“Hey, James?” Kiyoko whispered.
“Ya?” He answered.
“There’s no holiday or anything happening today right?” Kiyoko asked with confusion.
“I don’t think so… Why?” He asked.
“All the places and parking lots I passed were empty,” Kiyoko said. James was even more confused than Kiyoko hence he just woke up. He threw on his shoes to see for himself. The cold air hit him causing him to shiver. Kiyoko followed behind him.
“Do you not believe me?” Kiyoko asked. James shook his head
“I do.”. James and Kiyoko walked a few minutes away from his house. Kiyoko froze and tilted her head. The billboards had a white screen with a bold black arrow point in the direction the cars were going. James and Kiyoko were radiating curiosity. The two glanced at each other and followed the arrows to the destination. After a few more minutes of walking, they made it to a convention center. Everyone walked right in.
“What’s going on?” James muttered. A woman with long black hair walked through the door.
“Welcome, Chelsea Norris!” Said a robotic voice. A picture of the woman’s face appeared on a large screen.
“We should go,” James whispered. Kiyoko nodded and followed him to the exit. A force field blocked the two from exiting. James’s eyes widened and glanced behind him.
“I.. guess we have no choice?” He mumbled. The two walked up to the entrance the woman went through but were hesitant to go inside. Kiyoko took a deep breath and walked inside.
“Welcome, Kiyoko Walker!” The robotic voice said. Kiyoko looked back at James. A picture of her appeared on the screen next to the black-haired woman. James had no choice but to go in.
“Welcome, James Mack! Welcome, unregistered! 4/7 players entered.” Said the robotic voice. James’s face appeared right next to Kiyoko’s.
“Players?” Kiyoko whispered. James shrugged. A man who looked like he had just come from work walked in.
“Welcome, Alec Lamb!” Two girls followed behind.
“Welcome, Violet Mercado!” “Welcome, Emilia Short!” The robot said. James glanced at the two girls. “7/7 players entered!” The robotic voice said. A table with touch screen watches rose from the ground. Kiyoko was shocked. Everyone picked one up and put it on. It instantly locked around their wrists.
“Excuse me, ma’am?” James began. “Do you know what this is?” He tilted his head. The black-haired lady didn’t answer and kept looking forward as if she was spaced out. James lifted an eyebrow and sighed.
The robot responded, “Welcome to The Escape Room! Those who win may survive. Let the games begin.”
I pulled out a picture from the pocket of my heavy armor and brushed it off. The sun raised on the horizon of the rain-soaked landscape, the heavy morning fog made this empty city feel even more empty. Another game started.. All game players have a chance to win, not many make it out alive. I knew one thing was for certain. I wouldn’t lose. Not this time. It was all coming back to me. The first day all these games started. The first day I’ve lost someone so important to me. The door was right there open for us to escape. Adrenaline coursed through my veins, a thin layer of sweat covered the nape of my neck, keeping my breathing steady, I pushed harder and went faster. James crying out to me was the last thing I remember. It was too late when I turned around. He fell right into the trap as the floor crashed down…… That day, they declared me victorious. The winner. I didn’t feel like much of a winner that day.
It was finally the day the game opened back up. The game put me in a state of guilt and sorrow. I’ve been waiting forever. Now I can finally get my best friend back. I walked up to the building the game is being held in. The gloomy weather matched the abandoned run-down building. Raindrops dripped from the stone awnings forming small puddles on the ground.
I heard footsteps brushing against the concrete behind me but I thought nothing of it until a mellow voice call my name. I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked behind. a short girl was standing in front of me. The slight sunshine glistened on her warm bronze skin, her piercing monolid eyes were making direct eye contact with mine. She had thick curly hair which was jet black. Despite her size, she was pretty intimidating.
“Marva? What are you doing here?” I asked.
“I came to get James” She answered.
As much as I’d love the help this game could be too dangerous for Marva.
“I dont want anything to happen to you.. You’re better off going to a different game.” I said.
I could see slight anger in Marva’s face. Maybe I was too harsh.
“Dont underestimate me. I’ve been waiting for this day just like you.” She grumbled.
“I guess so… I just don’t want you to get hurt.” I said.
She didnt answer, just glanced at the building and walked up to the entrance. I followd her into the building and down the stairs.
A gush of cold breeze hit us as we got down the stairs. Today was the day I make up for my mistakes.
“Are you ready?” I asked Marva
“Let’s go.” Marva said while giving me a cold look.
We rushed to the game entrance. Among the 3 other people James was no where to be found..
“Welcome, Kiyoko Walker! Welcome, Marva Lloyd!” The system voice said.
“Welcome to The Escape Room! Those who win may survive. Let the games begin.”
A door opened leading us into a large room. The wooden floor creaks when stepped on. A circular table with chipped brown paint sat in the middle of the room. Shelves were placed in awkward places of the room. It looked different from the first time i played. My eyes widened in relief. In the corner of the room, I saw a boy with platinum blonde hair and a puzzled look on his face. I ran over to him. I felt a moment of relief as his bright eyes looked up to me. My mood brightened. I immediately began to cry. I couldn’t believe my eyes, I didn’t know he was alive. A small smile grew on his face, and then he hugged me tightly. I couldn’t think of a reply. After a few moments of silence, he began talking.
“Hello, Kiyoko!” He said, “I’m so glad you’re ok! How did you get here?”
I felt such joy and gratitude to see him alive, I started to cry again. I was worried that the moment I went to find him, he’d be killed.
“I saw you almost die! I saw your whole life flash before my eyes! I have so much to say, but I’m so sorry. I didn’t think we’d meet again, and I can’t believe you’re alive! I thought I was a monster…” I gushed.
“I was the monster… I was the one who left you behind. I’m so sorry…” I said with tears falling from my eyes.
He laughed, and it was a laugh that I knew so well.
“No, Kiyoko! No, don’t say that! Don’t apologize! It’s ok, I’m just glad you’re ok!” He said with a big smile.
I could tell the sincerity of his words from the smile on his face.
He glanced at Marva and grinned. She was so happy to see him alive.
“Hey, Marva!” He said.
Even Marva had tears in her eyes.
“24 hours remaining” The system interrupted.
I looked at James with confusion. James had been trapped in this game for 1 month and 25 days. Some timers are much longer than others depending on the difficulty of the game.
“We should probably get to work..” James said while glancing at the group of people staring at the table.
On the table was a box. It was a sienna brown and a swirly pattern was engraved on the top. It had a thick gold padlock attached.
“We have to find a key I’m guessing?” I asked.
James nodded his head. One of the strangers looked at me like a was dumb. This room was huge and didn’t have many decorations or furniture. So why haven’t they found the key yet?
I looked around the room moving nothing but my head.
“We could start looking for clues? Have you guys found anything yet?” Marva said quietly.
James pulled out some papers and objects.
“A map with dots, double AA batteries, some wooden rod, and some papers.” He listed.
“We can start looking for more clues and objects,” Marva said.
Everyone split up except one man who stayed at the table. He picked up the box and inspected it.
“This is ridiculous..” The man began.
“You all are doing the most for this little box when you can just…”
The man raised the box in the air and threw it down on the floor fast. Nothing happened to the box… The man looked around with wide eyes. A bullet flew into his neck, leaving a gaping hole behind it that soon filled with blood and gushed out. As he collapsed to the ground, a pool of blood formed around him, soaking into his clothes, as he choked to death on it.
Everyone jumped. If this was the old me I would have been scared but playing these games every day made me get used to things like this.
“What happened?” A woman with black hair asked.
“I guess breaking the box is against the rules…” I replied.
I picked up the box and put it back on the table, trying my best to avoid the pool of blood. Somehow we managed to get back to looking as if nothing happened.
“Uhh… I think I found something.” Another woman with red hair said.
Everyone gathered around her. Behind a vase, close to the floor was a keypad.
“So we just have to find a code.” The red-haired woman said.
“Maybe the papers have some type of code on them?” Marva added.
James handed her the papers and stared as Marva shuffled through them.
“If someone can find out the keypad’s number limit it would be much easier.” She continued.
Another man bent down to put in random numbers.
“3” He stated.
Marva nodded and continued looking. She tilted her head.
“None of these have 3 number codes standing out..” She muttered.
“We may have to look into things more closely” She pointed out.
I nodded and stepped back.
“Let’s go to the second room,” I suggested and Marva followed.
The hallway was as dull as the rest of the building. Every column on every wall was made of old brick and had brown-gray paintings on it. It was the floor I remember seeing when we got here the first time.
Marva stopped at a door and slowly pressed a button. A shelf came out of the wall and had nothing but a book on it. I picked up the book and flipped through the pages. Another map with dots fell out and fluttered to the ground. Marva reached to pick it up.
“Another map..” She said.
“I found another map!” Said a voice from the main room.
Marva looked at me and went back to the main room. She took all the maps and laid them out. They all had dots in different places. She slowly connected the dots on each page with her finger. Everyone looked at her in confusion. She walked over to the keypad and put in a code.
“926” She mumbled under her breath.
The light turned green and a secret door in the wall slid open.
“Jeez, how’d you figure that out so fast?” The woman with black hair asked.
“The dots on the maps form numbers and I put the countries in alphabetical order so I know which numbers go first.”
I was pretty amazed by Marva. I didn’t know she was so smart when it came to things like this.
“Maybe letting her come with me was a good idea…” I thought to myself.
The woman with red hair walked in. a sudden discharge of electricity ran through her arm leaving a giant burn. She fell to the ground.
“Oh my god..” The man said.
I took a quick peek inside the room. It was dark and filled with neon green lasers. While everyone was crowding the lady Marva was on the other side of the room. I rushed over to see what she was doing.
“Look at this.” She said while staring at a puzzle on the wall.
A piece was missing and I had a strong feeling it would be at the end of that maze. I walked up to James and tapped his shoulder.
“I’m going in..” I said
“Be careful.” He said and nodded slowly.
I walked in. The lasers were way closer than I thought. I took a deep breath and stepped over the first laser. I kept going while looking down making sure I’m not even an inch close to touching the lasers.
“Only a few more to go..” I whispered to myself.
I was finally there! I grabbed the last piece and went back. I was halfway back. Suddenly I felt a sharp tingle in my leg. I look down and see a small burn. I can’t stop now… I push through the pain and keep going.
When I made it out I limped over to Marva.
“Are you okay?” She asked.
I’ve never seen her be worried about me before..
“It’s just a small burn…” I said.
Me and Marva put the puzzle together quickly. A little compartment came out of the wall. It had different wires inside.
“I think we should let James handle this,” Marva suggested.
I nodded and called for James.
“Do you think you know what to do here?” I asked him.
“It’s just stranded wires. Just by the looks of how some of these are already put together… I’m guessing it’s for another automatic door.”
James works in a lab and loves ALL things that have to do with technology. Despite his quirky air-head personality, he is actually very smart and works hard to educate himself on computer science the most he can!
He stared at the wires for a few seconds then started connecting them.
“This should work..” He muttered.
He closed the compartment and a tiny door in the wall opened. It had 3 keys in it. One red, one blue, and one green. The woman with the black hair picked up the keys and compared them to the lock on the box.
“This one is the most similar.” She announced.
She pushed in the green key and turned it.
“It didn’t unlock..” She said quietly.
A bullet was flying straight towards her chest. She had only seconds to react. Blood slowly poured out of the wound causing her to faint.
“Now we need to be extra careful…” James mumbled.
“There must be an answer as to which it is somewhere” Marva added.
“The papers maybe?”
I grabbed the papers and flipped through them. I thought to myself “What would Marva do?”
“All the write is in blue pen and says no green or red pens… So maybe it’s the blue key?” I rambled.
Marva’s eyes brightened and gave me a slight smile.
I grabbed the blue key, pushed it in, and took a quick pause before turning it.
The box opened! Everyone took a sigh of relief and looked at what was inside. There was a button.
“Is this our escape?” James asked.
“It has to be..” I answered
It was all finally over… I pressed the button and a door leading us to freedom opened.
“5… 4… 3…” The system voice started counting down.
We were all running towards the exit. All the feelings were coming back to me, the adrenaline, the same fast-paced heartbeat. We were so close. Something didn’t feel right though… The floor became weak under my feet and my weight was only making it worse. The planks started lifting. I looked behind and the floor started crashing down. I won’t leave anyone behind this time. At my last step, it gave out. My life flashed before my eyes. I was falling.
I’m weak, I’m so weak. I can feel blood running along my body. It’s warmth soon turns cold. My head is too heavy to take a look, my arm is too heavy to lift, everything is too heavy. I feel so weak. At the very least, I’m lying in a comfortable position. And it’ll be over soon; all I have to do now is lay here and wait. I’m confident it’ll be over shortly.