Battle of the Killers

Seventeen-year-old Betinia "Tini" Woods has never had a normal life. As a child, she has always been categorized as weird, or odd, or a freak. But after a horrific event in her childhood, she makes a promise to herself to always act normal, which causes her to completely change herself and her personality.

Ten years later, she wakes up in an abandoned room with an ankle monitor and no memory of how she got there. As she tries to escape, memories of her childhood start to weigh on her psyche, and when she thinks she might've finally escaped her prison, she's wrong.

She actually just entered into a game where she'll have to fight to survive.

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5. 05 - Disneyland

 

Jookie continued to stare at me, watching me through his sparkling white eyelashes. An impish grin tugged at his lips, making every breath I took come out in sharp pants. 

I was dead. My eyes closed, thinking of all the ways that it could happen. Over the pass twenty minutes, people have died from shark tanks, spikes, snakes, and poison darts. How would I die?

With death near, everything important to me began to flash before my eyes. Angie and Tim showed up fist, followed by Jonathan, my boyfriend. 

We’d been together for a few months now, and I only started dating him at first to keep up appearances, but he slowly tore some of my inner walls down, letting me be Tini, and I showed him... in tiny bits. I trusted no one with the real Tini — not even Angie. 

And Angie… We just started getting close again. 

Two years ago, she left without a word, and I was devastated. But six months ago, she arrived at my high school in a brand-new Mercedes, saying she was here to stay. Since then, everything's been great. 

Tim wasn't too thrilled about her return though. He and Angie clashed. Big time. He did let her back into the house, but I think he only did that because of me. Tim loved me, just like I was his own daughter. 

With him being ex-military, he saw through some of my lies, forcing me to show him the real me. I sometimes did, and I think that's one of the reasons why we got along so well. 

Would I never see any of them again?

Silence draped the atmosphere, tension thickening like fungus on garbage. Every second that ticked by felt like someone was stuffing ragged rocks down my throat, choking all my senses until everything started to shut down. 

A teasing giggle cut through the quietness. "Our last loser — Peglin Wallson." 

My eyes shot open as some gasped. Darting my eyes toward the noise, a cranberry-haired man paced the cage, yelling like a madman. 

A piercing noise wailed before the floor underneath his cage unhinged, elevating up a plastic container filled with clear, scorching fluid. Acid. 

"No! Please don't do this!" The man screamed for his life, but Jookie just giggled as his eyes narrowed and his finger tapped the phone. 

The bottom of the cage swung open, and Peglin hit the liquid with a loud plop. Sinister squeals vomited out of his throat as the fluid ate at his skin and clothing. His body flopped around like a drowning victim while thick chucks of flesh melted off, revealing nothing but bare bone. Once the flesh dissolved, the bone soon followed, until nothing but red acid remained. 

What a fascinating sight. 

Jookie hopped up and down like a kid at Disneyland. "Ah, wasn't that amazing everyone? God, I just lovethe art of a beautiful killing." He turned back toward the camera with a smile. "Here are your fabulous thirteen, everyone. You voted and chose them, and here they are. Time to let them out." 

He went to his phone again, but the rude guy from earlier interrupted him. Again. 

"Dude, you're going to have no contestants if you don't lower these fucking cages," he said. "They're too high." He sounded calmer than before as if the series of deaths we just saw didn't faze him at all. 

Jookie thought over his statements. "I guess," he said, rolling his eyes. Tapping the phone, all the occupied cages lowered, but not by very much.  

The rude guy started to speak again, but the bottom of his cage opened, cutting him off. He dropped downward, but instead of flailing like most, he sort of dived into a roll, like he did this before. 

Rude guy groaned, landing hard on his side. "Dah fuck." He glared up at Jookie, looking like he was ready to fight, but he peeped the weapon-strapped guards and stopped. 

Eyes sparkling, Jookie giggled. "Got something to prove, tough guy?"

The rude guy spat on the ground, eyes narrowing. "You're only talking like that because you got those men behind you." 

That response earned him more electrical shocks. The guy started pulsing like a cartoon character. 

"The audience is getting restless, and I'm getting bored." Jookie sighed, tapping his button over and over until the rude guy shivered and panted like a pregnant woman in labor. "Let's see if the audience is enjoying themselves." 

With a snap of his finger, a sharp ping alerted the room and soon a projectile screen materialized in front of us. Words shot across the screen. The whole display reminded me of my Twitter feed in night mode, except it scrolled automatically.  

Comments came in at an alarming rate. Some cheered on the game, others told Jookie to shock the rude guy again. Some were murderously vulgar and others explicit toward the females. 

"Contestants, these are the people watching you twenty-four seven." Jookie smiled. "And they're growing restless, so instead of intros let's go right into the first challenge, shall we?" 

His last statement lit the comments on fire, a new one coming in every nanosecond. The audience was ecstatic. 

Without warning, the bottom of my cage rumbled. Then, it vanished. Harsh coldness bit at my palms when I grabbed two metal bars, trying to stop myself from dropping from the cage. But I wasn't strong enough to hold myself up, so my hands squeaked down the bars, warm friction teasing at my skin.

A tiny pinch of pain sliced up the side of my hands when they hit the bottom of the bars, my body dangling in the open air. Prickling pressure licked at my fingers, begging for me to let go, but I held firm. 

Around me, other people tumbled out of their cages while others dangled like me. 

A minute passed before I couldn't hold on anymore, instantly making me wish I would've tried harder on arm day. I dropped. The solid floor connected hard with my butt, and pain scorched up my lower back and thighs. 

Wallowing in pain wasn't much of an option because the twelve contestants towered around me, so I rushed to my feet, butt still aching, before wrapping my arms around my chest again. 

Jookie whistled before clapping, pure joy on his face. "Let the first challenge begin, everyone!"

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