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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7. 07 - Are We Going To Do This Or Not?

 

"Fuck this. I'm not dying today." The rude boy rushed over to the table, joining the gruffy-beard man, who was still whacking away at the body. 

Squishy noises soon combined with hacking flesh, and preppy boy couldn't take it. He started gagging again, while stumbling into a wall. 

Sketcher girl cried harder, like she was trying to drown out the murderous noises with her sobs. The Betinia part of me told myself to comfort her. Isn't that what normal people do? 

But Tiniurged me to march over to Michael's dead body and explore it like it was my first time at Disneyworld. Commanding me to fulfill one of my deepest desires, to explore a human body. 

But I followed my norm, like I programmed myself to do a long time ago. 

"It'll be okay," I whispered to the girl, kneeling on the cold floor to comfort her. She couldn't be more than thirteen, maybe younger. 

She sobbed into her small hands. "I'm gonna die — " she hiccupped through her tears, burping. " — and I never did nothing wrong. I was a good girl." 

"You're not — this is just... um — " I stammered, trying to come up with something positive and sweet to say, like normal people would do, but I came up empty. 

What do you say to a girl who just found out she's on a murderous TV show with other killers? And she's weak, so she might be the first to go?

I looked behind me, seeing people surround the dead body. Gruffy-beard continued to hack away, but this time at the head while the guy I stumbled into earlier — warm-eyes — and some blond guy watched from across the table. He must be trying to break the skull and go for the brain. 

A guy in a hoodie who looked familiar, a pretty girl with nerd glasses, and the skinny girl from earlier towered near the table, all of them watching gruffy-beard with mixed expressions. 

"Umm, sir?" the skinny girl said in a polite tone to gruffy-beard. 

He paused, giving her large brown eyes. 

"Do you mind, um, getting me the intestines?" she asked, wiping at her cashmere sweater. She didn't look like the type of girl who was used to getting dirty. 

Gruffy-beard never said a word, just kept banging away. 

The others started barking out body parts that they wanted while gruffy-beard continued to hack, splashing more wet blood onto his pale skin. 

"He can't dissect the whole body by himself," the blond guy said. "We only have an hour left."

"You guys need to get your own shit," the rude guy said, standing at the legs. "Unless you want to die today." 

"We each should just grab our own parts. First come, first serve," warm-eyes said while grabbing a tool off the table and digging into the body. 

Soon, others followed, picking up tools and getting ready for their turn. Except preppy guy. He continued dry heaving in the corner, sweat pouring down his face. 

The wet dissecting noises continued to fill the room, intensifying as more people worked on Michael's body. Sketcher girl sobbed harder. I sat there, still consoling her. 

"Jookie said we needed the biggest body part," the red-haired girl said. "Wouldn't that be his legs?" 

"Legs would be longest. He meant biggest as in mass," the skinny girl said, like she could read Jookie's mind. 

I don't know if either of them were right. When Jookie said it, it felt almost like a riddle that needed to be solved, like he was hiding clues beneath his tone and words. 

"He never actually specified either," blondie said, wiping his wavy hair out of his face. 

The timer beeped again. Forty-five minutes left.

"Hurry up!" A guard slammed on the door outside. "Get the job done or your brains will be all over that floor." 

That's when everyone got a pep in their step, crowding around the body, which caused them to start invading gruffy-beard's personal space. He growled, white teeth peeking out beneath that hairy bush, and everyone jumped back. 

Gruffy-beard switched out his hammer for an axe. His stubby hand swung down onto the middle of head until it cracked open, sending blood, skull and brain matter everywhere. 

Skinny girl glowered at him, trying to clean the brain matter off her white sweater. Nerd glasses seemed pissed, but stayed silent while the guys just stood there, except Preppy. He lost it, vomiting all over the floor and his hands. 

Gruffy-beard continued to work the dead's man head, hacking away at the skull until he came to his prize — the brain. He switched tools, going back to the blade, cutting out the rest of the tissues and attachments until he completely detached everything. Sticky red liquid drenched his fingers as he held the sticky, wet organ in his hands, carrying it over to the far corner. 

Everyone just stared for a second, watching him hold that severed brain like it was nothing as he waited for the challenge to end. 

"Does the um privatescount?" the red-haired girl asked. 

"Not on this guy," the hoodie guy said. 

The red-haired girl stared at the body for a second before grabbing a saw and going for the leg. She curled up her red lips in disgust, but kept going. The rude boy followed suit, going for the other leg. 

Looking away from them, warm-eyes caught my attention. The ways his hands expertly used that blade to slice open the chest was just...captivating. 

Nerd glasses narrowed her eyes. "You a serial killer or somethin'?"

"No. Just read books," warm-eyes said. Sticky red fluid coated his skin, thickly embedding his nails as he worked. "By the way, aren't you Reckless Gamer69? That famous YouTube gamer?" he asked, looking to hoodie guy for a second before going back to his work. 

That's why I recognized him. A Youtuber. The one accused of killing his girlfriend, but he got off. Everyone called him the new OJ Simpson because the only reason he got off was because the bloody footprints didn't match.

The hoodie guy cleared his throat. "Umm yeah..."

"I thought I knew you," the skinny girl said. "You're here because you murdered your girlfriend." 

"I did not!" he snapped. "I was acquitted."

"That just means you're smart and you had a good lawyer — not that you're innocent," the skinny girl said as she picked up a blade and went to work on the stomach that warm-eyes opened up. 

"I didn't do it," he snapped again.

Skinny girl shrugged. "They said we're all murderers so..."

Hoodie guy looked livid, eyes bulging, ready to smack someone, but blondie stepped in. 

"Stop the arguing. We gotta hurry up or we're dead," he said before turning to me and the sobbing girl. "You two better get started." 

The girl sobbed. "I can't do it." 

"Fuck her. She's weak," the rude guy said. "If you want to die, go ahead. No one's stopping you. You'll probably be the first one voted off anyway." 

Nerd glasses scratched at her messy bun. "Don't be such a prick." 

"I'm being honest. I want to leave this place. Don't you?" the rude guy said, sawing off the last bit of leg, leaking blood onto the floor. 

"Can you help me?" The red-haired girl said with a flirty smile. "My hand's cramping." From her pretty manicure, she probably never did any physical labor.

He nodded, cutting the other leg off with ease, handing it to her. But she ended up struggling and dropping it. 

"You've done that before, I'm guessing," the skinny girl said to the rude guy. 

"I work for the triads, so yeah. I'm not afraid to say I've killed," he said, looking at hoodie guy before grabbing the dripping leg and walking off.

Red-haired girl followed close behind him with her meaty leg. 

Warm-eyes snipped and pulled out the heart and then moved away so that others could take his place at the table. The blond guy grabbed his part and left as well, elbows soaked in blood. 

Skinny girl got messy, taking out the small intestines. It was long and sticky, and she draped it onto the floor, almost tripping on it. 

A girl, so quiet that I completely forgot she was in the room, stepped up to the table next. She started speaking in a foreign language. 

Nerd glasses nodded to hoodie guy. "You — girlfriend killer. You understand her?"

"Why? Because I'm Puerto Rican?" he spat. "Racist, much?"

"I'm black and Filipino — I ain't racist," she snapped back, erasing that quiet demeanor she once had. "The reason I asked is because she's speaking Portuguese and your ex-girlfriend was a Brazilian model." 

He jerked back for a second, changing his tone once he realized that she wasn't some quiet, timid girl like he thought at first. "I speak and understand a little." He then began speaking to the girl in Portuguese and she nodded happily before he spoke to us again. "She said she can understand English well, but can't speak it very much."

"So, she knows the shit show we're in, right?" the skinny girl asked, dropping the intestines on the ground with a wet splat. 

"After watching people die earlier and watching us kill and dissect another human being without saying a fucking word," the rude guy said, "I would hope she would understand or she's a fucking psycho." 

The Brazilian chick nodded toward us before digging her hand into the body without a second thought, taking out an organ before walking away.

"Umm alright," nerd glasses said, watching the Brazilian chick walk away before looking down at the dead body again. Sighing and scrunching her nose up, her hand submerged deep into the open carcass and the hoodie guy followed. 

I turned back to the sobbing girl. "We need to start the challenge."

She cried some more and I continued to console her until the beeping went off again. Twenty minutes left. 

"Burned girl, you gon die for some crying broad," the rude guy said to me. "You don't even know her." 

"Shut up! All of you are monsters," sketcher-girl cried, sobbing even harder now. 

Everyone stared at me, and I looked at the crying girl. No, I didn't want to die. Not like this. I would complete the challenge. So, maybe that did make me a monster.

Getting to my feet, Tinistarted to emerge. Staring at the dead body, it looked like a dissolved mess — body parts missing, head cracked open and crusty blood and tissue smeared the clammy, dead skin. 

Preppy guy wobbled over, vomit coating his upper lip. He shuddered before taking a saw to the dead man's arm. It looked like he was about to cry while doing it. 

Turning away from him, my eyes gazed at the mutilated corpse, looking to see what was left. The longest and heaviest parts had been taken already, but my brain told me that Jookie didn't mean either of those things. 

Thinking back to the medical twitter account I follow, it took only seconds for me to realize what Jookie actually meant when he said biggest. 

Gripping the bloody surgical blade, I attacked the body, going for the part I needed. Digging through a human body without gloves felt squishy and thick, yet soft like I was touching satin sheets. 

With every cut and slice, Tini smiled inside, loving every moment because I was feeding an inner desire. Dead bodies have always fascinated me, ever since the murders. The human form, alive or dead, was a work of art, but with it open like this, I could create my own masterpiece and explore the inner workings of Michael Lent. 

My brain went back to seven-year-old me, remembering my house and family that day. Thick blood and brains showered my living room and kitchen. Everyone's eyes had been open like they saw something scary or exciting — frozen horror and fear etched on their faces. The morgue couldn't even remove those looks. 

My fingers yanked out the body part I needed, slashing blood across my face as I buried the memories deep.

Ten minutes left.

Blinking, I looked up for the first time and saw all eyes on me, mixed emotions on their faces. Some of those looks I recognized. My therapist looked at me like that sometimes — judgment. They were judging me while others held fear or respect or curiosity. 

All of them freaked me out. Anything besides a passing glance made me uncomfortable. 

"Be normal," I told myself, trying to reel Tini back in. But nothing was normal about this situation. Everything about this reeked Tini — not Betinia. For years, acting normal kept me out of a mental ward, but I was slowly starting to realize that Betinia might not survive in a place like this. 

Tini might have to come out in full force, and that brought icy fear into my heart. But I wanted to live. Survive. So, Tini stayed out. For now. 

Ignoring the glances and gripping the blade tighter, I sliced into the stomach, surging deep. A ripple of liquid squirted out, sprinkling my upper body while thick sludge and spongy matter caked my arms and elbows. Moist flesh caressed my fingers, calling to me like a murderous siren as I worked. 

I dug deeper, trying to get what I wanted, but I couldn't see too well because of the dim lighting, so I kept exploring and tossing out shit as I went along. 

I mostly kept going because of my curiosity but I was also digging for another body part. The pancreas. Finding it and cutting through the muscles and fibers, it came out rather easily, just like in the videos.

When I looked up again, all eyes were on me still, everyone silent. 

I tossed the pancreas over to sketcher-girl on the floor. She jerked, eyes widening at my filthy appearance.

From charging through a fire to digging through a dead body, my appearance must have reflected both, and I must have looked horrible, like Carrie in pig's blood or the daughter at the end of Devil's Rejects. 

Crap, I don't think he's going to want his jacket back,  I thought as I tried to clean the blood off with my hands, but all that did was smear it even more. 

Seconds later, a beep went off and everyone paused. 

"Time's up people," Jookie sang through the television. "Time to see who won."

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