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They told me it was just a game. Like rock, paper, scissors. I agreed, I was bored and in the mood for something new. You know that feeling you get when you can tell that your friends are hiding something from you? Not just your friends, your parents. Family. I had that feeling as they began taking out different coins.
“Quarter? Anyone have a quarter?” one guy asked.
“Nah, man. All I got is a penny.” another said.
His friend clapped him on the back, laughing. “Cheapskate.”
Were they going to gamble on the outcome of the game? I wondered. I had never played Bloody Knuckles before, only heard of it. Heck, I hadn’t even heard much about it. Just that it was crazy. At first, I assumed “crazy” meant “fun.” Oh boy, was I in for the shock of my pathetic boring life. By the way, did I tell you I had an irrational fear of blood? No? Well, I guess I should have. You now know of my terrible phobia. Very stupid of me to have ever agreed playing along with a game called Bloody Knuckles. But, then again, it was just the name of a game. Nothing more. Right?
“Who wants to go first?” the host, the one who had called this meeting, asked.
Two guys began arguing for the first round.
“I’ll go,” I piped up and sat at the table in the centre of the room surrounded by teenagers.
Better now, than never. It was the first time I had gotten invited to one of these meetings. And if anyone had any ounce of common sense when it came to making friends, they would never blow this kind of opportunity.
Another boy, the tall brawny sort whom everyone would naturally assume was the captain of every sports team in school, sat on the opposite end of the table facing me.
He grinned. “Good luck, mate.”
“Yeah,” I said attempting to smile back, but it probably looked like a horrible excuse for a grimace. If that even makes sense. I had such weird facial expressions and had been told countless times that they were inexplicable. Add that to my unpopularity and you’ve got a complete reject. Now you can see why I couldn’t blow this opportunity.
Someone handed him a quarter and he flicked it into the air. “You ready?”
“Yeah,” I said puzzled. I still didn’t know what to do. I waited for someone to explain.
The guy with the penny called, “Just put your hands like this, dweeb.”
He bent his four fingers and connected both his thumbs together to form what appeared to be a visual representation of a hockey net. Oh. It was like hockey. That made sense. I did what I was told. I wondered if the teacher would arrive any time soon. Teachers weren’t supposed to leave their class unsupervised like this. But, what the Heck? We weren’t doing anything illegal (thank God for that!). So if the teach did come in to interrupt this “hockey game” then we couldn’t really get into trouble? Right?
“Ready,” I said.
The guy across the table flicked the quarter directly at my fingers, slashing through my skin with such force that I literally jumped in place. There was a small scratch. “What was that?!” I complained.
“Get it in the net, man.” said penny-boy.
The sports captain grinned. “Oops.”
He was handed the quarter again and what happened this time, I should’ve expected. It’s something you would’ve expected as well. But I didn’t. Blood gushed out of my finger and I yelped in pain. There was cheering echoing through the pounding in my ears. Blood. I hate the sight of blood. It makes me sick. Dizzy. At the sight of the red, my vision began to blur. Comprehension dawned upon my mind. The purpose of Bloody Knuckles was not to score the most goals, but was to see which person bled the most and could endure that pain. It was like physical torture and self-mutilation except these guys enjoyed it. Sweat poured down my face as I pounced out of my seat and backed away from the crowd. My classmates were staring at me: some were amused, some were annoyed. Once again, the chicken was chickening out.
“I quit,” I said thickly. “I…I forfeit.”
“Aw, come on! You can’t quit!” one whined.
“Dude. Get over it. It’s just a game.” another scowled.
“I quit.” I repeated. This “game” made me sick.
Just as the sports captain and penny-boy started to walk towards me probably to drag me into playing again, the teacher scuttled into the classroom muttering apologies and that’s when he saw the scene before him. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing sir,” sports captain fell back immediately.
“It doesn’t look like nothing.”
I suddenly felt the urge to run up to the teacher and show him my finger. Even if it was just a cut. But, I also wanted to explain to him what could have happened if the game pursued. It could’ve been much more appalling than a mere cut. I bit my lip, looked back at penny-boy and the others, and resisted.
“It’s nothing sir.” I said lamely.
The teacher frowned. “All right then. Everyone sit down and take out your textbooks. We’re starting Chapter 3 today.”
The classroom obliged. I was the first to take my familiar seat up at the front of the class right in front of the chalkboard. During the lesson, I could feel paper crushed up into balls hit me from behind while the teacher’s back was turned. I sighed. Oh well. I guess some things would never change. School was about learning and learning was the thing I did best. If you aren’t a sadistic creature bent on playing extremely dumb and dangerous games, then heed my advice: if someone ever approaches you and requests a game of Bloody Knuckles, say “no freaking way”.