Leave the World Behind

Tensions Are Rising

After Bethany said the next place we need to go, drums started to beat. We look around to see where it was coming from. “I don't like that. I'm done.” Fridge shook his finger in the air, not wanting to deal with this anymore.
“What else?” Spencer turns back to Bethany.
“Okay. And right here, it says, From the Deep.” She points out somewhere else on the map.
“The hippo came from the deep. The one that...” He trailed off, not wanting to trigger the girl.
“Yes, the thing that did the thing. That's it. Moving on,” She waved her hand, saying it didn’t have to be mentioned.
“So if From the Deep is the first level, then The Mighty Roar must be the second level, which way?” He asks her.
“Okay. If that is that…. and that is here… Right here, I think.” She moves around with us following her.
A missile flies past, barely missing all of us. We look to see someone riding a dirt bike coming towards us. Then all of a sudden a bunch of them jump over a roll of high bushes barreling at us.
“What is this game?” Fridge yells.
This time everyone took off running, but Spencer as we saw more in the distance. “Wait!” Spencer yells, but no one was willing to slow down for him. Missiles and bullets were flying past us as we ran. “Ha!” He laughs as he easily ran past us. I was able to stay on his tail with Martha behind me and Bethany behind her.
“Come on, legs! Why am I running so slow?” Fridge screams from the back of the pack.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!” Bethany looks back screaming.
“Don’t look back.” I order. We ran into a forest. I hope it would slow the bikes down or at least make it harder to see us.
“Aah! This sucks!” Bethany cried out of breath.
“Split up!” Spencer yells to us. He and Fridge ran one way, while we girls ran in different directions.
“Why the fuck did I wander off by myself?” I berated myself as I kept running. I stop in my tracks as a bike appears in front of me. “Shit.” I cried when I saw there was one behind me. They were both speeding towards me. I look up to see a tree branch. I jump, pulling myself up on the branch making the two rider slam into each other. I look down to see the unmoving bodies. I took out my gun and shot them both in the back to be safe.
“Stupid bastards,” I growl. I let out a scream as a monkey climbs up my arm and use my shoulder as leverage to get to a higher branch. “Stupid monkey,” I grumble. My arm started to burn, I look at it to see my arm covered in the monkey’s fur. “Oh fuck.” I watch as the rash and boils took over my whole body then I explode.
I scream as I fall from the sky and hit the ground. I got up when I heard an engine coming my way. I pull out one of the throwing knives and waited. When the guy was in sight, I channel my inner Cutthroat Connie and nail him right in the throat. I rush to grab the dirt bike before it crash. I turn it off and put on the kick stand. With three bodies in front of me, I looted them like I seen Spencer do in all his games. I was able to get 60 dollars off of them. I took a leather jacket off of one and put it on. I took a helmet off of another when I noticed he had an earpiece in. I took it from him; wipe it off on my short before putting it in my ear.
“We got them surround on the cliff by the waterfall.” I heard a man’s voice say. I put on my helmet and throw one of their machine guns with a strap over my head, so the gun rest on my back.
I thank my mom for letting me learn to ride a dirt bike when I was a kid. I climb on and drove toward the sound of rushing water. When I got there all I saw were dirt bikers looking over the cliff. I whip my machine gun around and blasted them. I got off my bike and look over the waterfall to see them swimming to shore. I took off the helmet and jump into the water. I swam to the shore. “That was the most humiliating moment of my life.” Fridge glares at Spencer.
“What was?” I ask, ringing out my hair.
“Where the hell were you?” Fridge put his hand on his hips as he questioned me.
“I took in a lot of water.” Spencer held his stomach as Bethany lay down on a rock.
“They got me.” Martha moves her hand to reveal a bullet hit her chest.
“Oh no,” I gasped, looking at her. From dying before I knew that you felt all the pain.
“Martha?” Spencer looks at his crush with concern, right before she vanished.
“Wait, what just happened to her?” Fridge asks.
“Is she dead? Did she die?” Bethany screech.
“Yeah, but she’ll come back. Same thing happens to me when I got monkey hair all over me.” I explain.
“I’m sorry, what was all over you?” Fridge look disgusted.
“Wait a second.” Spencer put his hand up to silence us. The game chimes and rumbles.
“What the hell is hap...?” Fridge yells. Martha fell out of the sky and land on top of him, making him fall face first into the ground. “Ow! Get off of my back!” He yelled as Martha use his back to stand up, pushing him more into the ground.
“Are you okay?” Spence asks.
“I think so.” She looks down at her chest to see the wound wasn’t there anymore.
“Get off of me! Goodness gracious, get off!” Fridge grumble, trying to get up but couldn’t with her body weight.
“I'm getting off of you.” She stood up, rubbing her chest where the wound was as she stared up at the sky.
“Anybody care if I'm okay? What am I, a human landing pad?” He grumbled.
“Oh come on, you’re a football player. You taken worst hit then that.” I smirk at him. He stares at me shocked that I was joking around with him so much. I don’t know why it still came naturally when I was with him, but it did.
Spencer went over and grab Martha’s arm to look at her tattoo. “That's what I thought. We each have three lives, guys. These little tattoos on our arms… Jesus, would you look at the size of that thing?” He was starting to explain when he got distracted by his arm.
“Spencer!” Fridge yells.
“What?” He looks up at him.
“You were saying?” He told him to continue his thought.
“It's our life count. Bethany got eaten by a hippo, so now she only has two lines.” Spence finish telling us what he figures out.
“He's right.” Bethany pulls up her sleeve to show us she only had two lines.
I throw my machine gun down to tug off the leather jacket and through the fishnet sleeve I could see I only had two lines. “Shit, I only have two more lives. Fucking monkey!” I yell towards the trees.
“Wait. What happens if we use up all our lives?” Martha asks Spencer.
“Well, usually that would mean … game over.” He told her.
“What do you mean, game over? Are you saying that we can actually die in here?” Fridge moves towards the couple.
“I mean, I don't know for sure, but...” Spencer tried to explain when Fridge cut him off, tired of no one having any answers.
“You're not sure? You're not sure, Mr. Video-Game-Genius?” He was blaming everything on Spencer, when he was the one who found the stupid game.
“Shut up, Fridge. He’s never been stuck in one before.” I glare down at the short male, making him being quiet for once and let Spencer explain.
“I'm not certain, but yes, I'm afraid we all could die. That is my big concern right now.” He tried to put it gently, but there was no way to do that.
We were stunned into silence by the news. I was convinced this was an unlimited lives game, but I should have known better. Most old game only gives you three. “We better find the missing piece, then.” Martha reminds us that our goal didn’t change.
Bethany opens up the map. “Okay. It looks like there's a village on the other side of this mountain. Maybe that's the bazaar.”
“Let's do it.” Spencer nods his head. I pick up my machine gun and leather jacket from the ground.
“Wait. I got to take a leak first.” Fridge stops us before we started our journey to the bazaar.
“I've been dreading this all day, but so do I. Can I come with you and you show me how it's done? I may need your help.” Bethany asks him. I sympathize with her, having that dangling between her legs must be weird.
“Uh yeah, sure, yeah, I'm... I'll help you out.” Fridge stutters out. He never looks so uncomfortable with something in his life. The boys and Bethany walked into the wood to do their business, leaving Martha and I behind. We took a seat on a big rock as we waited.
“So where did you get the machine gun and jacket?” She eyes the machine gun on my back and the leather jacket I tied around my waist.
“I had to kill three of the dirt bikers, I took it from them.” I look down at my feet. I knew they weren’t real people, but it still felt shitty.
“I didn’t think of that. Not that I had the time to do it.” She sighed, looking down at her exposed stomach.
“You want it.” I untied it and held it out to her.
“You sure?” She reaches her hand out but didn’t grab it.
“Yeah, I’m not using it.” I shrug.
“Thank you.” She took it from me and put it on, looking a little more comfortable with herself now.
“Martha, Jennifer come look at my penis!” Bethany yells to us from the woods.
“No thanks.” Martha yells back for the both of us. “Did you get anything else from them?” She asks me.
“60 dollars and an...” I reach up to realize I didn’t have the earpiece anymore. “Well I had an earpiece.” I grumbled.
“It must have fallen off in the water.” She nods her head.
“I wanted to keep it, so we would know what they were doing.” I hung my head, feeling like I fail the team.
We turn around when we heard something moving through the forest towards us. I put a hand on my knife, ready to whip it out if necessary while Martha got into a fighting stance. We relax when Bethany came barging out. “Oh my god, you guys having a penis is so much fun.” She claps her hands.
“Maybe if we have time, you can play with it some more, but for now let’s get to the Bazaar.” I laugh.
“Right,” She pulled out her map leading the way.
“Be careful of the ground, guys. It's uneven. I'd hate for anybody to twist an ankle. I did that once in camp.” Spencer warns us. While the girls were able to tune him out, Fridge couldn’t.
“Please stop talking? Please!” He snaps at him.
“Okay, sure. No problem.” Spence nod his head. I shook my head as I move closer to the girls. It funny how Spencer was so much bigger and powerful than him now, but he was still so eager to please Fridge.
“Can I borrow your jacket?” Martha asks Bethany who had it dangle over her shoulder.
“Yeah, sure,” She hands it to her.
“Thanks.” Martha tied it around her waist, so the jacket would cover her butt.
“What are you doing?” She watches the girl with curious eyes.
“I feel like I'm wearing a bikini at school.” She grumbled, zipping up the leather jacket.
“I did that once. They sent me to the office.” Bethany smirks smugly.
“I remember that day.” I nod my head. She looks stunning, but it wasn’t the time or place for it.
“Of course,” Martha scoffs.
“Noah likes it when I show some skin. It's like the key to our relationship.” She smiles when she talks about him. I don’t know why she liked him so much. He was handsome, but he broke up with her any time she didn’t do what he told her to. He broke up with her this time, because he felt like she was posting too much pictures on Instagram.
“Ew,” Martha pulls a gross out face.
“Judgy much? Seriously, I can't even open my mouth around you. You don't even know me, but you, like, decided you hate me.” Bethany glares at the girl.
“Oh, wait a minute. I don't hate you.” She shook her head.
“You don't?” Her face softened as she took off her hat.
“No. Look, I just think you live in, like, the hot popular girl bubble, where everybody either treats you like a princess or like an object. Maybe it makes you a little… self-absorbed or something?” Martha confessed to her. Bethany turns to me for a second opinion.
“That’s how you can come off at times.” I nod my head.
“That's fair. But do you think maybe the reason why you're so judgy is because you're, like, afraid that people aren't gonna like you, so you decide not to like them first?” Bethany accept her criticize, which show a lot of growth on her part. Her giving constructive criticism back made my heart swell. This is what we need to be doing as woman helping each other become better people.
“No. Maybe. Maybe.” She slowly accepts that about herself.
“Okay, then. I'm just saying you're a babe. Own it.” She told her, putting her hat back on.
“Thanks. I guess.” She smiles.
“And little miss Jennifer, how come you never told me you had a thing with Fridge.” Bethany turns to me.
“What, you did?” Martha turn to me shocked.
“What are you talking about?” I tried to deny it.
“I heard you say he can’t put his paws on you anymore.” She points her finger at me to signal that she had me corner.
“You did say that.” Martha thought back to what I said and realize my slip up.
I look around to make sure the boys were still far behind us. “It was a long time ago, the summer before we went to high school.” I whisper to them.
“Does Spencer know?” Martha asks.
“No, he was at camp.” I shook my head.
“Well, what happened?” Bethany tilts her head in concern.
“School started and he made like he didn’t know me. Guess he didn’t want to be called chubby chaser.” I shrug trying to play it off like it was nothing.
“Well, fuck him!” Bethany growls out, taking us by surprise. “You deserve a guy who’ll have you proudly on his arm. You’ll find that.”
“Fuck Noah, you deserve a guy who sees you as more than arm candy, because you are so much more than that.” I told her. I felt like sometime she focuses on her look because she didn’t feel like she had anything else.
“Aw,” Bethany pulls me into a crushing hug.

We continue our journey to the Bazaar that leads us to walk along the side of a mountain. It was nerve racking because one false move and there goes another life. It didn’t help that since it was nature, nothing was level. I had to watch every step I took.
“So, sick of this game. Just stay out of my way, Spencer.” Fridge started grumbling again making me try to put more distance between us. I was getting sick of it. We were all stuck in a shitty situation. He was making like he was the only one.
“What are you mad at me for?” Spencer groan offend by his old friend.
“Why? Are you seriously asking me that? You got me kicked off the team. Then you got me stuck in whatever this is. And you wonder why we’re not friends no more.” Fridge said making me stop to turn and watch them. I knew hurtful things were about to be said.
“This is why we're not friends anymore? You didn't want to get stuck in Jumanji? I don't think so. We're not friends, because I'm not cool enough to hang out with you. So, you pretended not to even know me anymore, until you needed me to do your homework because you couldn't do it yourself. No wonder you don't know anything about westward expansion.” Spencer told him off. I went to clap my hands, but Martha grabs me and shook her head.
“Okay, you see that? You know what? I'm not stupid, Spencer. I asked you to do me one simple favor. Do my homework, so I don't get kicked off the team, and you messed that up. Now I can't do the one thing that I'm good at, and it's all your fault. I should kick the shit out you right now.” Fridge threatens him.
Spencer looks him up and down and then looks at himself. “I'd like to see you try.” He glares at him.
“What did you say? Oh, okay. I see what's going on here.” Fridge gasp at the balls Spencer was gaining.
“Guys,” Bethany whines.
“You think because you...You, what, 6'4 ", 6'5", 270 pounds of pure muscle, I'm supposed to be afraid of you? Is that what you think?” He let out a bitter laugh.
“Maybe,” Spencer shrugs, looking unclear if he really wanted to fight Fridge.
“Let me tell you something. You're still the same annoying kid I've been trying to shake since ninth grade. Ain't nothing changed. Don't let this new body get your butt whooped.” Fridge made like he was going to punch him and Spencer flinch. Bethany let out a sad whimper in pity for Spencer while I glare at Fridge.
“Dumbass,” Spencer said under his breath. Fridge looks at him in shock before charging at him and pushing him off the cliff.
Martha, Bethany, and I ran to the edge of the cliff screaming. I turn away not being able to watch him fall to his death. “You killed him!” Martha turn back to face him.
“Fridge, you lunatic!” Bethany screams at him.
“Chill out. He'll be back.” He snaps at us.
“I can’t believe you Fridge, stop blaming Spencer for everything. You’re the one who found this game and wanted everyone play.” I point a finger at him.
“I only found this game, because you ask about the damn donate box.” He glares at me.
“I only did that because you invade my personal space.” I hover over him, knowing that he would hate it.
“The only problem you have with me in your personal space is that you like it, even after what I did.” He stood on his tippy toe so his lips were only an inch away from mine.
“Stop talking to me like you know me Fridge, you don’t. Not anymore.” I sneer as I step away from him.
“I hate to burst your bubble, but you haven’t change that much. Even in this body you’re still doing the same shit.” He waved his hand gesture to my new form.
“Oh yeah, what,” I put my hand on my hip waiting for him to talk some more nonsense.
“The way you bite your lip when frustrated. That annoying thing where you make a sly remark about yourself, because you think if you beat people to the fat punch line then you won. The way you put your hand on your hip when you think you won the battle.” He gestures to my hand that was currently on my hip that I quickly lower and put behind my back. “I also know how you try to look for the good in everyone. You try your hardest to the person that everyone can depend on. That's why when someone screws you over, you hold onto that grudge like your life depends on it.”
I bite my lip, cursing him for taking that much notice to me and I curse myself for like how it made me feel warm inside that he did. The game chimes and rumbles signaling that Spencer was coming back. It was impressive that he was able to land on his feet. He looks down at his tattoo to see two lines. He looks up in disbelief at Fridge for killing him.
“Don't call me a dumb-ass.” Fridge points at him.
“Don't push me.” Spencer warns him.
“Or what, Spencer?” He smugly cocks his head to the side.
“Or I'll push you back.” He glares at him.
Fridge pushes him, but this time Spencer didn’t move an inch. Fridge slaps him across the face and once again he didn’t move. Spencer hit him back, sending him flying into the side of the mountain.
Fridge got up ready to fight. “Did you just smack me? You gonna smack me?”
“Fridge let it go, you have to know he would hit you back.” I roll my eyes, tired of his male ego.
“Huh? You wanna smack...?” He ran to tackle Spencer, but he moves out the way. Fridge would have fallen off the cliff, if Spencer didn’t grab him by his backpack. He throws Fridge back on the side of the mountain.
“Enough. We can't waste lives. We need each other. Like it or not, we have to do this together.” He pulls a smolder making Martha look away blushing and Bethany stare at him.
“Could you say that one more time, please?” Bethany asks.
“We have to do this together?” He said, not seeing what she needs him to repeat it for it wasn’t complicated instructions.
“But with the smolder. Do you have control of that, or does that happen naturally?” She asked, wanting to see it again.
“It just happens naturally.” He said, doing it again subconsciously. Bethany bites her lip as she checks him out. Martha stares at him through her lashes. I wonder if it didn’t affect me because I saw him as a brother.