The Game

by Chase

The Game

A short story written by:

Chase Merkley

The spider crawled on Hunter's arm. He noticed it right away but had to be silent. His fear of spiders made him sweat and breathe even harder. His fear of getting shot now was way in the back of his mind. All his focus was on this spider on his arm.

"Hunter, there in reach," Jessica said forty yards away from him beside two trees under the bushes.

"Hunter, make the call," Zach, his best friend that joined the marines with Hunter, said up in the tree right above Hunter.

"What is going on?" Julius said having aim on one of the enemies ready to terminate his life from this world.

Hunter breathes once more of fear and hatred of the spider and then finds the courage to flick the spider off of his arm. "Don't move until I say so Julius," he says getting back under control.

"What were you doing?" Zach asks looking down on him.

"Spider on my arm, couldn't think," he says embarrassed.

"Red Leader, let's do this," says Julius taking his safety off.

"On my mark Julius," he says taking his safety off. The two dozen enemy soldiers stop and look around. They talk amongst themselves.

"Julius, what are they doing?" Hunter, the Red Leader, says trying to see what is going on.

Julius looks in his scope to see what they are talking about and doing. "They are looking around the jungle Red Leader. It looks like they are looking for us," he says kneeling down to hide.

"Alright, everyone stay in their position and don't do anything stupid," Hunter says staying still. No one moves and everyone stays in their position to wait for confirmation.

Silence falls around the darkened jungle. A deadly sound falls in Hunter's ears. He turns to where he heard the sound.

"Oh man, Jessica is down! Jessica is hit!" Hunter hears from Julius screaming in his earpiece.

Hunter looks up to see Julius running towards Jessica who was shot in her trachea drowning in her own blood. "Julius, no! Get back in your position!" he stands and screams at him.

Zach shoots one of the Congo's in the head. His head goes with the bullet as his body goes the opposite way. Zach looks in his scope and fires his Barrett M98 at another Congo's face.

Julius gets to Jessica who is still alive. "Stay awake Jessica! Stay with me!" He screams getting the aid out. A Congo comes behind him with his bowie knife. Julius turns and grabs the Congo's wrist with the knife and they wrestle and struggle. Julius punches him in his ribcage and then hits him in the ear. The man screams. He kneels down, takes out his knife in his boot and comes back up with force and pushes his knife

in his throat. The man drops his knife and falls down holding the knife in his throat and dies of shock.

Zach jumps out of the tree to see a Congo on top of Hunter. He runs up, takes his knife out, and runs behind the man and slits his throat and pushes him off of Hunter. "Are you ok Hunter?" He says holding his hand out for him to grab. Next thing Hunter sees is blood coming at his face. Zach falls on top of him. Hunter pushes him off of him and looks at him and sees he was shot in the back of his head. Zach died instantly. Hunter looks for his team with all the chaos around him. He sees Jessica dead sitting on the ground leaning on a tree. He looks and sees Julius shooting as many Congo's as he can. "Julius, pull back! We need to get out of here!" He says waving his arms for Julius to notice him.

"What was that Red Leader?" He says letting his guard down. A Congo sniper takes his advantage on Julius and shoots him in his upper back into his spine and it comes out of his chest. Julius looks at Hunter. He shoots his M249 automatic at a Congo and then takes off running towards Hunter. He falls down. He tries to get back up but his legs give out on him. Blood comes out of his mouth. He tries once more to get up but can't. He lays there. "Run Red Leader!" Julius says taking out his grenade.

Hunter takes off in a full on sprint going the opposite way of the chaos.

"If I go down, you're all going down," he says to himself wrapping his finger around the ring. A Congo stands above him with his hand around his finger. The Congo shoots him many times in the chest before he could pull the ring out of the grenade.

Hunter, after running ten miles, hides in the bushes to catch his breathe. He looks and sees his radio gone. He thinks that it must have fallen when one of the Congo's attacked him. He then thinks about Zach and what had happened and remembers all the good times they had.

He quickly turns to hear Congo soldiers coming towards his way. He turns and starts running in the dark jungle once again.

He runs until he feels his legs wanting to fall off. He stops and leans on a tree and asks himself if he is going to see his wife again and see his new born son. He hears something behind him moving through the fallen leaves on the ground. He slowly turns around and sees no Congo. He hears the sound again right below him. He looks down and sees his next fear. A giant, twenty-eight foot anaconda slithers under Hunter's leg. Hunter is frozen stiff hoping the snake doesn't know he is above it. He slowly lifts his leg up and to run. When he lifts his leg, the snake turns and sees him. He tries to take off in a full sprint again, but slips from the mud and he falls. He turns around and sees the snake coming at him. He gets up, but the snake wraps around his leg. He freaks out and takes his knife and stabs the snake in the head over and over until it is dead.

He stands up and shakes a little. He turns around to run and slips but grabs hold of a strong root to a tree. He looks back and sees himself hanging from a twenty-five foot cliff. He sees a river running down below. He starts to lift himself up when he sees a spider coming towards him. He stops and stares at it. It comes closer and closer. He takes the risk and lets go of the root to the tree and falls in the river. He floats downstream for a while until he sees lights through the trees in the dark.

"It looks like a house," he says getting out of the water. He walks out of the water and the next thing he knows, he is seeing pitch black.

The unknown, Caucasian man, who knocked Hunter out with his gun, drags him to the house.

Hunter wakes up to the sun in his eye. He sits up and sees that he is in a bed. He jumps out quickly and sees he is in his boxers and plain white t-shirt. He looks for his clothes, but can't find them. He sees the door open. The unknown man walks in with snake brain smoked on the grill.

"Hello there; its ok, I'm not here to hurt you," the man says putting the plate down on the dresser.

"Where am I? What's going on? Who are you?" Hunter says asking all his questions all at one time.

"Calm down, I saw you passed out on the ground and decided to take you in," he says trying to calm Hunter down.

"This is your place?"

"No, this isn't my place. This is Mr. Simmons' place. He is out right now playing his game. He should be back shortly."

"What game?"

"A hunting game he plays," he says. The front door opens and then shuts.

"Oh, looks like he is back. He is dying to meet you. Come and meet him," he says holding the door open.

The man leads Hunter down the hall and down the stairs. Hunter looks at all the gothic paintings and pictures of Mr. Simmons in the jungle and him at his home.

"So this is the man that was passed out on my property last night," says Mr. Simmons with his hunting gear and jungle paint on his face.

"I'm sorry sir, my name is Hunter Merkley. I am with the U.S. Marines and my men and my mission were terminated and I'm going to get out of here right now sir. Sorry again for the intrusion-"

Mr. Simmons laughs. "No intrusion at all. You can hide out here; no Congo soldiers come near here. They learned their lessons," he says laughing again.

"Um...ok. Thanks," Hunter says looking at the gun Mr. Simmons is holding.

"So I heard an anaconda brought you here," he says laughing again.

"Yes sir. The anaconda scared me a little," he says laughing with him.

"Did you know they kill their prey by coiling their large, powerful bodies around their victims and squeezing until their prey suffocates or is crushed to death and dies from internal bleeding? Then they unhinge their jaw and swallow the victims whole."

"I knew about the suffocation thing," he says disturbed by Mr. Simmons.

"Listen, there is a game I play and I was wondering if you want to play," Mr. Simmons says smiling.

"What kind of game? I don't know if I have time for a game-"

"A hunting game," he says interrupting him.

"No, I am fine sir. I just want to get rested up and get out of your hair," he says making his way back upstairs to the room he was in.

"Ok, looks like I have to do this the hard way," he says to the man who brought Hunter in the house.

"What did you just say?" Hunter says turning around.

"It's not really an option Mr. Merkley. Your going to play the game or you will, how do I say in your terminated?" He says standing up smiling.

"What's this game?"

"You run...I hunt..."

"What? Your saying you want to hunt me like I'm an animal?" Mr. Simmons laughs right when he says that.

"YES! YES! That's exactly what I want to do!"

"What is wrong with you?" Hunter says turning back around to head to the room. He hears a gun click ready to fire. He turns back around and sees Mr. Simmons holding a hand gun at him. Hunter puts his hands up to his chest.

"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with me you ask? A human being is the smartest creature on earth. Hunting them gives me this kind of pleasure I can't even describe," Mr. Simmons says.

"You've done this before?"

"Oh yes Mr. Merkley. You're not my first."

"I'll be your last," he says not afraid.

"Well then, let the game begin," he says lifting his arm with the gun.

Hunter takes off running out of the front door and into the jungle. The man runs after him. The man runs and then stops between two trees. Hunter sees him below him. Hunter jumps down and breaks his neck and takes off running again. Mr. Simmons walks out of the house with his high-powered rifle. He throws his cigar down. "The game has begun," he says and laughs and fires his rifle in the air and yells with excitement.

A knock at the door comes from the hand of a senior Marine. A woman comes to the door holding a new born baby boy. She opens the door to see the marine.

"Hello ma'am. My name is Thomas Simmons and I am from the U.S. Marines."

"Can I help you? Where is Hunter? Is he ok?" She says.

"I'm sorry ma'am. We did a search and rescue and no one of his team survived. The Congo got to your husband and brutally murdered him to death. I'm terribly sorry for you lost ma'am. We will hold an honor memorial this Thursday." Hunter's wife, Emily, looks in the man's eyes trying to not believe it and then she breaks down and tears up. "I really am sorry for your lost ma'am. I shall leave you to your duties. Good day to you ma'am." He shuts the door and walks away.

She walks in her living room and sets the baby down in the crib. She doesn't start to cry at first because she is in thought. She is confused. She is thinking about the marine that just came to see her. His marine suit had the medals and the name tag said "Red Leader." She finally realizes that Hunter was called the "Red Leader" and looks back at the door. She runs and opens the door and sees the car still here and then looks at her driveway and sees a huge red stain. She walks over and sees her garage open. She walks to the garage and sees the office door shut. She looks down and sees the red stain in the driveway by the office door as well. She walks to the door and hears the rocking chair rocking. She grabs hold of the doorknob and twists the knob. The rocking is still going. She opens it a little before all the way and smells something so horrendous, she almost purges right then. She opens it all the way and finds that her husband came home. She screams in terror. She looks at the note pinned to Hunter's dead corpse saying, "He lost."

"I want to play a game," Mr. Simmons says behind Emily taking a knife to her throat. The only thing alive instead of Mr. Simmons is the spider crawling on the arm of Hunter's corpse.

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