A Novel by Zac Ramsay
Subject: Adam Sanderson
Time and Date: 10:00am, June 1st, 2015
Status: Living; no injuries or illnesses
Tracking Device: Fully functional
Ugh… my head… my back… where am I? What is this place? The surface underneath me is hard and cold, metal. Above me is more of the same. Rising from the steel bunk bed structure, my aching back pops and my world spins, the sound of my own heartbeat pounds in my ears as my eyes fill with red and then I crash into blackness.
I wake, not knowing how long I had been unconscious for. A pit forms in the bottom of my stomach. This is not my home, not my room, and that is not my bed. My breath quickens as I try to think of what home actually is, but I can recall nothing.
I don’t know where I am, but I don’t know where I come from either.
The impact my head took on the hard metal floor sends a ringing sensation in my ears. A singular light placed in the centre of the ceiling stabs at my eyes with intense brightness and the high-pitched whine filling my ears is the only sound that fills the empty metal cube I find myself in. Empty of course, excluding the toilet, sink, and mirror that are to my right across from the metal bed devoid of any comforts.
Using the bed for support, I manage to, slowly this time, rise to my feet. I sway back and forth, my equilibrium disturbed by something. My throat is dry and cracked and my stomach stings from hunger. How long was I out for when I hit the floor? How long was I unconscious for before I woke up the first time? How the hell did I get here?
Pushing my fear down to the best of my ability, which is to say poorly, I stumble over to the sink to try and quench my thirst, staring down at my feet all the while to spare my eyes from the intense light. I have to use the sink to support my weight because my legs are so weak. The tap turns, but no water comes out, of course. My hands are pale and are partially covered in light brown hair. I can feel my them tremble as I come to the slow realization that I don’t remember what I look like, but I’m too afraid to look at the mirror because I know I will not recognize the face staring back at me.
Minutes pass. All I do is stare at my hands and cry. Why is this happening? What did I do to deserve this? Why can’t I remember anything?
As the tears dry on my cheeks, a spot of blood drips onto the back of my hand. I clench the sides of the sink in pure terror turning my knuckles a snowy white against the crimson drop of horror. My blood courses through my body, the whining in my ears replaced by the great roar of my veins. I can smell it. Nothing smells like it. A second drop of blood falls on my right hand and causes my to instinctively lift my gaze to the mirror.
I collapse to a knee and vomit into the sink, gasping for air in between the sobs. The cold metal stings my bare shin as I read the horrid phrase over and over again. Dread seeps into the pit of my stomach each time my eyes move from left to right reading the question written in blood, each letter elongated by the pull of gravity.
“Who are you?”
What’s my name? Oh my God…. What the hell is my name? Who the hell put me here? Holy shit, I’ve been kidnapped, I’m going to die in here, and someone is coming to kill me. I’m too young to die! What the hell? What is going on?
My eyes dart from one edge of the mirror to the other, analyzing the stranger who is on the other side of the sink. I know it’s me, but I’m not familiar. The existential nightmare of a question drips from the top of my short, bushy, curly brown hair, down my long rounded nose, to my unshaven angular jaw and hollow cheeks, and collecting on my shirt of the same colour. I can’t believe I don’t recognize myself. Is this me or is this just another test? My legs are useless as I clutch the sink for support while letting out a feeble yell with all the air my exhausted lungs can muster.
Staring into my own eyes, I feel a rush of adrenaline surge through me. I reach a maximum point of fear that my brain takes over and suppresses my emotion. A chill runs down my spine as my terror evaporates into a cold calmness. Fear has given way to survival. The roaring in my ears has calmed, my breathing normalizes, but my head still throbs, and my legs are ready to fold. I can think more clearly, but my body can’t keep up. I’m so petrified that my brain has forced fear out, but my body hasn’t had time to catch up. I will not die in here. I will not give in, not here, not now. I need to find a way out of here. I analyze every corner of the room in hopes for some kind of clue.
First I scan the roof, my eyes finally adjusted. There is a bright light that is screwed into the roof and protected by metal bars. In front of me is a large rectangular frame; it might be a door, but I don’t see any handle or button to open it with a small vent just above the doorframe with red, white, and blue streamers flapping pulsing lukewarm air into the box. The comforting breeze settles the goose bumps on my skin.
I’m dying for a drink. I go to the sink. Twisting the nozzles again proves useless, the toilet doesn’t flush either, and there’s no water in the bowl.
I have a chance. Not a good one, but a chance. I mean, I have no idea who I am, where the hell I am, no clue who put me here. I have no food, and no water. Not to mention my head still hurts, and I’m dying for some water. I look over at the dancing streamers, each movement reminding that I’m still alive and that I have clothes on my back and what seems to be an unlimited air supply. That gives me at least a few hours to try to figure how to get out of here.
Jesus Christ, what a mess. What a bloody mess I’ve got myself into. Think, idiot, think. How do I get out of here? I look over at the door. There has to be a switch, or lever, or electronic code machine somewhere that will let me out of here.
I lean my body against the cold metal, pushing forwards and pulling upwards, trying anything to get the door to budge. My blue runners slide slightly underneath me. To keep myself upright and push hard against the door making my nails futilely try and dig themselves into the gray sheet. The horrific sensation shoots through my body.
It doesn’t budge, not even an inch. Of course; no way it would be that easy.
I look underneath the bed and above the top bunk. Running my hands all around the metal frame, I try to find any hidden buttons. Nothing. I try pushing the bed frame out from against the wall, but it’s anchored in with bolts.
Nothing, nothing, nothing. What the hell am I supposed to do? Is this some kind of test? If it is a test how in the world do I even go about passing? There’s no clues, there’s no water, there’s no way to get out of here! There’s just nothing!
Stop it. If I think like that I can guarantee that I’ll die in here. If there isn’t a way out, I am going to spend every last second of my life trying to find a way.
With how barren this room is, the only other place something could be hidden is behind the toilet or under the sink. I can’t move either of them, so I look beneath both appliances without success. Nothing. Damnit! The ringing in my ears replaced by the painful note of my fist against floor.
The sink looks like it’s hooked into the wall and all the pipes seem intact. Why isn’t it working? I go for the taps, first the cold, the then the hot, then both at the same time. Still nothing.
Pulling off the lid to the toilet, I find a small wrench inside. Thank God! Something! Finally something! Happiness bubbles in my chest. My delight at finding this wrench removed any inhibition I could have possibly had about sliding my hand against the slippery porcelaine into the frigid water to grab the tool. Now, what to do with this beautiful, beautiful, wrench?
The desert in my mouth compels me towards the sink again. The sandpaper that rests between my teeth anxious for relief. I try to use the tool to loosen the bolts of the sink in hopes to make water come out, but the wrench is too small to be of any help.
Just my luck.
I go back to my bed and try the wrench on the bolts. With a little effort, they loosen, and I can pull the bed away from the wall. On the hidden wall near the corner of my box, I find a little flap that was obstructed by the bottom bunk’s proximity to the floor. Underneath it is a valve with ‘water’ written above it; chances not hurting, I turn it and I can hear the toilet begin to run. The water is filling up the basin. The water is filling up the basin! The water is running! In eagerness to test my excitement, I flush the toilet, and pump my fists in the air as the water does its little twirling dance and then disappears.
Realizing what the running means, I lunge towards salvation. Turning the tap allows the forever trapped water to reach my lips. The hum against the drain causes me to giggle with excitement.
I take a long drink from the cold tap. The water slides down my dry throat and into my stomach. My cracked lips soak up as much liquid as they can as I continue to quench my undying thirst.
My thirst finally quenched, and my thoughts now turning to the gnawing hunger I had not noticed as much before, I stand to continue my escape effort. I notice a small piece of paper in the toilet bowl, I must have missed it falling out in my excitement to drink.
I snatch up the folded, laminated note, desperate for a clue to get me out of this damned nightmare.
Is that my name? Adam? Is this letter supposed to be for me?
Congratulations on making it this far. You are one of twelve lucky people to have been selected by yours truly, Chaos, to participate in the experiment of a lifetime.
Experiment? What the hell? Is this guy some kind of sicko? What kind of experiment involves losing all memory of who I am and getting trapped in a room with no way out? Does this psycho think my life is a game?
It involves mandatory participation from every candidate. If the participant refuses to play along, they will be quickly eliminated.
Eliminated? I guess Chaos does think this is some kind of game.
Your mission is to be the last one alive after one month of competition. In order to do so, you must learn to survive in the wild and defend yourself from the elements, wild animals, and, of course, other contestants.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit. I squeeze the paper until my intense grip causes my arms to tremble. My paper legs finally fold, but I manage to sit myself on the lower bunk before I fall. This feeling, I can’t pin it. It’s not panic, it’s not fear, it’s not anger… dread. The hope I had just a few minutes ago has turned into a rock of despair determined to fall through my stomach.
I read the note over and over again. My forehead has become moist, and I find myself wiping every few seconds to allow myself to continue to read the awful note. My eyes are drawn to the same portion every time.
Other contestants. Are we expected to kill each other? What the hell is going on? No way am I can kill another person, but I have to or I will die.
The manner in which a participant is terminated does not matter. The experiment will end when only one contestant is left alive. That contestant will be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. However, if after a month, more than one contestant is alive, the experiment will be deemed a failure and remaining contestants will be terminated.
Consider that an incentive to get moving.
At the end of each day, you will be notified of who has died and how many participants remain. To prove to you that you must do as I say, you will soon hear a message from me coming from inside your head. This is how I will communicate with you throughout the experiment.
It is currently June 1st 2015.
Best of luck to you all,
He’s a monster, nothing more than a disgusting psychopath. This maniac wants me to kill eleven other people? I would rather die. I hope the other contestants feel the same way, and then maybe we have a chance of getting out of here alive. Everyone must cooperate, though. If only one person decides to kill, it’ll only be a matter of time before I have to kill in self defence.
Do I even want to leave this box, then?
The fear and agony inspired by this steel box is now miniscule compared to the horrors that lay beyond that door. I put my head into my hands and sob. My lungs heave as my tears trickle down my forearms. I will die if I go out that door, but I will die by the end of the day if I wait in here. Surely, Chaos won’t let me stay in here forever. He’ll cut off my air supply, forcing me out. I can die right now if I smash the mirror.
I pick the wrench up from the floor where I had dropped it to pick up the note and once again stare at myself in the mirror. I hold up the wrench, ready to smash the glass and end my suffering while I still have the choice. I speak through the sobs, my arm frozen, ready, but unable to throw.
Who are you?
“I am a dead man, Chaos. I am going to die.”
Who are you?
“I am pawn in your game. I have no hope.”
Who are you?
I scream, drowning out the sound of the wrench on the floor. I can’t do it. I want to kill myself, I want to give up and let Chaos win, but I can’t. I won’t. Rage boils underneath my skin.
Who are you?
“I am Adam.” I growl through a clenched jaw.
Who are you?
“I am not a pawn in your game.”
Who are you?
“I am the man who is going to bring you down.” My howl echoes off of the metal walls of my cage and reverberates in my skull. Even if I die, I will spend whatever is left of my life fighting. I go back to the note looking for loopholes, a way to beat his game, anything that will destroy Chaos and his sick experiment.
How they die doesn’t matter, right? So I don’t have to actually kill anybody; all I have to do is be the last one standing. That’s good news…. I guess. I won’t become the killer that psychopath wants me to become, not a chance. He wants to treat us like lab rats? I’ll show him who’s a lab rat.
First thing’s first, though, I need to get out of here.
I turn the note over in my hands, but there’s nothing on the back. As I scan the room, I can’t find anything that wasn’t there before. I place my hands on top of my head, look to the ceiling, and sigh - part in exasperation, and partly to calm my racing heart.
As I lift my head, I notice the bolts holding the metal bars in place over the light are about the same size as the ones that fixed the bed in place. I shove the frame underneath the light and use the top bunk to help me get close enough to the light to unscrew the bars. The frame of bars falls down onto the top bunk, making a horrifically loud clash.
Inspecting the light more closely, there’s a dark spot next to the bulb. I shatter the glass casing of the light, leaving a bare bulb. Next to the light source is a small lever that reads, ‘closed.’
With a flick of the switch, the lights switch off; it leaves me in complete darkness, save a small light that was coming from underneath the doorframe.
I carefully slide my way down the bunk and make my way toward the sliver of light. Laying low on my stomach, I try to peer through the crack; it’s only about half an inch tall. I try to push the door up with my hands, but it’s too heavy.
Of course it’s too heavy; Chaos isn’t going to make anything easy, is he?
I jimmy the wrench in the half-inch gap and use its leverage to open the door a little more. I manage to pry it about seven or eight inches off the ground, but not enough for me to slide underneath. Crouching, I get a firm grip on the metal door and use all the strength I have to force the door upwards.
At first, the door doesn’t budge. But after a few seconds of pushing, I can feel the door shifting upward. As I struggle to lift the door about a foot off the ground, my fingers slip and the door comes smashing down, leaving the same small gap. The door won’t stay open by itself. The door is only a foot off the ground, barely enough to shimmy underneath. I try to pry the door open more, but I can’t manage to lift the heavy metal any higher. I’ll have to roll under, unless…
I grab the wrench, lift the door up again and use it to keep the door open. Now, if I ever need it, I can return to this place if I was in need of fresh water.
Looking at my surroundings, I find myself in a forest. Above me, thick trees allow the faintest bit of light to cascade through the leaves and float down to the ground. Birds sing a peaceful song, squirrels scamper up and down trees, and I notice a small frog hopping through the foliage at my feet. I turn to look at the metal room; the outside is made of wood, disguised as a simple wooden shack. There’s a large number ‘11,’ carved onto the front of my shack; I must be the eleventh participant of this experiment.
Next to the ‘11,’ I notice initials carved into the side of the shack: T.R. Something about those letters makes me feel like I’ve been here before. I don’t know why or when, but I feel like I’ve been here before. But the memory is so vague, it hardly seems more than a dream.
Have I dreamt of this place before? No, that can’t possibly be it. It feels too real to be a dream. I must have actually been here before.
Who is T.R., another contestant? Are there other people here? Has someone escaped their trap before me?
Unable to shrug off the strange sense of déja-vu, I collect some sticks and leaves to make a few markers. I skewer the leaves onto the sticks and place one flag each fifteen steps I take.
With each set of steps, more memories flood into my mind.
There was a man and a woman with me when I first came here; at least they look to be a man and woman. Their cloudy forms only appear in my mind as silhouettes, so I can’t identify specifically who they were or what they looked like.
Could they be my mother and father? Did I even have a mother and father?
I do my best to try to recall anything at all from my life, but nothing comes. The only thing I can remember is the forest and those strange figures walking with me, holding my hand. Every once and awhile, the larger silhouette would pick me up and put me on its shoulders and spin me around; I loved every second of it.
I can’t help but smile, regardless of my current situation; these memories give me a feeling of confidence and hope.
I will make it out of here alive; we will all make it out of here alive.
I continue to walk and place markers. Not fifteen minutes later, I see a clearing just ahead of me. I rush to it, longing to be in the sun. It’s strange; I have no recollection of what the sun actually feels like, but have an instinct the beams will give me more energy than I had while walking through the dimly lit forest.
How can I remember the names of things like a bed or sink and their functions, but not the feeling of the sun? How do I know what a squirrel is, but not the sensation of the wind through my hair?
As concerning as that is, maybe I shouldn’t think about that too much. This whole situation is a mess, not many things matter now except for my survival; I’ll try and figure these things out when we are all safe and sound.
The sun’s rays beam on my face as I step into the clearing and I can feel each revitalizing me. I scan the area and notice the clearing is a perfect circle, or as close to it as I can tell, about half a mile in diameter. Grass rises to my knees, butterflies and other insects buzz around in the heat, and I can hear cicadas humming in the distance. When I take a deep breath, the familiar sweet and fruity smell of apples fills my nostrils. The smell sparks another memory of the female silhouette and I picking apples.
“Do they taste good?” I recall myself asking.
“They do, and they’re good for you too. Just try it, Adam,” she says to me as the fruit is plopped into my hand.
I wish I could remember more. I would much rather be there than here.
I look up at the deep blue sky with a few flecks of white clouds here and there. I see the sun to my right and I look straight into it, leaving a burning sensation in my eyes and an after-image of the bright light on the insides of my eyelids.
All of a sudden, there’s a rustling from the bushes to my left about twenty yards away. A woman with long, dark hair emerges from the brush and stumbles into the brightness of the clearing. She has a round, soft face with bright blue eyes, and beautiful ebony skin.
But regardless of her disarming looks. she could also be dangerous; I can’t let my guard down.
With no idea how aggressive she is, I approach slowly. She could very well be out to kill everyone, or she could have missed the note entirely and have no idea what was going on.
“Hi there,” I say in as friendly a tone as possible. Hopefully, this woman speaks English.
“Hello,” she returns softly. She’s squinting, blocking the sun’s light with one hand and pushing her long, chestnut hair from her face with the other. She looks relatively harmless, and even friendly, but everyone I meet could be a danger; I can’t be too trusting.
“Do you have any idea what’s going on?” I ask.
“None,” she replies. “My name’s Evelyn, by the way.”
“Adam,” I say, slowly approaching her. She notices my movement and puts her hands out in front of her in a fist, widens her stance, and bares her teeth. Her eyes are like daggers.
“Hold it right there, buddy,” she growls. “I’ve no idea what’s going on, but I’m assuming you got the same note too. I don’t plan on dying any time soon, so don’t try anything too drastic now.”
“Hey, relax. I have no intention of hurting you.”
“How can I be sure?”
There’s a long bout of silence between us.
She’s got me there.
“I guess you can’t. The only assurance you have is I’m in the exact same position as you, and I have no idea how strong or how skilled of a fighter you are. It wouldn’t be smart for me to do anything stupid.”
Evelyn places her fists back down by her sides and walks toward me. Caution still flickers in her eyes, but understandably so.
“I also don’t intend on killing anyone, Evelyn. I’m not that kind of person,” I continue.
“Easy to say now,” she huffs. “When it comes down to it, I know you’ll be just like the rest of them.”
“Think what you want, but we are the only two people we know here so far. This is a great opportunity to make an alliance. We can watch each other’s back and make it as far as possible together.”
We are now about five paces apart, too afraid to go any closer in fear that the other would attack.
“I’ll have to think about it,” says Evelyn. It looks like she’s about to say something more, but instead shrieks and turns to tear back into the woods. I spin around to see a man running at me full speed with a sharpened stick in his hand.
“Hey!” I yell as I instinctively put my hands up in self-defence. The giant man slides to a halt not three feet from me. He’s almost a full head taller than me.
“Are you a part of this experiment?” the man growls in a deep, gravelly accent I can’t place. A bead of sweat falls from his curly blond hair onto his stubbled square jaw. As he wipes the sweat away, I see the veins bulging out of his muscular arms.
“Y-Yeah,” I reply, my heart pounding out of my chest. “You?” This guy is monstrous. I don’t stand a chance if he attacks me.
“You know we’re supposed to kill each other until there’s only one of us left, right?” he huffs, looking slightly confused at my reluctance to fight. My teeth grind as I pray, trembling, that this guy buys into what I’m saying. I must look so pathetic to him.
“I do, but I’m not going to. I want to find a way out of here with as few deaths as possible.” Especially if that death is going to be mine.
“Chaos says she’ll kill you if don’t participate, so won’t that mean you’ll die either way? Why would I help you if it will just get me killed?” he narrows his gaze, it burns.
“Just because I’m not killing doesn’t mean I’m not participating. I can try to outlast everyone else by running, no?”
“I guess so…” The man lowered his weapon. “I don’t want to die,” his voice catches slightly. Is he holding back tears?
“I don’t think any of us do. My name is Adam.”
“Carter,” the man says as he extends his hand to me. I shake it without any real understanding of what the gesture meant or why I knew what Carter meant to happen in the first place.
“I’m guessing you have no idea what’s going on either?”I ask. My thoughts are still running at a mile a minute, but my jaw has unclenched as my feeling of safety grows. Carter is just as petrified as I am, and I can use that to make him work with me.
“None, all I know is we’re in an experiment run by this chick named Chaos, the last one standing wins, and we all must participate.”
He said it again. I figured I just misheard him the first time when he said that Chaos was a she; I assumed Chaos was a man.
“Did you say Chaos was female?” I ask.
“Yeah, I guess. I really don’t know why, just the first thing that popped into my mind. You thought Chaos was a dude?”
“Yeah, I guess so. I just assumed.”
There’s another rustling to our right.
“Hey man,” Carter says as he puts his hand on my shoulder blade, pushing me away from the woods, “I think we should really stay out of this clearing; it doesn’t feel safe.”
“You’re right, it doesn’t feel safe, but that makes our position all the more convincing to anyone who will find us. We’re vulnerable out here, meaning we are putting ourselves in the trust of the other contestants,” as I am explaining this, I see Carter stifle a smirk. At least I think I do. I’m pretty sure I’m just paranoid. What could he be laughing at anyway? Wasn’t he just on the verge of tears a minute ago?
“Why should we make ourselves vulnerable?” Carter asks.
“If the other contestants are in a position of power, they will be a lot more likely to trust us and listen to what we have to say. We need to show that we are willing to sacrifice our safety for the greater good and hopefully we can convince them to join our side.” I sincerely hope that my plan works. If we can’t get people to join us, then I can forget about saving everyone.
“Doesn’t that seem a little risky? How can you have any assurance that everyone will be actually go into the clearing let alone be willing to listen to you?”
“Three of us have already come into the clearing. Your trap room door faced this way, yes?” Carter nods. “So I assume that everyone else’s doors will do the same. Naturally, just like we did, they’ll use the room and door as a point of reference and wind up here. As for listening to us, we just have to be convincing.”
Is my reasoning sound? I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go. I’m basing this plan off of how I would approach this situation. I would much rather meet people in the center of the field where I can approach how I want to rather than being surprised in the forest.
However, the more confident I seem the more likely he is to trust me, so even if this is just assuming everyone else will approach the situation as I would, I need to act like what I’m saying is fact. If I want to lead, people have to believe that I know what I’m doing, even if I really don’t.
“I’ll leave that part to you. I’m not so good at that,” Carter huffs. “Should we just sit here?”
Can this guy think of anything for himself?
“No, let’s go to the center of the clearing so no one can surprise us. We can talk to the new people as they come. I want to see how many we can get on our side.”
“Our side?” Carter asked.
“I was hoping we could work together.”
“I’m good with that plan, brother. Let’s do it.” Carter sticks his hand in front of him as to tell me to stop; I smack it with my hand, once again unconsciously.
We walk to the center of the field and take a seat facing each other to give us a good view of the entire field. We both agreed that while back to back may be safer, if we look like we are just sitting and talking, outsiders will be more willing to join our conversation.
We feel the heat of the sun pounding on our shoulders in our places as we sit waiting for the others to hopefully join us. The sun was higher than it was when I first walked out into the clearing, it must be morning. If it’s this hot in the morning, what will the afternoon be like? The cicadas seem to be enjoying it though.
“What was your trap room like?” Carter asks while resting on his hands. The yellow grass rises up to his elbow.
“It was a big metal box with a bunk bed, toilet, sink, mirror, and one light on the ceiling. Yours?”
“The same.” Carter wipes a bead of sweat off of his forehead.
“And you found your note after you flushed the toilet?” I ask.
“Yeah,” Carter distantly replies. He seems deep in thought. What’s with this guy? As soon as I think I have a read on his personality, it seems he completely changes.
“And it said everything about needing to kill each other and surviving until the end of the month?”
“Yes.” He scans the clearing. Noticing nothing, his eyes fall back to ground that was scorched by his gaze.
We are silent for a few minutes, his eyes never leave that spot.
“Are you okay?” I ask, more curious than concerned.
“What?” he shakes his head a little, he seems to have snapped out of his trance. “I was just thinking about what we would do for food, water, and shelter.”
“What did you come up with?” I haven’t even begun to think of that. I was so focused on this first step. He’s thinking two steps ahead. I didn’t think he was like that at all. Then again, I haven’t been really been able to figure out what he is like in the first place.
“For a shelter, assuming all of your trap rooms are the same, we could use the metal beds as a frame for the house, and then use leaves and branches and such for a roof and sides. One side, of course, would be the trap room. The shelter would be almost like an extension of the trap room.”
Impressive. He’s smarter than I thought.
“Why can’t we just live inside the trap room?”
“For two reasons,” Carter explains. “First, there’s no way we could fit everyone in there, it would be way too cramped. Even if we could fit everyone in there, it would be much more practical to build an extension off of it and use the room to shelter a fire. That way, all the heat from the fire will radiate out into our shelter with no chance of it catching on fire.”
“What about the smoke?”
“The vent will deal with that for us. The smoke will rise to the ceiling and be pumped out through the vent. Since our bunks are shorter than the door, and the vent was above the door, the smoke won’t fill our shelter.”
Brilliant. How’d he come up with that so fast? I guess he’s not as simple as I thought he was. Part of me wants to keep an eye on him, but he has cooperated with me this far, so I feel like I can trust him.
“I like it,” I reply. “For water we can use the trap room, but we should store lots of it in case it runs out and we need to find another source.”
“Sounds good. We’ll have a shelter in no time.:
“What are your ideas for food?”
“I’m no hunter, but I assume there must be some kind of animals running around here. Capturing them will be another story. If we can-”
Mid way through his sentence I have another vision of a silhouette pulling an animal out from underneath a large rock.
I snap out of it fairly quickly. Quickly enough that Carter is still talking. I’ll have to save that idea for later. It seems a little too convenient that I have a vision of an animal trap right as we’re trying to figure out how to catch food. The conversation must have triggered memories.
In our conversation, I don’t bring up the vague memories of my past, or what felt like my past; I don’t want Carter thinking I’m losing my mind on day one.
About twenty minutes pass before more people emerge into the clearing. In a span of thirty minutes, eight more people make it to the clearing. There are three more men, Trevor, Lukas, and Riley, and five women, Madeline, Victoria, Quinn, Gabrielle, and Emily.
All of them appear to be the same age, speak fluent English, and are a variety of body shapes, skin colours, and attitudes. Carter and I manage to calm them all down enough to make an alliance of ten and we agree to use our beds to make one home base shelter near my trap room. We also divide up responsibilities. Victoria, Madeline, and Riley are in charge of water and food and finding ways to make sure we have some on hand and never run out. I share with them my idea for the trap, claiming I thought it up on the spot. Lukas, Trevor, Quinn, and Gabrielle will be in charge of collecting supplies for the shelter and for fire. Emily, Carter, and I are responsible for building the shelter. As well, I am appointed leader of the group from a motion made by Carter.
The teams break up to accomplish their separate tasks. As my group waits for shelter supplies, we begin to craft weapons of from sticks and stones to defend ourselves against wild animals and the two other participants who have not yet been found. After about four hours pass, the team has accomplished all of their designed goals. Buckets have been fashioned to carry water from trap rooms, and a small area was made to store excess water. The shelter consisted of ten bunk beds forming the frame of the house, and thick branches from deciduous trees functions as our roof. Fire is a challenge, but Carter managed to get one going with the glasses that Lukas luckily wore.
As the sun begins to set, the team has gotten to know each other and seem to be getting along well. The team that was designated to collect food managed to catch a handful of squirrels, three rabbits, and a small basket of berries. Somehow, I know how to skin and cook the rabbits and I know which berries were edible and which ones were not. I assume the skill comes from wherever it was that I learned how to make that trap. Thankfully, it has made me the provider of the group and therefore a necessary part of it. If my leadership was not certain before, it certainly is now. We eat heartily for a night in the woods. We are terrified of each other, but we are alive, we are full, we are warm, and we are together. Hopefully this can last and we can begin to find our way out of this mess in the morning.