Chapter 3

My survival instinct kicks in, and it tells me to run. To run fast as hell away from here, and to put as many miles between me and the city Ophella as possible. But I obviously can’t do that. For one thing, my little brother is holding my hand so hard that I probably wouldn't be able to move an inch even if I tried to – he’s surprisingly strong – but then I’m also reminded of how many guards there are around here. If I attempt to escape, they’ll catch me in no time at all.

So instead, I simply walk up to the stage while Mikael tries to hold me back. “Let go, Mike, it’s okay,” I whisper to him, but he doesn’t let go easily. A guard comes up behind us and pulls him away from me. He starts crying again. 

I take deep breaths before I slowly walk up to the stage. President Odair offers me his hand, but I barely touch it. I look at him right in the eyes, and I don’t exactly try to hide my disgust for him. I really hope that he knows how much I hate him – him, and the other Presidents and the stupid sisters who created these games in the first place.

The President pretends as if nothing has happened at all. He turns to the audience and says happily: “And we’ve got our three female contestants, ladies and gentlemen! Let’s move on to the young, lucky men, shall we?” He opens one of the blue envelopes, and the first name that’s called up is Cato Odair. The crowd burst into applause, but I can sense a new tension in the atmosphere. People start whispering; is that the President’s son? Why have the President’s son been selected?

No one is really swallowing the lies about how the Odium Gamescontestants are chosen randomly. They know that the Presidents makes their decisions based on who they like, dislike, who they have problems with – and who has the most money to offer them. It has happened that the wealthy families have paid the Presidents and in exchange, their children are spared. Of course it’s not fair, but the citizens keep their mouth shut. They’re afraid to get on the Presidents’ bad side. They certainly don’t want to be next. And that’s why it seems so absurd that the President’s son has been selected.  

I glance at my (former) best friend; his face is expressionless and relaxed when he takes his place on the stage beside me – he doesn’t shake hands with his father. He doesn’t look at me either, he just acts like I’m not here at all – like he didn’t just got selected as an Odium Games contestant. This makes me a tad irritated. “Quite a nice poker-face you have, I didn’t see much of it earlier,” I whisper to him coolly. “If I didn’t know you better, I might have bought it.”

He raises his eyebrows. “Bought what?”

“Bought this crap of yours. That you’re not in fact scared silly of this… which I know you are.”

“I’m not scared,” he snaps at me.

I give him a mocking smile; I can’t help it. I’m still angry with him for doing this to me. “Tell that to the boy who was crying hysterically for a mere three hours ago,” I snort. He doesn’t say anything after that.

The second male contestant is a seventeen year old boy with a very unusual name; Jerich. And whatever his last name is. I’ve seen him at school before, he doesn’t have any friends and he’s always alone. He is the typical emo kid; black, shoulder-length hair, wears a dark leather jacket and pitch black colored eyeliner. He’s white as a ghost too, but I’m pretty sure it’s not because he’s scared or nervous. In fact, when he stands on the stage and looks at the audience, he seems like he’s having fun. I immediately make a mental note to stay the hell away from this guy. When the Games begin, I will try to avoid him as much as possible. It’s not that I’m judging him because of his look, he just  frightens me. Everything about him makes me dislike him; his sadistic smile, his careless attitude and his amusement when he finds out that he’s one of the contestants. Can someone really be that eager to die? Or to murder someone else?

Don't Play With Death (on indefinite hiatus)Read this story for FREE!