It’s been a while since my last post and thought I would share some things that have been going on recently. I joined a Writer’s Workshop a few weeks ago. Every week or two, a small group of local writers get together and read what they’re working on. Everyone listens in and provides feedback and critique. At the last meeting, I decided to read a story that I had started almost a year ago, tucked away in a little composition book called Bleeding Colors. I am fascinated by novel type games such as Zero Escape, Danganronpa, and Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney.
My interest and love for those types of games kindled my desire to write a story about individuals trapped in an unknown location, having to solve riddles and puzzles to survive, and, ultimately escape from their fate. With the story, I wanted to explore human nature, and how strong a person’s desires can influence their actions, as well as their line of thinking and how far they will go to escape their dark past.
Anyway, at the latest meeting of the workshop, I read it. It was horrible, and I blanched and said, “This is terrible,” multiple times throughout my reading, embarrassed of how I had started the story. The puzzles were too hard, confusing, and downright meaningless. I have since revamped it, and I am sharing the first three parts here today.
This is something that has diverted my attention from the sequel to my debut novel in order to write and complete this terrifying story. I’m having a blast with it so far, and I hope that you enjoy it as well! Keep in mind this is a first draft, so there may be a few errors. Please sound off in the comments on what you think or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter: V. E. Bystry
Without further ado, I present the beginning of Bleeding Colors.
It was all black. I felt a slight breeze hitting my face as my eyes refused to open. I felt confused, disoriented. I felt as if I was waking up from a decade long slumber. I couldn’t understand. I attempted to open my eyes again and succeeded slightly. Light stabbed into my retinas like a spotlight, blinding me. I groaned, an immense pain filling my mind, a jackhammer pounding away at my brain. Flailing about with my left arm, I opened my eyes again, hoping to see what it was, but felt a sudden free fall, me heart jumping up into my throat and pulse pounding in tune with my headache.
As soon as I fell, I slammed into a soft but firm floor, still unable to see. I kept blinking my eyes, hoping that the blindness would leave. I sat up, a small morsel of dust or hair making its way onto my tongue. I spat and coughed, my mouth and throat dry as a desert. The headache, the light. I thought I was going crazy. Finally, I just opened my eyes and left them open, forcing my mind to see. Details began tumbling into my head as if it was a clothes dryer. Everything was green. Vomit green floor, booger green couch, green painted coffee table next to me, the walls covered in wallpaper pinstripe pattern alternating light and dark shades of green, shreds of it dangling down in strips in certain spots.
What the hell? Looking up, I realized the breeze was coming from a ceiling fan spinning at about a hundred miles per hour. The blur of green seemed to rotate; the fan obviously wasn’t secured all that well.
I yawned, the pounding in my head not stopping at all, making me hate my life and wish that I had never woken up. If there were a gun on the coffee table, I would have shot myself in the head. That’s how excruciating the pain was. I slowly got to my feet, grasping onto the coffee table for support. I looked around again, feeling groggy as all hell, and noticed a set of green curtains behind the couch I had fallen from.
I drunkenly made my way across the small green room, almost falling over a couple of times. I couldn’t suppress a laugh as I pulled the curtain back and looked at a wall. I shook my head in confusion and immediately regretted it, my brain bouncing around my skull, the jackhammer following it just fine.
I went back to the couch and eased myself down in order to keep my head from jarring. I sank down deep, the cushioning wasn’t very good. There were tufts of material spewing from random spots on the cushions; it looked like it was made from a homeless man’s coat. Stains from unknown liquids adorned it as well, making me cringe at the thought of where the couch had come from. I sighed and rested my head in my hands, propping my elbows up on my knees.
“Where am I? Shit what is my name?” I said aloud, knowing full well that nobody would hear me. The pounding in my head didn’t subside, and I felt like it never would. This is what absolute misery felt like, I was sure of it. I opened my eyes and saw the green theme continue with my clothes. I was wearing a no name brand of green tennis shows, green gym shorts, and a green shirt. The mesh on the shorts made them look like a fly’s eyes.
“Why the hell is everything green?” I asked nobody. There was a door across the room, staring me right in the face and next to it, a small desk and chair. All green of course. I stood back up and hobbled over to the door. Grasping the handles, I pushed and pulled. It didn’t budge at all.
“What the fuck?” I said, an edge of worry making its way into my head. Where was I? What was going on?
I heard a crackling sound, like someone cueing a public address system. A loud tap as if some was hitting it to test the thing. Then a voice, sounding like a grown man imitating a little girl.
“I see that you have just risen from your slumber, Mr. Green. Welcome!”
“Who the hell are you and what am I doing here?” I demanded.
The voice issued a creepy, chilling little girl’s laugh.
“See, I told you that you would start asking that question in the near future sir! Not that you remember that now, but hopefully you will.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Can you tell me who I am? Where I am?” I said.
“Oh no. I didn’t think that you would have this much memory loss, sir! I told you time and time again that you should quit participating, but you never listen!”
“Why the hell are you talking to me as if you know me?” I yelled, fists clenched tightly.
“Because I do, Mr. Green. We’re best friends, and I truly wish that you had followed my advice and discontinued your participation. Why, who’s to say that you will make it out alive this time without knowing what you used to? Truly saddening, truly,” the voice responded.
“If you know me so well, what is my name?” I said.
“As if I would tell you that. That would take all the fun out of this!” the voice tittered, “your name is Mr. Green. That is all I’m authorized to tell you.”
“Authorized? Goddamn it where am I?” I shouted to the room.
“Oh my. Obviously you wouldn’t remember telling me to withhold all information pertaining to your personal life, Mr. Green. Think about the bright side though, you don’t know all the awful things you’ve done over the past several years! You have a clean slate. Start your life anew, live everything as a new experience as if you are born again! God that must feel absolutely amazing!”
My fists were shaking uncontrollably, my head was pounding away, and I didn’t know who I was or where I was. Everything was jus too much to handle.
“Cut the shit! Stop taunting me with your little girl voice and just. Fucking. Arrgh!” I screamed.
“And just what? Let you out? You know I can’t do that, or you should know. You asked for this, and I cannot help you, Mr. Green. You wanted to keep doing this. It’s nobody’s fault but your own.”
I sank to my knees, tears of anger and helplessness forming, threatening to crash to the vomit green floor. I slammed my fist down, having no idea of what to do. Who was this person talking over the intercom? Was I truly his best friend? What did I do to deserve this? What was this?
“Don’t give up when the game has just started, Mr. Green. You’ve escaped numerous times before, and I have faith that you can do it again!”
“Game? What are you talking about?” I whispered.
“Like I was about to explain, Mr. Green; welcome to Bleeding Colors! A game of survival, trust, and intellect. You are here with five other individuals, locked in their own separate rooms. You must escape in the near future, or you will die a horrible death as a poisonous gas overcomes the facility. Good luck, and here’s to hoping your color never fades!”
The First Choice
“Wait!” I cried.
“One more thing!” the intercom issued at the same time, “it would be in your best interest to not inform the others of your involvement in this situation. They just might seek to kill you if they find out.”
“What do you mean involvement?” I asked.
“You are the one responsible for Bleeding Colors. It was your idea! You are the mastermind behind it all! Now what do you think the other players would think if they found out, huh?”
I felt as if someone had run a sword through my chest. The blow was sudden, the flow of my bloodstream deafening.
“I what?” I breathed.
“Yes. You organized this whole affair. With my help, of course, but what does that matter? We’ve been doing this for awhile now, and I’ve been telling you that you would lose your memory for the past few instances of the game.”
I slumped to the ground, laying myself out. I was a killer. Surely there had to be someone who dies because of this “game”. How did these people come to be here? Had I promised them something? Kidnapped them and taken them here? Where were we?
There was the sound of crackling again, the voice was gone. A new noise entered the room as I saw the curtains shift outward, something pushing them from the inside. I got to my feet and walked over to them and pulled the curtain to the side.
A small ledge was sticking out of the wall, two glasses filled with a different liquid sloshed in both. Two white pills sat between the glasses as well, along with a small card, folded and standing upright behind the pills. It read,
A drink of your choice,
Only for one may you rejoice.
Two pills to take the pain,
Or remove the stain from your brain.
Remember one drink,
Or you’ll be back on the brink!
One drink and one drink only. The glass on the left was amber colored, the one on the right clear. I lifted the one on the left up to my nose and wafted the smell in with my free hand. It was liquor, there was no doubt about that, and my headache eased a little bit at the sharp scent. I craved it, wanted it so bad. I licked my lips in temptation, but set it back down and picked up the clear colored liquid. There was no odor.
Water, then. I picked up the two painkillers, tossed them into my mouth and chugged the water. My throat thanked me for the water, and the pills clattered along my esophagus before splashing into my stomach. A section of the wall lifted up and the small ledge retracted into the empty space, the wall section sliding back down behind it. I shrugged and went back to the couch, carrying my empty glass, an dset it down on the coffee table.
“So what to do now?” I asked the empty room. I noticed a small video camera turn in my direction on the ceiling above the door. I lifted my hand and gave it the full bird salute, a fake smile planted on my face. The fan’s breeze was becoming annoying and I thought to stop it from spinning. I looked around the room, in search of a switch of some sort to stop its swiveling circles.
Next to the door were a keypad and two switches, looking like they were for the lights. I walked over, thankful that my headache was dying down a bit, and flicked the closest one. The fan’s blades became visible as they instantly slowed, and I was relieved. As the fan started its shutdown sequence, I took a look at the keypad. There were three columns of four keys. One through three at the top; and all the other numbers following in order. Obviously I had to figure out what the code was to unlock the door. How the hell was I supposed to do that? I punched in: one, three, four, five, and after nothing happened, I hit nine. A small shock coursed through my finger as I hit the last number, making me jerk my hand back.
“Ah! The hell?” I exclaimed, sucking the end of my index finger.
It must be a five digit code then.
I turned around, gawking at the green room again. The fan’s slowdown was almost done, the blades spinning lazily. To my left was the desk, papers littered all over the surface. Taking a seat in front of it, I began ruffling through all the papers. Newspaper clippings, articles, photo printouts, it all seemed so random.
Articles of the Past
Taking a closer look at one of the photos, I noticed a very attractive young woman in a white dress, gold loop earrings, and golden hair pulled back in a ponytail. She could have been a model, and in fact, I thought I had seen her somewhere before. Was she famous? I shrugged as I set it off to the side, pulling it from the paperclip attaching it to a newspaper article. The Headline read:
FAMOUS ACTRESS AND MODEL MISSING!
Interested, I began reading the article.
Victoria Bender, age 26 was reported missing yesterday as her agent called the authorities. Ms. Bender is believed to be in the Los Angeles area, but if she was kidnapped the culprit may be well out of the state by now. Authorities are hard at work on the case, hoping to discover a lead soon.
Known for her recent transgressions for displaying nude photographs on various social media sites, Ms. Bender was thought to have gone off the deep end recently. Her husband’s tragic death in a car crash in downtown LA is thought to have been the last push Ms. Bender needed before she fell apart. Couple that with her falling career, it is likely that she has just run off on her own to clear her mind of things, but her agent is worried nonetheless.
Ms. Bender has been seeing a psychologist as confirmed by her agent to “sort out her mind” for the past couple weeks. Her psych couldn’t be contacted for comment, but we will keep you all posted as developments occur.
So there was a good chance that I had seen her before, she was a famous actress. I seemed to remember liking movies, so that is definitely a possibility. I rubbed my forehead and set it aside, on top of the picture of her. There was another photograph, taken from a Polaroid. I picked it up and looked at it. A young man, either in high school or just barely graduated, was walking along the street, a winter cat on and holding a skateboard. The article below the picture was much the same thing as the actress’s He had disappeared as well, the family fearing the worst. The date was in December in his article, and I snatched the woman’s news article back up. The date printed at the top was June. Half a year between the two people’s disappearances? I dropped the papers back down and ran my hands through my hair.
I was getting ahead of myself. Who’s to say that these two are involved in Bleeding Colors? Shaking my head, I tried to convince myself of that fact, but it just seemed too crazy to me. Why would these articles and pictures be on display if they weren’t a hint as to what was happening or going to happen?
I sifted back through the piles of papers and picked up another news article. This one had good news on the headline:
DR. STEPHENS EMERGES FROM CAPTIVITY! A MAN’S TALE OF ESCAPING A LUNATIC’S GAME OF DEATH!
Eager to see if there were any clues, I read the article over greedily.
Denver Times: “So, doctor how does it feel to be back in your hometown?”
Stephens: “It’s surreal. I felt as if I never left, but at the same time I feel as if I’ve been gone for a lifetime!”
DT: “How did all of this happen?”
Stephens: “I’m not really sure. One day I was leaving the office. I remember locking the door to the place and then the next thing I remember is being in this blue room wearing blue clothes. Everything was blue, quite saddening really. (chuckles)”
DT: “How did you react when the police told you that you had been missing for a few weeks and realizing that you weren’t in Denver anymore?”
Stephens: “That’s a tough one. I don’t think I even know what was going through my mind. When they told me that I wasn’t in Colorado, I wondered how Alpha had taken me across country without being found out, how I wanted to wring his neck after being told I was missing for that long. I had missed my son’s birthday, he lives with my ex wife. He must have been so worried and scared. I hope Alpha burns in hell for what he did to me and my family.”
DT: “That’s understandable, doctor. What’s next for you?”
Stephens: “Relaxation. One thing I’ve learned from this whole horrid experience is that I need to ease up on life a little bit. You never know hen your time is coming, you know?”
DT: “Indeed. You witnessed many horrific scenes while playing this ‘game’ as you call it. What exactly did you see?”
Stephens: “I…cannot say. You wouldn’t be able to print it if I did. I have no further details to add, if you’ll excuse me.”
After that, Dr. Stephens refused to talk any longer. He is most likely suffering from PTSD, and he is unlikely to be returning to work in the foreseeable future. We can only speculate as to what went on during the “Bleeding Colors” game, and I’m sure that we wouldn’t want to know once we found out.
I was dumbfounded. This man had escaped and seen horrible things. So horrible that he didn’t want to talk about them. I gulped, the ball of saliva sounding like a bullet sliding into the chamber of a gun. I had caused all of this. Me. I suddenly felt nauseated and weak. I tipped back in the chair, slamming down on the floor and knocking my head. It was all black.
I must have been dreaming. I was sitting in a comfy chair, being interviewed by a pretty news anchor with short, auburn hair with a splash of freckles on her pale face on live television. I was explaining how Bleeding Colors worked, the audience gasping and shouting as I went on. I looked to the back of the room and there wasn’t anybody there. Who was making the sounds for the audience?
“Do you understand why you did what you did?” the lady asked me from behind her index cards.
I looked back at her, a confused look on my face.
“Do you understand why you did what you did?” she asked me again.
“What did I do?” I asked back.
She dropped her note cards and huffed. “All right I’ve had enough of your bullshit,” and drew a knife from behind her chair, a wide grin talking form on her face. The absent audience laughed and shouted in agreement, urging her on. I looked around frantically, not seeing anybody else; the cameras were all directed at us with nobody operating them.
The woman approached, all of her teeth showing through her impossibly wide smile, knife upraised in her right hand. I leaned back, my chair tipping. I flailed my arms out desperately. The woman rushed forward. The knife came down. She was shouting something…