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Dominic opened his eyes wishing that they hadn’t opened. He had no idea where he was. The worry of it all brought the memories back as he recalled them.
After Dominic broke down, Jet pulled him up by his ear and slapped him around for a few minutes before he thought Dominic had enough. He was sure that it was supposed to teach him to suck it up and toughen him, but it wasn’t going to help. Dominic was a soft-hearted person. His mother had always told him that, she raised him to be that way.
After that, he didn’t remember much. They were walking down the alley when two men came up behind him. He felt a pinch on his arm, and then he was out.
That must’ve been where he was now. Looking around the small, dark space, he realized that he wasn’t the only person there. About a dozen more boys and girls sat, legs chained to the wall.
It looked like they were in a wooden box. Was there really such a thing nowadays?
“You’re up. Welcome to the next level. What’s your name, newbie?”
Dominic sat up pulling his legs into his chest. A cool breeze past over him, the room was very chilly.
Glancing to his left, Dominic that someone had been talking to him. A boy, smeared with dirt and grime watched him with crusty brown eyes. His hair was held back with a loose fitting ponytail that barely hung at his neck. All Dominic could look at was the tattered clothes. How long had these kids been here?
“Well newbie?” the boy questioned, raising a brow.
Dominic cleared his throat.
“I’m Dominic,” he said, barely above a whisper. His throat was dry. He needed a drink. The boy smirked, holding out a hand.
“Welcome, Dominic. Welcome to your new torturous home.” He said as though it were a joke.
Dominic grabbed the hand, shaking it momentarily before his fate had sunk in. He was stuck here. They had taken him from his mother easily. No one would be able to find him. The Blaque Ring was still very hidden.
“Where are we and why are we in a giant wooden box?” He frowned.
The boy’s face turned grim, his face darkening even more than the dirt on his face.
“They call it the pit for what it’s worth, but it’s definitely not a pit. It’s a box and there’s no escape, Dominic. We only get out of the box when they want us to.” He explained.
He stared into the distance, up at the ceiling. Dominic now noticed something he hadn’t before. Down the middle on the ceiling, there was a crease running all the way down to each end. Just like a gigantic box. It folded in, one side folded on top of the other, the contents, the kids.
“Dominic, they only want us out when they want a show. The creeps watch from above as we fight each other to get to the food and survival. This is how they hope to harden us. Thirteen boys and girls, ranging from the ages 13-17 are forced in here until they find their winner with only five left.” He continued.
Dominic really wished he hadn’t asked that question. This terrified beyond measures. How was he supposed to keep from breaking now that he knew he was going to die?
“There must be some other way than fighting, we could split the food, or…or not playing their games!” Dominic exclaimed.
The boy shook his head, “there is no other way. There were a few groups that tried that already. They just killed them all. This is a competition, if they can’t get the most murderous protégés then there is no reason to keep them alive.”
Dominic’s heart sank. Were they really going to make him kill another person? A kid?
First the man, now kids? Dominic almost threw up.
“I’m Peter by the way.” He said, glancing around the room.
Dominic looked down at his foot. The chain was rusty and cold against his leg. He couldn’t believe someone could actually be treated like this.
A second later, three dings echoed from above. As he looked around, the kids all stood up. What were they doing?
“You’d better get up, the first round is commencing and you don’t want to be the last one up.” Peter said.
Slowly, Dominic stood up, his leg killing him. It felt like someone had dug into his leg and shoved a toothpick between the openings in his skin.
“Watch out!” a girl cried from behind him. Dominic turned just in time to see the sword whiz past him and land a hair past his ear into the wall behind him.
His heart stopped. Had he really just come that close to dying?
“Hey, no fair! How come he gets the first weapon?” a boy yelled across the room. Dominic studied the boy, realizing that he was yelling to someone above them.
He looked up, finding that a crowd of men and women had gathered above. One of them being Jet. Dominic snarled in disgust at the sight of him then noticed Jet was watching him.
“Because he is your greatest enemy, Dominic Blaque, my son. If any of you are smart, it would be wise to kill him off first.” Jet replied.
Everyone glared at him. Dominic’s heart sank. Why did he have to go and do that? Now it was going to be hard to make any friends! If he could manage to make friends in such a murderous environment.
Dominic turned to Peter. The boy stood with shock, clearly not expecting that. Would he try to kill him? Would Dominic be Peter’s first kill?
“When the bell rings you may all pick up your weapons. After the first six are dead, you may stop and rejoice in your victories. This is the only announcement that will be made.” Jet announced, his eyes moving around the room until they stopped on Dominic.
What was his obsession with him? Did he really expect to turn Dominic into a cold-blooded killer?
After about ten seconds, the bell rang. Before he knew it, his leg was loose. The first thing he did was to turn to Peter.
“Quickly, Dominic, back to back. Jet just painted a big ‘x’ on your back and I doubt many will ignore it!” he shouted over the clashing of silver.
He nodded; pushing his back against Peter’s and scanned the room. It didn’t take long for the crowd to start rushing in.
“I need to get a weapon, Peter. We aren’t going to stay protected for long otherwise,” he yelled.
He felt a sigh come from Peter.
“Pull the sword free from the wall behind us.” He replied. Both of them turned simultaneously as Peter blocked a clash from the girl that had warned Dominic.
The sword was lodged into the wall tightly. He yanked with all of his strength and might and barely managed to get it out before a spear whistled down at him. His vision slowed down, focusing on the spear allowing him to catch it single handedly.
How had he done it? He had no idea, but he didn’t have time to celebrate. Peter collapsed to the ground next to him.
His eyes widened, fearing that Peter had been wounded, but that wasn’t the case. He had just dropped down to dodge an arrow aimed straight at him.
He glanced around the room once again, meeting the eyes of the boy that had shouted earlier.
He was going to be his fiercest opponent, he knew that. He could see the anger in his eyes, the coldblooded heart. He was like them. He was them. This was no ordinary kid, he was a psychopath and fit in perfectly.
It seemed that Peter and him were the only ones that weren’t trying to kill each other. His eyes stopped on the bodies momentarily. He wanted to cry. He wanted to scream at the other kids for being killers, but this was all for survival. It wasn’t anything personal and his break down wouldn’t fix the predicament he was in.
Dominic knew what he had to do. He knew for his survival he was going to have to kill somebody, but that just wasn’t him. They were trying to make him that.
He needed to call upon the strength that had made him survive this long, the strength that helped him fight against Jet when he tried kidnapping his friends.
He delved deep into his thoughts, blocking out all other emotions. He was strictly focusing on those of his intelligence, muscle memory. His uncle had taught him these things, even insisted on fencing. This wasn’t much different.
He shoved Peter to the ground, blocking an almost devastating blow from a boy trying to push his dagger through Peter’s chest.
He parried, moved in on the boy and stabbed, catching the boy in the shoulder. The boy had fallen into his trap. He tripped him, pushing the sword through his rib and releasing the grip. The boy collapsed.
He picked up the dagger and caught Peter before he could fall to his knees of exhaustion.
Dominic spun around, fixating his eyes on the boy. His greatest enemy. A spear landed to the left of his shoulder. The boy had intended for the spear to kill him.
The anger rose in Dominic, catching in the history of his father’s past. He spun the dagger around, the blade between his two fingers. He threw it without a moment’s hesitation.
The dagger caught him by surprise, piercing him in a major artery. The boy dropped to the ground in surprise.
The bell rang followed by the clapping of bloodthirsty people above. Dominic glared up at them. Who were they to be clapping?
Deaths were handed out willingly! Deaths he helped create. Tears came to his eyes as he realized what he had done. He had just willingly taken away two kids’ lives. He did it in anger. He was an animal. He was a monster. He was his father’s son.
His eyes met Jet’s. He was cackling, his eyes smiling down at him. He knew he had succeeded. He had made Dominic a killer. He had made Dominic him.
“Congratulations, Dominic. You have passed the next test. Maybe there is something of a killer in you.” He said.
The room silenced. Dominic gazed around. All eyes were on him and it wasn’t for praise. They hated him. They knew he was his father’s son. All of his mother’s lessons, all of her advice was gone. He had sealed that when he poisoned the man. What was next, was he going to kill his mother?
“Go to hell!” he shouted at Jet, his tears drying up.
Jet laughed, holding his stomach as though he were bellowing.
“On the contrary, Dominic, that’s where you will be going.” He replied, with a nasty taste of venom.
“You’re sick! Leave me alone!” he spat.
Jet shrugged and dropped something down, a paper of some sort. Dominic caught it easily, and was surprised.
It was a picture. Of him.
“You’ll learn that not everything is one sided. Have fun with those thoughts,” he replied.
With that, the box began to move and the crease created once more. All that was left was to eat.