The Room

"Where the hell am I?"  Frank Jacobs asks as he awakes from a bed rubbing his eyes.  His head throbs as if arising from a crippling hangover.  His tired eyes strain, trying to see where he is in the unrelenting darkness.  I remember playing blackjack...having some beers...at Slots Casino…in Las Vegas, but…everything else is a blur.

His body ached as his hands groped around, feeling the walls and finds a light switch.  He turned it on, but no light comes on.  He finds a door handle and tries to open the door, but it is locked.  He reached into his jeans pocket looking for his cell phone and wallet and finds they are gone.    

 Reaching back for incisions, he remembers stories about people having their kidneys stolen and sold on the black market.  There are no stitches.  Suddenly, he's conscious of a door opening and a shuffling on the far side of the dismal room.

He crouched in a defensive stance, trying to be as quiet as possible.  He tries to estimate how extensive this room was, but it is impossible in his current position.

Beads of sweat drip down his face as he hears movement on the other side of the room.  He wants to call out, but remains cautious.  Perhaps someone else is in the same predicament as me.  There may be something dangerous on the other side of the room.

 He has never been blind before, but this feels like not having the gift of sight.  Without his sight, his other senses become acuter as he listens to what is out there. 

  The shuffling continues, hurriedly.  He moves backward hoping to escape the noise and movement.  He's thirsty and licks his lips.  His stomach growls.  

How long have I been trapped in this room?  It may have been for days, but he wasn’t sure.  He feels so lonely and abandoned as he looks into the deep chasms of blackness.  His body is drenched with sweat and his terror is mounting.  The eyes peer out of the black pools of darkness appearing to dance back and forth.  He screams.

  The lights in this cheerless room suddenly snap on surprising him.  Blinding white light enveloped the room as if it was the first light he had ever seen. 

 He staggers just trying to see what is ahead.  For a few moments it was painful to see.

  He suddenly feels a stabbing sensation from behind.  Razor like teeth sinks into his right leg, sending hot waves of pain coursing through his body.  He tries to stand but is being dragged.  His terrified eyes see that a tremendous gray wolf is pulling him.  The man is in shock and disbelief.  

He kicks at the wolf, hoping that it would release its death grip, but its hold on him is like a vise grip.  He slams his fist into the eye of the wolf and it releases, standing back in a menacing stance.  Its lips sneer back of its mouth, exposing its mouth full of knives like teeth.  Drips of saliva drip from the wolf's mouth as it prepares for an attack. 

 His legs wobbled and he staggered to his feet hoping to be able to defend himself, but the wolf doesn't give him any time to regroup.  The fearsome wolf is on top of the man lookingforward to take a chunk out of his sweaty neck.  He digs his hands into the thick hair of the wolf's head as he lies on the floor.  The wolf’s mouth snaps at him drawing closer to the man's jugular.  It growls with anger as it draws nearer.  His tired arms shake as he grows weaker.  I cannot take any more of this.  The wolf senses this and pushes further with its hind legs.

He uses every ounce of strength to twist the neck of the wolf.  The wolf struggles against this, snapping its jaws.  He continues the pressure, turning with everything he has left.  The wolf’s desperate paws scratch on him.  The wolf's neck continues to turn and he hears a boisterous crack from its neck.  The wolf whimpers and collapse.  He expects the wolf to get back up and continue its attack, but it lays there motionless.

Strangely, he starts hearing many hands clapping.  The clapping one would hear at the end of a play or some performance.  He looks around in confusion trying to find the source of the praise.  He finds it on the other side of the humongous room above a window in a control room.  There are several people in the control room wearing night vision goggles.

The room is similar to a warehouse with high ceilings and wide walls.  Massive crates are scattered in different corners of the room.  This room is larger than I thought.  How long has this happened?  Where am I?  I have to get out of this vile place.  He realizes he has immediate dangers in front of him.  

“You have done well, Mr. Jacobs," a man said while taking off his goggles.  “Or should I call you Frank?”

“What's wrong with you people?"  Frank cries out in anger.  "What's going on here?"

    "We like to compare ourselves to a modern-day Roman Coliseum.  This is the next level of underground entertainment.  We do a lot of research before we find the next combatant.  You are twenty-five, single, athletic and you came here by yourself so nobody will be looking for you right away.  Everyone bet on the wolf except me so it looks like I'm going to get a nice payday at twenty to one odds," the man explained.  "The drugs we gave you should be wearing off now and your memory should be coming back.  You should remember the young woman we sent to you at the bar.  She is very persuasive.”

    “I vaguely remember," Frank says, rubbing his hands through his face. 

    “Yes, she's great at deception, he says, smiling down at Frank.  "No one ever expects anything when a hot brunette sits next to you and it's too late.”

    “How many people have you killed?”  Since I won, release me.  I promise I won't tell anyone.  No one would believe me anyway."

    “Oh, that's a good question.  I've lost track myself.  I’m afraid we can’t let you go.  You were our best contestant.  It is time to up the odds.”

  But before Frank can say anything else, the lights go off, plummeting him back in the darkness.

A door opens again.  He hears more shuffling coming from the other side of the room.  Three pairs of yellow eyes are coming towards him.  

“No, not again!”  Frank screams as he looks for an exit in the darkness.

“Place your bets and let the games begin,” says someone in the control room.

 

 

 

 

Jim Keane is a fiction writer with a BA in English from Mount Saint Mary College.  He's attended several fiction/creative classes. He lives with his family in Westchester, New York.