Estimated reading time — 39 minutes
I received an envelope in the mail recently. I thought it was a bit odd since I had just moved in to my new home, but it was sent to “current resident.” Technically that was me. I figured it was just one of the fake ads that gets sent through the mail, but I was incredibly wrong.
When I opened up the envelope all that was inside was a USB drive. I wasn’t stupid enough to plug it in to my own computer. Who knows what kind of virus could be lurking on this thing. I was a bit curious about it though, so I took it to one of the computers at my local library.
I plugged it in to the library computer. The USB opened up and there seemed to only be a single video file. I put in some headphones, took a quick look around to make sure no one else was watching, and then I played the video.
The video began to play, but it was only a black screen. After a few seconds a distorted voice began to play though. I’ll do my best to recreate what it said here:
“Congratulations, you have been selected as one of the 64 contestants in the first ever Serial Killer Showdown! We have been watching, and have carefully selected our contestants. You have been selected as a lower seed. This means you will be hunted in the first round. Your opponent has been given your name, face, and address. Your opponent will be given one week to eliminate you. Should he fail to do so within the time frame, or if he is killed, then you will advance to the next round. Any contestant that fails to compete shall be dealt with accordingly. Good luck!”
Before the video ended the face of a man appeared on my screen with the text “Your Hunter.” Then the video closed on its own, and the entire computer began to show lines of code. After a few seconds the computer returned to normal, but the USB drive was now empty. I tried removing it and plugging it back in, but this achieved nothing.
I thought this had to be some kind of prank. Serial killer showdown? It sounded like a terrible indie movie. Still, the idea it could potentially be real freaked me out a bit. If it was real, it had obviously gone to the wrong person. I was not a serial killer. I had issues killing house flies. It must have been meant for the person who lived in my home before me.
I decided that it would be best to visit my local police. I took them the flash drive and tried explaining what I had seen, but of course it still contained nothing. They probably thought I was high or crazy, but in the end I got them to accept the flash drive, and they said they would send it off to techs to get it examined. They couldn’t do anything else though.
I still wasn’t sure that this was real, but I didn’t like the idea of someone hunting me down. I packed my essentials from my home, and found a cheap hotel. If what the video had said was true, then I would only have to hide out for a week. It shouldn’t be my name or face that was shown to the other person, but rather the person who had lived at my home before me. So I had nothing to worry about right?
That was what I thought at least.
On the third day of living away from my new home I decided to drive by my house after work. I just wanted to take a peek, because I was certain I had just let paranoia get the best of me. This whole thing had probably just been a prank, and I had been the sucker who fell for it.
When I drove by my house however, there was a car parked nearby. I noticed the tags were from a couple states over. This seemed a bit odd to me, but not entirely out of the norm. It could just be guests visiting the neighbors. I decided not to stop though, and to go back to my hotel.
Once I arrived back at the hotel I began to prepare myself for bed. It had been a long day at work, and I had had to do overtime again. All this added stress wasn’t helping either. Just as I was about to crawl in to bed I heard something.
There was someone at the door. This was definitely strange. It was not the time of day that room service would be here, and I had not ordered anything.
“Hello? Who’s there?” I yelled at the door.
I walked up to the door and looked through the peep-hole. There was no one on the other side. I opened the door and peeked out in the hallway. It was likewise empty. I shut and locked the door, making sure I placed the deadbolt on. Was this whole situation driving me crazy?
I went back to my uncomfortable hotel bed. Despite how anxious I was, I still managed to fall asleep quite quickly. I had been exhausted.
I was woken up in the middle of the night however. I looked over to the hotel clock. It read 2:20 a.m. I wasn’t exactly sure why I was awake, but I had to use the bathroom. So, I got out of bed and decided to do so.
I had just made it in the bathroom door when I began to hear noises from the front door. On instinct I quickly swung the bathroom door shut and locked it. Just as I did so I heard the main door click open. I heard the door catch on the deadbolt, but only for a second. Next I heard the snapping of metal as the deadbolt was broken. Inside the bathroom I realized my biggest mistake. I had forgotten my cell phone.
I wasn’t sure how much good screaming would do me. This hotel was cheap as I had mentioned, and I hadn’t ever seen any other guests. The kind of people that stayed here most likely wouldn’t flinch if they heard someone scream.
I began to scour the bathroom for some type of weapon. There really wasn’t much. I turned on the coffee maker all the way up and poured some water inside. Then I armed myself with a plunger I had found in the corner.
I guess the intruder hadn’t immediately realized that I had hid in the bathroom, because he seemed to walk in to the hotel bedroom first.
I thought about making a run for it then, but my wallet, keys, and phone were all in the bedroom. Not to mention I wasn’t in the greatest part of my city, and it was the middle of the night. I was a cornered animal.
After spending a few minutes in the bedroom I heard the intruder’s footsteps come back towards the front of the room, and closer to me. Eventually, he paused directly in front of the bathroom door.
“Listen, I don’t know who you are, but you have the wrong guy!” I shouted at the door.
My pleas fell on deaf ears though. I heard the man take a few steps back, and then he began to ram the door. It didn’t entirely break the first strike. Which was surprising seeing how shitty this hotel was. I knew the door most likely wouldn’t withstand the second strike though. So, I began to ready myself.
I took a deep breath as I heard the man take a few steps back again.
The stranger barreled through the door this time. As he did I doused him in the now boiling hot water from the coffee pot. My aim had never been better as it splashed directly on his face. He immediately recoiled. I took this opportunity to swing with all my might with the plunger. The first strike only made him fall to his knees, but the next few got the job done. I didn’t kill him, but he was certainly going to have a huge headache when he awoke.
I called 911 and they came to pick him up. I was brought back with them for questioning. Once again I explained to them about the flash drive, and once again they thought I was crazy. Considering the events, they took my story a bit more seriously, but in the end they didn’t seem entirely convinced.
The man who had attacked me had been from a few states over. This raised some red flags with the police. He didn’t have a previous record though. They would have to look more in to him in order to find a motive. After a few hours of seemingly pointless questions they released me.
I had just hoped that his whole thing was over. I was given my things from the hotel room, and I decided to just go back to my home. The man chasing me was apprehended now, so I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Just as I walked through my front door I heard an odd ring come from my phone. I hadn’t remembered setting that sound to anyone. In fact, I had never heard that ringtone before. I pulled out my phone to see I had 1 new message from a name that was just a random assortment of numbers and letters. This is what is said:
“Your opponent has failed their task. Welcome to round 2!”
I never expected to be involved in a tournament for serial killers, but here I was in round 2. Even though I had made it here, I still hadn’t killed anyone. Yet two weeks after the first round had concluded, I received my second envelope.
I thought about taking the envelope directly to the police, but I had to be sure. I opened it up, and once again it contained a flash drive. That wasn’t all it contained this time though. No, it also contained a smaller envelope with the word “Motivation” written on it. I couldn’t stop myself from opening it, but I really wish I hadn’t.
Inside the envelope was a single photograph. It was a picture of my parents, but it wasn’t any normal picture of them. They were tied to chairs with gags in their mouths. Placed between them was a digital clock showing the date and time. If the clock was to be believed, then this photograph had only been taken one day prior to me receiving it. There was a message on the back of the photo, this is what it read:
“No more assists from the police. Good luck!”
Of course I tried to call my parents, but it was no use. No matter how many time I called they couldn’t answer. After a few attempts I realized I was wasting time. I picked up the USB and didn’t hesitate to put it in my personal computer.
Once again I was greeted with a black screen and a distorted voice. I’ll do my best to recreate it again:
“Hello again. We’d like to start by congratulating all 31 competitors who made it to round 2. Unfortunately, we did lose one potential contestant to a stunning double-kill. Competitor #13 was the quickest to eliminate their target in a time of 36 hours 22 minutes. As a reward, they will be given the unexpected bye this round. The rest of you shall have your roles reversed this round. Any conflicts have been settled by a coin toss. We are also upping the stakes this round. Only deaths will be accepted for advancement. If a hunter fails to eliminate their target in the time frame, then their location shall be exposed to their opponent. If this still fails to produce results, then we will send in our own hunters, and both contestants shall unfortunately be disqualified. The theme of this round will be blood. Whoever has the bloodiest finish will receive a bonus going in to the next round. Good luck!
You are a hunter this round. This means you will be tasked with pushing the action against your opponent, but as you know, they will fight back. You have been given a 12-hour head start in order to make travel plans. You have one week to eliminate your target. We hope that we have provided you with adequate motivation to perform this task. You will have 30 seconds to copy the information about to be shown on the screen.”
After this message a face popped up on my screen. Along with the face of a man there was text at the bottom of the screen. The text provided me with the man’s address, name, place of work, and the car he drove. I tried to take a screenshot on my computer, but all my controls were locked. I quickly got up and sprinted to get a pen and a piece of paper. I was barely able to finish jotting down the information before I was once again met with lines of code, and an empty flash drive.
I sat there blankly for a minute. How was I supposed to kill someone? I had never really thought about killing anyone before. Of course, maybe I had a fantasy here or there, but never anything serious. Whoever was behind this all had my parents though. If I failed, would they die?
Not to mention my target. He was supposed to be a serial killer right? It seemed unfair. He had experience with this, and he had obviously passed being a hunter in the first round. Would I even be able to beat him at his own game? I wasn’t sure, but I had to try.
I began to pack my things. The location I had been given was several hundred miles away, so I needed to get on the road as soon as possible. I didn’t have a gun, and there really wasn’t time to purchase one. What I did have was a replica samurai sword. I had bought it somewhat as a joke, and partly because I thought it was badass. I wasn’t sure I would use it, but it was the biggest weapon I had, so I grabbed it. I also packed an assortment of smaller, but still potentially deadly knives that I had.
I hit the open road. I still had no idea what I was doing, but I had a long journey to plan something out. As I was filling up at the first gas station on my trip I had an idea. I purchased a few gas cans and filled them up. I figured they may come in handy at some point.
I continued to try and formulate some sort of plan on my way to my target, but it seemed impossible. He knew I was coming, and he probably had something planned out for me. Yet here I was floundering trying to think up anything. I did have a week to figure it out, but that still didn’t seem like nearly enough time for something like this.
It was about 15 hours later when I arrived in my target’s city. I had been slowed down a bit by traffic, but otherwise the trip had been fine. It was the middle of the night and I was exhausted, but I decided to drive by my target’s home first. I just wanted an idea of what I was up against.
I followed my GPS to the address I had been given. I was led to a two-story home in the middle of a neighborhood. Nothing really stuck out about the home, but the vehicle in front did also match the information I was given. The house did seem a bit large for a single person. Did he have a family?
I didn’t linger on the thought. I drove a decent distance away to a hotel and crashed.
I woke up around 1 p.m. I quickly got around, and began to head back to my target’s home. He should be at work right now, so this would give me some time to explore.
The tricky part would be breaking in to his home in the middle of the day without getting caught. Luckily there was an alley-way behind the home. He had a large fence surrounding his backyard, so it shouldn’t be too challenging at all.
I donned a large hoodie and a mask. It would certainly make me stand out more if I was seen, but I would rather risk that than being identified.
I easily hopped the fence to the backyard. When I got to the back door I began to attempt to pick the lock. I wouldn’t recommend watching videos while driving, but I had watched several on my road trip, and learning how to pick a lock was one of them. It took far longer than it should have, but I was eventually able to open the door.
I silently made my way in to the home, just in case. It wasn’t necessary though, I was alone. For the most part the home seemed normal. I was able to breathe a little easier when I saw there were no signs of children living in the home. I scoped out the first and second floors, making sure to take note of the layout. I was about to leave when I noticed one last door.
I opened the door and was immediately hit with a putrid smell. I had thought something had smelled a bit off when I was exploring the home, but I wasn’t entirely sure. Now I knew for certain that something was not right. The plastic mask I was wearing didn’t do much to guard me from the smell.
The door led downwards to a basement. I absolutely did not want to go down there, but I knew I had to. The further I went, the more intense the smell became.
The bottom contained a small room. There wasn’t much to the room, but in one of the corners there was a large freezer. I knew immediately the freezer was the source of the smell. I approached it knowing what I would find inside.
I braced myself before opening the freezer. After a deep breath I opened it to see what it contained. If you guessed it was a body, you guessed correctly. It was a girl, mid 30’s. She was well in to the process of decomposing, but I’m sure the freezer had slowed it down somewhat. Was this his previous target?
My thoughts were cut short as I heard something. I turned and looked in to the opposite corner to see what had made the noise. There was a camera, now fixated on me. I moved out of range of the camera, and watched as it continued to follow me. He was watching me.
I sprinted out of the home. He knew I was coming, but now he knew that I was here. I was supposed to be the hunter, yet here I was running again. I got back in my vehicle and retreated back to the hotel.
I still had no clue what to do. I wonder how many cameras the man had. The one in the basement couldn’t have been the only one. Had he been watching me the whole time I invaded his home? I knew I was a bit of an underdog here, but I had hoped to have some advantage.
I decided it was all-or-nothing now. I was going to wait until night, then I would return to the home. One of us had to die. I just hoped that if it was me, that my parents would be released.
Night came all too quickly. I prepared my weapons, as well as myself. It could have very well been my last night alive. I could only justify what I was about to do by knowing what might happen to my parents, and knowing what he must have done to the girl in his basement.
I once again made my way to the man’s backyard. This time I brought along the sword, and a few knives. I had also made a makeshift Molotov cocktail. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to use it, but it was one of the few things I knew I could easily do.
When I reached the backdoor I prepared myself to pick the lock again, but I didn’t need to. The door was already unlocked. It didn’t feel right, but I was already committed. I slowly stepped inside.
I immediately noticed the door to the basement was open, and that the light was on. I wasn’t sure he was down there, but I knew I didn’t want to go back down. So, I lit the Molotov and threw it down the staircase. It burst in to flames, and slowly began to spread.
I heard frantic movement coming from below. I moved out of the way of the door and placed my back against the wall while drawing my sword. I began to hear rapid footsteps coming up the stairs. I took a deep breath. When they were almost at the top I wound my sword back and began to swing it downwards.
My swing connected with the man, but it wasn’t a direct hit. The moment he saw me he had jumped sideways just in time to dodge what would have been a killing blow. His right arm however wasn’t so lucky. It had come off clean, along with what it was holding. His now disconnected arm fell to the floor and dropped the gun it had been gripping. A silenced pistol.
The man fell to the floor gripping the stump that had once contained his arm. The cut had been surprisingly clean, and was bleeding a lot less than what I would have expected. After a moment the man made an attempt with his left hand to go for the gun, but I simply kicked it away.
“Please, don’t do this. They have my wife. I had to do it. I have to save her.” The man pleaded with me now on his knees.
“I’m sorry.” This was the last thing I said before I swung the sword once more. This time the man’s head came off clean. I watched it roll to the bottom of the basement.
“I had to do it.” I said to myself out loud.
I had just killed a man. I felt the tears begin to roll down my face underneath the mask. I didn’t have time to contemplate the situation anymore though. The flames coming from the basement had now begun to spread further.
I ran from the home as the flames continued to consume the home. I made it to my car and immediately began my journey home.
I stopped along the way to burn the clothes I had been wearing, and I found a random field to bury the sword in. I didn’t stop to sleep; I don’t think I would have been able to anyway. I felt empty, like part of my soul had been taken from me. The worst part is I knew it wasn’t over.
When I arrived home I received what I expected. Another text. This is what it read:
“Outstanding work, and all on your own this time! We wanted to be the first to welcome you to the Killer Sweet Sixteen. We’ll be in contact soon.”
I had inched past not one, but two rounds now in a competition meant for serial killers. Now there was blood on my hands though. I had played right in to the hands of the people who had kidnapped my parents, but did I have any other choice? These people seemed to be watching my every move. Would the police even be any use?
Speaking of police, they had contacted me shortly after my return from round 2. They had planned on charging my attacker with attempted murder. That was until they found him dead in his cell. He had used his bed sheets to hang himself. When the guards found him he was already long gone.
I was somewhat relieved from this news, but it also frightened me in another way. Had he really hung himself of his own accord, or was this some sort of punishment? I doubt I’ll ever know, but I can have my suspicions.
Almost a month went by and there had been no third envelope. I was starting to go stir-crazy. These people still had my parents, and I had killed someone. I had reported my parents missing as soon as I had returned home, but of course the police had come up with nothing so far. I also doubted the fire covered up all the evidence I may have left behind. My anxiety had reached its peak. I was taking over the counter sleeping pills to try and force myself to sleep, but even those weren’t working anymore.
After what seemed like an eternity, it finally arrived. The third envelope. I tore it open the instant it was in my hand. There was no photo inside this time. Just the USB like the first time. I’m not sure if I really wanted to see another photo of my parents being held prisoner, but I did want some sort of proof they were still ok. It was highly possible my parents were already dead, and if that was the case I didn’t want to play this game anymore.
I placed the flash drive in my pc once again. This time I decided to try something. I wasn’t sure what it would accomplish exactly, but I wanted to try. I pulled out my phone and hit record. I clicked on the single video file, and it began:
“Congratulations to everyone once again. We are down to our final 16 competitors. Going forward there will no longer be Hunters and Hunted. Each round will pose a new challenge. For this round each of you will be given an address. Once this video has concluded you will have 24 hours to reach the address, and once there you will receive further instructions. No outside weapons will be allowed this round. We will be watching. As for the blood bonus, competitor #47 eliminated their opponent by inflicting so many minor cuts that they eventually bled out entirely. We have to admit we were quite impressed. They will receive their bonus at their marked location. For the rest of you, good luck!”
That wasn’t the end of the video though. After the distorted voice stopped speaking I was shown an actual video. It was my parents. They were no longer tied to chairs. They were huddled together in a corner. They had chains connected to their legs. There were trays of food in front of them. They were both still alive, but it was obvious they were absolutely terrified, and who could blame them. After a few moments of focusing on them the camera was moved downward and began to focus on a piece of paper. It was a newspaper. A newspaper from 2 days prior. This gave me some hope, and perhaps that’s exactly why they showed it to me.
The video then abruptly ended, and once again the file deleted itself. I stopped the recording on my phone. I went to replay the video from my phone, but as I hit play the startup logo for my phone overtook the screen. My phone proceeded to restart itself. Once I regained control of it everything was gone. Not just the video, but every other piece of media or contact information I had had in the phone. It had been completely reset.
I was able to restore almost everything from a backup save I had on my pc, but of course the new video was long gone. I was beginning to understand how hopeless of a situation I was in.
After I finished restoring my phone I received a text message. It was of course the promised location. It was around a 20-hour drive away. I would have to leave almost immediately. They had given me just enough time to reach the destination by car. It was fine though, I wasn’t going to be getting any rest anyway.
I packed some clothes and set off. They had mentioned no weapons, so I didn’t have to worry about finding something useful this time. At this point I knew they had eyes everywhere, so trying to sneak in something would only backfire on me.
After minimal stops for gas and bathroom breaks, I arrived at the marked address. With an hour to spare as well.
It was a quite large building. I’m not sure what its purpose was. It didn’t make sense; this building was completely out of place. It was in the middle of nowhere. The closest town was about an hour away. It didn’t look very old, but it was already abandoned. I had been instructed to park on the backside of the building. Once there I noticed that there was a reserved parking space. There was something strapped to the sign in front of the space however.
I pulled in and approached the sign. The item attached to the parking sign was a tablet. It had a timer on it. It was seemingly counting down the hour I had had left to arrive. I tried operating the tablet, but it didn’t cooperate. It seemed like I would have a little time to relax before receiving my instructions.
I rested my eyes while I waited for the timer to tick down. It would have been a bit ironic if I fell asleep now. Luckily, that didn’t happen. I opened my eyes just as the timer was about to hit 0. Once it did the tablet opened up and began to play a video. This is what is said:
“Welcome, we’re glad to see you made it on time. You are probably wondering why we instructed you to come here. The building in front of you will be your arena for this round. Your match-up for this round is on the opposite side of the building. Any weapons you find inside the building will be viable for this round. Any use of outside weapons will result in disqualification. Only one can remain. Good luck!”
On that note, the video ended. I’m not sure if it was the sleep deprivation, but I was a bit confused at first. My senses came to me quick though, and I sprinted off towards the building.
I didn’t want to run in to my opponent too early, so I searched for a staircase first, and climbed a couple flights of stairs. The building was 10 stories high, so I climbed to the 5th and began to look for some sort of weapon.
The rooms were mostly empty. Finding a usable weapon wasn’t easy. I managed to find a decent sized pipe in one of the bathrooms on the floor. I also found throwing stars by one of the windows on the floor, but I had no experience with them. So I left them. I wouldn’t be able to make use of them, and they would just take up space. It seemed like this floor was a dud.
I went back to the staircase and climbed two more floors. Lucky number 7 right? Just before I entered the door, I heard the door at the bottom of the staircase swing open. Looks like my opponent was done with the first floor. I prayed it had been a dud like my floor had been.
The 7th floor would turn out to be quite lucky after all. In the corner of one of the empty rooms was a wooden baseball bat with a gift ribbon attached to it. I dropped the pipe in exchange for the bat. The pipe was heavier, but the range of the bat was much better, and it was much easier to grip on to. In one of the rooms that appeared to be an office space I found a satchel containing an assortment of smaller knives.
As long as my opponent hadn’t found something crazy like a gun, then I thought I had a decent chance. I wasn’t sure if I should confront him now, or continue searching for something better. That would also give him time to search though, and I had no clue what weapons he had already picked up.
I decided I would search the 10th floor, and after that I would confront whoever I was up against.
When I entered the 10th floor I was immediately greeted with a new weapon. It was a bow. There were only two arrows next to it. I had never shot a bow before, unless video games count. I had to take it though. This was my best chance at a ranged weapon.
I searched the rest of the floor, but there didn’t seem to be anything more useful than what I already had. As I was making my way back to the staircase I began to hear footsteps. Someone was approaching. I quickly found a corner to hide behind, and I waited.
When I heard the person reach the top of the stairs I peeked around the corner. The person I was looking at was a very large man. He looked like he could be an NFL linebacker. He was wearing a hockey mask, and in his left hand was a machete. Seriously?
I got caught up in the moment and stared too long, because soon enough his eyes locked with mine. He raised the machete and pointed it at me as he slowly began to walk towards me.
I took this opportunity to string the first of the two arrows. I aimed it directly at him and fired. He didn’t even try to dodge, but he didn’t need to. The arrow veered off to the side, coming nowhere close to the man. It turns out shooting a bow is much harder than it looks in video games.
I made the executive decision to run further back in to the floor. As I began to do so I felt a sharp pain in my right leg. I almost immediately tripped and I found myself on the floor. On the ground I could now see the throwing star sticking out of my calf. Maybe I should have taken them after all.
I could tell it was in quite deep, and I wouldn’t be able to run. The man continued to get closer. I had no choice but to attempt to use the second arrow. I pulled it back as he was only about 10 feet away. This time I managed to hit him directly in the center of his chest. This didn’t seem to faze him too much however. He continued menacingly walking towards me. Was this guy actually Jason?
I began to scoot myself backwards as I tried to think of something I could do. It was no good. Soon the man was standing almost directly over me. He moved his machete overhead and began to swing it down.
Last second I was able to move the baseball bat in front of the swing. I’m not sure what wood this bat was made out of, but it was able to withstand the blow from the machete. The machete was now lodged halfway in to the bat.
I used this miracle as an opportunity to use my good leg to kick the man in the groin as hard as I possibly could. This caught him off guard and he toppled over to the ground for just a moment. That was all I needed.
I jumped on his back like a wild animal as I pulled one of the knives from my satchel. I began to stab the man over and over. I continued to stab him even after he went limp. It wasn’t until I noticed the blade had become dull that I finally stopped.
I rolled over and took a good look at my leg. The star was even deeper than I first thought. I bit down on my shirt as I slowly began to pull it out. It was the most painful experience I’ve ever had. Once the start came out my leg began to spew blood. I cut off part of my shirt and used it to hold together the wound on my leg, it would have to do for now. I would have to stitch it up later myself.
I painfully limped my way down 10 flights of stairs back to my car. When I got back in my vehicle the tablet I had been given was now flashing. I opened it to find my victory message:
“That was a close call, but you managed to pull it off! We’re excited to welcome you to Round 4!”
There are now less than 10 people left in the sick game I’ve been dragged in to. I’ve killed 2 people with my own hands. I just barely scraped past the last round. I really shouldn’t be alive, but somehow I still am.
I had to stitch together my leg on my own. I could have made up some excuse at a hospital, but I didn’t want to take the risk. I had taken a high school class that gave me the basics of sewing. I just had to watch a few tutorials on YouTube, and a few bottles of liquor later my leg was as good as new. I just have to hope it doesn’t get infected.
I’ve noticed I’m starting to lose more of myself. If I were to die now I’m not sure I would care. Just as long as my parents were released. I’ve been able to sleep again. I expected night terrors, but I haven’t experienced them yet.
I quit my job. I couldn’t keep making up excuses for why I was missing. Despite this, money has still been flowing in to my bank account. I can guess where it’s coming from. It’s just enough to pay my bills and feed myself. This gave me more time to dedicate to research, and allowed me to rest my leg.
When the fourth envelope arrived two weeks later, my leg was mostly functional. It was still not 100%, but I could put most of my weight on it now. I certainly wouldn’t be able to run very well if I needed to though.
I was in no rush to open the fourth envelope. I brought it inside my home and opened it. I pulled out the USB. I took a few shots of whiskey before plugging it in. I’m sure you are all wondering what it said. Well here it is:
“Congratulations, only the true elite 8 of you are left. There were a few upsets last round, but we are pleased to see the remaining selection. We are saddened to admit that our tournament is nearing its end. So, we are going to make this round extra special.
Each of you has been a Hunter, and each of you have been Hunted. We have simply watched. For this round you only have to survive. We will send out one of our very own to hunt down each of you. The four who survive will advance. You can attempt to kill your hunter, and if you do you will receive an automatic bye. In theory all 8 of you could make it to the next round, but we are quite confident in our own. We will also refrain from tracking your phones. Keeping your phone on you is a requirement, so we may contact you to notify you of making it to the next round. You will get a 24-hour head start starting now. Good Luck!”
That was that. There was no update on my parents this time. I finished the bottle of whiskey I had before packing my things. I hadn’t given up entirely, but I was close to the edge. Even if I won this whole thing, what could possibly be waiting for me at the end?
I had dipped in to my savings to buy a 9mm pistol during my wait between rounds. I was a bit surprised when I passed the background check for it, but this is America, and they don’t exactly know what I’ve done yet. I hid the gun around my waist in a strap. Whoever they were sending after me almost certainly knew about it, but this was still the best weapon I had.
I didn’t need to necessarily kill anyone this round though. I just needed to outlast everyone else. I wasn’t sure where I should go. So I just began to aimlessly drive. I wasn’t sure if this would make it easier or harder to follow me. With about 6 hours left of my “head start” I decided to get some sleep. I wasn’t sure how long this round would take, I needed to rest while I could.
I slept in my car on a dirt road. I didn’t want to waste money on a hotel. Most hotels require id, which I’m sure they were tracking. I had pulled out enough cash from my account to keep me going for about a week. I wasn’t going to use my cards. That too could easily be tracked.
Three days in, and everything seemed to be going good. I hadn’t seen any signs of being followed. I had traveled through a few states, mostly taking back roads. I was now settled in a maze of dirt roads in the center of the country. My phone had lost signal out here. I wondered if anyone had died yet.
I parked to stretch. While I did so, I decided to walk out into a cornfield. I had never seen a corn plant up close, let alone thousands of them. I walked a bit in to the field when I heard a car approaching. I stood still in my tracks.
I wasn’t sure if it was my hunter or possibly an angry farmer. Either way, I shouldn’t be here. I heard the vehicle begin to slow down, and eventually come to a stop. I still refused to move. They could guess that I was in the field, but they wouldn’t know exactly where.
I heard a door open, and feet crunching against the dirt. Footsteps were next, but not towards me. They went to my car. Next, I would hear air quickly deflating from one of my tires. Well, that was unfortunate.
“If you come out now I’ll make this quick, and mostly painless. Make me chase you, and it will be much worse. You’re quite unlucky though, 3 of the others are already dead. Once I finish here, we’ll be able to start the next round.” A voice said. It was distinctly male, but I couldn’t recognize it.
I still chose to not move. Well, I did slowly move my hand towards my gun, but that was it. I grasped it in my hand, and turned off the safety. A few minutes rolled by as the standoff continued.
“Have it your way. I almost feel bad for the farmer. I’m going to use one of your own techniques against you.” He said this briefly before I heard a crash of glass to my side.
I stood there for a few more moments before I saw the first signs of fire approaching me. I had two options. Let myself be consumed by the fire, or sprint out of the corn field. As tempting as death sounded, I wasn’t quite ready for it yet. I would at least put up a fight.
I did my best to sprint out of the field back towards where my car had been, gun in hand. I knew I was making a lot of noise, and my bad leg wasn’t exactly cooperating with me, but it didn’t matter at this point. When I emerged from the corn field I raised my gun and pointed it at…no one. I saw no one as the world faded to black.
I woke up. The room was dark. My first thought was, am I dead? I tried to move any of my limbs, but I was unable to. Is this hell? Well, if it was at least I would be free, in a way.
My hopes were shortly crushed though as light soon flooded the room. I could now see I was lying on my stomach. I must have been tied up, because I couldn’t move. Looking up I saw in front of me was an average sized man, he was wearing a plain white mask. It only exposed his bright blue eyes. As colorful as they were, there was something menacing behind them.
“I told you I would have given you an easy death, but here we are. Now I’m going to have a little bit of fun.” Even through the mask, I could tell the man was smiling. He hadn’t wanted me to just give myself up. This was exactly what he wanted.
He pulled out a knife and began to circle me. Eyeing me up and down. After a few moments he seemed to have decided what he was going to do.
He approached me and placed his knee on my back. I could sense as he delicately cut off the legs to my pants. Next, I felt as he grabbed hold of my previously injured leg. Then I began to scream in pain as I felt the blade pierce my skin. He didn’t stop there either, he continued to slice downwards, even further than the previous wound had been. I knew my screaming was giving him satisfaction, but the pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t help it.
Once he finally felt satisfied he removed the blade. As my screams began to die down, I could now hear a new sound. Laughter. This man was laughing at me while he tortured me.
He removed his knee from my back, and proceeded to kick me to flip me on to my back. I’m pretty sure he cracked a rib or two in the process.
Now on my back I watched as he brought the now bloody blade up to my face. He used this opportunity to wipe some of my blood on to my lips and under my nose.
“Hmmm what next? Do you have any suggestions?” He said mockingly while playing with the blade.
“Oh I just got the best idea. I already took one of your ideas, why not try another?” He exclaimed.
I wasn’t sure what he meant at first. I would understand the horror he had in store for me shortly though.
He again kicked me to flip me over. The momentum wasn’t enough to flip me from off my back though. So he pushed me over himself
The blade now dug in to my upper arm. He slowly began to bring it back and forth in a sawing motion. He intended to slowly cut off my arm. I once again began to scream as the pain was simply too much.
This only lasted a few seconds though, as a new sound entered the room. It was a phone ringing.
The man halted his removal of my arm, and immediately went to answer the phone.
“Hello?” He answered.
He proceeded to listen to whoever was on the other line for a few moments. I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but it must have been someone important for him to stop his fun.
“Understood.” This was the only other word he said before hanging up the phone.
He once again approached me with the knife. He didn’t continue cutting in to my arm though. Instead he freed the restraints on my hands.
“It’s your lucky day. I took a bit too much time playing with you. Another contestant was killed. You’ll want to close that wound on your leg as soon as possible though, there should be some supplies in the bathroom. Your things are in your car outside, you’ll need to change the back tire. Welcome to the final four.” He said this as he walked away. It was obvious he wasn’t happy that he didn’t get to finish, but whoever was in charge must be even scarier than this guy. He then left me alone.
Even though my hands were free, I was in so much pain that it took me about 30 seconds to even move. Removing the restraints on my legs was an intense struggle. The new wound on my leg was bleeding profusely. I wasn’t able to stand even once I removed the rope tying my feet together.
I crawled to the bathroom where I was able to find a first aid kit. For whatever reason, there was also a container of gorilla glue in one of the cabinets. Once I had managed to clean away most of the blood I managed to glue the wound on my leg shut. I wasn’t convinced it would stay together, but it would have to work until I could stitch it up later. My shoulder wasn’t as bad, I wrapped it in gauze and bandaged it.
I managed to stand myself up despite everything. I had to hop out to my car though. Changing a tire under normal circumstances wouldn’t have been a problem for me, but with one leg, and potentially broken ribs, it was a nightmare.
I was able to push through the pain. Despite everything, I was still alive. I wasn’t going to let a flat tire be the death of me. After at least an hour of struggling with it, I managed to put on the spare.
As I began the drive home I couldn’t help but hope there was a long break before round 5.
Four. Four is the number of people left alive in this game. Four is also the number of rounds I have somehow survived to this point. I really don’t think I was meant to live this long, but one way or another I am still here.
I had a lot of questions after the last round. Mainly, how was I found? Whoever was behind all this claimed they weren’t tracking my phone. So, how was it possible that I was found in the middle of nowhere? Even I hadn’t known where I was. I had taken every step possible to not be found. Yet, after only 3 days I was tracked down. It was only by pure luck that I had survived long enough to make it the final four.
After I returned I was able to properly address my injuries. I knew they still had my parents, but I hoped there would be at least a few weeks before the next round. I wouldn’t stand a chance if my injuries, most importantly my leg, didn’t have a chance to heal somewhat.
While I was scoping out my body for all my wounds, I noticed something. There was a small scar near the center of my neck. It was almost in a blind spot. If I hadn’t been thoroughly checking myself, I may have never noticed it. I never remembered having this scar before though. It was already pink, as if it had been there for a while. I felt the spot with my hand, and I could swear I felt a lump under the skin.
My paranoia had been peaked since the start of this tournament. I couldn’t just let this slide. I grabbed the sharpest blade I had, and began to dig in to my neck. I was careful not to make the wound too large. This was in an awkward spot, and I wouldn’t be able to stitch it myself. After a few moments of digging with the blade, something began to stand out. I grabbed a pair of tweezers and began to pull it out.
Once I was able to detach the item from under my skin I could clearly see what it was. It was a small chip. How long had this been inside me? I couldn’t think of a time that this could have possibly been implanted. Other than when I had been unconscious with my torturer. This wound had already healed long ago though, so it couldn’t have possibly been that recent. The only time I had ever been put under for surgery was when I had my tonsils removed, but that was when I was around 10 years old. I knew now how I had been tracked. They technically didn’t lie when they said they wouldn’t track our phones. They didn’t need to. This was far deeper than I had originally thought. Who were these people?
Before the last round I had almost given up, but now I had a new sense of life within me. Perhaps being on death’s door can do that to a person. Not to mention, if my parents were still alive they were relying on me. I had survived 4 rounds. I only needed to make it 2 more.
Luckily, I was given a little time to heal up slightly before the next round. It took 2 weeks for the envelope to arrive. I was mostly mobile at this point, my walk still had a bit of a limp, but other than that I was functional.
I’ll just jump right in to what the USB told me this time:
“You have all done well to make it this far. We had a blast in the last round, but this round we will hand the action back over to you. We are quite pleased with our final four. It is even a perfect split, with 2 males and 2 females making it to the top 4. This split gave us the perfect idea for this round. We’re going to do an old-fashioned boys vs. girls showdown. We will send you a location to meet up with your partner. From there you will attempt to eliminate the other team. The two who survive will make it to the championship round. The two survivors will be asked to separate before the official commencement of the final round. We would hate to have to disqualify a competitor at the end of our tournament. Good luck!”
Great, it seemed I would be forced in to teaming up with another killer. This could make things easier, but it could also be far more dangerous. I had only killed two people to this point, so technically I still didn’t qualify as a serial killer. I couldn’t say the same about my potential partner however.
Once I received the location, I set out immediately. My gun was the only weapon I took. The quicker this was over, the better. I wasn’t going to try and overthink things at this point.
The rendezvous destination was a gas station in a small town. It wasn’t a normal small town though. This was a ghost town. There wasn’t another living person in sight. Well, until my partner finally arrived that is.
I was a bit anxious when I saw a large pickup truck pull in to the gas station and park next to me. I kept my hand on my gun as a tall, slim man hopped out of the truck. After a moment, I too stepped out of my vehicle.
“Listen, I dislike this as much as you. I’m only here because they told me so. All we’re up against is two girls, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just let me handle it, and you can run away at the end. Just get in that truck and watch like a good boy ok?” This is what the man had to say to me.
I didn’t feel like arguing, so I simply got in the passenger seat of his truck. If he wanted to take this on by himself then that was fine by me. The less bloody my hands were the better. I didn’t feel like conversation, and it seemed he was much the same.
We sat in the truck a few minutes before receiving a text message at the exact same time. This is what it read:
“We see you have all met your partners, fantastic! Your opposition for this round is located somewhere else in this town. Use whatever means necessary to eliminate them. We look forward to seeing who survives!”
That was it, and we were off. The truck we were in was quite large, and of course it was also loud. I’m sure our opponents could already hear us. Which wasn’t ideal. I can’t imagine they would have a bigger vehicle though, so I guess there were pros and cons.
My partner began to speed through the town, looking for any signs of life. Our opponents were doing a good job of hiding though. Although the town wasn’t huge, so we would almost certainly find them eventually.
Eventually I spotted them. There was an SUV speeding in the opposite direction of us a few streets over. I pointed this out to my partner, he simply grunted and took off after them.
After a few minutes, we were in a full blown chase. They had a bit of a lead on us, but the horsepower of the truck was much superior the SUV, and we were slowly gaining on them. The SUV did have the advantage when it came to turns, so they were able to take odd patterns in order to maintain some distance. We were still slowly inching closer however.
Once we got close enough I watched as the female passenger pushed herself halfway out of her window and began to point something at us. I ducked almost immediately after realizing it was a gun. She began to take fire.
“You pussy, why are you ducking? She’s a girl, she probably couldn’t hit us standing still. You’re going to want to brace yourself in a second.” My partner said this as I began to hear several shots bounce off the vehicle.
Next I was thrown around on the floor of the truck as we made impact. After regaining my senses, I looked up to now see what had happened. The SUV was now flipped over on the ground. I watched as the passenger of the vehicle managed to crawl out and began to limp their way behind one of the nearby buildings. It seems she had lost her gun in the crash.
“Aren’t you going to chase her?” I asked my partner.
“We don’t need to yet; she won’t make it far. I want to have a bit of fun with this one first.”
Before I could ask what he meant by this he jumped out of the truck and approached the driver door of the flipped car. He pulled a half dead woman out of the car and sat on top of her. I jumped out of the truck to get a closer look.
“What are you doing?” I once again questioned my partner.
“What does it look like I’m doing? I told you I was going to have a bit of fun first. Just get back in the truck and wait for me.” He replied.
He began to tear the woman’s clothing off. Now up close I was certain she was still alive, but there was nothing she could do about this situation. I knew what was about to happen, and I wasn’t ok with it.
Before my partner had the woman fully undressed I removed my gun and put a bullet through his skull. The woman looked surprised at first, and then a bit relieved as she saw the man fall off of her. She shouldn’t have been relieved though, it wasn’t over. There were still 3 of us alive. I aimed the gun at her this time and pulled the trigger once again. I guess I had saved her in one way, but I still had a tournament to win.
The message had technically said that the two survivors would be in the finals. It hadn’t said that the two survivors had to be on the same team. I could have cared less about the two dead bodies in front of me. I just hoped that I wouldn’t be punished for my actions.
I took my dead partner’s truck back to my vehicle. Once I got back in my own car I received a message. It was short and simple:
“Welcome to the Championship Round!”
The finish line is within my sight. Only one other person stands between me and the end. I have now killed 4 people to get here. I may not have been a serial killer to start, but now I am by definition. Even if I win, there is no going back to a normal life after this. I’m sure that’s exactly what the organizers of this tournament wanted.
There would be no break between round 5 and 6. After I received my congratulatory message for surviving round 5, I almost immediately received another message. This is what it read:
The Championship round begins now. You will be sent a new location. Travel there immediately. Upon arrival, please enter the building. Your phone will grant you access. We look forward to seeing you soon!”
This was odd, there had always been breaks between the rounds. I didn’t have a problem with this though. The sooner this was all over the better. I couldn’t help but wonder what would be in store for me.
The new location was only a few hours away, so I wouldn’t have to wonder for long about what would be next. My opponent had been clearly injured the crash, so I had a bit of an advantage there. Although my leg still wasn’t at full capacity either.
On the way to the final location I was slowed down by a road crew. It was strange because they didn’t seem to be working on anything. There were no other cars other than me waiting either. My progress was halted for about half of an hour before they finally let me proceed. It wasn’t a huge deal, but my anxiousness made this stand out.
Eventually I did make it to the destination. It looked to be a storage type building. I pulled up and approached the door. There was a slot next to the door that was exactly the size of my phone. So, I placed my phone in to it, and the door opened. My phone seemed to have been taken by the mechanism though. Fantastic. I took a deep breath and stepped inside.
“What the fuck.” I couldn’t help but let these words slip out of my mouth as I stepped inside the building.
In front of me was a table, and on that table there was a woman. She was strapped firmly to the table. There was another table next to her holding all kinds of tools and blades. I hadn’t gotten a good look at her before, but I was pretty sure this had been the woman who had escaped from the crash. She still had fresh wounds. This added to my theory, but why was she here like this?
“What is going on?” I asked seemingly no one.
A voice from an intercom above began to blare:
“Welcome, we are pleased to see you have arrived. This is the championship round. The person in front of you is your opponent. She has accepted a deal to sacrifice herself in order to guarantee the safe release of her children. We will now offer you a deal as well. You can take her place on the table. We will not only guarantee the safety of your parents, but the woman in front of you will also be freed, and be allowed to return to her children. Your other option is to claim victory now. You cannot just kill the woman however; we expect to be entertained. You will be rewarded adequately as the first champion of our tournament. The choice is yours.”
Was this it? The conclusion of this all was in my hands. This was the first time seemingly in months that a choice had been up to me. I could not only save my parents, but I could save this woman and her children? In this sick and twisted story, I could still somewhat end up a hero. Was that what I really wanted?
No, it wasn’t.
I had come this far. I wasn’t going to settle for second place now. If they wanted a show, I would give them one.
I approached the table containing the tools, and I picked up a pair of thin pliers. I then walked over to and stood in front of the woman. She was very much awake and aware to the situation. She had begun to cry as I stood in front of her. Duct tape was covering her mouth, so she couldn’t convince to stop what I was about to do.
I started with her big toes. I placed the pliers firmly on the toe nail and began to rip backwards. After the first had been removed, I then moved on the second. The smaller toe nails were harder to grab, so some extra skin came off with them. After I had finished her pedicure I put the pliers down and went to decide what I would do next.
After some debate I picked up a hammer. I examined her body for a moment. I pulled back the hammer and swung it downwards on to her right knee cap. I could feel the impact shatter the bones. The woman was really screaming now beneath the duct tape. I’m sure she would be begging me to stop if she could, but she couldn’t. I swung the hammer once more on the other knee with more force this time.
I let the hammer drop to the floor as I went back to the tools. I noticed there was a set of matches, and a fire extinguisher nearby, this gave me an idea.
I used a match to light the bottom of the woman’s hair on fire. I watched as the flames quickly consumed their way to the base of the woman’s head. I let it burn for a few moments before putting it out.
Next, I spotted a package containing several needles. I’ve always heard great things about acupuncture. It was time to test it out. I put the first needle in to her left eye. She had closed her eyes when I brought it close, so I pushed it through the eyelid. The next went in to her other eye. I found various other uncomfortable places to put the remaining needles.
I continued to make use of the tools on the table for quite some time. Eventually I ran out of ideas though. I hoped I had put on a good enough showing. I ended it by grabbing a large blade from the table and plunging it in to the woman’s heart.
After doing so, the intercom came back to life with another voice:
“Congratulations! You are our first ever Serial Killer Showdown Champion. You have outperformed our expectations in every round. We knew you would be perfect when we picked you for our tournament. If you still care, your parents will shortly be released to safety. We have also cleaned up every crime you have committed to this point, and will clean the one in front of you now. You will find a handsome amount of funds in your bank account as well. The grand prize however, is an invitation to join our team. We will be in contact with you shortly. We are certain we can make you an offer that you can’t refuse. Until then, please feel free to relax, and celebrate your victory!”
So that was it huh. I had won. I was now officially a serial killer. Was that the plan from the beginning? To turn a normal person in to something they could have never imagined becoming? Well, they had picked right. I was now exactly the monster they were looking for.
I still have no clue who “they” are yet, but I will soon enough. I plan on accepting their offer. I can’t return to my normal life anymore. I’ve done terrible things. Things I never imagined myself doing. Worst of all, I began to enjoy it.
If you receive a flash drive in the mail saying you are a contestant to The Serial Killer Showdown, then from one competitor to another, I wish you luck.
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