A Game


Voices flooded the area around her, and she fought to resist the urge to cover her ears with her hands. The voices were male, deep in tone; every one of them was loud and playful. One made a joke, and the rest answered with hearty laughter. She squeezed her already shut eyes tighter as she tried to calm her racing heart and even her ragged breathing. Other than the loud voices, the only sound she could make out was the loud pounding of her heart, sounding like someone was beating a drum right next to her.

A large, warm palm clasped her thin shoulder, causing her eyelids to fly open, her grey eyes snapping to her right to find the owner of the hand. Her gaze was met with the piercing green eyes of him, a light line of kohl surrounding his eyes. His chestnut locks parted to the right, slightly falling in front of his face, but he didn’t seem to care that it was blocking his view.

He raised a brow, his eyes silently asking the question on his mind. Nervous? She shook her head. Technically, it wasn’t a lie. She wasn’t nervous; she was terrified out of her mind, but she wasn’t going to let him know that. He’d tell her that she didn’t have to do it. She did though. If she wanted him or anyone for that matter to give her an ounce of respect or approval, then she had to go through with it.

His lips pulled back into a wicked grin, the one that seemed to never leave his face, the one that always made her stomach do little flips of uneasiness, from a crush or from fear, she didn’t know. She returned his smile timidly, and his hand squeezed her shoulder briefly before he let go and walked away from her, announcing to the room that he was ready for the game to start.

The others laughed, going to join her at the table she sat at. There were six people in total including her, and there was only one other female. She was the odd one out though. She had no tattoos, no piercings, no ratty and dirty looking clothes. Compared to her company, she might as well have been a nun. Their laughter and jokes didn’t cease, even as they sat down, not even when one of them dropped a 6 chamber revolver on the table with a heavy thud.

How were they so calm? On the inside, adrenaline caused her heart to pound and emotions to intensify, her mind screaming at her to run away as fast as she could. The others acted like it was a normal everyday occurrence, like this was nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe it wasn’t for them. They weren’t like her, weren’t her kind of people. She was only here for him.

He sat across from her, still donning that wicked smile of his, his green eyes twinkling with mirth. He reached up and absentmindedly scratched his bearded cheek as he let his gaze run over every one of his companions. She decided to put on her poker face, kept any sign of emotion off her face and out of her eyes. She placed her hands on her lap, underneath the table so that the others wouldn’t see just how violently they were shaking.

He reminded them of the rules. The gun would be passed around in a circle, every one of them would have a chance. There were five blanks and one bullet. One of them wasn’t going to walk out of here alive.

He picked up the gun first, wrapping one hand around the handle and placing a finger on the trigger as he lifted it and pressed the barrel to his temple. He didn’t do anything, just held it there, his smile never once faltering. The others cajoled him, told him to get a move on already. The other female said she hoped he was the loser this time just to spite him for drawing it out, and he laughed. Surely he and the others weren’t in the right state of mind, not if they were laughing in the face of death.

Finally he pulled the trigger. She waited for the sound of the bullet being fired, the shouts of horror as bits of brain and blood were splattered around the room, but it never came. There was a brief silence before the others shouted words that didn’t register with her mind, and she watched as the gun was handed to the next person at the table.

She was paralyzed, unable to do anything but watch. The next person, a male who looked to be in his early to mid forties, twirled the gun on his pointer finger before he lazily placed to the barrel next to his head. He smiled, wasting no time in pulling the trigger, and his smile turned into laughter as it once again turned out to be a blank.

The third male took the gun from the second, resting it against the table as he launched into some story about a past time he played the game. Her company shouted for him to shut his trap, but he refused to listen to them until he had made his point. A collective groan of relief left four sets of lips as the man lifted the gun and made to shoot.

Again, there was nothing.

She scrubbed her palms against the rough denim of her jeans in an effort to rid them of the sweat accumulating there, knowing that the moisture would have caused the gun to slip if it remained there. The gun was passed to her, and it took every ounce of concentration to keep her hand steady and she readied the next shot and placed to cold metal against her head.

She took a deep breath, locked her grey eyes with the green ones straight across from her. He stared back at her, but she couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Was he nervous for her? Was he confident that she would survive? Did he even care what happened to her? She didn’t know, and she wasn’t sure if that was more comforting to her than knowing the answers to her questions.

She remembered the piece of advice he gave her, to close her eyes and count to three, and she hoped that advice wasn’t going to fail her this time.

1, she said in her head. The others, mostly the men, said things to her, things that if she had been able to focus on hearing would probably have made her anxiety a thousand times stronger. Surely they could have given her a break. They’d played before, so they must know how nerve wracking it is the first time.

2, her eyes shut, blocking out the view of the world surrounding her. She could do this. Surely any sort of higher being, whatever god was out there was looking out for her. She hadn’t done anything to deserve to die. She didn’t do anything that was wrong.

3, she thought and didn’t let her mind wander anymore.

Without a word, she pulled the trigger.