We won the elimination round. A small group of teenagers who didn't think they would stand a chance. A small cry escaped from my lips because honestly, I didn't expect any of us to make it at all. The guards ushered those of us who passed to reserved seats on the audience box. There were about less than twenty of us, I think.
We were still in the process of claiming our seats when without warning it started raining what looked tiny crystals down the arena that killed those who didn't pass the test. The cheers from the crowd were replaced, or at least drowned, by the screaming of the parents and the sympathizers of the fallen.
I couldn’t move or breathe. My own seatmate shrieked. It was awful. As a reward for our victory, we were forced to watch the murder of our underqualified comrades. As if the crystals weren't enough, huge cylindrical boulders that seemed to materialize from the roof itself came down pounding and grinding the corpses, even those who were still alive, as if aiming to pulverise them. It was a blood bath. An invisible force field was placed encircling the arena so nobody could get out. The girl seated in front of me threw up.
I couldn't take it anymore so I stood up to leave the arena with some guy two seats away who had the same idea. I couldn't quite make out his face (with all the blood and everything) but he appeared to be limping so I had to offer to assist him on the way out. We reached the exit stairs when I heard a girl screaming. This one was much closer and rawer than the others. We were probably close to the force field, too. At first I tried not to look but the voice was so pained. And then a second voice yelled, “Hey!” My companion and I, thinking it was the control force, had no choice but to look around and saw one of the survivors, a sadistic one by the looks of it, was dragging another one of the other survivors into the arena. The girl was desperately trying to get away from that guy and when she saw me, she screamed again. It was inaudible this time, drowned by the wailing of the crowd, but I was pretty sure it was my name she was screaming.
What the... I thought. It didn’t make any sense. I was sure I’ve never met her before and I haven’t even spoke a word to her during the elimination round. The limping guy I was assisting yelled, “Hey, you let her go! She one of us!” And he started making his way back to the arena so I had no choice but to help him with his limping the best that I could.
"What do you think you’re doing?!" I heard myself yelling as well. “Are you crazy?!”
“It's your punishment for leaving the arena early,” the psychopath answered, raising his voice to heard against the wailing of the crowd.
“We are not obligated to stay,” I quickly retorted, thinking, of course, since no control force came to break us apart that we were free to go now. “Besides, if you have against us then why don’t you come up to us instead?”
“No, it’s not an obligation, it’s a privilege. An honour. But you threw that away so now you're going to watch your sister die."
“What the hell are you talking about? I don’t have a sister!” But whether or not I was related to the girl, it was apparent that this psycho was not going to stop until he gets his murder. The limping guy and I were desperate to get to them faster, demanding that the psycho let the girl go. Sensing our urgency, the psychopath flung the girl into the arena (apparently nobody can get out but you can get in) so that she fell face-first and was pinned down from the back and the guy grabbed a fallen crystal to stab the girl himself. The limping guy and I then both tackled them and started wrestling this psycho, trying to pry him away from the girl. The psycho was able to overthrow the limping guy (bless him, I think he's weak because of blood loss) so that he thudded to the ground with a moan. But I managed to throw the pscyho away from the girl because he momentarily lost grip of her. Yet in that particular moment, a falling crystal just whizzed past us was impaled itself on the back of the girl's neck so that it protruded from her throat. The limping guy screamed, "Nooo!!!" There was a huge lump on my throat. I was too horrified by what just happened that I was frozen to the spot. The limping guy crawled his way to the girl, wincing as he went, and when he reached her, he cradled her in his arms, sobbing. None of us spoke or moved for about three seconds. I have never seen this person in my life yet I felt so much hurt when I saw her die. The limping guy looked like he knew the girl, though.
I looked at the psycho with disbelief when I realized that I was still straddled on him, and I saw that he was smiling maniacally. Right, I thought. I'm gonna wipe the smug look off this motherfucker's face. Then with new profound surge of energy fuelled by my anger, I started beating the crap out of him, screaming I went. I must have looked like a lunatic myself but I didn't care. Not satisfied that his face was so bloodied, I pried the crystal he was holding and chucked it down his own throat. After desperately convulsing, he died the same way he tried to murder the girl. And then I left him there and then dragged the girl and the limping guy, who was still sobbing, away from danger. I suppose survivors like us can leave the arena if we wanted to because technically we passed. I looked at the other two. Who was the girl? What was her relation to this limping guy? Was she his girlfriend or something? And why did the psycho say that she was my sister. As far as I know I didn't have a sister. I studied the girl. She had the same long dark hair as I do, and we have the same small build. I thought she was a bit thin, like she had seen worse days, but I think she had a prettier (despite sporting a frozen grotesque expression), more feminine face than I do. Her eyes, wide with shock, were dark brown like mine. I was sure I had never seen her in my life but regardless, I found that my own tears were spilling down my face.