This is my first book, and it took me roughly 8 months to write. I worked to the bone on this...
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The Only Solution
Our apartment wasn’t much. Nothing special in New York. But it was enough for our family. Well what was left of it, which was basically my sick mother and myself. It was a 2-bedroom apartment next to a train. You could look outside the window and literally see the train tracks. We were on the fourth floor, lucky enough to be the only room you could almost touch the tracks from. The train came by everyday at 4 in the afternoon and 11 at night. The 11 o’clock train was so much worse. When I was little, I used to throw small toys onto the track at night and watch the train smash through them, that was until my mom got rid of all of them when she found out I was doing that. The only reason she found out was because one of the wheels from a toy car went straight through her window.
My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was in college at MCNY in 2065. It was my third year there, and I had to keep two jobs to be able to go, one as a fast food manager, and another as a soccer referee for a young adults league. They were all right jobs; they helped me through my time spent in college. But I had to stop going as soon as my mother was diagnosed. At first we didn’t notice anything, she worked as a technician and didn’t eat a lot, but she started losing weight, just a little, unnoticeable really. Once in awhile she would have small chest pains, we weren’t sure why at the time. My mother was a light smoker, and thought that was the cause of her chest pains, so she stopped, and luckily it wasn’t hard for her to stop, but it was too late. One night my mother awoke, and coughed blood onto her pillow. We rushed her to the hospital, scared out of our minds. I was in boxers, a white t-shirt, and slippers when I met the doctor, I’m sure he thought I was crazy at first.
She was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, which is rare, and even rarer in women. But small cell lung cancer spreads faster, so we knew she didn’t have much time left. Over the next few weeks we began to notice the disease more and more. Soon she stopped eating frequently, and went to eat only once or twice a day, with small rations. Her voice started dying out, like a toy with low batteries. Her voice went from sweet and nurturing to low and raspy. She became bed ridden, I had to quit my fast food job to stay home and take care of her all the time. The only thing keeping her alive, was the drug F.E.O.C., or Fighting Effects Of Cancer.
See there wasn’t a cure for cancer yet, only this drug which drastically slowed the effects, prolonging death and of course neutralized the pain. In 2031 cancer became the leading disease diagnosed in the U.S. America panicked and the top scientists worked for 3 years to create only a temporary cure. Taking too much of F.E.O.C. can freeze your cells though, completely shutting down the organ infected with the cancer, but taking the right amount, slows down the disease.
The pills cost hundreds of dollars, even with medical insurance. Soon with one out of every three people becoming ill, they began to produce more, while raising the prices. With people sick and out of work, there became more available jobs, so people worked harder and longer, but also had to drop out of schools early, such as myself, and some turned to other methods of getting the money for the drugs. Some turned to crime, others left the country. Over the years, America’s intelligence level dropped. The economy grew weaker and soon almost crumbled.
The companies running the pharmacies and producing the drugs became the most evil companies known to Americans. People thought they were being greedy, producing more while raising the prices. Soon people became tired of it all, and pharmacies became dangerous. In 2047 the first riot broke out in Nashville, Tennessee. A group of healthy citizens mobbed outside when the pharmacy refused to sell their remaining pills, because of a few people trying to bargain with the pharmacists and bribe them with other means. The crowd became outraged, and a riot broke out. The pharmacy burned down, and only one pharmacist escaped in time, the others died in the building. The crowd almost beat him to death, until S.W.A.T. arrived with police forces. There were seven casualties, including the four pharmacists in the fire.
More riots broke out along the country, and became worse as time went on. In some poor cities looting became more common, and pharmacies had to shut down. In the small town of Black Diamond, Florida, a massive mob broke out including over half of its citizens, burning and looting all of its pharmacies, stores, and government building. The government came in and took down the mob, but covered up the story of what really happened in the town. Its still under lock down today and no one is allowed in. Most of its buildings are gone, and it’s supposedly deserted.
It was 2065 when there was finally an answer anyone could turn to for money. It was the deadliest and scariest answer, but for some it was all there was. That answer was Mino. A game show, but not just a normal game show where you go answer questions for quick and easy cash, or go on obstacle courses with a buddy with an annoying show host, but a game show for your life. President Kelley approved it in 2064 and they constructed an entire building for it, the tallest in the world, and right here in the heart of New York City. But the game wasn’t held there, it was held in arenas built all over the world, hidden from it though.
The game consisted of 7 males and 7 females and lasted only 24 hours from the second the contestants entered. It was on every five days, and showed every second of it on TV, giving viewers the choice to watch a single contestant of their choosing, or all of them. The contestant’s goal is to survive until Mino is released, kill Mino and win the grand prize of 100 million. Mino was the shows mascot, a three hundred pound, black furred, Minotaur with a great axe. He’s trained only to hunt down any survivors left. The contestants also have the choice of killing one another for 10 million each, or they can team up and split the money in the end.
If other survivors and Mino weren’t enough, the designers sent in monsters and trained people to kill you while your dealing with the new environment. A few years ago, all of the contestants but one decided to join together and split the money. They camped out together on a beach with all of the supplies and planned to wait out the game. Well the designers were outraged, so they sent in the one thing never to be killed in Mino. That night when most of the contestants were asleep by the shore, a Kraken attacked and destroyed all of them. The one survivor, who didn’t join them, was then torn to pieces by Mino.
In the five years that the show has been on the air, only two people have ever won it. One of them was Bain Travers; he won on the 4th of July special. The contestants were placed on an island with hundreds of palm trees, and at night fireworks went off to keep them on their feet. Being only six-teen Bain was the youngest in the game. He was very small and fast, and was able to climb the palm trees with ease, which he used to his advantage.
With a crossbow, Bain sat on the palm tress waiting for other contestants to walk by, unaware of him, and be murdered without them alerting others of his presence. He would loot the bodies for supplies and hide them in the ocean or bushes. With him killing off the remaining contestants, Mino was released shortly. It took the beast awhile for it to figure out Bain was hiding in the trees, Mino had four arrows in him before he did, but as soon as he realized it he began knocking down the trees. Startled, Bain dropped the crossbow, and started to leap from tree to tree, barely making his jumps. Just as he seemed doomed, he found an old machete lodged into one of the palm trees. With all of the strength he had left, he pulled it out, and just as Mino made the tree fall, so did Bain, with the machete high above his head. There was a sickening crack as the blade intercepted Mino’s
skull. Mino fell to his knees, defeated at last, with the machete stuck in-between his horns.
Around the globe fans went wild. A champion was born. Millions watched as Bain walked away from the dead monster, and off camera, never to be seen again. After he was taken off the island, Bain went missing. No one had heard from him, not even his little sister who started a campaign to find him. The public blamed Mino for his disappearance, but the company assured they gave the champion his reward. There were attempted investigations, but the government cancelled them all, and President Kelley used his first executive privilege to protect Mino. His sister was devastated, and their parents died soon after.
Five months ago, the first week into August, Charles Dread and his girlfriend entered the game planning to win together. Their arena was a campsite with log cabins scattered all over a mist filled forest. Each cabin had its own horror awaiting its victim inside. Shockingly the couple out lasted the other contestants and timer, after killing a Bigfoot inside of a cabin and surviving hundreds of deadly hornets that plagued the forest that night. When Mino was released, they created a plan to kill him. His girlfriend would stand outside the cabin while Charles shot him with a ballistic knife they had found in the cabin.
When Mino spotted her, he charged for her, and when Charles attempted to pull her up onto the cabin to safety rather than shoot Mino, he plowed right through her into the cabins wall, tearing her apart along with the cabin. Charles fell, and landed on a nail, which went straight through his knee, immobilizing him. Mino erupted with a roar from the rubble, with his axe and Charles’ girlfriend nowhere to be seen. Mino was bleeding from a gash in his head, and had someone else’s blood all over his horns.
As Mino raised his hoof to smash in Charles’ head, he pulled out the ballistic knife, and shot it into Mino’s chest. Mino stumbled backwards, and fell onto another nail, going through the back of his head, killing him instantly. A medic team arrived and patched up Charles, who kept screaming for his partner. He became hysteric, and when he watched the medic team pull out what was left of his girlfriend, he lost it. After going to the headquarters and receiving his money, he went home, denying to speak to anyone from the media. The next day they found his corpse in his bedroom, with a bullet in his mouth.
The world knew it was possible to win Mino, but with the disappearance of Bain, and the suicide of Charles, was it really worth it? After the first Mino was killed, they replaced him with a bigger and stronger one. Currently, Mino the Third is in the show, and he’s better then the first two in every possible way.
I sat on the rough, torn-up, blue leather couch in our living room watching Mino on the small TV. As the credits rolled through, I checked the time, 10:47. The train would be here any minute, I thought I should at least give my mother her pills before it does, hopefully she wouldn’t even notice when she’s all doped up. I grabbed two F.E.O.C. pills and noticed the bottle was empty. We were out, and I knew I didn’t have nearly enough money for more. Without more by next Thursday, she would get a lot worse.
I filled a glass with cold water and ice and made my way to my mothers’ room. Inside it was dark, a little bit of moonlight seethed through her window blinds, and she coughed to acknowledge me. She laid tucked into her bed, with tons of blankets on top of her. I felt the cool air as soon as I stepped in, and shivered. She always liked the cold, I hated it.
“Oh you’re such a sweetheart for taking care of me Xan, I don’t know what’d I do without you.” My mother coughed. Her long red hair was thinning, and she looked old and tired. I handed her the glass of water and pills with a smile, and sat next to her on the bed as she took them. When she was finished I took the glass from her and she asked, “Were those the last?”
I nodded, “Don’t worry, I’ll get you more.”
“Just make sure you stay safe darling.” I leaned down and kissed my mother on the forehead, and she began to fall asleep.
As I went for the door, I asked, “Will you be alright by yourself for a few days?”
“Of course, just be careful with whatever you’re going to do.”
“Goodbye Mom, I love you.” I closed the door gently, and walked back out into the living room as the credits for Mino were ending. The Mino logo appeared once more, and a voice began to speak.
“Desperate for money or fame? Go to Mino Headquarters and sign up to compete for Mino today to be a lucky contestant on Friday, the 18th of December 2070’s show! Details and information will be given! Thank you for watching Mino!”
The only answer… I thought to myself. It was crazy. It was suicide. But it was 100 million. Enough to buy F.E.O.C. and food and a new home and… my watch began to beep. Eleven. I grabbed onto the wall, as the entire apartment began to shake. I could hear my mother scream from her bedroom, but I knew she was all right. After a few seconds the train was gone and my mother calmed down, and soon fell back asleep. I needed the money to save my mother, I was going to play. But I needed someone else by my side, someone who needed the money if not as much then more then me. And I knew just who to get.