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How long had he been here? A week maybe? Perhaps two?
It seemed like so much more than that. He couldn’t remember how many deaths he’d seen this week. Peter hadn’t explained it very well. He had talked about a weeklong competition, not weeks. He thought that Peter looked like he had been there for longer than a week and now it made sense. They had no idea how long they had been there.
You lost time once you entered this sickening place. The daily routine only being the killing of more kids and eating. Dominic knew was going to hell for this. He knew that he had failed his mother. How couldn’t he have? He’d killed at least fifteen teenagers within the past week give or take.
Each time the killings happened, Dominic crawled up into a ball and bawled. He knew he was a wuss and knew that he needed to suck it up pretty quick, but he couldn’t help it. He was even annoying himself, but the horrible realization that he was taking another’s life was horrible.
Right now, he was trying to figure out an escape plan. That was almost what he did every minute that he wasn’t being self-tortured. He had studied the place inside and out, as much as you could chained to the wall anyway.
He often asked himself the question of how they got new recruits down to the pit. They couldn’t just very well throw them down and hope that someone chained them to the wall. They would have to actually go down there themselves, but how?
“When do the new recruits come out?” he asked Peter.
Peter turned to him, looking up at him sleepily.
Dominic was getting worried about him. He seemed to be getting paler every day and it was scaring him. Dominic was almost fully protecting both of them, but he couldn’t do it much longer. His strength was running out and he knew it.
The bags under his eyes were nothing compared to the blackouts he told Dominic about. Those were the worst. He was worried that Peter would have one during the “scrimmages”. He didn’t want to lose Peter. He was the only one keeping him sane and with only three others, there wasn’t anyone to talk to.
“They should be here tomorrow. They take two recruits to the next level.” He whispered. He licked his lips and sat up, frowning.
“Dominic, let me tell you something.” He said, seriously. Dominic furrowed his brows, trying to think of what he could possibly want to talk about.
“Promise me when I die that you’ll finish this; that you’ll give this to my dad.” He cried, his voice weak. He held out a ring, golden band with a sparkling red gem that resembled a ruby.
This startled Dominic. The thought of losing Peter.
“No, no I will not leave you behind, Peter! You’re going to survive!” He exclaimed, pounding his fists on the ground.
Peter laughed at the comment, covering his mouth momentarily.
“No, Dominic. We both know that I won’t make it out of here. Just please, promise me.” He replied, almost pleading.
Dominic’s eyes filled with tears. He couldn’t think about that right now. Yes, he knew that Peter was right, but he just couldn’t survive this place without him.
“But Peter…we can escape this place! I have a plan, I’ve been watching!” he argued. Peter smirked, thinking of home. He could just smell the sweet smell of corn, see the field at the house. He missed it.
“I wish that would be true, but Dominic, this is the last round. I know you have seen them bring in several different people through the days, but those are already prepared. The new shipment of recruits won’t be here for another day.” he frowned.
Dominic knew he was right. There was no way they were bringing kids in within a few hours. He was only seeing part of the picture.
The bell dinged, the crease already opening up. Peter laid there on the floor for a minute before they heard the voices of the group above them.
Like always, Jet was there, watching him. It was still taking Dominic time to get over it. He couldn’t help but feel like a piece of meat. Jet only wanted blood, he only wanted the business to carry on, with him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the finals. Only two will survive. You may pick teams of two and the last two standing alive will leave this place. On three….two…one…go!” he exclaimed.
Dominic turned to Peter, whom had been dozing off. It was no use, he knew Peter was going to be out. All he could do was try to protect him.
He grabbed a sword that had hit the ground in front of him a moment ago and prepared for the forces to come to him. It didn’t take long.
A group of girls charged at him, thrusting the swords at him simultaneously. He knew they were trying to use numbers against him, but with no training on their part, it was easy to deflect the blows.
One of the girls, he recognized to be one of his fiercest competitors. She was at least talented with a spear or a dagger, but today they had only dropped swords. That obviously gave Dominic an advantage because of his background, but he didn’t think the girls had one.
“Fight back you coward!” the girl screamed. Dominic looked her in the eyes, sadness dropping down his face. Her eyes were fierce, bloodshot, probably from the lack of sleep and her hands were blood stained.
They had gotten to her. She was becoming one of them. He could see it in her eyes, the way she held herself. She was planning an attack.
“Dominic, watch out!” Peter screamed. A second later, Dominic was laying on the ground, his head smacking against the floor.
He had made a futile mistake; he took his eyes off his other opponent. He rolled over onto his back, and watched in horror.
Peter collapsed to the ground, covering his chest. Dominic’s eyes widened, tears already spraying out. Anger overwhelmed him.
He leapt off the ground, curling into a ball and picking up the sword as he did. The girl, the one with the bloodshot eyes watched Dominic in horror. Her body was still, not a single movement escaped her body.
“I’m going to kill you!” he shouted, the blood already boiling.
He leapt off the ground, tackling her.
“Wait, wait! Don’t kill me, please!” she begged.
Dominic’s eyes outlined in red, the anger replacing all sympathy. She had sentenced Peter to death!
Without a word, he brought the sword down, shoving the sword down into her gut multiple times. He didn’t care about the consequences, he didn’t care of the morals he had just broken. What mattered right now was Peter.
After a few moments, he stopped. He needed to get to Peter.
Twisting around, he spotted the other girl, aiming her spear at him. Quickly, he found the girl’s sword, aiming it and throwing it. It slammed into her neck, knocking her to the ground.
He scanned the room, spotting Peter on the ground. He rushed over there, gazing down at him. Peter was still alive.
“Promise me.” He whispered, spewing blood.
Tears streamed down his face, he was no longer able to hold them back. He had only known Peter for about two weeks, but Peter was his lifeline. Peter was his only friend there, he was the other survivor.
“I promise, I promise!” Dominic cried, pulling him in, cradling his head.
Peter smiled, “I know you’ll do well, Dominic. Stay strong.”
With that, the life disappeared, light vanishing from his eyes.
He dropped down, emotions flowing far too much. He wanted to scream. He wanted to get out of there. He wanted to kill.
“No! No! Peter!” he shouted, his throat tightening. He was giving himself a headache, he was angry. If he didn’t get up, he was going to kill himself.
He stood up, not wanting to go on, but he made a promise. He had to be the one to do this. He had to leave this place. He couldn’t stand to look at this place anymore.
He gazed around the room. Only one other person was left. A boy, about fifteen, glared at him through devilish eyes.
What had they done to these people? What had they done to him?
The boy charged at him, gripping a sword in his hand tightly. He held out his hands, trying to stop the boy. They were the only two left. There was no more need for killing.
He gazed up at the people above them, waiting for them to stop him, but they didn’t. They watched in glee.
“Stop! Stop, it’s only us two!” He exclaimed. The boy didn’t stop. He only gained speed, leaping at him.
He held out his hands, only waiting the last minute until he shoved the boy aside, the boy catching him across the chest, cutting his shirt open.
He leapt again, this time taking a clear shot at him. It happened so quick. He didn’t know how it happened.
He backed away, disgusted, terrified. The sword stuck through the boy’s skull, stabbing through his eye.
“Fantastic! Fantastic, Dominic!” Jet shouted cheerfully.
He glared up above at him. How could the man be so evil?
“Yes, yes now that you’ve won it looks like we’ll have to move you. You may take him now, men. We’ll need him packed up neatly so make sure he’s not so loose.” Jet sighed.
Dominic’s eyes widened, backing into the wall. How did he get out of this?
A stinging pain came from his arms. He collapsed to his knees glaring at his arms accusingly. What were they doing?
He took a deep breath, gasping for air and pushing up. It was dark all around him. Where was he? He pushed up again. Nothing but air. Was he in a room?
“Ah, good you’re up.”
The light flickered on, burning his eyes. Once he was able to regain his sight, he looked around. He was in an old wooden room. A cabin maybe?
Jet motioned for someone to come from behind him. His eyes weren’t fully adjusted yet. He couldn’t see all that well so he wasn’t able to tell who was coming.
It was only until his arms were pulled behind him that he realized that someone was there. Had he been drugged? Was that why his head was pounding?
Jet came closer, close enough for Dominic to see. He bent down to his height. Apparently, he was now on the floor, on his knees.
“It’s hard to see isn’t it? Hard to really realize what’s happening?” he questioned. Dominic nodded. How did he know?
“Good, then you won’t feel this as much.” He grinned. Dominic’s heart skipped a beat. What was he talking about? It couldn’t be good.
“Do you hear that sizzling? You’ll feel it in a few seconds,” Jet said. Dominic adjusted his eyes, focusing in front of him. He really wished he hadn’t. In front of him, Jet held a golden rod with an insignia at the top. The Blaque Ring symbol, a Venn diagram shape, three rings on top of each other.
He couldn’t breathe, the panic rose. They were going to brand him. They were going to force him to have the permanent scars.
“No! No!” he shouted, as the rod was brought just a hair above his skin. When it pushed down, he screamed, he screamed like he never had before. The shrill acid of his throat tore at it, his throat tightening up, a bitter taste in his mouth. He knew it was just bouncing off the walls. He knew it could be heard from outside. It wasn’t just the pain of the scorching skin, it was the thought of being one of them. That was all he was now. Them.