My ex-lover Kendrick is dead. He was the Competition’s winner three and two years back. He warned me something was going on about the game, about the winners. He documented four murders−before his. That one I added to the wee killer’s stats myself. As I can’t track down two additional winners, I’ve declared them missing in action and added them to my list.
Competition’s Registration Form.
Question 78: Why are you participating? Answer in 100 characters or less.
“The game is but a game if it’s played right. I play majestically. I play to win.”
Player number 1244.
Anyone can play. Anyone can win.
The Competition involves too many rules, too many players, referees, and groupies. I’ve never been one to play for the team, but into the catacomb city, I’ll go. Not because I was in love with him, not anymore, but because once upon a time, I gave him my word. Thankfully, I’ve since learned to keep my mouth shut. I’ll play to win or die trying. The world’s dying anyway. My plan? Stay low. Act as any other asshole player. Survive the sets. Win the Competition. Bait Kendrick’s wee killer. Simple, right?
Is there nobility in the game? No.
Am I trying to prove something to the world? To myself? Resounding Nos.
I’m not enjoying myself. At. All. So, it’s not about pleasure either.
Am I seeking revenge? Again, a No. I didn’t love him that much.
I merely want to understand. He left me for that game, after all. Besides, I have anything else better to do. Until I die, at least.
I scurry out of the Registration office but not fast enough. Jaz, another Registry employee, sneaks out of a back door. As soon as he sees me, he heads straight for me. Grabbing my elbow and, no doubt mistaking my deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression for awed infatuation (yes, the guy’s that vain), he stirs me further down the Registration building’s first floor.
I’m too surprised to react at first. I did my homework and memorized what little information is available on the playground layout. During my due diligence (it sounds better than snooping), I also committed to memory all of the past competitions’ stats, players (winners and losers, alive or dead). Why would Jasper, a two-time game winner, want to talk to me?
The Registration building, the flagship of the Competition, was amongst the useless yet vital data I collected. We’re heading toward the Referees' lounge. I obediently follow Jaz. Even though referees can’t manipulate the sets’ outcomes, I don’t want to anger one just in case. I am not flustered by the man in himself. No way. The guy’s a buffoon. He takes nothing seriously. Even as he ushers a mute me down the long corridor, Mr. Nonchalant is all smiles and jokes for everyone we encounter.
“Let’s go out for a drink, you and me. I’ll take you dancing. We’ll fuck afterward. I’ll rock your world.”
OK, he doesn’t say that exactly, but he could have. How can this jerk have won a competition, yet alone two? His opponents must have been lousy. Maybe I should stick with him and wait for the psycho that took down Kendrick to make his move.
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About the Author
I raise a family, work, eat, drink coffee and red wine, and I read. I’ve started writing… Well, in truth, I’ve always been imagining one story or another in my head. The only difference now is that I commit the words on a page. For better or for worse.