Special Notes:

1. This fic does contain blood and gore, strong language, crude humor, OOC moments, and other unpleasant stuff. If any of this offends you, you may wanna turn back now.

2. There WILL be character deaths in this story, but I am not gonna tell who just yet.... and PMing me constantly won't make me spill the beans any faster.

3. I do not own the Sonic characters, Sega does. I do not own the special guests, but I can't spoil who does YET. I do not own the Saw properties, Lionsgate does. I do not own several OC's used in this story, I'll tell who does when they're used.

4. This is a seperate storyline from Taste of the Emeralds, nothing that happens in this story will effect that one.

5. I know in the prolouge it says only 20 people will be involved in the game.... but at this point I cannot say whether that number will go up or down.

6. This is dedicated to several people.

Mable - a great friend, fantastic authoress and constant source of inspiration

abstow89 - a skilled author, a great person, and a fuckin' amazin' gross-out gag writer

MimiSkitty - a wonderful friend, an amazing artist (check out her stuff on Deviant-art, minus the dash, and you'll see what I mean, and a very gentle soul

All of you who've sent in OCs

Without these people, I'm positive this fic wouldn't be made....

But enough talk....

Time to start the game.....


"Ung........ whuh....."

The last thing Knuckles the Echidna remembered was chasing off Rouge, who'd tried to steal his precious Master Emerald, an occurance he'd never gotten used to, nor appreciated. Then.... all had gone black...

Slowly opening his eyes and groaning as he rubbed his head, Knuckles could easily tell he was not anywhere near Angel Island anymore. Despite the only light in the room coming from a single lit bulb swinging above his head, he could make out the stone grey walls surrounding his prison, scrawlings tattering the area. As he got onto his feet, he lifted his snout into the air and sniffed before plugging his nose, the acrid stench of dust and slime filling his nostrils. The sounds of dripping water seemed to echo through the room, although Knuckles couldn't tell where it was coming from.

"Ugh.... where the hell AM I?"

But as the echidna tried to take a step forward to investigate the place, a loud clattering filled the room, a clattering that stopped when he put his foot down and started up when he tried to take another step. Feeling around his body, he soon realized where that noise was coming from....

A large metal belt had been put around his waist, the chains connecting it to his arms and legs producing the clanking and clattering he had heard.

"What's going on here?", Knuckles wondered before he raised his head towards the bulb and screamed, "SONIC!!! EGGMAN!!! IF THIS IS SOME KIND OF JOKE I'M NOT LAUGHING!!!"

It was then that his eyes caught the sight of a small tape recorder laying in the shadows by one of the corners of the room, almost obscured completely by the darkness. Walking over to where it lay, he picked it up and saw that it had been laying on top of a small note. Shifting the recorder to one gloved hand, he used the other to pick up the note, the chains somewhat restricting his movements the entire time and producing the loud clattering noise he'd heard before. Slowly unfolding the note, he could see there were only 3 simple words written on it...

"PLAY ME, KNUCKLES."

Knowing the note was referring to the recorder he now held in his hand, the echidna pushed down the play button on the device... and soon a creepy and cold voice was filling the room... one that sent shivers down Knuckles' spine.

Hello Knuckles..... I'd like to play a game with you...... For all your life, you've been thinking more with your fists than with your head, obsessed about your Master Emerald and guarding it from treasure hunters, rivals, and the like.... Now it's time for you to learn that violence doesn't always solve your problems.... it can make them worse.... Attached to you is a special belt of my design, wielding a set of very sharp and very deadly blades. In 10 minutes, the belt will activate, slicing through your flesh and leaving you as dead as your mind has become. There is no keyhole and no key that can undo the belt, but there IS a way to stop the timer and get the belt off. If you relax and think it over, you may find the answer is closer than you'd expect. But can you hold your instinctive temper and rationally think of a solution... or will your anger consume you once again.... Game on.....

As the message shut off, Knuckles felt a mixture of wanting to scream and wanting to vomit. He didn't know what he had done to deserve being held in this stone hell and now he only had 10 minutes to live before the blades in the belt cut him in two. But then he remembered what the message had said...

"This is no key and no keyhole...", Knuckles repeated to himself shakily, "But there's a way to stop the timer...."

Almost out of instinct, he reached behind to try and tug at the belt to get it off him, but then he remember that his anger had been mentioned clearly in the message.... and a thought came to him...

"This... this psycho's expecting me to try and rip it off..."

It was then another noise reached the echidna's ears, a loud beeping noise. Looking down, Knuckles could see a set of red lit numbers now counting down and reading 09:59.

"Oh shit........ oh SHIT.....", Knuckles thought as he watched the timer slowly ticking away. For the first time in his life, Knuckles felt afraid.... he felt truly afraid. Not just for his emerald... but for his life....

"Is... is this all because of that jewel??? The thing I was assigned to guard with my life???"

Desperately, Knuckles screamed out for someone... ANYONE...

"SOMEONE HELP ME!!! SONIC!!! TAILS!!! ROUGE!!!! EGGMAN!!!! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!! I DON'T WANT TO DIE HERE!!!!!!!"

Hearing only the sound of his voice echoing through the room only helped to unnerve the echidna even more. The fact that he KNEW it wasn't Eggman or Sonic doing this as a joke filled him with fear more than anything else.... He'd encountered a lot of villians in his past.... but never one that wanted to outright murder him.... he knew not even Eggman was that sadistic.

"Someone..... anyone...... please.... please help me...", Knuckles yelled weakly, close to the point of tears. "Someone...."

Desperate to get the belt off, but remembering what the message had said, Knuckles could only pace around the room, trying to figure out what his captor's message had meant...

"If I relax and try to think it over..... the answer is closer than I expect...."

Looking down, Knuckles could see that the timer now read 05:00 and his time was running out.

"If I relax and think it over.... the answer is closer than I expect..... HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO RELAX WHEN I'M GONNA BE CUT IN HALF IN 5 MINUTES?!?"

Feeling himself at the point of nearly hyperventilating, Knuckles had to take a few deep breaths to calm himself enough to where he could think rationally, that being in the loosest term.

"I don't believe this is happening..... I'm gonna die.... I can't die like this.... there has to be some way of getting the belt off... but if I can't use my fists..... what CAN I use???"

As the beeping continued, second after second ticking away, Knuckles racked his brain trying to think of some way to safely remove the belt. He tried looking around the room for something he could use to pry it off, but quickly found the entire room had been bare of ANYTHING that could conceivably be of use to him. He tried looking at the messages on the walls for assistance, as if hoping for some sort of hint, but only found bloody scrawls of "Kill me!" and nonsensical ramblings, presumably other people's dying words as their sanity disappeared. He even tried feeling around his body, carefully avoiding even touching the belt or the timer, hoping some tool had been implanted in his fur-covered flesh, but couldn't even find a single scar or stitch....

"No...... this can't be....."

Looking down after feeling around his body, Knuckles saw that only a minute remained on the clock and it was then he did something he'd never done before....

He began to pray....

"Dear god, please don't let my life end like this.... please give me a chance to redeem myself.... please...."

Looking down one last time, he saw the timer slowly go from 5.... to 4.... to 3.... to 2..... and finally to 1..... and he shut his eyes waiting for the belt to slice him in half.....

But instead of feeling his torso being sliced through, he felt the belt automatically loosen and slowly collapse to the ground in a heap, leaving him unscathed, but puzzled

"What the fuck...... it didn't go off...."

"Well done, Knuckles..."

Hearing the same voice from the recorder, Knuckles turned around and saw a section of the stone wall had slid away to reveal a small tv screen... and on it was the image of a puppet with chalk-white skin, red swirls on his cheeks, and a beady expression on his emotionless face

"Who the heck are you?!?", Knuckles blurted out before he could stop himself

You will learn that in due time, my young echidna... It appears you survived your test.... The blades on your belt were connected not to the timer on your front, but a pressure monitor on your back. If you'd attempted to use your fists to pry off the device... it would have set off the blades and you wouldn't be hearing my voice now.... But you refrained from using brute force and allowed the timer to reach 0, using your head for once in your life, and allowed the belt to loosen itself from your body, But your game is not over yet.... not even by a longshot.....

"What... what do you mean???"

You are not the only one in this building.... a number of people you know, as well as some you don't, have all been selected to play my game..... if you're lucky, all of them will succeed in their tests and you'll all have a chance to leave this place alive..... But you cannot help them.....

"WHAT?!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T HELP THEM?!? I'M SUPPOSED TO JUST WATCH THEM DIE?!?"

Knuckles it's time you learned you CAN'T help everyone.... Your hedgehog friend, Sonic.... he'll have to learn this lesson as well.....

"You..... you didn't....", Knuckles sneered in vile disgust, "What did that hedgehog do to you!?"

It is not what he did to me... but what he's done to himself.... and should you try to help him or any of the others complete their challenges.... well.... you'll have the pleasure of knowing their blood is on your hands....

"YOU BASTARD!!! YOU SICK FUCKING BASTARD!!!!!", Knuckles screamed, saliva and froth spraying from his mouth, "HOW CAN YOU DO THIS?!?"

In due time, you will learn my lessons..... but for now... it's time for you to watch one of your friends play their game.... just go to the door that appears... but do not open it.... not yet.... and Knuckles.... Game on....

With that, the screen went to black and the sound of a secret panel sliding open filled the echidna's dreadlock-covered ears. Looking to his right, he saw that another section of the wall had slid up and now revealed a dungeon-like brown door, a small window near the top. Cautiously, Knuckles walked towards the door, no longer bound by the heavy belt, and looked in the window. What he saw.... filled him with shock.....


So Knuckles has survived his challenge.... but what else awaits him in this nightmare..... and what's filled him with such shock? All these answers and more as The Trials of the Red Echidna continues.

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