t texting then you were playing one of those sill mobile games.

So Einstein - not really much wiser.

His head was throbbing from the unexpected exertion, and his mouth, bone dry. Strangely, he did feel more alert.

So, what now?

How was he going to get his own back?

He decided to go along with the prank for a while, so he pressed the No icon, when the question came back up his finger glided to the Yes.

Oh yes, he'd play along for a while and pretend to be taken in, and the more he thought about it, the more he realised that this was actually pretty cool. A good way of passing the time on a boring journey.

"Fucking Manga" he grinned before a new message appeared on the screen.

 

Welcome to the game DJ!

 

Thanks, he thought leaning back.

This was going to be interesting after all.

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