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The Long Walk

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The Arena

I don’t want to be here. None of us want to be here, but we have to be here if we want to win. Winning is everything. Winning is freedom. Some would even kill for their freedom.

“START MOVING” was the call from the Overlooker. He stood above us on his platform, dressed completely in black. I could hear the other surrounding ‘competitors’. Cries of pain and anger surged from their mouths but not loud enough for the Overlooker to hear. They wouldn't dare let him hear them complain.

Some people were praying for their families and loved ones because they knew that this was the call that would change our lives. We were formed up in three lines and there were at least a hundred people ahead of me in my line. The people at the start of the line started to shuffle forward slowly. They dreaded and feared what was ahead of them in the arena, so they were stalling. We started to move. Every step I took felt like part of me was being draining away. Stolen by the earth to be saved and stored forever. The bystanders stood far outside the line. They were taking photos and videos of us. This is a game to them. A form of entertainment, yet they still keep their distance. The sun is shining down on us, which reflects off the stupid outfits they make us wear. They chose days and outfits like this because it helps hide the real meaning of what is happening today from the spectators. The Overlooker woke me from my thoughts of my family.


Half of the competitors in front of me had entered the arena. I was close enough now to hear it all, the loud cheers of the spectators, the noise of the other ‘competitors crying out in fear, and the noise of ‘It’ being awoken.

Many new discoveries had been made the day we landed on Alpha Centauri Bb. It was estimated that we wouldn't have the technology to reach it until 2103, but there we were in 2057 landing on it. Out of all the new data and discoveries that we made, “It” is what they were most proud of. They captured it and brought it to earth selling it to the highest bidder. The Vance brothers bought “It” and took it to their arena, that had previously been abandoned for decades, and started the contests. Every month hundreds of people are chosen from the farms and “It” selects who lives, who dies, and who fights. That’s all I know about it. That’s all that most know about it. Only the spectators know how it behaves or even what it looks like. There are always rumors going around about it. Some say it is smaller than the average human but much stronger and fiercer. But then some people say that it is a huge beast like that of a movie. I guess we will find out soon, I was approaching the outer entrance to the arena. After the outer entrance I could see a small room where they were marking or cataloging each ‘competitor’ and after that was a large open doorway that lead to the main arena.

I was roughly ushered towards a man with a gun of some sort in his hand.

“Arm” and “move” were the only two things he said to me. He showed no emotion while doing so, but I guess he must have seen thousands go in before me not knowing whether they would come out again.

I held out my arm and he placed the gun on my arm. I felt a faint burning sensation in my arm as the gun gave me my number. Ever since the start of the games they have been counting up the numbers of people that had gone through. I looked at my arm. I was number 546012. I only got to glance at the number before I was pushed on my way towards another group of people that were putting glasses on our faces that would act as a remote controlled blindfold. When you lose one of your 5 senses the other 4 become more alert than normal. I was just told to walk straight. I couldn't see where I was going, but I knew it was out the door into the arena. I tried to imagine it as a spectator. A few hundred people walking around dazed, running into each other while they did so. We were like a blind horde.

The ‘master of ceremonies’ made us all stop in our tracks and made spectators fall silent.

“Welcome ladies, gentlemen and competitors, to today’s entertainment. As you may or may not know today marks the 300th event. So as a special reward for all your support with Vance industries. TODAY ALL THE COMPETITORS DIE!”

My heart sank. But the hearts of the spectators was filled with excitement. They rose from their seats cheering. I can’t remember when humanity became addicted to this. It’s like the worst kind of drug. They get the excitement but we get all the pain.

My thoughts were interrupted by the last words I would hear.

“Ok ladies and gentlemen. I think it’s time we made a start”

And with that, the ‘master of ceremonies’ flicked the switch and our blind folds were off. All I could see was white, until my eyes adjusted to the harsh sunlight from above, and then I realized it had begun.

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