|42 to 1
Author: Close to the Edge PM
The junior class of Northrup Academy has been selected to participate in this year's program. 42 begin the game, but at the end, only 1 can remain. Rating will go up in future chapters for violence/sexual content.Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Tragedy - Chapters: 6 - Words: 23,344 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 11-05-12 - Published: 10-08-12 - id: 8591505
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"We've been blessed. I truly think we've been blessed."
Girl #05 Kendra Young stared down at the weapons stockpile of her group and beamed. There's only one useless thing here, and that's Tiffany's bowling ball, Kendra thought. We can defend ourselves with all of this, people better think twice before they decide to mess with us, that's for sure.
The girls in Kendra's group had retreated to an upstairs bedroom in a house on the south side of the island. After the game had started they had all found each other soon after they were released onto the island and had decided to head south. There, they had found what was once a neighborhood, but no one lived there now. They had found a big, friendly house and decided to camp out there.
All of their weapons lay on the floor of the bedroom. Girl #20 Tiffany Parker's bowling ball was of no use, and by the look of the slowly swelling bump on her cheek and the fact that her jaw was shattered and she could no longer talk, Tiffany herself wouldn't be of much use either. She had tried explaining to them how it had happened with hand signals, but nobody in the group could understand her. They didn't know that she had been planning to egg Rachel Stein's car and had been pistol-whipped just before the start of the game by Mr. Foster himself.
The other weapons, however, were a different story. Girl #09 Phoebe Armstrong's was a vial with a clear liquid inside. Kendra would've mistaken it for water if it wasn't for the skull and crossbones label on it. Kendra knew they would probably never have to poison someone, but it was good to have around, just in case. Girl #02 Jade Huang's weapon was a bulletproof vest, and while it had no offensive capabilities Kendra knew not to underestimate its use, especially considering several people on the island probably had guns. Girl #06 Jasmine Little had received a tire iron and Kendra herself had received a pickaxe. Even though none of them had any firearms or long-range weapons, Kendra was very happy with what they had received.
"I wish we had a gun," said Jade. "If someone comes here with a gun we're fucked."
"Don't think like that," said Kendra. She glared at Jade. "We have all the weapons we need. We should be thankful that we found this house, and if anyone comes with a gun they'll be on our territory."
Tiffany rubbed the side of her face and felt the growing lump. She had been hit so hard she had been knocked out, and everything she had experienced since Mr. Foster pistol-whipped her was a blur. She knew she should probably be worried, that she should probably be concerned for the safety of her friends and herself, but for some reason she felt very calm. She was so dazed that she couldn't worry even if she tried. But there was one thing that was bothering Tiffany. Though her head was foggy, she tried desperately to remember something. I have to tell them all something. I have to tell them something very important but I don't know what it is. I can't remember what I have to say… Tiffany rubbed the lump on her head, but that only made it hurt worse, so she took her hand away.
"I'm hungry," Jasmine whined.
"Then eat one of your bread rolls," said Jade.
"I don't want to waste them. If we're here for three days I don't want all my food to run out now."
"We probably won't even last three days," Jade said bitterly. "You'll never know which meal will be your last, so I'd enjoy your bread rolls while you're still alive."
"Jade!" Kendra snapped. "Why are you being so negative? We have weapons, we have water, and we have food. We could stay here the whole three days and nothing bad could happen to us."
"I'm not being negative I'm being realistic," said Jade. "You know as well as I do that there will be danger zones coming in the next few hours and there's just going to be more and more as time goes on. We can't stay here forever, so even if we have the upper hand now if someone attacked us, we won't have it forever. Second, we don't have any firearms, and your pickaxe and Jasmine's tire iron are the only weapons we have that are even slightly useful. Third, even if all of us somehow do make it to the last day, either we turn on each other and kill each other, or we all wait out our last hours on this planet on some godforsaken island with all of our classmates dead. So no, I'm not being negative, I'm just being the voice of fucking reason here."
Nobody said anything for a minute. The impact of Jade's words struck them hard and they were forced to deal with a reality none of them wanted to exist in. Finally, after a long silence, Phoebe, usually the quietest member of the group, spoke up.
"She's right," said Phoebe softly. The others all turned to stare at her. "She's right, we're all doomed on this island, we're all going to die, and no matter how good we think we have it here, we're fucked."
"I'm sorry," said Jade with tears in her eyes. "I didn't mean to say it like that, but it's true. I'm not going to avoid the truth just because I don't like it. I think it's good we're all here, and that I'm spending my last days with you guys. I wouldn't have it any other way."
"It's good we found each other," said Jasmine. "We've been friends for so long, and even this fucked up game won't tear us apart. If these are our last days, I can accept that, as long as we all stick together. Nothing's going to break us apart."
It had been a great first week of school for Kendra Young. She had been very nervous about going to a private boarding school far away from home, but as soon as she had arrived at Northrup Academy she had loved it. Sure, she was one of the few black girls at a school that wasn't known for its diversity, but she had finally found a place where she could talk to intellectual equals. Back home, she had always been the smartest, a big fish in a little pond, but she felt like she belonged at Northrup, that it was just right for her. By the end of her first week, Kendra had thought Northrup Academy was a dream come true.
Kendra hadn't met Rachel Stein yet.
It was the first Friday of the year, and Kendra was walking with her new friend Phoebe. Phoebe wasn't much of a talker, and Kendra often wondered what was going on in that head of hers, but they were a good match for each other because Kendra loved to talk and Phoebe barely talked at all. As they walked down one of the halls of Northrup Academy towards Phoebe's room, which she shared with two other girls, Kendra noticed another girl walking towards them. The girl was pretty, about five and a half feet with long, light brown hair and emerald green eyes. As she passed them, Kendra heard the girl mumble something under her breath.
"Fucking nigger," the girl said under her breath. "My daddy didn't pay for me to go to a school with the likes of you."
Kendra stopped dead in her tracks and turned to look at the girl. Phoebe hadn't heard what the girl had said and kept walking until she noticed Kendra had stopped. She turned around to look at Kendra with a confused look on her face while Kendra walked up to the girl and got right up in her face.
"What the hell did you just say," Kendra asked the girl. Though Kendra was taller by a few inches, the girl did not seem intimidated at all.
"I said," the girl snarled, "my daddy didn't pay for a school with the likes of you, nigger."
"Actually," said another voice from behind them. Kendra and the girl both turned to stare at this new girl. The girl had jet black hair and dark brown, almost black eyes. She was short and Asian and very thin. In an unconventional way she was almost pretty. She was glaring at the girl Kendra had confronted. "I don't think she said that at all. I think she said she was an ignorant white bitch who better keep her mouth shut."
"Excuse me?" said the girl who had insulted Kendra. "What did you say?"
"You heard me," the Asian girl replied. "The world doesn't need another entitled, stuck-up bitch like you."
The girl who had insulted Kendra looked around. She saw the Asian girl, Kendra, and Phoebe. Knowing she was outnumbered, she stormed off with a huff, choosing not to reply to the Asian girl's words. After she had left, the Asian girl walked up to Kendra.
"Don't pay any attention to her," the Asian girl said. "That's Rachel Stein. You should try to avoid her whenever you can, but I don't think she'll be bothering you anymore."
"Thank you so much," said Kendra. "I can't believe you just stood up for me like that. That took guts to say what you said right there. How do you know her name?"
"She's in my math class. I have to sit next to that piece of shit."
"That really sucks."
"Tell me about it." The Asian girl laughed. "My name is Jade. What's your name?"
"My name is Kendra, and this is my friend Phoebe." Kendra gestured to Phoebe. "It's nice to meet you."
"It's nice to meet you too," Jade said with a smile.
"Well," said Kendra, "Phoebe and I better get going. We told Phoebe's roommates Tiffany and Jasmine we would meet up with them by now, so we're probably already late. See you around!"
"Yeah, see you around I guess," said Jade. Kendra thought she saw her smile falter just a little bit, but she couldn't be sure.
Kendra and Phoebe started walking down the hall while Jade went in the other direction. Kendra and Phoebe walked down the hall for a few moments before Phoebe turned to Kendra.
"You should've invited her," said Phoebe.
"What?" asked Kendra.
"She stood up for you back there and you barely thanked her. It's the first week of school; she might not have any friends yet. You should've invited her to join us."
Kendra thought about what Phoebe had said for a few moments, and then she turned around. Jade was walking towards the other end of the hall, but not quite out of earshot.
"Hey Jade!" Kendra yelled down the hall. Jade turned around with a surprised look on her face. "Come over here! We want to ask you something!"
Jade ran down the hall towards Kendra and Phoebe. "What did you want to ask me?" she asked when she got up to them.
"Well, we were talking," Kendra said, "and we decided that we couldn't let you go after what you just did for me, so we're inviting you to come hang out with us. I don't know if you're doing anything right now, but if you want we're just going to Phoebe's room to watch some movies."
Jade beamed. "I'd love to come," she said.
"Well, that was pretty inspirational Jasmine," said Kendra, with only a hint of sarcasm.
Jasmine laughed. "Okay, okay, I know it was a pretty corny thing to say, but it's true. I know we're too strong to let this game tear us apart."
"Unfortunately," Kendra began, "we're going to have to let it tear us a part for a few minutes. I know we've already explored the house but I want Phoebe to come with me to check on things one more time. We won't be long, and soon we'll all be back together again." Kendra smiled. She pointed in the general direction of Jasmine and Jade. "You two keep an eye of Tiffany while Phoebe and I are gone. She's not looking too good. C'mon, Phoebe."
Phoebe looked from Kendra to Jasmine and Jade then back to Kendra. She sighed and walked with Kendra out the door of the room. When the two of them had left, Jade turned to Jasmine with a worried expression on her face.
"What do you think Kendra is planning to talk to Phoebe about?" Jade asked Jasmine.
"What are you talking about?" Jasmine asked Jade in a louder voice than Jade would have liked.
"Shush, keep your voice down." Jade stared at Jasmine with intense eyes. "If I know Kendra, which I definitely do, she's telling Phoebe something that she doesn't want any of us to hear."
Jasmine frowned. "I think you're just being paranoid. What would Kendra even have to say that none of us could hear?"
"Oh c'mon Jasmine I know you're not that dumb. It's always like this. Whenever Kendra has a secret she always tells Phoebe before she tells the rest of us. Haven't you ever noticed that? And we searched this house already; that was just a lame excuse for her to be alone with Phoebe."
"Well, even if she did just leave to be alone with Phoebe, what secret would she even have to tell her?"
"She doesn't trust me. After what I said, about how we would all have to turn on each other at the end, I don't think she trusts me. I think she thinks I'm planning to turn against all of you guys."
"Jade, you're really starting to scare me. You sound so paranoid right now you should really hear yourself. You're one of Kendra's best friends; you've known her since the first week of high school. Trust me, there's no way she would ever doubt you."
Tiffany lay on the floor, half listening to the conversation that was going on right in front of her but not really caring about it. The bump was growing bigger and bigger and the pain in her head was getting worse and worse. It was now spreading beyond her head and throughout her entire body. Every time Tiffany moved her head, she could almost feel her brain hitting the walls of her cranium. She sighed. She couldn't stop thinking about what she had to say. She still didn't remember exactly what it was, but she had finally remembered that it was about someone they all knew. Who is it? What do I have to say about them? Stupid Mr. Foster, if only he hadn't hit me then I would be able to remember.
When Kendra and Phoebe had walked down the stairs and were out of the earshot of anyone in the room, Kendra turned to Phoebe.
"You know I didn't bring you along to check out the house, right?" asked Kendra.
"I figured as much," said Phoebe with a sigh. "What is it now, Kendra?"
"What do you mean what is it now? It's Jade, obviously. Have you been listening to her? She keeps talking about how we all have to turn against each other in the end. I think she's plotting something. I think she's going to kill us all when we least expect it because she wants to win!"
Phoebe glared at Kendra. "Kendra, this game is really getting to you. You of all people should know how Jade can get. Confronting this game head on is just her way of dealing with the situation, but you know she would never dream of turning on us in a million years. Think about everything we've gone through."
Kendra narrowed her eyes at Phoebe. "You're right about one thing Phoebe. This game does change people, and I think it's changed her. I don't think we can trust her anymore. Listen, Phoebe, you have to trust me on this one. Jade was always kind of a loner, before she met us and even after she became our friend. She's not tied down to people; I wouldn't put it past her to turn on us. When she was talking about what might happen she mentioned we might turn on each other. The fact that she even mentioned that was a possibility should clue you in."
"I can't Kendra. I'd never believe she'd do that to us, and it hurts me that you do. I mean, you literally have no evidence, it's not like she's attacked us or is acting strangely; she's just being herself. Why are you so scared?"
Kendra looked deeply into Phoebe's eyes. "Phoebe, since I've known you for so long, and you're my oldest and best friend, and because I want to believe you despite my better judgment, I'm going to trust you. I'm going to trust you that Jade isn't up to anything, but the moment she does anything fishy I will my voice my suspicions and I will do something about it."
"It's probably fishy we even left in the first place. We better get back up there before they start to think something's wrong."
The two girls headed back to the stairs and started climbing up. When they got to the top, Phoebe looked at Kendra, just like she had all those years before the day they first met Jade.
"Nothing she ever does is good enough for you," Phoebe said. "Even since the first day you two met, she could never do enough for you. She's always stood up for you, but deep down you always expected more, didn't you?"
Kendra stared at Phoebe in shock. She couldn't believe she was saying such things, but deep down Kendra knew everything she was saying was true.
"I knew you wouldn't have anything to say," Phoebe continued. "You know it's true. These are our last days alive; you better make it up to her while you still can." With that, Phoebe walked towards the door of the room and disappeared behind it.
Kendra stared at the doorway as rage filled her. You're so wrong Phoebe. Jade's going to show her cards soon enough, and then we'll see who's really right. Then we'll see who was right about Jade all along. Kendra walked towards the doorway and entered the room. She would be keeping a closer eye on Jade.
"It's not coming, Rachel. I've been standing here for two hours and I'm not standing anymore. If a ship was going to rescue us it would've come by now."
Girl #04 Hannah Jones turned around to look at Girl #03 Rachel Stein. Hannah was standing at the edge of the cliff on the western end of the island. She had been looking towards the sea, straining her eyes at any sign of a rescue boat on the horizon, but none had come. Rachel was sitting a few feet away from the edge of the cliff, eating one of her bread rolls.
"It's happened before," said Rachel casually. She bit off a piece of her roll and started chewing it as she talked. "You better keep looking, I know last year in Japan a rescue boat run by one of those terrorist organizations came and ruined the whole program. They might try that here this year, so keep looking."
"But I'm tired of standing here looking for a boat. Why don't you come and look with me?"
Rachel glared at Hannah and swallowed the piece of roll she had been chewing. "Hannah, we went over this already. You watch for any signs of a rescue boat while I stay here and defend us in case we get attacked. Is there anything you're still not getting?"
"But when's Lauren going to get back? She's been gone for almost two hours now. What is she even doing out there?"
"I told her to go look for Gretchen. Once Gretchen gets here, the four of us will be together. Isn't that what you wanted? It'll be just like high school."
"But what about Claire? Shouldn't she be with us, too?"
Rachel smirked. "Oh yeah. Her. I kind of forgot about Claire, but I don't think she would actually want to be with us now in this shit." She laughed to herself. "Oh no, I don't think it would be a good idea to have Claire here at all."
"Rachel, she's been with us since almost the beginning. You want to just abandon Claire on this island to die?"
"Would you really trust Claire if she was with us?" Rachel asked as she began to chew on another piece of her bread roll. "Has Claire ever really been one of us Hannah? Hasn't she ever seemed, well, a little different to you?"
"What do you mean?" Hannah asked, but deep down she knew exactly what Rachel meant.
"Oh, c'mon Hannah, I know you know what I'm talking about. Let me ask you another question: when was the last time you saw Claire smile?"
Hannah shuddered. She knew exactly what Rachel was trying to get at. Hannah thought about Rachel's question and realized she couldn't remember the last time she saw Claire smile. The more she thought about it, she realized she couldn't remember the last time Claire showed any emotion at all.
"I don't remember," replied Hannah honestly. "I don't remember, but she's still our friend and we can't forget that."
"Hannah, Hannah, Hannah," Rachel said while shaking her head. "You just don't get it, do you? This is a life or death situation, and in life or death situations you find out who your true friends are. Claire hung out with us back home, but she's never been friends with us, not really. Would you trust someone that never smiles or shows any emotion with your life? I wouldn't, and I hope she doesn't find us."
Hannah knew she was defeated. Once Rachel made up her mind about something, no force in the world could get her to change it. Hannah turned back around and strained her eyes looking for a possible rescue boat. There was a slim chance any boat would come and Hannah knew it, but she also knew that Rachel knew what she was talking about when she had said it was their only chance off the island. Rachel's father worked for the government, which is why she probably knew about the rescue mission in Japan. Information like that wasn't usually made available to the public for fear it might inspire people to attempt the same thing, but Rachel knew all sorts of secrets that nobody else knew. Most of the time Rachel kept them to herself, but Hannah was glad Rachel had told her about the Japan incident because it had given Hannah hope, and hope was a thing she desperately needed at the moment.
Hannah looked down where the cliff met the sea. The waves lapped up against the side of the cliff, and Hannah could see sharp rocks jutting out from underneath he waves. I wonder if it would be safe for a boat to get close to the island. She turned back around to look at Rachel once again.
"Rachel, if a boat does happen to come, what do we do then?" Hannah asked.
"We signal it to come get us, duh," Rachel said.
"And how do we do that?"
"Hannah, why do you make me feel like I'm talking to a child? We jump up in the air, we scream as loud as we can, we start a fire if we have to. We do whatever we have to do to get its attention, so that when it comes to rescue us we'll be the first people on board. Haven't you ever seen Cast Away?"
"Yeah, I've seen it. That's the one with Tom Hanks right? He didn't wait on the island for a boat to come; he went out into the ocean."
"Well, whatever. We'll still do whatever we need to do to get on board."
"Well I looked down and I noticed there's no beach or anything for the boat to land on. It's just the cliff and rocks, how would a boat be able to get close to the island with all those rocks in the water?"
"Show me what you're talking about."
"Come here and I will." Hannah turned back around and pointed down at the sharp rocks that jutted out of the water below. In the corner of her eye she saw Rachel walk up to her right side, but a little behind her. Rachel peered over the edge cautiously and looked at the rocks Hannah was pointing to.
"Hmm, I see," Rachel said more to herself than to Hannah. "Well, you're right; it doesn't look like any boat will be coming here anytime soon."
"You see, I told y-" Hannah began to say. Suddenly, she felt a hand on her back and felt herself being pushed forward. Hannah was so caught off guard she didn't have time to react, and suddenly she didn't feel like she was moving forward at all, but downward. She spun around and around and everything seemed to be a blur. Hannah didn't even comprehend what was going on as she spun until she was facing the ground and noticed the sharp rock approaching her. What the-
Hannah hit the rock with a wet smacking sound. She had fallen at least 100 feet to the sharp rocks below, and Rachel looked over the edge of the cliff to admire her handiwork. Hannah was lying face down on the rock, with blood staining the rock and the water. The waves splashed over her body and washed some of the blood away, but she kept bleeding. Rachel watched her for a full minute until finally a powerful wave swept her body from the rock and she went under.
Rachel smiled to herself as she turned away from the edge of the cliff. That had been way too easy, she thought to herself. The next time I want to make it last longer. Rachel walked back to her bag, sat down, and started eating another bread roll.
Rachel had known full well that there was no chance in hell a rescue boat would ever make it to the island, but she wanted to test Hannah before she killed her. Rachel really did have a father who worked for the government, and she did know more than most of the others at her school, but there had been no rescue mission in Japan. She had made the story up to see how much power she had over Hannah and to see how long it would take her to figure out it would be impossible for a boat to ever come. Then, when Hannah had started catching on to the fact that they wouldn't be getting rescued, Rachel had killed her, simple as that.
As Rachel sat eating her bread roll, she looked up towards the sky. It was morning, but dark grey clouds had settled over the island, shielding the sun from view. A storm was coming. Yes, a storm is coming, and its name is Rachel Stein. Anyone who gets caught in the eye of the storm won't be getting back out.
Rachel swallowed the last piece of her bread roll and sat quietly waiting for Girl #19 Lauren Fitzpatrick to return. Rachel had already killed Hannah, but she knew that was so easy it barely even counted. When Lauren returned to Rachel, Rachel knew her true reign of terror would begin, and nobody, not even the strongest competitors on the island, would be safe.
38 Students Remaining