01 Feb The 24 Hour Game 13:00 – 14:00
XIV. DESTROY BUNKER.
We had made it this far.
But now, as we stood there in a dusty locker room and I watched a woman cry over the loss she had suffered almost two years ago… I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go any further.
Wayne (that was what he insisted on us calling him) was the one to break the tension, laughing again almost maniacally as he winced in pain from the wound that Melissa had given him.
“Well… ain’t that just the bees knees?? Fuck. Makes you wish we had told Charlie that two years huh Heather?”
She stopped crying if only for a moment to punch him square in the jaw.
“Enough, both of you!” Celeste said as she pulled Heather away.
I forced myself to focus on what I needed to know though. Cause everything I had just heard was a game changer.
“What is really going on here between you two? Don’t lie and say it’s about the money. What are you really trying to do?” I asked.
Wayne doesn’t say a word as he spit out a bloody tooth.
“We always have a damned plan,” Heather said shaking her head sourly.
“And it always goes to hell,” Wayne added.
“Then why are you even trying again! Don’t give me any bullshit, I want the truth!!” I told them.
Celeste looked toward the floor and sighed, “We can’t tell you. We’re not allowed.”
“What? By who?” I asked.
“The Game. I made that mistake two years ago. I was almost at the end of all this shit. Everything was going to go perfectly. But I disobeyed one of the earlier rules. I was told never to speak about why I played the Game,” Heather said.
“Fine. Whatever. Keep it a big dark mysterious secret. But at least explain how he is mixed up in all of this,” I said.
“I was hired. Actually my whole fucking team was. Me and Jack were the only ones who came back alive,” Wayne said.
This is when Melissa is the one that loses her cool.
“You know my dad?? You knew he was out here and didn’t fucking say a thing??” she shrieks.
“Calm down!! I didn’t know he was in this round! I swear!!” Wayne said.
“You mean that he wasn’t part of your little scheme to play. So you just kept your mouth shut, let him die!!” Melissa snapped back.
“I was just doing what I was paid to do by Miss Bradley. That didn’t involve your dad. In fact he went AWOL after our last run, said that he was going to figure out a way to beat the game for good,” Wayne said.
“Fuck. Whatever it is she paid you… it must have been good,” I said.
“That was when money was all I cared about. But right now what matters is we need to keep going. Are we done with twenty questions or what?” Wayne asked with an exasperated sigh.
I check the time and realize that he is right. If we’re going to finish the task in time we have to start now.
“Okay… so the Game wants us to destroy this bunker… makes sense as much as anything else I guess. Should we just look around for some lighter fluid or what?” I asked.
“Let’s see what we can find,” Heather agreed leading the way toward the next dank corridor.
Celeste helped Wayne to his feet and the five of us shuffled down the dark as Melissa hugged the wall. I could tell she was even more uncomfortable than ever before.
And I was starting to feel like I was the only one that didn’t ever hear of this damned internet challenge.
It actually made me wonder for a moment what Josh’s motivation was. Why had he convinced me to join up in the first place?
It bothered me so much that I had to speak up about it.
“Do any of you know Joshua Francis?” I asked.
The others looked at me but no one gave me a nod of recognition. It only made me more concerned.
We made our way in a wider portion of the bunker where it appeared that there were several rows of older style computers. It reminded me of something you might see in the old 90s spy movies.
“What is this place?” Celeste asked.
“Don’t know but I think some of the systems are still operational,” Heather said as she flicked a light switch on.
A short moment later she activated one of the terminals and a few other gears and parts around the facility started to grind to life.
“Some sort of research station?” I guessed as she started to use the mouse and search for something on the data base available.
She pulled up a schematic and studied it for a long moment while Celeste began to tend to Wayne’s wound.
“You guys probably should have hashed out your baggage to prevent snags like this,” the nurse quipped.
“If we’re being fair… I didn’t expect to be having to babysit a housewife and a toddler,” Wayne said gesturing toward us.
“Hey… we saved your life,” Melissa barked out.
“Fine. Whatever. I’ll figure out a way to repay you later,” the soldier said rolling his eyes.
I look over at Celeste as she is wrapping up his foot and remarked, “Do you still have that flash drive? The one Jack gave you?”
She nodded and passed it to me as I looked toward the terminals.
“I wonder if it would work here?” I muttered.
“Found what we’re looking for. It’s two decks up. Come on Stratton,” Heather said as she led the way.
I slipped the flash drive in my pocket and followed her up the stairs. We found ourselves in some sort of chemical supply closet and she passed me several of the bottles one by one.
“You can carry more than me, obviously,” she said bluntly.
I nod and we began to pour some of the chemicals down the stairs and back to the control center.
“That ought to get the job done. Cause we still need a way out…” Heather said as she lit a cigarette again and muttered, “Everyone hold on to your butts.”
She tossed it toward the inferno and it burst out in a massive explosion in the stairwell as we watched in shock.
“Come on, let’s get out of here!” Celeste urged us as she was getting Wayne to his feet.
Then suddenly the other monitors on the screen activated. We found ourselves staring at a figure tied and gagged to a chair in a room approximately three floors above us.
I hold my breath as I look toward the flames.
The figure is the man that led me here: Joshua Francis.