Would You Rather? (5): Cruel Test

Twenty random people wake up in a mysterious place. An interactive computer screen forces them to play a real life version of Would You Rather? Read at your own discretion.
'Ashton, would you rather stab Mackenzie's other thigh or eat Timothy's leg?'

"Is this game for real!?" Mackenzie yells in a bewildered tone. She holds onto her thigh. At first, it felt like her skin was being pinched with a metal claw and she had pins and needles, before the pain went numb. Her shock and adrenaline masked the pain she felt when Kat attacked her. Now she is on the floor and the agonizing pain is searing through her wound, like it's burning on fire, as if a terrible beast is sinking its sharp teeth into her. She can hardly move and defend herself. Ayesha is treating her wound carefully.

Elsa's bottom lip trembles and a look of despair is glued on her features. The little girl cannot stand how the game is picking on her father even after he died. Seiko notices the miserable little girl and she shakes her head.

"I've never been so disgusted by a game before," the Asian woman says. Then she adds emotionlessly, "This really is the most horrible way to test our morality."

"I can't even call it a game anymore," Liam says softly, as he shifts uncomfortably in his wheelchair.

Time is ticking and eyes are fixed onto the mixed-race boy, waiting in anticipation for his final decision. Ashton doesn't remove his wild-green eyes off the screen. Those daring eyes have flecks of gold, making them appear to have an inner fire. There is no trace of fear across his hard face, yet his heart is thumping heavily like the footsteps of an elephant. His fists are clenched, like he's ready to fight the screen. He's gritting his teeth, something he subconsciously does when he's concentrating fiercely. He has nothing to fear. He reassures himself he won't die. He won't.

"Be careful..." Seiko says, a morbid frown tugging on her features.

All too soon, the time runs out. Everyone looks at the fearless boy, expecting him to explode into pieces like a giant firecracker. However, his body is still intact. There's a roaring, thunderous noise that booms throughout the room like the rushing of a waterfall. Ashton immediately knows what will happen next. Like Leshontae predicted, the destructive laser gun is out. The tip is pointing directly at the boy's unflinching face. A deafening noise of an extremely loud thunderclap slices through the air. Like a lightning bolt, the bloodthirsty, neon-red laser beam strikes for the boy. The ground shakes, sending people tumbling backwards and crashing against the walls, which sound as if they're crumbling. Black smoke rises from the floor, where everyone expects to see dust. However, the small section of the floor is merely dented.

Ashton had jumped and rolled away in time.

"Wait... you're still alive?" Leshontae asks, stunned. Eyes are transfixed onto the teenage boy in amazement. Mouths are open and breaths are taken away. Many people are hypnotized by the wonder of his survival and hope is being reawakened in some of them.

The laser gun disappears into the screen. A message appears on the computer screen: 'We are experiencing some technical difficulties. Be right back.'

Ashton picks himself up, hissing from the stinging pain that is shooting up his leg. "Of course I'm still alive," he says calmly. "I'm not some idiot who harms himself for no good reason. If the rest of you wanna survive, grab the nearest weapon and quickly get the chip out. Make the most of this spare time. Don't hesitate. Just do it."

"Be careful that you don't cut yourself too deeply," Ayesha warns the crowd. "Other than that, you should be fine. I'll make my way around and treat as many people as I can."

A spark of confidence is ignited within many people. Instantly, Liam wheels his way over to the ax, but Madison runs to it and she picks it up. Then she returns to her wounded older sister. The eleven-year-old boy sighs, but his spirits are lifted again when he notices a long, shiny object in the far corner of the room. The needle. He wheels his way over to it. However, Joseph the Christian man has picked it up. Liam heaves another deep sigh. Then he sees a neglected pair of pliers. His hands are burning like fire, as he forcefully applies as much pressure as he can, while he desperately wheels himself to the object. Before he can bend down to pick it up, Leshontae the drag queen has grabbed it. The boy slumps in his wheelchair, feeling hopeless when he realizes that all the weapons are being used. He will just have to wait for someone to finish.

Suddenly, there's an eerie sound of guitar chords that pierce through the atmosphere, sending chills down Ashton's spine. Drums are thudding like the heavy beating of a heart, laced with the ticking of a clock. A woman's gasps echoes through the metallic room. The sounds are automatically triggering visions through Ashton's mind, while his senses are sharper and more alert.

"What the hell is going on?" The teenage boy demands, his heart punching his chest while he prays that it's not what he thinks it is.

Take a breath, take it deep

"It's a song," Seiko says, confused.

"Probably so we don't get bored," Kat adds scornfully.

If you play, you play for keeps

"So, when the song stops playing, the game will continue, right?" Liam asks, looking around for clarification.

"Not sure," Seiko responds, biting her lip.

I'm sweating now, moving slow

"No..." Ashton whispers, as he holds onto his throbbing head.

No time to think, my turn to go.

"No! Shut up!" Ashton yells, making people jump in surprise. He's digging his fingernails into his head, his face scrunching up as if in sheer agony. "Shut that sound up! Shut it up!"

And you can see my heart beating.


"What's wrong?"

"What's his problem?"

The boy is shaking his head furiously, almost as if he's trying to smash his brain against his skull. His eyes are closed tight, yet vivid visions are swimming inside his jumbled up mind, and he keeps hysterically screaming 'shut up' over and over.

Said I'm terrified, but I'm not leaving

"Why the fuck are you doing this!?" Ashton screams at the screen. His face is a picture of pure thunder and it is burning red like molten lava from an exploding volcano.

I know that I must pass this test

Another scream of anguish and rage escapes from the boy. Everyone looks at each other with a confused, hopeless expression.

So just pull the trigger...

"No!" Ashton cries out, as he limps his way hastily to the nearest wall and he bangs his head violently against the metal surface. "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!"

"Wow..." Leshontae breathes out, as he looks up from tearing his skin apart. "I didn't think anyone could hate my princess Rihanna this much."

"He probably doesn't hate her - just the song, maybe," Matthew replies, even though he sounds uncertain. Yes, he hates a fair share of songs but he would never react this extremely. In fact, he has never seen anyone, not even a hater, react so negatively before. Nobody in the room has. This is what makes the situation so bizarre for them and they don't exactly know what to do.

"What's the song called?" Kat asks, not taking her eyes off the teenage boy, who is screaming hysterically and still banging his head against the wall.

"Russian Roulette, one of my favs," Leshontae says, looking at Ashton in confusion.

"What is Russian Roulette?" Elsa asks Ayesha, who is busy treating Mackenzie's ankle and thigh wounds.

The Muslim woman shakes her head. "It's a bad game that nobody should play," Ayesha replies with a solemn expression.

"Even badder than this game?" The little girl questions further.

Ayesha heaves a deep sigh and she gets distracted by another ear-shattering scream bursting out of Ashton's lung. His blue and red veins are popping out of his boiling, sweaty skin. Tears are burning his eyes. Arms are holding him back, trying to stop him from hurting himself. Just like the arms that are holding nine-year-old Ashton back, as the little boy tries to wriggle free from the big, bad men.

"Let me go!" Both the past and the present Ashton are shouting. The arms are only holding him tighter, squeezing the life out of him. He feels his body getting lighter as the breath escapes from him. The room is getting colder and darker and everyone has disappeared. There's only a distant echo of the song playing.

Up ahead, Ashton can see a spotlight shining down on a woman. There's dark bags under her gloomy eyes. A resigned look is on her face, as if she has finally given up. She has been fighting for so long. She has been risking her life just to put food on their table. But she has failed. Now she's holding the gun to her head, while big, bad eyes are watching her.

"No! Stop!" The boy yells, his voice straining. He's running to her, but a dark figure steps in front to block him and he whacks the boy's head with butt of his gun. Ashton bangs his head against the wall again and again, while the figure keeps punching and kicking him and a maniacal laughter rings through the air.

"Ashton, please! Snap out of it!" Seiko shouts, as she grips onto his shoulder and she's shaking him desperately. Being a therapist, she automatically recognizes that he's reliving a past traumatic experience. "You're here with us! You're safe for now. I can help you if you let me," she persists.

"Oh... I get it now," Leshontae murmurs. "He's experiencing psychological torture."

Matthew nods. He realizes that the game is one step ahead of them. Clearly, Ashton is not the type to be tormented by physical pain, as he willingly self-mutilated himself with little to no effort. Instead, the game has resorted to a deeper form of torture - possibly the worst type for Matthew. From this, the man concludes that the game has a profound understanding of the players.

"Look," Liam mutters, as he points to the screen. On either side of the monitor appears two large speakers. The song's volume increases loudly, causing the elderly woman to have another intense headache from the noise. Ashton, who had been covering his ears, screams more deafeningly.

As my life flashes before my eyes, I'm wondering will I ever see another sunrise?

"No more..." The teenage boy whimpers, slumping to the floor while a pathetic sob chokes out of him.

So many won't get the chance to say goodbye,
But it's too late to think of the value of my life.

"That's it - I'm done with this shit!" Kat snaps. Snatching the ax off Madison, the Polish teenage girl runs to the screen faster than a speeding bullet. Bending her legs, she leaps like a frog. In mid-air, it feels as though everything is in slow motion and a soaring feeling spreads through her body. She grabs a firm hold of the blaring speaker. Swinging the ax viciously, she rips apart the speaker.

Like a wind blowing through the trees, the laser gun is out of the screen and it points directly at her. A bloodthirsty neon-red beam shoots like lightning. Instantly, Kat chucks the speaker at the vicious beam and she watches the object disintegrate into dust. Black smoke wavers in the air and a burning smell slaps her face.

"We can actually defeat this game!" Leshontae squeals to Matthew, impressed by the way they deceived the game and how the teenagers are able to stay alive and fight back. His purple eyes are watching Kat fall backwards like she's coming down from rock climbing. There's a low thud as the teenage girl lands on her butt.

The song stops playing and the other speaker disappears back into the screen. There's only the beating of hearts and a ringing in people's ears. Finally, Ashton catches his breath as he's lying down. He's pouring with sweat and his eyes are glazed with hot tears. He looks up at Kat shakily.

"Th-thanks," he mumbles sheepishly.

"I only did it to shut your annoying voice up," Kat replies bluntly. She kicks the ax back to Madison, who glares at the Polish girl in anger and disgust.

Ashton picks himself up from the floor and he looks at the crowd. "I'm... uh, sorry about that..." he murmurs nervously, scratching the back of his neck.

"Would you like to talk about it?" Seiko asks him softly, as she places a hand on his shoulder. He shrugs her off.

"Nah, just forget it," he mutters. He notices that Madison is struggling to cut her ankle open with the ax. He walks over to the young woman to lend a helping hand.

By now, the Christian couple, Mackenzie, Ayesha, Ashton and the drag queen have already removed the explosive chips from their ankles. Unlike the mixed-race teenage boy who made the task look easy, the others are groaning and crying in severe pain. Ayesha made sure their cuts were not deep, yet the superficial cuts hurt them the most. It feels as if hundreds of daggers are sinking into their skin. Over half of the room can barely stand up straight and everyone else is terrified by the immense blood that is pouring out of them.

Interesting. They're so easy to manipulate, Matthew thinks, as he observes the people around him, who are meekly obeying Ashton's command.

"Aren't you gonna get the chip out?" Leshontae asks. He holds out the pliers for Matthew to take. The white man shakes his head.

"No, I'm good," Matthew responds confidently. For him, the entire situation seems far too convenient. He does not trust the game nor the break they're having, supposedly due to technical difficulties. Matthew figures that, as long as he plays his cards right, he won't have to resort to self-mutilation.

"Can I have that please?" Liam asks, holding out his hands for the pliers. Before he can wheel himself over to Leshontae, a siren-like noise shrieks through the atmosphere, grabbing the boy's attention and stopping him.

Beep! Beep! Beep!

Heads turn to look. It's coming from the screen. The name generator is out again, signaling the break is over. It is scrolling more rapidly than ever and it abruptly lands on the eleven-year-old boy in the wheelchair.

'Liam, would you rather walk successfully on your own for fifteen seconds or poke out your eyeball?'

"Oh my god! I didn't even get a chance to get the explosive out," the little boy exclaims in sheer despair. His heart spirals into a deep abyss and his chestnut-brown eyes are gloomy with a hopeless look.

"Just try walking! You never know unless you try," Kat says encouragingly. Thinking about the little boy poking out his eyeball makes her squirm and she wants to avoid that at all costs.

"But I can't..." Liam responds quietly, knowing that he is a prisoner of fate.

"It's possible for a miracle," Mary the Christian woman interjects. "We'll all pray for you."

"It's gonna be tricky. The floor is practically stained with blood," Mary's husband, Joseph points out, as he attempts to wipe the blood away using Seiko's neglected jacket on the floor. The blood is merely smearing everywhere.

"Here, move the body parts!" Kat chips in, running over to kick the broken arms and legs aside.

The timer ticks away and Liam gulps uneasily. As if there's an unspoken agreement in the room, Joseph and Matthew are on either side of Liam and they lift the boy up from his wheelchair. The boy looks down, feeling dizzy like the world is spinning below his paralyzed feet, and a sick feeling is eating away at his stomach.

"Remember you can't help him. No one can," Kat says, glancing at the screen. "But I believe you can do it, Liam, if you really put your heart and mind to it."

Liam isn't convinced by her statement. The blood is pumping through his veins and his body is shaking with nerves. A cool breeze flutters across the boy's hot, bothered skin, cooling him down. The men carefully lower Liam to the ground, where his feet are touching the cleanest area of the floor, and they hold him upright.

"Are you ready for us to let go?" Matthew asks.

Liam closes his eyes and he desperately concentrates on finding his balance. Then he sighs and nods his head. As soon as the men let go, Liam crashes to the ground like dominoes tumbling down. His face smacks the ground with brute force. His nose is bleeding and he feels his teeth loosening. Throwing his arms against his wheelchair, he tries to lift his body up, but his legs flail as if the ground is slippery. The others can only watch the boy struggling to walk like a baby taking its first steps. There's deep sadness in people's eyes and the world is crashing down piece by piece, while the little boy slumps to the floor again.

"I'm so lame..." Liam murmurs in self-pity, his statement holding a double meaning. His heart is beating louder and louder with each tick of the timer.

Twenty seconds left.

"I can't do this!" The boy cries out, knowing that he's defeated. He looks up at his peers with wide, pleading eyes, "Someone please poke out my eyeball!"

Everyone looks at each other uncertainly, reluctant to perform this terrifying task on a little boy.

"Someone do it!" Ashton commands sharply. He's too preoccupied by the task of tearing Madison's ankle apart, while Ayesha ensures that he's mutilating her carefully.

"Please!" Liam begs, urgency creeping in his voice as the time is running out. Yet nobody seems to budge and they're all looking at each other, wishing that someone - anyone apart from themselves - will fulfill the little boy's request.

Ten seconds left.

Ashton realizes that nobody is going to help the boy. Stumbling to his feet, the teenage boy runs over to Liam who is slumped helplessly on the floor. Without warning, Ashton feels his feet fly out from under him as he collapses clumsily to the blood-stained floor. The impact causes the ax to fly out of his hand and the object slides all the way to Liam, who reaches out for it but his fingers barely touch the weapon.


More blood. More body parts flying everywhere. More fiery lights and loud bursts of sound and heat waves and smoke. Liam's head soars through the air and it rolls on the floor. His eyes are completely white as they have sunken into his head and his mouth is hanging open.

The air is electric with emotion as everyone else is seized by terror. Ashton lifts himself up from the ground, flinching from the pain of his wound, while a gathering storm is clear on his face. The crowd simultaneously draws in their breath and everything seems weightless for a moment. Eyes are swimming in tears and no amount of effort can stifle the little girl's sobs.

"What the heck is wrong with you all?" Ashton demands in a low stern voice that is dripping with hatred.

"Hey, don't blame us! Nobody wants to poke out someone else's eyeballs!" Kat snaps back in defense. The atmosphere crackles with black and unfriendly energy as Ashton bores his angry eyes into her. After a moment, the teenage boy turns his attention back onto the stunned crowd.

"Since you're all clearly pussies, why the hell didn't you at least pass him a knife or something?" Ashton demands. Nobody answers, not even Kat who is feeling a pang of guilt. The teenage boy pulls a face of revulsion and he spits out, " I swear to god, that fatso was right. You're all fucking morons. Selfish idiots."

Meanwhile, the name generator scrolls and lands on the drag queen.

'Leshontae, would you rather sing Russian Roulette in Ashton's face or slice Seiko's nipples off?'

Leshontae's limbs went numb with fear and cold sweat drips down his forehead. His eyes flicker uncomfortably as he doesn't know what to do. He notices the Asian woman, Seiko, who is looking back at him hesitantly. That look of fear is replicated on her innocent features. The drag queen shifts his eyes onto Ashton. His purple eyes widen when he sees Ashton's fists tighten around the ax. The teenage boy is already steaming with anger from the little boy's death, but now his facial expressions are twisting into a look of danger and murder. It is almost as if Ashton has grown in size and Leshontae, the grown man, feels absolutely terrified of stepping anywhere near the teenage boy.

Matthew observes the scenery. He immediately knows there is a way around this. Another golden opportunity to deceive the game. Instead, his selfish instincts make him take another path.

"Don't do anything," the white man whispers to the drag queen. "Remember, you can't explode since you dug that chip out. Just get ready to dodge the laser gun."

Leshontae nods slowly. He feels that, out of everyone, he can trust Matthew the most. His heart thuds in his ears to the rhythm of the ticking timer. The whole world seems to slow down. Some people are eyeing the drag queen nervously while others are gazing at the screen in anticipation, waiting for the vicious laser gun.

5... 4... 3... 2...

Everyone is expecting to hear the cacophonous sound of whirring and clanking of machinery, as the laser gun appears. They're expecting the sound of a loud thunderclap and a violent neon-red beam to strike the drag queen. Yet there is nothing but silence. A quiet state that is deafening than any loud thunderclap. It is powerfully consuming everything in the room. Leshontae's heart is racing as fast as a cheetah going for the kill. His purple eyes are glued to the screen while he's anticipating a surprise attack from the laser gun.

Still nothing.

Then Leshontae's neck slowly turns involuntarily. A small crack sounds the tense atmosphere, as if knuckles are being cracked. His body squirms, but he's being held down firmly by an invisible force. The blue monitor light illuminates how red his dark skin is becoming. His eyes are bulging like the wide eyes of a deer in the path of an oncoming train. Screaming in pain, his neck is sharply twisting slowly, as if the top of a bottle is being screwed off. More bones are cracking and his spinal cord breaks. There is nothing he can do, except cry in pure agony. Unlike the explosions that had quickly killed people, this new form of death is evidently torturing the drag queen. With a final twist, he falls to the floor limply.

His eyes are staring up at the ceiling in shock. His mouth flapping open like a fish with no sound or air escaping. His brain is starved of oxygen from his inability to move his diaphragm. His eyes gloss over and his eyelids slowly close. Dead.

"There's something in our necks!" Kat exclaims in horror. Immediately, there is a roar among the crowd, as people are chattering among themselves hysterically.

"We can't cut our necks," Ayesha says above the noisy crowd. "There's sensitive nerves in our necks, which can cause paralysis in our hands, arms, trunk and legs, making it hard for us to move. It'll also be difficult for us to breathe. We may experience painful spasms and we may become unconscious. There is also the added risk of bleeding and swelling happening around our spinal cords. All of these factors will result in a highly possible death."

"So this was all just a waste of time!?" Mackenzie shrieks, as she looks at her bleeding ankle. A miserable sob escapes from her and she feels absolutely weak from being stabbed and tearing the explosive out of her. She feels dizzy and paranoid that she is losing too much blood. Madison wraps her arms around her older sobbing sister, while tears of pain stream down her face from her agonizing ankle wound too.

"Why the fuck didn't they snap Ashton's neck?" Kat demands bitterly.

Nobody seems to know the answer, apart from Matthew who suspected this move from the game. He is fully aware that this game is specifically designed for torture. The man knows the game can easily kill Ashton if it really wanted to, but it deliberately allowed there to be a break, fooling more people into torturing themselves. Matthew heaves a sigh of relief, thankful that he didn't bother cutting himself open.

The name generator lands on the Muslim woman.

'Ayesha, would you rather strip naked or lick the old woman's vagina and stick your finger up her butt?'

The elderly woman, Rosa slumps even further onto the floor. She looks dull and her energy seems drained. Her eyes are sunken and she is pale, weary and shaky. She feels absolutely fed up of everything. She wants to end it all and chase the pain away. She is utterly lost.

"Strip naked," Ashton says automatically. "Don't make Tabitha's mistake."

"Her name is Taniya, you fucking jerk," Kat snaps, clenching her jaw.

"The last part is so descriptive," Seiko says, scrunching her nose up in distaste at the screen.

"Because this game is perverted," Kat adds moodily. "This is the second time it asked a female to strip. I won't be surprised if it asks me to strip next."

"Calm down, no one wants to see you naked," Ashton fires back.

"Ashton," Seiko says in a warning tone. Kat shoots a deadly glare at the boy, wanting to wipe the smug look off his face.

"I'm only joking, kitten," Ashton replies with a smirk and he flicks the teenage girl's nose.

"My name is Kat, not kitten," the girl hisses, as she flinches from his touch.

"It should be Dog," Ashton says in a teasing tone.

"The only dog is you. You freaking horndog," Kat retorts coldly.

Ashton chuckles. He's the only person who is strong and insensitive enough to actually laugh. Then his laughter dies out when his wild green eyes fix on the naked Muslim woman.

The first thing the teenage boy notices is her pubic hair, which is like a bush that is covering her genitals. He feels a shudder of disgust when he realizes that her entire body is covered in hair. Not to mention that he prefers pink nipples over the dark ones. Meanwhile, Matthew finds the sight very appealing. He does not mind pubic hair, as long as it is trimmed neatly. He also enjoys looking at Ayesha's small firm boobs with her hard erect nipples. She has the body of a dancer, lithe and beautiful. Her black, silky hair flows down her body like a majestic waterfall, radiant and shining. Her cheeks are blushing in modesty. It is the first time Matthew has truly noticed her natural beauty.

Before Ayesha can pick up her burka, the laser gun comes out of the screen and it zaps her clothes, turning them to dust. The woman's blood freezes. She bows her head, letting her hair screen her face, and she feels exposed, embarrassed and vulnerable.

"What the fuck!?" Kat screeches, clearly outraged. "I bet a man is behind this fucked up game."

"Sexist much," Ashton murmurs, although he secretly agrees for his own reasons.

"Here," Seiko says, as she picks up her jacket from the floor, which is drenched and dripping with sticky and thick blood. She hands it to the naked Muslim woman, who accepts it through trembling hands. Then Seiko scrutinizes the area, trying to find trousers, but she can only see amputated limbs everywhere.

Meanwhile, the name generator lands on the eight-year-old girl. This time, a voice booms from the screen which sounds part-human and part-robot. Deep, briskly efficient and distinctly female. The robotic female voice reads out the following words on the screen:

'Elsa, would you rather eat an alive spider and walk away as the winner, or eat two alive spiders and everyone else, including you, will escape from here?'

"Spiders," Elsa whispers in fear. She has been diagnosed with arachnophobia years ago.

The robotic hands are out, their metal-hooked fingers are holding out a tray. The little girl feels shivers down her spine when she sees the humongous black spiders. They are a hundred times bigger than any black widow. Approximately 3 inches high and 4 inches wide. Matthew believes that they're female since they're bigger than the male tarantulas he has at home. The two tarantulas are trapped in a glass lid and their hairy legs are slowly moving, indicating that they're alive.

Suddenly, there is a burst of noise from the crowd. Like a snap of a finger, people are gathering around the little girl and they're yelling aggressively and desperately at her.

"Do it, little girl!"

"We can all escape if you eat them both!"

"Hurry up! Don't waste time!"

"You'll be a hero, little girl!"

"Just fucking do it!"

"Wait!" Ayesha yells, as she wraps her arms around the terrified child. The Muslim woman looks at everyone else. "Her father risked his life to save everyone. Now it's our turn to save her." Ayesha looks at the little girl and she gives her a small push towards the tray. "Go on, sweetie. Eat one and you can get out of here."

The crowd turn their vicious attention onto the Muslim woman and they're angrily protesting by screaming and shouting at her. Madison pulls away from her wounded sister and, in the moment of absolute anger, she strikes Ayesha's nose with her fist, releasing all of her fury that has been bottled up.

"You stupid lady!" Madison hisses. "We're all in this together."

Ayesha stumbles backwards and she falls down, tears stinging her eyes. Her cheek has been cut and it is bleeding due to Madison's silver ring. More people continue to curse and shout at the Muslim woman, until Elsa exclaims, "I'll eat two. Stop fighting!"

In no time, Matthew has brought a tarantula up to the little girl's face. A big, hairy, black predator rests on his hand. The eight big legs are crawling very slowly and their teeth are dripping with poison. The man notices the creature's feet are slightly sticky and he can feel their tiny hair underneath his fingers. It feels like he's fingering a row of dried spaghetti. Elsa feels like she can't breathe, as if someone is choking her. Her heart is racing and all she wants is to be in her father's protective arms, but she can't. A choked cry for help forces itself up her throat, and tears illuminate her eyes like jewels.

"Don't worry, you won't die. Just gulp it quickly," Matthew says reassuringly, even though he's tempted to shove the tarantula down her throat.

"She's only got thirty seconds left! She can't do it!" Seiko cries out.

A survival instinct takes over Kat and the teenage girl snatches the tarantula off Matthew. "Here, little girl," she says, as she forcefully pushes the huge spider into the tiny mouth. It can barely fit as it is too big. Still, Kat pushes the tarantula further into the little mouth while there's a strangled scream coming from Elsa. The tarantula weighs as much as a nail polish bottle. The little girl can feel its urticating hair, which is itching and choking her throat horribly, and it is already causing blisters inside her sensitive mouth.

Despite the extremely uncomfortable eating experience, Elsa chomps her teeth into the huge creature. The hairy legs are the most crunchiest part and they have more flesh. She bites into a horrible part of the tarantula, where it's full of a dark brown paste that includes everything from eggs to the heart and spider excrement. This horrible substance fills up her mouth, along with the creature's blood. During this, the little girl is crying and jumping around frantically while shaking her head rapidly. She thinks about her father. Her family and her friends. Through sheer determination, she has successfully eaten the first one. She spits on the floor. Her saliva has turned into a disgusting color of red and dark brown. She coughs and wails loudly like an injured baby.

"Good girl," Ayesha says to the sobbing girl.

"Fifteen more seconds left!" A voice yells.

"The other one's getting away!" Another voice screams.

The glass lid is knocked over and the other tarantula is crawling away from the chaotic scenery. Ashton runs and scoops it up from the bloody floor. He can feel the tiny suction cups of the creature's feet as it skitters around in his hand, more frantically than the previous spider. With ten seconds to go, the boy hastily shoves the second creature in Elsa's tiny mouth. She already finds it difficult consuming the first tarantula, but two tarantulas are too much for her. The creature is being forced into the back of her throat, making her gag in response to prevent her from choking. Electric tears are piercing her eyes like the blade of a knife. She swallows the huge spider down, despite the big fur-ball lodged in her throat. However, she spits out two hairy legs.

5... 4...

"Why is the time still going?" People are yelling.

Ashton notices the tarantula's legs and he picks them up. Hastily, he forces them down Elsa's throat. Her eyes roll to the back of her head. Blood and vomit spills out from the little girl's mouth.

"No!" Ayesha yells.


Another explosion. Broken body parts scatter everywhere, along with the broken spider leg that lies directly in front of Kat's feet.

Darkness. Fear and horror clenching hearts. A feeling of being suffocated internally. This endless panic and endless darkness. Blood freezing and terror engulfing the crowd. The harsh slap of reality when they realize that they will not survive for long in this endless dark nightmare. A sickening feeling of self blame, hatred, regret and sadness that is crushing everyone slowly.

"She should have lived... she ate that one spider. She shouldn't have died," Seiko says quietly, her voice wobbling.

"I don't think it counts when it was clear she was trying to eat two," Matthew states with a solemn expression.

"Aren't tarantulas poisonous? She would have died anyway," Madison says, trying to calm everyone down.

"She wouldn't have died since their venom doesn't harm humans," Matthew responds.

The Muslim woman laughs bitterly. Tears are no longer streaming down her face. For a second, her heart dies. The blood is dripping from her jacket and trickling down her bare legs. The blood of so many dead people.

"A test for humanity? No wonder we're put through this. There is no humanity. Humanity's fucked. Her father died honorably for us and he only had one wish. We should've protected the only child left, yet we let her die. She was able to eat that spider bravely. If it weren't for our selfishness, that little girl could have survived and left this godforsaken game," Ayesha rambles on, her words tumbling out in heated passion. She looks at everyone else with her accusing eyes, hating them and hating herself.

Mackenzie is still lying on the floor, groaning from her burning wounds, considerably getting weaker. She speaks up, "If she could eat the whole spider, she could've ate the two tiny legs. She had it coming."

The woman's insensitive comment immediately causes Kat to pick up the broken tarantula leg in front of her. "You eat this if it seems so fucking easy to you!" The teenage girl snaps.

Mackenzie screams and she's unable to move away, while Kat slaps her with the tarantula's leg and she cuts off the woman's scream by shoving it in her mouth. Mackenzie feels a wave of disgust and she's crying pathetically. Other people are muttering 'stop' to Kat. Their pathetic attempts reinforce how they do not have the heart to intervene and break them apart.

Madison, however, steps in front of her older sister and she delivers a huge punch to Kat's stomach, finally sick of the teenage girl's attitude. Kat screams and she jumps straight at Madison, pulling her hair. They topple over to the ground and they're rolling around in the puddle of blood while punching, kicking, scratching and biting each other.

Ashton and Matthew run to pull the girls apart. Kat shrieks as Ashton wraps his arms around her and he lifts her up.

"Let me go, you fucking asshole!" She yells at him, trying to scratch his hands and break free. Her hateful eyes are glaring at Madison, who is screaming and being held back by Matthew.

"Shhh... it's okay, kitten," Ashton says in the girl's ear, pulling her closer to him. Kat feels her neck tingling from his warm breath.

Matthew decides that enough time has passed. "Everybody shut up and listen to me! I have an idea," he roars above the noise, easily grabbing the crowd's attention.


Comment Replies:

Butterfly: Haha, I don't blame you for laughing because I found it awkward and funny to type that scene up! I'm glad you've noticed how selfish Matthew is and you're right about the main characters. Hope this chapter impressed you too!

Annie: Here you go! Sorry for the wait, but I hope this long chapter made it up to you!

K: Here it is! I hope you enjoyed this.

.: Wait no more! Here you go. Thanks for reading!


Author's Note:

10 people are left. We're actually nearing to the end faster than I ever thought. Want Part 6? Leave a comment!
Who do you want the winner to be?
Ashton (Mixed-race teenage boy)
Ayesha (Muslim woman)
Mary (Christian woman)
Mackenzie (Transphobic woman)
Madison (Mackenzie's younger sis)
Matthew (White man)
Joseph (Christian man)
Kat (Polish teenage girl)
Rosa (Elderly woman)
Seiko (Asian woman)
Published: 7/22/2016
Bouquets and Brickbats | What Others Said