Numbers-Part One

Numbers-Part One

A Story by Jay. E. V.

Its eleven seconds. I put it in perspective, just as I always had. Eleven seconds. That’s all.  It was a small window of opportunity, but it was enough. My face ran red hot with the blood of a coward. Eleven seconds. I repeated it to myself again, attempting to diminish the severity of it all.

            “Are you ready, Criminals?” The Justice Officer inquired very properly, with no particular interest in any of our responses.

           I nodded as I forced down the lump in my throat. Once more I reviewed the situation. Eleven Seconds. Eight seconds for my regulation head start, then an average of three seconds for either of the two executioners to rack their arrows and line up the shots. There were three other convicts, of which, I only needed to be faster than two. There was seventy-five yards between myself and the cliff, saying I didn’t get hit, I would jump off, plummeting another one hundred yards at nearly sixty miles per hour into the raging sea below. Saying that I survived the thousands of jagged rocks, the powerful current tugging at my limbs, and the frigid twenty-eight degree water, I just had to swim 5297 feet to dry land, a little over one mile, faster than the one remaining convict, saying that I was not the only survivor, and zero shots were missed. I hated numbers.

            I looked to my left where two of my competitors stood, poised and ready for the rush. They were two very terrifying looking men in their own respective ways. One was very lean and very tall, middle-aged man with a long, thick, mangy looking beard. Up his right arm was a vicious scar which screamed a warning that he had been in this predicament before. The other man was shorter and younger, as well as a little thicker around the neck and shoulders. His bald head gleamed brilliantly in the light. The scowl on his ugly face told me of his cruelty, and of just how little he valued life.  Their appearances were very different, but their crimes were the same, murder in the highest degree.

            I then looked to my right, where my last competitor stood. It was a young girl, no older than twelve. She was gorgeous with her bright green eyes, long flowing blonde hair, and ruby red lips. Tears and sweat rolled down her cheek as she struggled to keep her composure. She was a convicted bread thief, and although she didn’t look it, she was also my worst nightmare. If the executioners were any kind of decent, they would simply run the risk of letting the sea take her life, rather than put an arrow in her back. And even if they weren’t decent, she would still be quick, and judging by the fear in her eyes, as well as the nature of her crime, she had something brilliant to live for.

            “Last call for last requests!” The officer shouted, holding the starting ribbon in his tight fists.

            One of the murderers requested a drink of water before the race began and the officer begrudgingly obliged. While they prepared his drink, I looked out at the mass of cheering people as they looked on from the large fences caging us in. I had almost completely forgotten they were there. It wasn’t just our sentence, it was their entertainment. As I surveyed their sickness from my post, my eyes fell upon a very tall, very beautiful blonde woman. She had collapsed to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably, while a very strong, somber faced man watched on. He held her in a firm embrace but it did little to soothe her. It was apparent that she was the mother of the young girl. The man finished up his drink and my eyes fell back to the officer.

            “Very well, all requests are closed! It’s time to begin the race! I will go over the rules one final time before we begin!” The officer lifted his ribbon high in the air with his left hand and pointed to a small hourglass with his right. A tiny old woman held the object in her hand, ready to turn it over on command. There was just enough sand in it for approximately eight seconds, although in all truth it probably was leaning closer to seven for their pure enjoyment.

“There will be only one survivor. When the ribbon hits the ground you may begin your objective, which is to be the first, or in some cases, only prisoner to reach the island. You get an eight second head start in the opening dash, after which time our executioners have the order to shoot and kill all of you.” The officer paused briefly and smiled sadistically looking up to the two archers dressed in all black upon very tall pedestals. They were unrivaled marksmen, the best that could be found, the most elite of soldiers. They rarely missed.

“Then, you must survive the plummet, and make your way as quickly as possible to the island mentioned before. Do whatever is necessary. The sole survivor will be cleared of all charges. Any remaining survivors, after the first to reach the sands, will be put down!” He turned to face the crowd, “And with that, let the contest BEGIN!” He released the ribbon. “And may your sins not weigh you down.”

The tiny red silk ribbon fluttered helplessly in the breeze. My ears were deafened by the sudden roars of the crowd as my fellow convicts and I watched on, awaiting our chance to run. Eleven seconds. I reminded myself one last time, heart pounding through the base of my throat. I positioned myself on the edge of the starting line, ready to earn my freedom, at any cost. The ribbon hit earth, the hourglass was flipped, and almost instantly we all lunged forward. Immediately the bearded man took the lead with long powerful strides, his lanky frame powering him to the head of the pack. Nine seconds.

I pushed as hard as my body would allow, and then a little more so. I had no idea where the girl and the other murderer were, but I wasn’t prepared to look. I could feel the ground beneath my feet cry out in pain as we all slammed against it, desperately fighting for our very right to live. The crowd cheered on, eager to see the first of us die. Seven seconds. Everything was happening according to my plan. I only needed to stay close to the front; they wouldn’t pick me, surely not with two murderers amongst us. The pounding in my throat quickened as we neared the cliff. Five seconds. Sprinting at the speeds necessary to keep up with the bearded man was beginning to drain me. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the bald man’s hand entering and exiting my sight rapidly, indicating that he was indeed gaining. Where was the little girl?

Three Seconds. The archers were drawing. I could almost feel the target on my back as dread swept through my body. I had to keep running, for just a bit longer. In the water, saying I survived, I could pace myself. All I needed was a few more yards. My goal was in plain view, the edge of the cliff. I was so close. Suddenly, from behind an arrow whizzed past my ear. He missed, I thought. No, he didn’t miss, because he hadn’t been aiming for me. The bearded man collided with the dirt in front of me, I quickly tried to jump his body but to no avail. Seeing my fortune, the bald murderer had latched on to my leg, sending us both tumbling down painfully.

A violent struggled ensued as he dragged me backward. The little girl came from behind and took the lead, leaping bravely off the cliff. Quickly, I thrust my heel into the man’s’ face, causing blood to erupt forth. As I rose to my feet, I felt a sharp pain. The second arrow had found its mark deep in my arm. I cried out in horror, only inches from the edge. The marksmen were decent after all. Taking advantage of my pain, the bald man got up and he too jumped off the cliff.  I turned back to the archer’s pedestals, preparing to see them draw the final arrow to finish me off. Instead, the two black figures had jumped down, weapons on the ground. The crowd praised the man who loosed my arrow. He hadn’t been trying to kill anyone. In fact, he was just trying to make things more interesting.

The Justice Officer nodded at me and shouted something sarcastic. If they wanted a show, I’d give them one. I snapped the arrow off at the tip, to slow the bleeding, and took the plunge. I could already see the girl and the bald man had resurfaced as I fell. How I was going to catch them with an injured arm I did not know, but the salt water would keep the wound clean for now. I could find a way. I slammed into the surface of the angry sea and went straight down, deep. I worried if I would be able to hold my breath long enough; as it was something I was never any good at. The rocks below ripped at my skin as I struggled to breach for air. Gasping, I reached the surface and found my bearing. A large piece of driftwood floated toward me, obviously the remains of some poor rowboat. I climbed on top frantically, and began my paddling.

© 2012 Jay. E. V.

Author's Note

Jay. E. V.
I randomly had this idea come to me last night, before I finished it I just wanted some opinions=)

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This is interesting, I like the idea behind it a lot.
I'd say it needs a few tweaks here or there but an overall great concept. I also really like that you began right in the middle, that way I'm looking forward to learning some answers.

nicely done

Posted 10 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Jay. E. V.

10 Years Ago

thanks for taking the time to read it=)


I like this so far. Intresting Idea. Cant wait to read more. I enjoy reading stories like this. :)

Posted 10 Years Ago

Jay. E. V.

10 Years Ago

Appreciate the time you took to read it=D. Also thanks for the kinds words!
I have to agree!! There had better be more of.this because its a plot that will drive me crazy without an.ending... I struggle to review chapters this riviting; I'm far too desperate to get myself to.the next chapter... Really really good.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Jay. E. V.

10 Years Ago

thanks Kay=)
Interesting, very interesting. I have a love/hate relationship with the way you just throw your reader in this kind of situation. It's good, because your story is awesome so it makes me want know what the heck is going on! It's bad, because this is all I get til part 2 D: Well, I guess that's only bad for the reader...

Anyways, awesome write!

Posted 10 Years Ago

Jay. E. V.

10 Years Ago

Thanks very much=). Part Two will be up fairly soon. =D

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13 Reviews
Added on November 20, 2012
Last Updated on November 20, 2012


Jay. E. V.
Jay. E. V.

Waynesville, MO

Well, Hey there. I'm Johnathan, I really enjoy writing, obviously. I'm pretty laid back, I like to help other people with their work and have them look over mine=). So, if you want to do that, just me.. more..