Rogue Soldier

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This chapter was written by SebJenkins

   

Abby woke, dazed and confused. For a second the pitch blackness tricked her into thinking that she was in her bedroom, lying on a comfy mattress, safe next to her loving boyfriend Nick. The unmistakeable cold, hard feeling of concrete against aching limbs brought her back to her senses. This wasn't her bedroom. Nick was nowhere to be found. And she certainly wasn't safe.

She slapped her hands blindly along the floor, crawling along the damp stone before they finally found that little crease where ground meets wall. She leant against the latter and hauled herself up to her feet with an agonising wince. Her head began to spin the second she achieved an upright position, sending her tumbling back to the drawing board.

Abby took a few moments to breathe deeply and compose herself, before repeating her assent in a calmer manner. Once she'd propped herself up against the wall, her vision began to adjust ever so slightly. The pitch black had turned a shady grey, and she began to assess the true extent of her surroundings.

The room was no more that two metres squared, with a thick window-less door sealing her into the bleak tomb. After shuffling her hands around the exit for a moment or two, her fingers clasped around what felt like a door handle, but it didn't budge, it didn't so much as squeak.

Directly behind her, a red pinprick of light caught her eye, the only dim source of any brightness in the entire room. Abby stumbled over to the dot, pausing underneath it; it was far too high up for her to reach. A faint whirring sound gave the game away. It was a camera. She was being watched.

Four seconds later, as if to confirm her recon, a scratchy voice buzzed from somewhere on the ceiling.

"Rogue Soldier... welcome to The Underground," the man announced with his best dramatic voice-over impression.

"Where the fuck am I?" Abby demanded, unsure of where to direct her anger. She settled for the little red dot.

"You're in our world now," the man replied.

"And who are you?"

"The real hunters," he revealed, as if it should be common knowledge.

Abby's heart sank as the penny dropped with it. She'd heard about these places but had never seen them in action. She would regularly hear of whispers within the resistance, but one didn't search for what they didn't want to see.

She had enough trouble wrapping her head around the government-controlled hunts, using the term 'volunteer' to brainwash people into thinking that contestants had a choice. Where she found herself now, there was no grey area at all; the idea of volunteering was completely removed.

"The Underground," she whispered, feeling real gut-wrenching fear for the first time since she could remember.

"Got it in one," the voice sneered proudly. "And you, Rogue Soldier, are our latest recruit. Welcome to the games. Welcome to The Underground."

The speaker clicked, and with that, the voice vanished. No doubt they wanted to provide their viewers with the initial turmoil as their victims were first informed of their captivity. Abby hoped that she had limited the spectacle to an absolute minimum.

Her mind began to race, desperately trying to determine a way out of this mess, but she knew when the battle was lost. It had been lost above ground, as soon as her attacker's fist landed against her temple.

The Underground hunt had three main differences to its state-run counterpart. The first, and most obvious being the clientele. The Underground catered to a lower tier of society, one that had been isolated as victims by The Hunt. It transformed them from the hunted to the hunters, tapping in on their unquenchable thirst for first-hand experience of the show they watched so readily on their TV screens.

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