May’s stories are here and they’re EPIC! On the theme of Deadly Games, these stories are full of adventure, thrills and a certain amount of danger too. One is a dystopian vision of a future where citizens partake in a death defying feat, in order to escape a harsh and brutal life. The other is a fantasy tale that delves into the idea that not all legends are true, and that finding out what to believe for yourself can be the making of you.
The Jumping Game – Jessica Wren
In the future, the Sate of Florida is dismissed from the Union. Jacksonville becomes a lawless wasteland where every day is a fight for survival. Hunter Courtney sells the secrets for winning the Jumping Game, a dangerous gamble that can only result in death or freedom.
The skeletal remnants of the skyscraper framed dominated the ruined urban jungle that was once Jacksonville. The glass windows had long been blown out by a series of hurricanes, but the rusty metal frame stayed intact. Hunter Courtney’s grandfather told him, in a rare moment of lucidity, he thought it had once been the headquarters for a bank, but no one knew for sure. Not that it mattered; no one used currency for trade in Jacksonville. The only items of value were those which served a useful purpose. People bartered with homemade whiskey and wine, hand-crafted weapons made with whatever scrap metal could be found, stale tobacco products, and, if someone was lucky enough to find them, food that was not contaminated, medicine that still maintained some efficacy, or clothing still in wearable condition. The Bouncer, an old thug who also served as chief of the patrol guard, made his living off the jumping game. Due to its location on the banks of the St. John’s River, where the butchered remains of those who did not survive the jumping game were dumped, the skyscraper symbolized a false hope of escape from Jacksonville. It also indirectly provided a relatively comfortable standard of living for Hunter and his grandparents. The skyscraper was a perfect scaffold, and the game was simple: Participants were given a parachute and directed up the side staircase to the roof. The objective was to land at the base of the building. However, over the years, many participants learned the hard way that landing wasn’t at all an easy task……
The Three Earth Trials – Ian Williams
Malosi and her team go on an adventure of a lifetime through three different versions of Earth. Along the way, they learn that legend does not always match reality.
Malosi stood facing the open mouth of the cave she hoped would take her to another world, and she wondered, is it just me, or does it look a little angry? Two long ridges, running along the top of the cave, arched downward and met in the middle, making what looked to her to be two disapproving eyebrows. It made her doubt her willingness to enter.
But enter she would, for it was a great honour. One only the bravest were afforded.
A portal to another dimension had formed between the cave’s walls every two years since the first time, forty-five years ago. And each time it had, two teams of teenagers were sent through as a test of their worthiness. To return alive was a success, but to return with the famous emblem, left behind by the first man to use the portals—a legendary man named Tala—was the ultimate show of strength.
Malosi had only agreed to take part because her best friend’s, Vale and Atamai, had wanted to try. They had passed every test and shown a talent for problem solving. The three of them were going to see what only a small group of her people had before. With Vale and Atamai in position beside her now, Malosi felt a spike of confidence. They were a tight group of friends, just the three of them……
From the Mayhem, Madness and Mirth team