1 Ch.1

"It was the Monday after winter break, you know, the day when every season starts for a year of friendly competition."

Like usual my translator captured every bit of sarcasm that I can't portray with ASL. This is probably my hundredth retelling of how a mute nobody could become such a famous survivor/champion of this death game we call entertainment, but I think this'll be the first time I'm telling a completely honest retelling without any of that PR bullshit.

Like every retelling of the story, it starts the same way The Monday after winter break my freshman year of high school. I know what you're thinking, a literal child is able to compete in a death game. Oh the horror, how dare they bring our children into this sick sport. But, hey you are the one's who continue to watch and support the sport. Like every competitor say's

"I couldn't do it without the support of my adoring fans."

Anyway, like I was saying my hobit hole of a room was just lighting up from the sun. I think there was maybe 50 or 40 pounds of covers on me that night, the snowstorm the night before was unbearable. My mom hollered down to me for breakfast, but I was probably up well over an hour before that. You know pre-draft jitters. It didn't help that my baby brother was wailing bloody murder through out the night because of a cold he had. Love you J but, you were such an annoying kid. I was supposed to walk to the bus stop for elementary school but his ailment had other plans.

"Actually before I continue the story, Emily or do you prefer Ms. Helaina? "

"Emily's fine."

"Okay Emily, Do you ever wonder why the selection is always on the first day back to school? Because I always did and they never gave me the answer no matter how much I asked."

"Actually no I never did, do you have any theories, C"

"Casper."

"Mr.Casper."

"To create a sense of fear and isolation. Even if you're in a school and your supposed to be with your peer's. The sense of dread being picked gives you is absolutely real. Like imagine that you hear your name while sitting in an auditorium with the whole school. Your friends just look at you with the most heartbreaking look. Any fling that was going on almost immediately ends there. Oh, and multiply that by having every single teacher look at you, then turn away shaking their head. I HEARD THEM SAY IT WAS NICE KNOWING ME! THEY ALREADY SIGNED MY DEATH AWAY!"

She's always so good at getting my emotion out, I'm so glad I hired her, and she agreed on getting a neural link.

Anyway, back to the story. When I got to school that morning, I had a strange feeling. Have you ever heard of existential dread? Like you feel that something's going to happen and you have a feeling that death is coming, chasing you. My anxiety that day was off the charts. The kids all were congregating towards the auditorium waiting to get the draft done and over with. They weren't even thinking about the chance that they would be chosen. It was more like spirit day type of assembly the type of thing that no one wanted to go to but everyone had to take part in unless you're a senior then you just leave before it happens.

As I walked into the auditorium it felt like everyone was staring at me like I they knew I was going to be chosen. But, of course they didn't nobody knows who's going to get drafted, its literally impossible. The feeling though, the feeling ate at me for the whole first two seasons. …

Oopsie spoilers.

So I'm sitting in the auditorium watching the projection like every other student. Scared out of my mind because I knew it was it for me. The game master was walking away from the screen is huge smile still scare me, to this day I see his wide grin in my nightmares. Just smiling at me no words, no greetings just his smile.

One of my friends came up right next to me and sat there, he was as nonchalant as the rest of them. He was the king of the popular kids, which is pretty weird right, since if you remember from the first season I was apart of I'm the nerd, the quiet kid, only one friend. And he was him, we knew each other since middle school when I was the weird, new quiet kid. As usual he smiled and looked at me like he was ready... ready to be picked.

"Why, would he be ready to be picked?" Emily spoke in a hushed voice. I could tell that she was engrossed in the story.

"Well..."

A tear was falling from my eye at this point. I know, I know, its ruining my cold hearted killer vibe. A charming sociopath. But, I wasn't like that at first, my first season I was just a scared kid who just knew how to disassociate with my feelings.

"Even though he was a popular kid he...he had a severe case of depression and wanted it all to end, he just didn't want to make his parents worry or think they were at fault if he ever went through with it."

The single tear became a river that looked out of place on a blank face like mine.

Grace and Trey I'm sorry that I kept that from you until today. He loved and cared about you guys and he always pushed himself to get better by himself so you guys could worry about G and Benny.

Soon after he came next to me the presentation started showing the past champions ending on last years winner.

"Charlotte pena, right? The red queen."

"Yep, good old queeny."

As the game master explained the rules for this year he dropped the bombshell of this years game. The only game where a draft took two people instead of one. The whole school looked worried because of course, that doubled their chances of getting picked. It was like the game master knew how everyone would react because he just paused and sort of bathed in everyone's shock and horror. I remember that a kid in front of me was checking the forums for the game and it was just going haywire. The whole country was buzzing with the news and I didn't blame them.

It felt like and eternity but only around 2 minutes passed of us just sitting there in fear and shock. He knew what he was doing too, unlike usual where he would announce that he was pulling the drafted player, his hand just slowly crawled towards the bowl. As his hand picked a name from it a picture came onto the screen.