A Very Dangerous Game – Jenna Rose

“I CAN’T BELIEVE I’m doing this.” “Shut up, bitch,” Sara replies quickly from beside me as we stand alone on the sidewalk. “You know you’re into it.” “I’m not arguing with that. I just still can’t believe I’m actually doing this.” The this that I’m doing with my best friend, Sara, is waiting on outside at two in the morning for an unknown man to come and take us both to an unknown destination so we can partake in an ultra-secret, ultra-exclusive game where we’ll be chased around the woods by a pretend killer like we’re victims in a ‘90s slasher movie. I’m eighteen, live at home, and haven’t told my parents what I’m doing or where I’m going. Yeah, so maybe I’ve got some issues I need to work on, but I’m doing my best, okay? A lot of people might think that being raised rich would mean that your life is a cake walk, but when both of your parents basically treat you like a thing instead of a daughter, and you’re sheltered from the world to such an extent that every one of your friends has to be screened and approved like they’re interviewing for a job at the Pentagon, and your every move is monitored by location tracking, the life that looks like that of a princess to everyone else on the outside ends up feeling a lot more like that of a prisoner on the inside. “Think you’ll be the final girl?” Sara asks. Final girl, aka. the last girl standing, not caught by the fake-killer. “I’ll outlast you,” I reply with a wink. “Pssh, you wish—” “Look, is that them?” I point up the block as an all-black SUV with black tinted windows comes toward us. My heart starts racing as it slows to a stop at the curb and the back door slowly opens as if on its own. A robotic voice emanates from inside.

“Take the masks and place them over your faces.” I look over at Sara, who is looking at me with wide eyes. On the seat in the back are two hooded black masks. “Are we really about to do this?” she whispers. I reach out and grab one of the masks. “Now who’s the one second-guessing?” Sara glares back at me and takes the remaining mask. Knowing this is the most insane thing I’ve ever done in my life, and will likely ever do, I climb into the back of the SUV and slide over. There’s a man in a black suit sitting behind the wheel, his face obscured by an owl mask. As Sara slides in beside me, I slip my own mask over my face. The world goes black. I hear Sara close the door behind her, followed by the sound of her putting her own mask on. “Okay,” she says. “We’re ready.” There is no reply from the robotic voice. The SUV simply begins moving.

I clumsily manage to buckle up and hear Sara do the same. Neither of us speak as we drive. My heart is lodged in my throat, pounding with my pulse, which is heavy and feral. Every instinct in my body is telling me that what I’m doing is wrong—every instinct except the one that is thrilled, exhilarated, and screaming in excitement. But there’s no turning back now. We agreed to this once we signed up on the secret website Sara showed me. That was rule number 1: Once the players enter the vehicle and are en route to the game destination, no player may back out or quit until the game is finished and the players are returned home by a designated driver. FROM HERE ON OUT, everything is out of my hands. Well, not everything. Whether or not I’m able to “survive” this fake-killer is up to me, I guess. We ride in silence for what feels like forever but could also just be ten minutes. I really have no way of telling with my eyes covered and my mind racing a mile a minute. When the SUV finally slows, adrenaline pumps through me like a cold faucet has just been opened in my chest. My fingers and toes begin to tingle, and I reach over and squeeze Sara on the leg. “You may now remove your masks,” the robotic voice says.

“Exit the car and stand with the other players.” I quickly tug off my mask and see we’re somewhere deep in the woods. To my left, there is a single spotlight illuminating a group of girls standing together. I look over at Sara, who is looking as excited as I feel, and open my door. The night is cool, and the air is crisp out here compared to the air back in the city. I’m already feeling invigorated as I go over to the group. I don’t recognize any of the girls, but it’s obvious they all come from money—not just by their clothes but by the way they carry themselves. Sara comes up beside me. “Holy shit, this is so cool!” “What…what happens now?” I whisper. “Don’t ask me, this is my first time too!” Sara told me about this, but she was referred by a friend of hers who I don’t know. Glancing around, I wonder how many of the other girls are here for their first time and how many are repeat visits. “Kinda funny, isn’t it?” I whisper. “What?” “That this is all girls?” “Welcome, ladies,” the robotic voice announces. I look up to see the man who drove us here, the man in the owl mask, standing before us. “Welcome to the game.

Please allow me to explain the rules.” Yeah, this is really happening. “As you know, now that the game has begun, there is no leaving until the game has ended and you are returned to your pickup spot by one of our drivers. Each of you will have one hour to survive. Should you be caught by the killer and killed—” “So hot,” Sara whispers. “You will be taken and returned here to the starting area to wait until the game is finished. Should you survive until the end, you will receive a cash prize. You may run, hide, or use any method you wish to survive. But I must warn you, our killer is very cunning, very quick, and very strong…” As if on cue, a figure emerges from the shadows. A tall, hulking, shirtless man with more muscles than I knew could exist on a person. He’s also masked—a wolf mask that is intimidating but also strangely alluring. I know deep down that this man spends time in the gym, but for some reason I want to believe that he doesn’t—that his body just came into existence this way like he was spawned from nature out of some pool of pure masculinity, because that’s what he is to me right now. His lower half is covered only by a simple pair of black jeans that have been cut into a pair of shorts that barely cover his bulging leg muscles and do nothing to hide the bulge between them. Am I being stalked by pure testosterone tonight? The wolf mask slowly moves across us girls, like a hungry beast surveying its meal. And then—it stops on me.

Or was that my imagination? It was brief, but I’m almost sure I caught him giving me an extra second of a glance. “Jesus, look at him,” Sara whispers. Oh, I am… Deep down in my center, something is happening. A flutter in my chest catches me completely off guard like I’ve just met my blind date and he’s turned out to be a male model. If only I could see his face, though…but with a body like that, how could he be anything but gorgeous? Owl mask is going on about the rest of the rules of the game, but I’m too zoned out to pay any attention. My eyes are tracing the lines of the “killer’s” abs, those V-lines that go down into the waistband of his jeans… This is completely breaking the illusion. I’m supposed to be terrified of this man. Instead, I’m practically salivating over him. Or maybe this was intentional? Part of the game, meant to stimulate the all-female clientele. Either way, all I can say is that now I’m not sure escaping is high up on my priority list. “Ladies,” the owl mask announces, “it is now time. You will receive a thirty-second head start, and then the pursuit will begin. The game begins now!” The killer draws a knife from behind his back. The metal blade gleams under the light. I’m not sure if it’s real or not, but it sure looks convincing enough.

“See ya!” I hiss to Sara.


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Updated: 26 November 2021 — 08:17

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