The Game

Another relatively ‘bleh’ story thing. It’s much like the other short story, in that it’s totally morbid. Oh well, violence is fun to write about. And that doesn’t make me sound crazy at all, does it?

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Amelia stood with her back to the large tree. Shouts echoed all around her, mostly they came from behind, though. Mingled with the shouts were the distinctive barks and howls of hunting dogs. Panting, she risked a glance behind the tree. There was no one in sight. Sighing, she pushed off from the rough bark and darted through the thickly treed enclosure.

There had to be an exit somewhere. The cage she had been in before had been mounted on a truck, so it had to get in from somewhere. A gate, a fence, any clue at all that might lead to her escape.

A knurled tree root sprang as if from nowhere to trip her, sending her sprawling to the rocky ground, skin scraping off her knees and hands. Blood trickled down her palms and she recalled the night she saw her parents’ murders. A robber had broken into their house one night, she’d been very small and she had stood in the doorway and watched as the robber slit her parents’ throats. She had hidden under the bed and screamed until someone had found her. Since then, every time she saw blood, she remembered that night.

Now, rough snarl of a dog jarred her back to herself. Stumbling off her knees, she raced through the trees some more. There had been four other people in the cage with her, all of them had been snatched from their lives and stuffed into the mesh impound with no explanation as to why they were there. Then a man with a long barrelled shotgun and a slobbering German Sheppard had unhitched the latch and guided them out. He and several other men stood there glaring at her and the others.

“Run,” the man said in a monotone. And run they had. All five of them had bolted in every direction, fear lighting their eyes and adrenaline pounding through them, blood roaring in their ears. Quick as hares, they had bounded off through the low scrub and into the thick trees.

That had been an hour and a half ago, since then there had only been variations in silence. Sometimes, her breathing sounded too loud in her ears and sometimes the dogs sounded like they could reach out and snap at her heels.

A gunshot cracked through the forest. Then an ear-splitting scream rend the air. A dog yapped happily somewhere in the distance. Her heart stopped cold in her chest as she realised what had just happened. One of the other ‘competitors’ as the men had called them, had just been shot. She stood frozen to the spot for several moments before her breath caught and she shot off the spot and into the shadow of a bush. Tears welled up in her eyes even though she didn’t know the person who had been killed.

She staggered out of the bush and walked round a corner, tears blurring her vision. A dog snapped somewhere nearby. She wiped her eyes clear and lurched into a faltering run, weaving blindly through the forest she walked right into two men.

Their Winchester M1897’s snapping up in surprise to aim at her head. Flinching, she darted off the path in hurtled headlong into the bushes.

The men grunted in shock and crashed after her breaking the flimsy branches of several bushes. Seeing an angel oak to her right, she sped towards it and ran, less than gracefully, up one of its long trailing branches. Clambering ever higher into the tree, she heard the men arrive at the base of the tree, peering up into its dark green canopy. This tree was massive and just a little further and she could slide down another long limb and escape these crazy people. The dogs were barking up the trunk as she carefully, quietly climbed down the thick branch and tumbled into the underbrush and out of sight.

One of the men let out a cry of alarm and two bullets whizzed past her head. Amelia crawled through the tangled underbrush and saw, not far in front of her, a gleaming metallic fence.

Freedom! She thought as she dashed over to the high barbed wire screen. Tripping into a run, she trailed one hand along the fence for a few hundred metres before she finally encountered a wide gate in the fence. It was locked tightly with a thick chain and padlock. One of the corners of the gate was bent outwards slightly and she collapsed to the ground next to it, trying desperately to twist it slightly further back to allow her to escape.

She kicked and wrestled with the metal gate, but no matter how hard she tried, it wouldn’t bend much further than it already had. Giving up, she threw her small frame through the gap and wriggled until she was out the other side.

A bellow sounded behind her as the two men thundered out of the shrubs behind her, guns whipped up, eyes peering through the sights. Their dogs were salivating at the gate, barking as they tried to get through after her.

She spun and fled as fast as she could towards the safety of the trees not far away. A small smile crept onto her face at the thought of escaping. Twin shots sounded behind her followed by the sound of the men forcing the pumps back on their guns for a second shot.

The trees were upon her when she collapsed, suddenly tired at their edge. One hand was caught under her as she lay face down in the dirt. She twisted the hand free and brought it to her face and began to sob quietly. One of the men approached her and rolled her roughly onto her back, a long serrated knife glinting in the afternoon sunlight.

The wide ribbon of blood that coursed from her neck looked just like a red silk ribbon.

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~ by reliquiaen on April 12, 2012.

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