I got a strange email the other night, claiming to be from “The Bloodletter”, with the title “The Game Begins Now…”. I was a bit dubious, but had a look as I was curious. What I found was the start of a story, with me filling the role of the protagonist (from the set up, it is entirely possible my character could just as easily be hero or villain of the piece).
Now, in this day and age, I was just a a tad cautious. It could be spam, however a few of my friends with similar interests also received it and confirmed the authenticity.
As it is of relevance to Fantastic Tales & Adventures, I have decided to share the first story prompt here. And my reply to it. Tell me your thoughts.
From the Bloodletter (Quite clever, the dual meaning there)
You awake like a rushing ascent through cold water. Your head jerks to the left and your right cheek stings. Someone just slapped you, quite hard. Your eyelids open, your eyes blearily focusing on the brightly lit room around you.
You must be in a hospital. There’s a blonde woman in a nurse’s uniform standing over you, a smirk across her wide, full mouth. Her teeth seem large, especially the canines. Her eyes hold no pity. Despite appearances, you know she’s not a nurse. Your arms and legs are held to the gurney with thick leather restraints, but it looks like the buckles could be broken with the right twisting motion.
She pulls a worn photograph from her pocket and holds it right in front of your face. “This,” she whispers “is our enemy”. The photo shows a pale skinned woman with masses of curled red hair. It’s obviously taken through a telephoto lens, likely at night. The woman in the photo looks harried, the picture taken as she looks back over her shoulder.
The blonde drops the photo onto the bedside table and lifts a small, square wooden case from the floor. She opens the latches, and from the velvet interior lifts a strange device. It resembles a steel sphere, with a round compass on top and something like a fly fishing reel attached to the side. The glass dome covering the compass has hinges and can probably be opened so that the compass needle can be accessed. “You’ll need this. Follow the compass, walk, and wind the wheel. She has hidden herself well, and the journey can only be completed on foot.”
She replaces the device in the box and leaves it on the table beside the photo. She reaches down beside the bed and lifts up an ornate leather sack, like a wineskin. The stopper is bone white and richly carved. “Her blood goes in here. All of it.” She drops the sack across your feet.
She looks into your eyes for a moment, then silently mouths “I’ll be thinking of you”. She straightens, taps her temple with the same smirk and walks quickly out of the door and down the corridor.
You assess the situation:
1) Your skin is much whiter than it was, and when you rub your fingers together it has a hard, rubbery feel. Your muscles are larger and have much better definition. Your body feels stronger, more powerful. More energetic. Your teeth have grown and become sharper. You must be almost bald as you can feel no hair between your scalp and the mattress.
2) You know that you are strong enough to break out of these bonds, and careful enough to do it quietly. There are numerous things around you that could serve as improvised clubs or perhaps piercing weapons. The only chance for a gun would be taking it from a police officer. You learned this gestalt approach in special ops training, but it comes to mind quicker and more clearly than before.
3) It’s dark outside. By the wind and rain lashing the windows, you guess that you’re on a higher floor of the hospital. The best route down would be the stairs, although the concrete architecture suggests that climbing down the outside could be possible.
4) You need to find clothes.
What do you do?
My first thoughts are of escape. I roll onto my right side, ball me left hand into a fist and use my strength and weight, which is likely to be more than I recall due to the unexpected muscle mass. I pull, and then relax. Then repeat. Once I have freed my left hand, I will undo the remaining restraints.
Once free I gather my thoughts on what is the last thing I can remember. In fact, what do I remember about my life at all? How I got here at all is urgently important, however knowing a bit more about who I am, other than basic information regarding special forces training. I also want to know what I look like. If there is bathroom in my room, I will go in there and have a look at my mirror. I will then wrap my elbow in a towel, or a bedsheet if there is no towel, and break the mirror and keep a shard as a weapon, slicing a bit of the cloth or towel to wrap round to make a handle for it.
I am formulating an escape plan, but it depends on information. I make a search of the room for any clothes, even a hospital gown. Then I turn out my room light, if it was on, and open my door ever so slightly to peak out. I am hoping there are fewer staff on at night, and that they are less alert. What do I see?
All the best