01 Feb The 24 Hour Game 14:00 – 15:00
“Fuck,” is all that any of us can say as the alarms in the bunker go off. Heather is pacing trying to figure out what to do as I stare at the screen, a hundred questions racing through my mind.
Only a few mattered really.
Why was Josh here? How did he end up here when at midnight I saw a tape of him forcing me to play this twisted SAW shit?
Then our next assignment flashed on all the monitors
XV. SAVE CONTESTANT.
“Fuck,” I said out loud again as I realized that the Game was asking us to breach the fire. To run head first into the blaze and save my friend.
“Holy shit,” Melissa said as she stared at the screen. The others seem at a loss as to what to do. But I know there isn’t another option.
I asked Celeste for her thick jacket and Heather looks at me, almost as though to wish me good luck.
Then I covered my face and pushed head first into the fire.
The red flashing sirens of the bunker are disorienting at first, that much I remember clearly.
And that it was dark. So fucking dark.
Only those brief flashes of light from the alarms on the side of the bunker wall were enough to give me an idea of where I needed to go.
Floor 2. Forty more steps. Floor 3. Thirty more steps.
I was in the room where Josh was bound and unconscious, the floor already starting to give way as I rushed to his side. I knelt down and started cutting away at the bonds, trying to rationalize why I was saving the man who somehow had a role to play in the capture of my family.
I’ll make sure to tell Josh that it was them that saved his sorry ass, not me, That’s what I thought at the time as the inferno spread rapidly throughout the room.
I broke them loose and Josh slumped over straight against me as the flames hit backside. It was all I could do not to drop him and flee for my life.
I’ve made it this far. I can make it a little farther, I think to myself.
I push his dead weight up and looked toward the door. The entrance I had come in through collapsing on itself as I scrambled to find another exit.
There ain’t one. I know that I’m going to have to make one. I set Josh down and rolled him on his side in case he started coughing up some shit, and kicked at the weak tiling below our feet.
A few seconds later, it fell open and I called out to my companions.
Celeste and Melissa are standing there a minute later.
“I’m going to lower him down!” I said as lifted Josh up by the shoulders and then slowly pushed him through the hole. I could hardly keep myself from collapsing in exhaustion as I did, and the others were able to get him to safety as a blast of fire hit the left side of my face.
I screamed and cussed and jumped down to the floor below. Heather took off her long shirt and tossed it to me to cover my already blistering face as we all moved toward the exit of the bunker.
As we make it outside, all of us collapse on the wet grass and a burst of fire shoots out the metallic door.
I know it sounds like an action movie, but we barely made it out with our life.
I laid there on the ground in pain as I held the red shirt that Heather had been wearing over her tank top against my left eye.
“Keep it on there,” Celeste ordered me as she went back and forth checking my injury and then Wayne’s.
Finally, after what seems like forever, Josh is awake. He coughs and staggers to breath as he looks about the group, his eyes focusing on me.
“Danny…?” he asked in confusion.
If I wasn’t in so much pain, I think I would have throttled him.
But instead none of us say anything as Heather takes off her back pack and passes the last little bit of food that we had left from this morning.
We all know that we made it past this challenge. And I can see that the sun is reaching the evening glow as the gentle rain we experienced before transforms into a light shower.
It’s almost like God is trying to get us a boost to finish the 24 Hour Game. I can feel the soothing rain drops hitting my burnt scalp and trickling down my face.
I take Heather’s shirt off my eye and let the water just hit me. I know it’s probably supposed to hurt. But it doesn’t. It’s actually refreshing.
Celeste walked over to me about ten minutes ago after I finished the log. Josh hasn’t said much since he woke up, I guess he only feels comfortable talking to me.
“What are people saying online? Do we have a lot of fans?” she teased.
I showed a few of the comments. “Looks like a majority of them want us to win. To stop this game,” I said.
“Sounds like a plan,” she agreed as she took out her own phone and added, “I need to check your eye.”
At first I resist the intrusion of privacy. But I know that she is only doing her job. I opened my left eye slowly and she shone the light toward it. I felt the need to shut it but she wouldn’t have it.
“Your cornea is pretty banged up, Daniel. If we don’t get you to a hospital for surgery, it’s likely you’ll lose all vision on that side,” she said.
I laughed and looked around the mountain range.
“Something tells me that won’t be happening very soon,” I said.
The phone chirps again as though to let me know that I’m right.
“All we can do is push forward,” Celeste agrees. But I know we both are dreading whatever insane task will come next.