To say the new girl was pissed off was an understatement. Even so, I didn’t know why I felt that was my problem. I needed a drink or maybe a smoke but all I could do was settle for relishing in the anguish of others. Of course, that was just the bitter German side of me.
“Felix!” shouted my friend Elodie. “Come here and meet our new teammate!” The kindhearted Afro-European beauty and I were friends from childhood. and we were the only ones who knew why we were really here. Or where ‘here’ even was. She was the one person I couldn’t say no to.
Each one of the twenty or so survivors had disappeared into darkness only to arrive at a single campfire in the middle of a nondescript forest. This was our cage. Every ‘night’ (difficult to tell when the sky never changed,) when we went to sleep certain people would be selected to awaken in a hellish arena. The locations were limited to a dozen or so (from a meat packing facility, to an abandoned circus, etc), each more terrifying than the last. I mustn’t forget the best part; the selected humans would be forced to run around without weapons, acting as mice to a selected cat (who was, of course, armed.)
Even in death the human sacrifice simply awakened back in the unescapable forest hub. It was a never-ending process. I was one of the later ones to arrive, but even then, I felt like I’d been trapped in the game for years. I’d almost forgotten my previous life, until the day Elodie appeared. I knew she had been actively hunting the entrance to this alternate realm for the majority of her adult life. (I think she still held out hope of finding her long-dead parents.) “Felix, this is Yun-Jin. She’s a record producer from Seoul, Korea. and Yun-Jin, this is Felix he’s a high-profile architect, and absolute star in his field.”
I laughed politely at her attempt at humor. Elodie was such a sweetheart. After surviving the cult that took our families, we remained friends, through high school, before going our separate ways. With the advent of social media, I knew all about Elodie’s passion for investigating the paranormal and she knew all about my degree and job prospects. In reality I was just a man in his late thirties who never made any real impact on the world.
Yun-Jin was visibly unimpressed. The posh Asian woman crossed her arms (and not-so-discreetly) rolled her eyes. She somehow arrived wearing a faux fur jacket over a lavender shirt and a skirt that appeared to be denim or suede. “So, how did a star like you end up here?”
“My father,” I answered in monotone. “I followed his ghost off a cliff.” That was the abridged version. “You?”
“I survived a massacre,” she replied with a sarcastic smile. Her tone was one of annoyance rather than fear.
I wanted to point out that, clearly, she did not ‘survive’ if she was here, in Hell. Thankfully I caught myself before committing such a rude accusation. “The attacker was someone you knew; your ex-husband, a jealous boyfriend, or perhaps a family member?”
Yun-Jin shot me a look of disgust. “No, absolutely not.” She shook her head, gripping her temples. “I mean, yes, I knew him but not like that.”
I didn’t want to force her to elaborate. We would have ample opportunity for small talk over the ensuing years. Instead, I presented a condescending smile, accompanied by a patronizing nod.
“He was someone I trusted, someone I believed in.”
I couldn’t help but notice she stopped short of calling this person a friend. I assumed it was a client or employee.
“So,” Yun-Jin said with a sigh. “How does this work? I know we sit around like lab rats waiting for trials, but how are we chosen?”
Elodie replied with the compassion of a primary school teacher. “It’s pretty random and they only seem to take up to four people at a time.”
“So far, anyway,” I muttered.
Elodie glared. “Felix, be polite. It’s hard enough to be stuck here, we shouldn’t be trying to bring each other down.” She turned to Yun-Jin. “Do you have any other questions?”
Yun-Jin pursed her lips, with a look of contemplation. “Can we choose our opponent?”
Elodie seemed confused. “The monster?”
Yun-Jin immediately shook her head, realizing the absurdity of her question. “Never mind. I guess I’ll just wait and find out.”
Now it was time to sleep and pray to not awaken.
The next trial soon started. I found myself in the snow-covered arena modeled off an abandoned ski lodge. I already knew this was going to be a bad time.
As usual, I started to look around for clues as to which monster we were facing (and who else was suffering alongside me.) If Elodie was there we often stood a better chance at solving the puzzle to open the exit door.
That did not seem to be the case. So, as the other human contestants started on the generators. I attempted to get to higher ground to see where everyone was. My efforts resulted in me coming face to face with the chainsaw wielding monster. The abnormally angry creature quickly forced me off the side of the roof.
If I had been mentally focused, I would have known to jump in a way that would grant me some distance from his attack. For whatever reason my mind slowed to a halt until the moment I was forcibly pushed via a strike to my hip.
Rounding a corner, I knew my leg was broken. The adrenaline gave me just enough of a boost to get out of range of the monster (or more likely, he spotted a closer target.) The pain shot to my chest, sending me to the ground. Somehow, the chainsaw wielding creature managed to hit me on the upper leg, cutting deep into my thigh. There was an uncomfortable amount of blood, but that was nothing new.
Finding a place to sit, I allowed myself a moment of peace and tranquility. My mind drifted to thoughts of my partner, my fiancée (or at least she would have been: I had already purchased the ring.) Would she have said yes? She’d been pregnant, but that didn’t mean she even wanted to be with me. Perhaps she would have had the baby and moved across the world to keep my child away from me.
Maybe falling into the game was a blessing in disguise. I forced myself to take a breath when I heard the sound of the exit opening; it was time for the trial to end. How the hell did that happen? How long had I been stuck wallowing in my own pain? I knew all I had to do was crawl to the gate or one of many possible hatches before the timer ran out. I would be pulled back to the hub to wait for the next torturous game, but at least my leg would be healed (back to default settings.) ‘What was that noise?’
The window was over. “Jesus Christ.” This could not get any worse. I’d always known this could happen, but I had never been distracted enough to allow it to happen to me. If I wasn’t torn apart by the monster, I would be taken by the root system that laced through every trial stage.
Assuming that would be a less painful way to go, I reclined on the icy cold ground. The sensation was akin to being buried alive, as I soon found out. I blinked back tears of pain as my mind blacked out. In the darkness I could hear a deep echoing voice, “Felix Richter, your suffering is…delicious.”
I awoke in the hub, looking up at the familiar dark purple sky. Placing weight on my arms I was able to sit up, seeing the campfire in the distance and the crowd of shocked, horrified survivors.
Elodie covered her mouth, crying. “Oh, dear God.”
It took me a second to realize why: my, now, severely disfigured leg was bleeding profusely. The wound appeared to have torn open, to the point where I could see bone fragments. In the hub world, this was bad. We had no medical kits or even weapons; our access was limited to the forest, fire, dirt, and trees.
“What the?” Elodie’s hands were trembling. “This isn’t possible. We can’t die.”
Although many had tried; we could not inflict harm on ourselves or each other while in the hub world. I’d assumed this was because that would give the contestants an unfair way out. “I know,” I replied in a whisper. my voice was quivering with pain and fear. “But we can suffer.” This was a fate worse than death; to exist with this level of agony for all eternity.
Elodie rushed to my side. She put her arms around me, holding my head to her chest like a mother. Her chest quivered as she struggled for air. It was clear she wanted to speak, to say something of comfort, but no words came.
The moment seemed familiar. This was just like when we lost our parents. We shared an ambulance on the way to the hospital, with ten-year-old Elodie holding me in her arms. I was smaller than her, weaker but she refused to let go. At that moment my heart ached for my mother, and all I had lost.
Now, despite the fact that I had an audience, gawking at my misery, I sobbed uncontrollably. “Elle, please help me.”
Elodie took a few calming breaths, reaching her composure. “I need to find a way to splint your leg.”
That was when the audience started to voice their concerns. “Oh, Hell no!” shouted Dwight. The thin, unintimidating former office manager always seemed to consider himself to be a leader. “What you need to do is get him out of here! Think about it; the entity never left any of us this injured while in the hub. This is a trap!”
Elodie shook her head in disgust. “A trap?”
“Yes,” Dwight replied with a genuine confidence. “Felix is clearly transforming in to… something.”
Elodie’s jaw dropped, she was left dumbstruck on behalf of both of us. “You can’t be serious.” She looked around, desperate for an ally among the crowd of onlookers. “If anything, this is a test. Our captors want to gauge what level of humanity we have left.”
I could hear whispers, murmurs, and the possibility of people believing Elodie’s words. This seemed to be enough to offend Dwight.
“Ok, let’s put it to a vote,” Dwight stood up with a truly disgusting level of authority. “All in favor of moving Felix to someplace isolated?”
One by one, the hands were raised. Dwight had been counting out loud, but stopped the count once it was clear he had won. “Majority rules,” he declared, much like a child running for class president.
Yun-Jin stepped up “I’ll help you find a spot for him.” She had been one of the few who had not voted. “This place is pretty small, it’s not like we can hide him completely out of view. We just need to keep him safe until we can figure out what’s going on.”
Her choice of words (safe as opposed to separated) gave me a level of comfort. Elodie, Yun, and a few others offered to help assemble a make-shift stretcher. I was moved to an open space less than a hundred feet from the campfire; far enough to be safe, but close enough to allow Elodie (and our allies) to keep watch over me.
Elodie stayed by my side, holding my hand. “This is just like when we were kids.” She kissed my blood-stained knuckles. “Remember?”
I nodded. That was as much of a response as I could muster. There was a deep intense pain in my side, as if the infection had become sentient and aimed to disembowel me.
“Do you remember the song I used to sing to you?” she said in a soft comforting whisper.
I did. Elodie was always so strong, and she took it upon herself to share her overflow of compassion and hope. I reached for her hand, desperate for her touch. “You taught me French but you never wanted to learn German. I remember you said it sounded too angry.” I laughed and laughed as my body started to feel unbearably cold. ‘Why was it so cold?’ It hurt to breathe and soon I tasted blood. ‘Was this death? Could I be that fortunate?’ I could feel myself becoming delirious with fever. “Elle?”
“Yes, Felix, I’m here.”
For the first time since arriving in the game, I felt unbearably thirsty. “I need water.”
“I’ll find you some water, I promise.” Elodie started to sit up, preparing to leave my side.
“Please don’t leave me alone.” I knew my request made no sense. Her only chance at retrieving water would be to volunteer for a trial and hope to land someplace where the element was plentiful.
“I’ll find someone to stay with you.” Elodie got up and left. I could hear her talking to someone just out of sight.
“Please! He’s very sick, in a lot of pain.”
“What if I get chosen?” Yun-Jin asked. It was a logical question.
“Then this is a moot point,” Elodie’s voice was breaking with emotion. “I just need some help.”
“Fine, you have my word. I’ll check up on him.”
It didn’t take long for another trial to commence. The chosen participants were usually random, but Elodie decided to take a unique approach. I could hear her shouting at the sky, as people started to disappear, calling our captor a coward; nothing more than a child killing ants with a magnifying glass. When Elodie’s voice went quiet, I assumed she’d been taken.
It wasn’t long before Yun-Jin took a seat by my side, placing her hand in mine. “Hi.” she said with a forced smile.
“Hello,” I said in a whisper, the syllables scraping the inside of my throat.
“I don’t want to say you’ll be alright, because I’m pretty sure that’s not true.” Her fingers were caked with dirt and blood but as she gently squeezed my hand, I could feel her warmth. “If there’s anything I can do for you just ask.”
“Thank you.” I felt a throbbing ache in my chest, traveling up my ribcage. I needed to cough but the muscles that action would require, would likely result in further horrific pain. Instead, I laid back letting the fluid choke in my throat.
I didn’t expect the posh Korean record producer to know CPR, but she was giving it her best try. Yun-Jin slammed her fists to my chest, over and over. When that failed to clear my lungs, she tilted my head back and pressed her lips to mine, offering a single life-giving breath.
I stopped coughing, looking into her compassionate eyes. “You don’t know me and I am not worthy of your kindness. I’m here because I lived a life of sin, and regret. I fought my way to the top of my field but nothing was ever enough. I wasn’t enough.” I blinked tears from my eyes. “You don’t have to stay with me; I’m not someone worth saving.”
Yun-Jin nodded. “The monster I followed here, he was a street performer; a son of restaurant owners, he had big dreams and I was blessed to be in a position to promote his talent. I believed in him, I trusted him. I even let him have access to recording studios to create his own masterpieces. He made songs using the sound effects he recorded during his crime spree. I didn’t want to believe it.” Yun-Jin gripped my hand, holding it to her heart. “You might say I know a little about being a failure and a fuck-up.”
“No one here is a fuck-up,” I said, with a genuine smile. “My father always told me; all humans have flaws, some are weak to alcohol, some are weak to drugs, and some simply have hearts that are too easily broken. That’s why it’s up to us to find beauty in this world, within our fragile, flawed existence.”
With a rush of energy, and passion, Yun-Jin cupped my face and kissed me. Her mouth tasted sweet like the brown sugar ice cream of my childhood. “Let me help you.”
I nodded weakly, welcoming her touch. “Yes, please.”
She took off her dirty jacket, and then her silk shirt, stripping down to her bra. Leaning over my body she took the soft, thin fabric in her mouth, soaking it with her own salvia. My savior gently cleaned the blood from my mouth, down my cheek to my jaw. She began to open my shirt, revealing my chest. I could feel her blow a soothing stream of air as she gently touched the moist silk to my skin. “Does that feel good?”
She still had her torn skirt on, with her leg exposed. My hand seemed to move on its own as I gripped the side of her thigh. “Yes, it does.”
Yun-Jin didn’t seem to notice. She wiped down my chest to my stomach, pausing at my belt. “May I take a look at your leg? Elodie told me that she put some wood ash on the wound. She hoped it would help numb the muscle tissue or at least control the bleeding.” Yun-Jin didn’t wait for an answer before opening my pants. To her credit, she was careful to undress my leg without causing unnecessary movement but at that moment my leg was the least of my concerns.
My cock was exposed. I couldn’t remember the last time I even looked at my dick. Now it was all I could do. I was rock hard, with my thick seven-inch member pressing against my stomach. I wanted her to touch me. I wanted her moist gentle mouth; her lips, her tongue.
“Do you miss your fiancée?” Yun-Jin asked in a calm, professional tone. She kissed my lips, placing her hand over my throbbing erection. “I bet she was beautiful. Would she wait at home for you in just her bra and underwear? Or perhaps nothing at all?”
“Yes,” I replied in a breath.
“Would you take off your jacket, and then your necktie, or maybe your shoes and socks. That would make more sense.” she smiled sweetly as she gripped my hand, moving it from her thigh to her panties. she wore a lacy thong over a soft, hairless pussy.
I could feel her warm, moist labia. My fingers gliding along her silky skin. “You’re so beautiful.”
“I spent my last paycheck on a bikini wax, before getting sent to this hell.”
“Such a pity for it to go to waste.” I bit my tongue, praying I didn’t overstep her comfort zone. She had moved my hand, I assumed she craved human touch just as badly as I did. The exotic beauty discreetly moved herself onto my cock, grinding her hips to mine as we kissed.
With my cock inside her, I could feel my heart pounding. She was riding me, using me, bringing life back to my weary soul. My muscles tensed, I suddenly felt strength in my arms; hands, wrists, shoulders. With a rush of adrenaline, I sat up, cupping her face. I took a moment to catch my breath, looking into her eyes. It had been so long since I felt a connection, touch, anything. Yet I could feel her; her hips, her thighs, her tight pussy devouring me whole.
Yun-Jin blew a soft stream of air, her breath smelling of whisky and rice candy. “You going to kiss me or what?” Our lips met, with her tongue slipping into my mouth.
All I could feel was deep, intense pleasure. With pleasure came love and with love came strength. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt my body; my legs, my spine, my cock, my ass. Every breath of air in my lungs tensed.
I was going to climaxed hard, but so was she. I could feel her body quiver, as her walls tightened. She pressed her lips to my ear, breathing soft and slow. “I’m so used to being a fuck-doll, I can’t remember the last time a man gave me an orgasm.”
Her comment, punctuated with a sweet giggle send shivers down my spine. I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to ejaculate inside a woman. I could feel tears in my eyes as I tried to hold back as long as possible. “Are you close?” I wanted so badly for her to climax first, to feel her juices dripping down her thighs.
“I’m so used to letting people use me, hurt me.” Her nails dug in to my back, as she pulled me close. My body shivered, soaked in sweat. The fever was broken, but Yun-Jin was just getting started. “More, please,” my lover moaned. Grinding her hips, her cunt was like a ferocious anaconda begging to be devoured. “I want more.” Yun-Jin took off her panties, her shirt then her bra. Her body glistened in the moonlight, like a precious jewel.
“Sit on my face.” I wanted to sip from her juicy, wet pussy. I could imagine she tasted like sweet peaches and cream, with a hint of vanilla and spice. I gripped her ass, spreading her thighs. I was moments away from rising my lips to meet her flower, when I heard a voice.
“Felix?” I turned to see Elodie, who had dropped whatever she had been carrying.
I had no words. And Yun-Jin had no intention of stopping. The exotic diva gripped my hair, guiding me back to the task at hand. I had a choice to make, (with my newfound strength I could have easily pushed her off), but I also knew what my heart desired. I buried my tongue inside Yun-Jin, tasting her deep flavors. I was fucking her with my mouth while her creamy thighs threatened to cut off my airway.
I didn’t care. My Korean goddess tasted so good, that I would have treasured the chance to choke on her labia. Suddenly, I felt a pair of hands fully removing my clothing. “Your leg appears to be healed,” said a female voice. Was that Elodie, or someone else entirely?
next: Mutual Destruction ch2