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Awakening to a cold steal cube, surrounded by high pitched darkness, with no noise to confirm that he was actually alive or not asleep, but dreaming, there was just enough room to keep his claustrophobia tamed, but he feared as time passed, his mind would cause the walls to start closing in. He could smell the scent of the sea’s salts staining the atmosphere, which gave him some idea of his location. “Perhaps a shipping dock” he thought,” or on the ship itself”. Knowing the location did not stop worry from pending into his thoughts. He arose up to search around, touching the icy cold walls. For a while, he found nothing, but he stumbled upon an abnormally shaped gate. His eyes lit up with relief but had a blood shot quality to them. However this was in vain, for the gate would not unbolt. He fell to his knees with emotion more powerful than disappointment, but with the loss of hope, he crawled around searching for the spot in which he was originally seated; to comfort himself in is warmth. As he sat there, convincing himself that the gate would surely open, he feel into slumber.
The boy laid there for the first time in this steel box at peace, but was awakened. This time he was not just greeted by an unknown location, the location was now in moving. He could feel the ground leave from under him. The box started to shake in all directions; this startled the young boy, and throwing his body against the side of the metal box like a rag doll. He smacked against the walls, them taking the breath out of his lungs, and crushing bone. This went on for minutes but the trauma caused him to lose track of time. One final thud connected his head with the steel floor and the steel floor with an unknown surface. The boy groaned and rose from his possible metal coffin; the boy got up and brushed himself off only to feel liquid flow down his forehead. Reaching for the mysterious substances, he hopes it wasn’t what he believed it was, but when his hand came down it was covered in liquid ruby. His eyes widened with shock as he manically tried to stop the bleeding, but soon started to get sleepy and fell into a brain damaged induced sleep.
The boy aroused to see on one side of the wall a small beam of light growing bigger and pouring warmness over his nearly frozen body. The gate of the box screeched opened, his trauma preventing him from jumping with joy and he just laid there. He could hear a pair of heavy feet walk towards him, he quickly regained his awareness of the world and standing as still as he could, afraid that this man could have been the one that trapped him in this box, and wasn’t his savior. The footsteps were now over him, he held his breath, it felt as the figure was examine him, and with a relief sign the foot step receded away from him slowly. The boy lay there with no worry, but suddenly the footsteps returned much faster as they ran towards him. With fear he laid still once again. But this time, the foot hit him in his upper ribs, surely breaking one or two of them. The blow was of great force, enough to send him flying across the cube. With effort, he tried to look at the one who attacked him, and he saw a teenage girl around his age with short bright orange hair, freckles, and bright blue eyes that were in rage.
“Do you think I’m stupid... well do you?!” the girl yelled,” Because that little possum act you pulled there was terrible, how could such a top ranked assassin can such a moron?” She stared at the boy expecting an answer with one check buffed out in frustration.
The boy was still in horrible pain, but he managed to get to his feet, barely staying up. He got a better look at the girl; she was much shorter then he was, and was dress in a tank top, military pants and combat boots. The boy found the girl’s attire to be a bit amusing, and he thought she looked cute, but considering the girl just broke his ribs he figured he’d stay on her goodish side.
“Why did you do that? God that hurts, I think you broke it” the boy muttered in agony,” Who the hell are you?, Did you put me in here?”
“Woo woo, I’m asking the questions first; what rank are you? If you’re a high level, then that kick shouldn’t have done anything to you. And why are you still in here? The ship stopped hours ago. You’re lucky I came in here, because you would have missed a lot”, she said matter of factually.
So much about what the girl just said made the boy’s already rattled brain even more confused. The only way he’d get his answers the boy thought was to give her hers and get something from her responses, even though he had no idea what she was getting at.
“…. I couldn’t get the gate open” the boy said with a touch of curiosity,” and what do mean by rank?”
The girl looked at him with disbelief. “What are you talking about? I mean, the assassins ranks of skill level of course. Are you seriously that lost,” the girl sighed. “…..so what’s you rank?!
“Oh, I remember. I just start training with some hit man, he was teaching me assassination, and said that I was a rook“; the boy sentence was cut off by the girl’s booming shout.
“What, you’re a freaking rookie?!” the girl burst into laughter. This made the boy slightly angry.
“What’s so funny?!” the boy yelled.
“Oh nothing, it’s just that you’re going to be brutally murdered, too bad, I liked you. You were funny”, the girl said still half laughing and walking towards the gate.
“Wait what. Why?!”
“You’re in deep trouble man, you’re in the middle of a tournament and everybody in it is either one rank away from veteran assassin like me, or a veteran. You’re only a rookie. They’ll kill you quickly”, the girl said with a seriousness that frighten the boy.
“You’re, you’re lying. Let me go! I’m not part of some tournament! I’m only an assassin in training! For heaven’s sake I haven’t even killed someone yet!”
“You’re a killing virgin”, the girl said with disbelief. She once again laughed at the hilarity in which the boy couldn’t see,” On top of being a rookie you’re a cherry boy. Wow you’re doomed”.
“Shut up”, he yelled with his face blushed” There’s no tournament anyway”
The girl wiped away the tears of joy and suddenly got serious. Oh, then come see for yourself”
They exited the box which the boy discovered to be a shipping crate. To the blinding light of the sun, the boy’s theory of being on a ship was confirmed. He could see the ocean that surrounded the scape. The girl simply pointed, him followed her finger, he saw an island, within which he could also see a mountain in and the hundreds of trees that painted it.
“The tournament is held on a remote island. There are no connections to the outside world, and the ship will only return in a month’s time, so you better try and survive until then”.
The boy fell to his knees, unable to put his head around this, his hand on his face and in his hair. He thought about his coming death, and the fear of it all petrified him in his current position. “I’m going to die. This can’t be happening to me. I’m only a rookie. I can’t believe this is how I’m going’, the boy muttered to himself loud enough for the girl to hear him.
“Come on get up… it’s not so… bad I guess, there’s worst ways to go out”, the girl said trying in her on way to comfort him as much as her personality would allow.
This only made tears engorge his eyes and plummet to the ship’s deck. “I don’t want to die yet, I can’t”, the boy said with self-pity.
The girl let out a huge sigh.” How about I help you”, the girl said bashfully. The boy looked at her still with tears in his eyes. “Don’t look at me like that. If you want me to look after you, I’m not doing it because I want to anyway” the girl said with her head looking to the side, trying to avoid eyes contact. The boy looked at her with eyes of joy and this bothered her. “Stop looking so happy about it”; the girl said as the ship reached its destination,” fine then, you can fend for yourself” The girl jumped off the boat a landed in the sand below. The boy’s hope of survival just ran off, and the boy couldn’t comprehend what just happened enough to make a response.
The boy climbed down the ladder of the boat, and sat a foot on the sandy beach, glancing around and taking in everything; it looked so beautiful that he forgot there could be assassins everywhere. He looked around again with fear of dying the moment he got on the island, but there was no one he could see at least. He calmed down enough to think and decided that it would be best if he set up a camp. He found some branches, leaves, and vines. He fashioned this into a poorly made, but livable tent. He went around looking for fire wood, and got a couple logs. At less his assassins training prepared him for this he thought to himself. He laid down in the tent curled in a ball; he stayed like that.
The boy set back up, hearing noise outside his tent; He picked his head out not seeing anything but hearing everything, and hearing something coming closer. The sensation was unspeakable, and he felt as though he was being watched, but also safe because of the lack of evidence confirming he was being watched. Ordering his afraid body with his also frightened mind, he got of the tent and circled around, observing everything he did not take in when he was making up the camp.
The boy thought of how his life use to be, nothing but an acted, the days in which he pretended to be fearless. Standing tall, with his head high and his chest out, like a kid playing hero, but is nothing but a fearful zero. He asked himself every day during his life and more so now,” Why am I so afraid, why can’t I live up to my father’s memory. His father was an assassin of high caliber, and he expected him to be one too. He remembers how his father would come home covered in blood and his mother hugging him and kissing him as if it was normal, a life he could acquire.
Abruptly, a gunshot ringed in his ear, grazing it barely, only taking off a bit of skin to cause pain. He turned around to find his shooter, but nobody was there. This scared him more than knowing who did it. He walked around a little more just not feeling safe being still, while more gunshot breezed past him almost hitting him, but not quite. The boy felt like he was being toyed with and decided to act brave.
“Come out. Stop hiding”, he said with a slight tremble in his voice “Or are you frightened?” Ironically the boy himself was terrified at the situation. The boy fell silent in order to hear a response, and was greeted by a booming voice in a Russian accent.
“You say I’m afraid, but I can smell the fear on you little boy” the Russian man said in a mocking tone “Aren’t you a little young to be a killer? You don’t look like you’ve done the deed. It doesn’t matter; you’re not too young to die”
The Russian man fell out of the tree above the boy, with an army knife clenched in his fist, and aimed at the boy’s face gazing upward. He staggered to the left to avoid him, the knife digging into the ground instead of into his flesh. But the man quickly removed it out of the ground and slashed multiple times at the boy as he desperately tried to keep away from the blade. Getting skin deep cuts every now and again.
“Why are you playing with me” the boy yelled still with a tone of fear,” are you evening trying to kill me?”
“The game isn’t as fun if it’s quick, plus the people want exciting deaths , and I always give them what they want” the man said showing his ego.
“What do you mean the people?”
“Winning this tournament will make me famous around the world,” he said as he slashed and suddenly swiped his legs, the boy fell to the ground the man stood over him,” Your death will be the first stepping stone towards being infamous”
“Is that the only reason why you’re doing this?” the boy said in disbelief. “That’s insane!”
“You’d be the same once you killed a few people”
The boy reached for a large rock, just inches away from his hand; once it was in his grip, he connected it with the side of his head. “I’ll never be like you!” the boy shouted manically as he repeatedly beated the man with the rock, “never, never, never”. Each blow looked as if it removed a facial feature. The man was already dead, but this fact didn’t stop him, he continued to beat the corpse for a few more minutes. When he finally stopped, he began to sob, but not for the man’s death, what he’d become.
The boy tried with all his might to go to sleep, but all he could see when he closed his eyes was the dead man’s deformed face, and the thought of how the number of faces will grow as he assassinates more people didn’t help. Giving up on sleep, he walked around the man’s army knife in hand, afraid, but more afraid of what would await him in his nightmares.
Suddenly the boy’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a pair of palms rickashaying together; he quickly turned to see the girl from before. She continued to clap and circle around him with somewhat of a grin on her face, that made the boy nervous.
“ That performance you did earlier was great, a bit messy for my taste, but a good kill none the less; I guess I can’t call you cherry boy anymore” she said with hilarity,” I wouldn’t have thought you’d had the guts to do it, I thought it would be more likely you had been gutted”.
“You were watching me the whole time?!” the boy whispered under his breath in anger”, you could have helped me”
“Judging by what I saw you don’t need my help to survive here”
His eyes widened in shock. “Oh but I do, I need you, that kill was out of fear, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it again”, he said desperately trying to convince her otherwise.
The girl blushed at the boy’s odd choice of words, and quick looked away from him. “Fine then…. I’ll help you, but you better be cool about it, it’s not like I want to help you, I’m just a nice person” she said self-justifying.
He tried with all his being not to show any sign of joy, not wanting to risk her changing her mind again.
They walked to this cave on the far side of the island, completely hidden by trees, and with almost no sunlight except for some branches tied let in a beam. Inside the cave was a pile of used firewood cover in gray dust, a much more nicely fashioned tent, a pile of weapon laid in the corner, and other items one would need for survival.
“Home sweet home, they’ll never find us here, so we’re safe” she said smiling at the boy for the first time, not out of mocking laughter.
“So how long do we have on this island?”
“About a mouth, but I think we can hack it”, said with confidents, but then looked at him,” I don’t mean as a couple or team, I’m just helping you out, I’ll win the tournament”.
Huge clashes of swords could be heard from a close distance, and shouts of victory. “Well that’s my queue, the hardest part of the tournament is the survival, and the assassins kill each other within the first couple days”.
She ran out of the cave and vanished into the trees, being consumed by them.
The boy sat there for a while but became worried about her, since it’s been a few hours. He got up, and went out of the cave to find her. But after hours of searching he found nothing.
The boy heard more gun shouts echoing through the forest, and to people running, coming closer to him. He ran to the nearest tree and climbed up it and looked down to see two people run under him. The boy let out air in relief, but felt a hand on his shoulder. He panicked and without thinking, stabbed the knife toward the person behind him with closed eyes. When he opened his eyes, he saw a girl with bright orange hair, freckles and bright blue eyes, with her liquid ruby blood pouring out her mouth, with a wide eyed stare. It took a while for him to realize what he’d done, and when he awakened from his fearful trance he fell out of the tree to escape the body. When he turned to get up the body laid there in front of his face, her once dazzling blue eyes were dull; the boy screamed a scream that could be heard around the whole world.