Hello once again to without doubt, more backlog. This one, is a very old year long piece that when reading I couldn’t help but laugh at just what I was thinking of when I wrote this. In my opinion, it is both parts bad, and at the same time interesting how I decided to roll with this piece. If the piece from Margaret Atwood entitled Happy Endings comes to mind, then the style of this piece somehow reminds me of that. In themes, perhaps not, and at the same time, even in themes of how death accumulates inevitably, still relates. It is an extremely entertaining piece to look back on and a great time to go back and see what I was thinking of back in the past. Here you go, “A Simple Game.”
Everyone has something they need to protect. Whether it’s a person, a place, or even a thing. Everyone has something they hold precious. Whether they realize it or not, is really up to them. Everyone has something they want to hide. Whether it’s infringing on their daily lives or not, the truth is, we are all hideous people.
Take for example, this strange pairing. A son who wants nothing to do with his parents, and will do anything in his way to stray from them. He’s a fragile person, the slightest agitation will blow his top. He’s not to be taken lightly. Now, his name is Dan Aker. Dan is a good person deep down, the only problem is his overlaying rage for his parents. Okay, now that we know a bit about Dan, let’s talk about his inevitable captor. His name is Jason. He doesn’t have a last name, due to complicated circumstances. Jason is a murderer. He’s been convicted for the murder of three women, five men, and ten children within the last three months. All stories of his actions are true, he’s a killer first and a human second.
One day, just like any other, Dan is making his way back home. It was a busy day at school. He’s got a test to study for tomorrow, an assignment due next week and the stress of wondering who Jane was texting to during last period. His bag is heavy, but they don’t stop him from making the trek home. The sun scorches the ground and him under its wake, and he can feel sweat drip down his face. He thinks to himself, “What a day”, and makes a detour on his way home. He goes to the nearest convenience store to buy a slushy, something to relieve his burning nerves. But he knows all well that going to the store is a dangerous place.
As he arrives at the store, he sees three of the school’s most hated people. Chad, Davis, and Nicholas. They are known to be trouble makers, and have even terrorized Dan before. They were floating around the entrance to the store, surely as a way to make sure that no one sneaks past their sights. Dan takes in a deep breath and then walks through them, eyes down, heart up. But he is stopped. Chad, the largest of the three, block his path with his arm, Davis, the second largest then gives him a grimy smile while Nicholas, the smallest of them says, “Where do you think you’re going?” Dan is appalled at the situation, but he takes another deep breath. Getting over this situation is a hurdle that he must overcome. After all, if he wants to enact his true plan, his darkest secret, he must be able to show strength, courage, and unfaltering evil.
He stares down Chad, with as much ferocity as he can manage, and with as much dark as he can muster, he manages to put him into a cold sweat. Chad backs down and tells Davis and Nicholas to back down as well. Dan enters the store peacefully, purchases his drink and exits, only to be surprised by Chad, who pushes his drink on the floor, violently splashing just inches away from a customer’s feet. “How do you like that, tough guy?” Davis says, knowing full well that Dan isn’t a fighter. Dan is a passive person, the whole school knows it, he never initiates a fight, rather, he’s a spectator. Always in the side lines, never in the fray. But today, just for today, he’s feeling a little smug.
Dan grabbed Chad, and then said, “This is how much I liked that”, then threw Chad against the store’s window. Davis immediately charged at him, but knowing full well the situation, Dan skillfully stepped to the right, leaving Davis to trip and fall on the floor. Nicholas, scared and confused at everything decides to stay out of it, but Dan has no mercy. He grabs Nicholas, then pummels him into the ground, giving the floor a red paint job. Unscathed by the entire situation, Dan walks off, with a new found confidence, with a new found power. Today is a special day for Dan. Today, he feels like he can do anything. Because, Dan is that kind of person. He’s strong. Dan can finally start his master plan. Number three; everyone has something they want to hide. Today, Dan is going to kill his parents.
Dan’s parents come from a troubled childhood, if you will. In fact, they aren’t even his real parents. The whereabouts of his real parents are unknown of course, but Dan has found out a little secret. Jane, his girlfriend is the daughter of detectives. From a little snooping around one day when her parents were out, she found a little document with Dan’s name on it. Inside of it, is the case file for the murder of Dan’s parents. The suspects; Dan’s current foster parents. The motivation for the murder is unknown, but the detectives suspect that they took in Dan as a sort of retribution. A sort of resentment that they felt after the deed. But the investigation has been put on hold. And Dan has decided to bring matters into his own hands. Today is the day he will experience true bloodlust, and true strength.
As he made his way home, he made sure that his parent’s weren’t home. He had no way to know whether they were going to be home, but he could hear the keys jingle out of their pockets and the sound of their cars on the driveway. He had to make haste of his work before they made their way home. It was a time crunch where the limit was an indefinite variable. His plan was simple. First, he made sure that the house was littered with knives. Kitchen knives, to be exact, but he did get a hand in getting more practical ones. He wanted a viable weapon where ever he could see an opening. And he wanted a way to protect himself in the off chance his plan went awry. As his parents walked in, Dan would wait patiently. They wouldn’t figure out that the kitchen would be missing a set of knives until later, but he wouldn’t wait that long. Dan doesn’t have the patience for that. He’s been studying the movements of his parents for the past month. His mother comes home a little later, but as his father comes back home, he immediately goes to read the newspaper. His mornings are busy, so he doesn’t have time to read. Dan will take advantage of this as his father reads in his room. The only way to successfully assault him would be to sneak into the room from the back, but that would require scaling his home’s wall. So, what Dan will do is wait for when he’s done reading, go out of the room to watch television and finish him then.
Dan thought his plan was foolproof. His father would be dead, then when his mother comes home, it will be a simple cleanup job. What happens after is up to Dan’s imagination. As Dan set out all the pieces of his plan, he waited. Today, he would relax and finally find his salvation. The clock stroke four, and his father came home. Dan looked busy studying away for his test. His father went to his room, just as planned, and then it was a matter of time. After about an hour, Dan went to his door and hid just behind it, such that when the door opens, he would not be seen. He planned it out to the last detail, to account even for those odd days where his father would linger around his room. But today wasn’t one of those days. He opened the door and Dan leapt. The knife drove into his foster father’s back. Dan was shaking, but not from fear, but adrenaline. He waited another two hours and then his mother came home. Dan had set up a little plan for her as well. He dragged the dead man’s body towards where her mother would enter first, and waited. As she opened the door she noticed the man lying and was seconds away from letting out a scream. Dan came out, placed his hands over her mouth and then strung the knife on her neck. He whispered into her ears, “Do you like it when the ones you love are dead in front of you? I don’t.” Without receiving an answer, Dan jabbed the knife into her back and then the job was done. His hands were bloodied, his bloodlust was filled with malevolent contexture, and he was a free man. This is where our journey with Dan ends. Only for now, I promise.
Here, we have another man, following the same path that Dan follows. Jason is a murderer. And today, he’s visited his fifth town in hiding. He knows that he can’t stay in the same place for too long, or he’ll be caught. And being caught is the last thing that Jason wants. He idolizes killing, it is what makes him, him. He’s a man of free will and he will do whatever it is he thinks is right. Out of pure coincidence, the town Jason has visited is the same town that Dan lives in. And out of pure coincidence, Jason happened to have almost been struck by a flying slushy as he was walking past a convenience store. And finally, just out of nowhere, from a sliver of luck, Jason happened to see a boy demolish three others in a fit of rampage. Mind you, this is all but a coincidence.
So, upon his mishaps in this new town, he decides that staying a night wouldn’t hurt. He’s been on the run for so long and he’s even hungry. But the chances of him simply walking up to a store and buying food without being caught is a pipe dream. Jason decides that it’s time to find residence. And so, he walks, and walks, and walks until he finally finds a home suitable to his liking. It is but a humble abode, but it would do. Jason has done house jacking many times, this would be another walk in the park for him. He would go in, threaten the people inside, tie them up, then stay the night. He still had a single bullet in his gun, and that would be enough. He figured that no gun store would allow a latent criminal to buy bullets, but he was determined that he wouldn’t need it.
And, with luck would have it, the home Jason decided to stay in, is the home of Dan. Jason thinks up a plan just like Dan, and executes it perfectly. He doubles back to a side door, presses his ear to listen in for any sign of life, and when he knows that there are none, he smashes the door window with his gun. He reaches in, unlocks it from the inside then enters with his gun forward. Except, this plan would have worked, if Dan wasn’t lying in wait, upon hearing the smashed window, he had readied himself. The only problem, was that when Dan jumped to stab Jason, he was skillfully put down. Jason wasn’t a pushover in close quarters combat, and when he had realized what was going on, Dan was already knocked out from the takedown.
Jason noted the two dead people on the floor in front of him. One of a female and one of a man. He then turned over Dan’s unconscious body, and figured it was something alike a homicide. However, Jason could not figure out a proper motivation, but he did not care. He quickly tied up Dan, and decided that today was a good day to play a game. He gathered the bodies of his parents as well. He noticed something interested. He laid all three of them on chairs, cleaned up the bloody mess Dan created and then waited. But, by now, you may have already guessed. With a bit of luck, there was a knock on the door, a voice of a girl came into the home. It was Jane. Jason answered promptly, knocked the girl unconscious and tied her. She was now part of the game. Jason was a man of his word, he would promise to leave one unharmed as long as one did his bidding. He wasn’t the type of person to hold grudges. He’s just a simple killer. And this is where our stories converge. Back to Dan.
As Dan woke up, he felt a sharp sting in the back of his head. Like someone had hit him with a bat. He noticed that he couldn’t move his feet or arms, and when he was fully conscious, he noticed he was sitting in a chair. His girlfriend and dead foster parents were lined up in front of him. Jane was on the far left, followed by his mother then father. They were all tied up, even the dead parents. Jane and his parents had earplugs on and were blindfolded as if to tell Dan that they would not be hearing or saying anything throughout the game.
Once Dan had a grasp of the situation, Jason began talking. The room Dan was in was very dim, so he had not noticed that the blood on the floor previously was not there. On a table nearby, a walkie-talkie gave off a little static. Dan remembered it as one of his toys when he was a child. Today, it was going to be used for someone else’s entertainment.
“Hello, I know you can hear me loud and clear. Your name is not of concern to me. Let me tell you this. I’m a generous person. If you play my game, I’ll help you out. How’s that?” Dan figured that the captor would still be in the home, and that he would hear whatever he had to say. And so Dan gave a response.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Usually, the prey asks for his predator’s name. Some kind of semblance to know what he’s up against.”
“You have my girlfriend in custody. I’m not going to be picky about what I say.”
“Oh, that is quite interesting. Mind you, the couple are also quite a specimen.”
“Please, those two are none of my concern. Why do you think I killed them?”
“Fair enough. I’ll get to the point then. In this game, you have to make a simple choice. That is all. It is a rotary motion that you need to accomplish. A simple twitch of the muscles. No skin off your back, I promise.”
“In front of you, if you have not already noticed, is a gun.” Dan looked down and confirmed the gun in front of him. He didn’t know what to think of it, but he was beginning to guess what this game was all about. Jason continued.
“Those two that you killed. Well, to your dismay, they are in fact alive. You did a horrible job at murder. I noticed their breaths when I was cleaning up. The man’s in far worst shape, but I made sure that they would be alive for this game, so I patched them up.” Dan was infuriated, he wanted to burst out screaming, but he knew that if he did he would wake the dead. His plan went awry, but right now, he had to abide by his captors terms. He had no choice. He kept his mouth shut.
“So, once this game starts, I want you to choose a target. Whether it be your girlfriend, the woman, the man, or yourself. The target stays alive. And the remainder, will die.” Upon saying this, Jason suddenly began laughing. He added an additional rule.
“On second thought, the man and woman will count as one. So, if you choose either one of them, they are both staying alive. That narrows it down. If you choose yourself, everyone in front of you will die. If you choose your girlfriend, you will die, alongside your victims. If you choose the couple, you and your girlfriend will meet in heaven together.”
“Then what’s the gun for?”
“That’s a last resort. I want you to use that gun to end the game yourself. If you choose to kill with that gun, everyone else stays alive. For example, if you kill yourself, the people in front of you live. If you kill the couple, then you and your girlfriend stay alive.”
“If you can’t comply with these rules, everyone dies. You have five minutes to make your decision. Remember, you must either choose someone, or kill. Just tell me your choice, and this game will be over.” Dan thought it over. Number one: everyone has something they need to protect. At this moment, Dan wanted to protect his girlfriend no matter what. She was the only one who stepped out to him, she was the one who showed him the light of his parents. She was the one that would always be there for him. If Dan chose to protect her, then he and everyone else would die. But Dan also had the idea to kill his parents with the gun, so that they could both stay alive. But the thought arose, a lone thought that maybe he could learn to forgive his parents. That maybe the rumors were just that. In that case, Dan would want to kill himself, and have everyone else walk out alive. Number two: everyone has something they hold precious. To Dan, it wasn’t his humanity, his sanity, or even his wellbeing. It was the people around him. His salvation was in his girlfriend. Dan has lost all semblance of who he used to be once he had done the deed. However, now that he knows that he has failed, was there really any reason in any of it? He could reset his life, start anew with his parents, everything could all have been a mistake. But Dan knew that life wasn’t that forgiving. No, what Dan wanted, was total destruction. He wanted to see his parents suffer. And so, Dan made his decision. The five minute mark was over. Dan told Jason what he wanted to do.