Chapter 6

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When I wake up, the sun is already out. I check the timer and it says 8:40am. Day two, watch out because I'm ready to sit around for another twenty-four hours.
Today I might Get some screen time from making orange juice or they will put everyone on for a little bit. Now they usually focus on the people who didn't get food. They are so hungry and the technical people make it look even worse. There is cameras on them twenty-four-seven to catch any grunt or moan. On the television the person usually walks off the mat after fifteen minutes. But how long would it be in real life? I imagine the person stays on until the last possibles second. Until they are actually starting to starve to death.
After laying there for a few minutes, I sit up gently. I grab the knife and begin peeling the orange. As I peel, I notice most of the other matted people are already awake. Paige is awake, but the guy next to her, Justin, isn't. I plop the peeled orange into the thermos and then someone asks me what I'm doing.
"Oh, I was just going to try to make this orange into orange juice," I say.
"Really? And how do you think you'll manage to do that?" The interviewer asks. These are the types of questions that I answer and they put on television.
"Well, I've already peeled this orange and i am going to put it in the thermos I got and try to smash it into juice. For breakfast."
"Interesting, thank you"
I proceed in slicing the orange with my knife and then I just give up and use my hands. After what seems like a long time my orange juice is ready. I see the clock only says 9:13am.
Cameras zoom in as I take a sip from the juice.
"Hmm, it's pretty good." I lied. It was too pulpy and I could taste the dirt from my hands but I took another delighted sip with a smile on my face. Then the cameras left me. I didn't drink any more of it before I put the cap on the thermos.
Then, I get really bored. I wish we could just skip to the part where we run into the woods. That part is fun.
I am walking around in circles when Jeff comes in on the speaker again.
"Jess O'Reilly has stepped off her mat. She is eliminated." Jeff calls out.
I can see a thin, frail, white girl clutching her stomach while she cries. They guide her out of the competition area. On day two there is already only twelve people left.
The clock reads 10:15am; then later it reads 11:35am. Time passes slowly. For lunch I slowly eat two peaches and some water. I also force myself to drink half of the orange juice. The meal Isn't that satisfying. It is now just past noon.
I remind myself that this is what I've wanted for years and years. I just wanted a chance. A chance to be on this show. A chance to prove I'm as good as any of these rich people who train for this competition and hire professional writers to write their entrance essays. I am as good as them and I should be grateful because I have already beaten 108 of them. This mat is my home and I am okay with that.
As I sit and watch the time go by, I find ways to occupy myself. I walk in circles on my mat. I lay down and try to sleep. I review everyone that is left and go over game plans. But more than anything else, I Think. I think of how I am going to win this. I think of how my family is watching me. I think of what I am going to do once we are released into the woods. Hopefully, I won't be starving and I can stay on my mat for a little while. Then, I will have to sneak into the woods and be very careful. I must not get caught by the monsters; they would surely hold me down for the remaining hour and I would be out. But that's not going to happen, I reassure myself.
Once again I review the remains of my food. Four peaches. I don't really have much else so I will have to retrieve food from the woods when the forty-eight hours are up. I am already more than half way through though.
By 3:00pm I am hungry again. I have been nibbling on my fingers for a while. I begin to try to tie different knots with my rope. It wastes a little time. I make up knots too. There is one knot that you can tie over and over on the rope until it looks like one big chain. Then you pull on either side of the rope and the whole thing comes apart. Then you do it all over again.
I learned that knot from my Mom a while ago. I am suddenly thankful for the rope because it helps pass the time. After practicing more and more knots, I get more creative.
Finally, I toss the rope down on. the mat and check the time. It is nearly six o'clock.
Now, I am even hungrier, but I'm glad I was distracted by the rope because that made some time go by. I eat two peaches and some water but then decide to eat a third peach anyway. As I am finishing the third peach Jeff comes on the speaker again.
"Patrick Kelly has stepped off his mat! He is eliminated." Jeff says.
I can see an extremely pale boy being escorted away from the area. He has both hands on his stomach and looks like he's in pain. I want to offer him a peach. Suddenly, he drops to his knees and starts coughing. He vomits up only water. There is nothing in his stomach to throw up. Only water. I feel bad for the poor guy, but he is one less competitor I have to deal with.
At 7:30 I have eaten dinner, and set up my bed. It's not really a bed, but it's the comfiest thing I could make out of what I was given. Although it takes me a while, I eventually fall asleep.
I dream of peaches. Big, Huge peaches surround me on all sides. Everywhere I look is soft, fuzzy, and pink and yellow. I try to break the skin on one but it is hard. The skin is too thick, so I climb up a large pile of peaches and jump off, feet first. My body slices through the skin and glides deep into the giant, mushy, juicy insides. Miraculously, I can breathe perfectly fine in this thing. I make motions like I am swimming and explore the thing. Then I see the pit of the peach. I swim over to touch the rough thing, but as soon as I do, I run out of breath. I lift my hand off but I still can't breathe. I'm choking and gagging underwater. The surface is too far away.
I suck in a huge breath as I sit up straight as an arrow. Panting, I check the clock. It reads 10:30! I overslept but I won't have to wait very long until I can go off of my mat and into the woods. The cameras are all ready and I see Paige getting interviewed.

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