She woke to wetness. Her eyes fluttered and then opened. All Elaine could see was a lot of brown hair but she knew who it was all the same. She would have known that voice anywhere. “Giselle?” Her voice croaked out of her throat and she choked as blood ran into her mouth.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Elaine, forgive me, I…”
Whatever was covering her fell away and Elaine saw that it was Giselle. There were holes torn in her throat and deep gashes on her cheeks and the backs of her hands. Most startling of all was that Giselle had no eyes, only sightless black eye sockets where her eyes used to be.
Giselle’s face was a mess of blood and tears. Still, she spoke softly, pleadingly. “I’m sorry, I didn’t…get here fast enough. Even the walk through the trees…”
Her words were cut short when a long bladed knife most through Giselle’s throat. Her last words were a gurgle that sprayed Elaine with more blood. Giselle slumped to the floor and Elaine moved out from underneath her, crying softly.
“I do so hate it when people go on. It’s so very tiring.”
Elaine watched as a shadow along the wall began to move and shape itself into a human form. She wondered if she had completely lost her mind, or if she had lost it long ago. “Who are you? What’s going on?”
“You don’t recognize me?” The shadow man formed himself completely and she saw the markings of a raven in flight carved in his chest.
Elaine remembered something before everything went dark. She remembered the raven and the voice that had spoken to her from her computer. Looking over at her computer now, she saw only a burnt and black shell and a charred table top. She looked again at the raven man remembered.
“It was you.” She whispered. “You tried to hurt me.”
“Wrong, I killed you. You were happily dead and unaware.”
“Then why am I alive now?”
“Blood has mysterious powers that people don’t understand. Did you know that?”
“What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Blood has the power to raise the dead, something that many have known for an eternity.”
“You’re fucking crazy.”
“Am I? You were dead and your friend, Giselle was it? Her blood brought you back. Such a waste really.”
He laughed. He actually laughed. It was a sound like the flapping of wings and it sent shivers down her spine.
“Why? Because I’m going to kill you now. It’s nothing personal, this isn’t my game. I am doing my fathers bidding. It will be quick this time.”
“My boyfriend is on his way back home!” She screamed. “He’s big and he’ll fucking gut you!”
“I know you don’t have a boyfriend Elaine. You will die like you lived, completely alone. It’s a shame about Giselle, she had no business entering the Game at this late stage, she had to go. There are enough people alive as it is, but they’ll all be taught a lesson.”
Elaine knew that the end was near but she tried anyway. “Please, don’t do this. You don’t have to do this.”
“Oh, I don’t have to, I want to. There’s a difference. Now tell me your name.”
“You know my name!”
“Your full name.”
“Elaine. E-elaine McKenzie.”
“It’s been a pleasure knowing you Elaine McKenzie. This will be quick and the second time is always easier.”
The knife was pulled out of the back of Giselle’s throat, making a wet squelching sound. Elaine watched it knowing that it would be in her next. She tried to summon up the courage to fight, but there was none.”
Then the silver knife was in her own throat, cutting off a scream that had been ready to burst out of her. Then the knife was plunging into her stomach, her chest, her arms, anywhere it could reach.
As her blood drained from her body, she watched the raven man with the growing comprehension that when the darkness claimed her this time, it would be final.
“I’m sorry.” The raven skinned man said, softly as if he were talking to a lover
Then she truly knew no more.