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I am not crazy; no matter what anyone says. And this isn’t a confession. Everything I have done up to this point has been out of self-defense; or rather, self-preservation. I didn't want to do it, but I was backed into a corner. It’s all because of that fucking game. I’m probably not making any sense. Um, I don’t even know where to begin. It all started when… Well shit, I can’t really say when it all started.

My name is Samuel Summers. I am twenty-two years old and, for the last year, I have been going to Harbor Side Community College. I live in a one bedroom apartment that was a mile away from the college. I don’t have many friends. The only person I really associate with is my friend from high school, James Vargas. He was even more socially awkward than I was. James had always been into occult shit, so when I got a call from him telling me to meet him in a graveyard, I wasn’t surprised.

It was about eleven thirty when I finally decided to get up and leave my apartment. I threw on a sweater, combed my dirty hair, and left my place. The street I lived on never had working street lights, so it was always dark. This particular cemetery was three miles away from where I lived. I went to my backyard to get my green BMX. It took me half an hour, but I rode all the way to the cemetery. I got off my bike and parked it outside the front gates to the graveyard.

I started walking until I saw a light in the distance. The light was coming from a fire. In front of the fire, sat James and two other people that I didn't know. “Welcome.” I put my hands in my pocket and walked up next to James. He was wearing a black and red hooded jacket. “James, what the fuck is going on?”

“Have you ever heard of Mario Fantalis?”

“Um, he was that famous… occultist guy, right?”

“To put it plainly, yes. Anyway, he stumbled upon an ancient book that described a way to become immortal.”

“Is this why you dragged me all the way out here? I’m going home.” I started to walk away. “I have it.” I turned around to see James grinning. I walked back over to him. “You have what?”

James brought his hands out in front of him; revealing, he was holding an old book. He handed it to me and I opened it. It was written in a different language. I looked up at James. “It’s Babylonian. We’ve only been able to transcribe the end of it, but that’s the only part that we understand. Here, I’ve written the last part, so we can all read it together.” James handed me a piece of paper. “Now that you’re here, we can begin.”

“By the way, who are these people?”

“They helped me find the book. With the condition that they participate in the ritual. Now, let us begin.”

I looked at the paper and we all read it aloud. “Henceforth, from now until the end of time, I swear to obey the rules of Ludum, lest I succumb to crippling pain and a slow death.”

Suddenly, the fire exploded into a huge flame. I jumped backwards. I looked at James and then at the two other people. Suddenly, I felt violently sick. I started throwing up. I glanced over and everyone else was doing the same. I staggered around and somehow made it to my bike. I barely had the strength to pedal. My some miracle, I got home in one piece. By the time, I reached my bed, my vision was blurry. Before I knew it, I passed out.

I gasped and jumped up from my bed. I fell onto the floor. I was still feeling nauseous. The sunlight beamed through my window and right into my face. I shut my eyes and reached around until I found my phone. I grabbed it and checked to see what time it was. My phone was unplugged.

I plugged it into the wall and turned it on. To my horror, I was asleep for an entire day. I had forty two missed calls; all were from James. I tried calling him back, but it went straight to voicemail. I bolted out of my apartment and ran outside. I jumped onto my bike and rode to James’s house.

When I got to James’s house, the door was wide open. I walked up the front steps and noticed blood on the doorknob. I slowly pushed the front door open and stepped inside. There was a rancid smell. I covered my nose to stop myself from vomiting. I made my way past the kitchen and into the living room. This is where the smell was coming from.

In the middle of the living room, was a dead body that looked like it was torn to pieces. I recognized the body as one of the people from last night. In a chair right next to the body, there was the other girl from last night. She was gagged and blindfolded. I started to walk towards her, but I stopped in my tracks when I saw James holding a bloody butcher knife. “James. What the fuck are you doing!?”

He looked at the girl and started laughing. “It's the game. I have to play by the rules.” James looked at me. “And so do you.”

He tossed the knife at my feet. “You have to kill her.”

My eyes got wide. “Are you out of your fucking mind!? There’s no way I’m doing that!” Just then, a sharp pain shot through my entire body. I fell down and curled up into a ball.

It was like I was being cut on every inch of my skin. My entire body was shaking and my chest started to collapse in on itself. I looked up and saw James walking towards me. He picked up the knife and cleaned the blood off it. “See? I told you. You have to follow the rules in order to play the game.” James sighed and sat down next to me. “It’s my fault. I didn't translate the rules of the game. In order to continue to play the game, you have to kill someone every forty eight hours. If you don’t, you’ll slowly die in extreme agony.”

James put the knife in my hand. I couldn’t even grip it because of the pain. James stood me up and walked us both over to the girl. I held the knife in my hand and James guided it to the girl’s throat. She was screaming through the cloth she had in her mouth. Without realizing it, I-I slit her throat. Blood began pouring out of this poor girl’s neck like a faucet. At the same time that the blood left her body, the pain left my body. I dropped the knife and passed out.

When I woke up, I was back in my room with a note on my chest. “Dear Sam. Want to play the game? Remember to play by the rules. Sincerely, your friend, James.” I was speechless. I got up from my bed and looked out the window. It was dark out. I went into my kitchen and opened a drawer. I pulled out a knife and put it in my pocket. I walked out my apartment; I didn't even bother to close my door. I got into the elevator to go to the bottom floor.

The elevator stopped and a woman got on. I started to get a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I started to get a headache. My hand, it acted on its own. I had the knife in my hand and I started to stab the woman repeatedly. She was dead by the time we got to the bottom floor. I ran out of the elevator and I just kept running.

I’ve been running ever since. Running… and killing. I don’t want to. I never wanted to, but the pain was too much. I'm not doing it anymore. Immortality isn’t worth it. I’m done. I don’t care how much it hurts. It’s been a day and a half since the last time I killed someone; it’s the first time in at least forty years. It’s hard to think straight.

Every time you hear about unsolved serial killings or people committing murders without any motive… that's someone playing the game. I’m writing this because I’m selfish. You see, the thing about the game is there’s more than one way to play. Just knowing about the game is enough to get sucked into this. And now that you know about the game… you have to play.

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