Aug 31, 2011

Chapter 31 -- Not Gonna Lose Again

The bald man was big. He seemed to fill the cavern, first with his size and then with this personality. And his voice, his voice boomed and echoed from the corners of the cave and it made Zed's heart thump in his ribcage with fear and reverence. Still, he was not going to do what the man said till he got answers to his questions.

"You want your sword?" Zed yelled.

The bald man just smiled and nodded at Zed.

"Then come and take it."

One of the suits frowned in anger at Zed's words to their boss. "You filthy insect!"

He disappeared from his position on the side of his brothers and appeared right behind Zed. The sword twisted Zed's arm behind him and saved his head from getting stabbed by the knife in the suit's hand.

"Shit," Zed screamed in pain as the tendons in his arms stretched and bones popped. He turned to face his attacker when the second suit appeared behind him and punched him in the neck. By the time the third suit appeared on Zed's side of the river, Zed was on the ground and trying to save himself from the kicks and punches thrown by the three suits.

"Enough." The big man said from the other side of river.

From his foetal position on the groud, Zed saw the man walk towards the river. The water parted where his sandaled foot touched the surface. The illusion made it seem like the man was walking on water. He stepped on dry land and walked to where Zed was getting beaten by the suits. He towered over Zed and then picked him up like a mother dog would pick her errant puppy. He sat Zed on a rock and dusted him down. He put his hands on Zed's shoulders and looked him in the eyes.

"Now, boy," he said, "listen carefully because I will say this only once."

Zed stared angrily at him.

"You cannot stop this competition from taking place again. You will not even exist when it happens next time. You started from a river and you ended back up at the river and you managed to stay alive till then. That's enough. This is over. And as far as I remember, you were picked from the middle of a race. You must continue that."

The prospect of finishing that race made Zed forget all the pain. His thoughts focused. There was a chance of race. A real race. Better than this. Still, he had questions of his own.

"Why me?" he asked.

The man smiled. It was the smile of an executioner whose prisoner has asked a very stupid question.

"We were testing you for the next big thing."

"What about this?" Zed raised his left hand with the chip embedded in his flesh.

"Ah, Marilyn. I'll have to send her home." He plucked the chip from Zed's hand like pulling a coin out of thin air.

"Tell her I said thanks, even if she was a bitch 90% of the times."

"You can tell her this yourself when you see her next."

And before Zed could ask any more questions, the big man punched him in the face and darkness enveloped Zed like a lover's embrace.

When he woke up, a girl was slapping his face and screaming his name.

Zed opened his eyes and saw Wolf's car speed away from him.

"Fuck this shit," he slammed his foot on the accelerator, "not gonna lose again."


More questions than answers. Which is good. We've got enough fodder for next time. This, as they say, is just the beginning.

Tomorrow, the wrap up post.

Thanks for reading :)

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