The first elimination is always the bloodiest.
What if you did?
What if you lied?
What if I avenge?
What if eye for an eye?
-"What If," Creed
Even though he was against the team idea at first, Kamon was glad that he was wrong. Having two to four kids possibly survive would cut down on the angst and pain that fueled his enjoyment of The Program, but to see that poor Noriko girl breakdown into a fit of tears when a girl she hardly knew was blown to bits had its own charm. The pain that her teammates shared was like tasting a delicious new flavor of ice cream.
"Well gentlemen," Kamon said as he pulled out a bag of marbles from his jacket pocket. "In honor of the new rules I thought it be fun to try out a new betting system."
"Really?" One of the guards smirked. "Or are you just sick of losing all the time?"
"No." Even the laughter of his co-workers couldn't spoil his good mood. "Now I would like everyone to draw a marble from the bag and whatever color you get is the team you're betting on." He pointed the bag toward the smirking guard who decided to humor him.
"Uh, what does this cat's eye marble with the red x on it mean?"
"That no one wins and they all kill each other off." Kamon said casually as he drew a black marble. He made a face and put it in his pocket.
"Looks like you got screwed."
"Not really. Who knows, stressful situations can sometimes bring out the best in people."
"Come on, you got to let me have it." Keita reached for Yuka's pistol only to get his hands slapped by the chubby teenager.
"Get your own, creep."
"Come on." While hints of his panicyness had begun as soon as the black team left the building, it went into overdrive as soon as Yutaka's death was mentioned. "All I got is this stupid knife; is that fair?"
"No. It's not." Haruka snapped. "Izumi and I got lousy picks too so stop complaining." She poked him in the nose with her traffic baton, shutting him up for now.
Izumi breathed a momentary sigh of relief, treasuring the next few seconds of peace until Keita's panic attack reared its ugly head again. Damn, it was like babysitting and not getting paid while the parents drove-off, never to been seen again.
Why did this have to happen? Daddy was great friends with some of the government higher-ups, why couldn't he pull some strings to get her class out of the program? Or at least arrange it was she wouldn't get stuck with a crappy toy mallet. She'd been in situations almost as bad as this and he was always there to make sure she escaped unscratched. Or maybe he didn't know that this had happened and/or he tried to get her out and failed. No, it couldn't be that. Daddies are strong and smart, ready to save their little princesses in peril. He's probably got some mercenaries on white horses ready to save her.
But what about Kyouichi? His father was the head of the environmental council and he was still stuck in this stupid game with her. If it wasn't him and the students weren't put on teams, she probably would've taken his place, begging how she didn't belong here. She wouldn't be the shivering mess the school president was of course. Daddy made sure that his little girl was braver than that.
Great, Iijima was starting to shake again. Even Kyouichi must've calmed down by now. "Geez, why did we get stuck with the dweeb?" Izumi unknowingly said out loud.
"Because you touch yourself at night." Yuka's voice took on a playful, ghostly tone like one of those cartoons where God is speaking to the character.
"Damn it Yuka." Izumi tried to say while suppressing her laughter. "You're going to make me pee myself." Haruka briefly turned her head at the two, sighed, and then chuckled.
"Just pretend some guy you like is into that stuff and go ahead."
"I try." Yuka's reputation has succeeded once again; Izumi felt a lot better. "I hear Mitsuru wants you."
"Probably just to "grease-up his pole" like he wants the other girls to do." Izumi did the voice of a skuzzy old man during the "grease-up his pole" part.
"I don't think so. He hardly ever says that stuff to you."
"He'd be better than what we're stuck with." An image of Mitsuru plowing through the rest of the students like a blood-frenzied samurai (outfit and all) flashed in Izumi's mind.
"Maybe he could take that toy mallet of yours and knock him out for the rest of the game."
"Hey! Would you two stop talking about me like I'm not there?" Keita growled.
"Nope." They giggled in unison.
"Bitches." Who were they to go around acting all brave? It's not like they were the ones with the dead friend. Just one gun shot and they'd run off screaming their self-righteous little heads off. If he just had Yuka's gun he could prove to them that he wasn't a loser.
And there was his chance: twenty feet away stood Noriko. Her back turned to them and oblivious to everything behind her. The bushes around her obscured his view of any of her teammates, not that it really mattered to him. Heck, they could all be done way with; this was his chance to prove himself.
"Keita! No!" Haruka's screams were too late. He snatched Yuka's pistol from her hands and had already blasted a hole in her head.
"You prick!" Any cheer that remained in Yuka's vicinity vanished instantly at the sight of the back of Noriko's skull being blown apart. "See, that's why I didn't want you touching my gun."
How dare they yell at him. He saved their lives and this is the thanks he's getting? How often was it when he brave for someone? Even his ex-friend, Shinji, or the geek he used to hang out with never got to see it, but no, those bitches can't appreciate it. They'd probably want him to curl-up and die like the annouying parasite they thought he was.
"Shut-up you fat bitch!" Keita turned on his heels and blasted a large, bloody hole into Yuka's forehead.
"Keita..." They still wouldn't shut-up. Damn collar was giving a warning beep. No, not until he could get their silence; then he'd welcome death. As if he had done this a hundred times already, he put the third bullet into the side of Haruka's head and soon a fourth into Izumi when the combination of Shou's derringer and his collar exploding stopped him and caused the pistol to go flying out of his hand and into the nearest rain gutter. He was so close. Damnit, he was so close.
"Thanks a lot creep." Izumi thought the very second Shou sent a bullet right into her liver and hit the ground with a loud thud. She wasn't sure how she managed to survive this; it wasn't like she had any intention of being a doctor or anything. It was just something about digging through a bunch of organs that grossed her out.
"Ew." Mayumi gasped, turning away from the bullet-ridden bodies of the Black Team while fishing through their bags.
"You think you'd get use to it." Shou grimaced at the blood and bits of brain oozing from the bullet holes that freed them. The last few seconds of Noriko's short life flashed inside his mind.
Poor girl, Yukiko's death hit her harder than he thought it would. Yet, there was a kind of inner strength that kept her from going catatonic. Probably some kind of school girl crush from what he could guess.
But which guy? Sure she ran to Nobu's aide, but she'd probably be suicidal afterwards. She didn't seem like she'd be one of Shinji's bimbos and Takako would kick her ass if she tried to cop a feel off Hiroki. Not that he could blame her for going after either one of them. Kazuo has his own admirers who went for the silent bad boy clichÃ©, but that was about as likely as her drooling over him. Shou almost laughed, strangely flattered at the thought until the grim reality around him killed it. "How do those cute army men stand it?"
"Why wouldn't they go away?" Izumi could feel every drop blood pooling into a small, crimson puddle. "Am I going to have to bleed to death or something?"
"Did you find anything?" Even with her thoughts of getting back at Horino couldn't stop Mayumi from feeling a pang of sadness at the dead bodies around them. She went back to searching through the girls' blue bags to take her mind off of it.
"That little bitch." Izumi fumed at the sight of Mayumi taking her favorite blouse, holding it up to herself, and stuffing it into her bag. "She is so dead."
"You'll be glad to know that our team wasn't the only one who got screwed-over." Shou pulled out Izumi's toy hammer; it gave a cute little squeak when he hit it against one of the bags. "Let's just take the rations and go fish-out the gun."
For what seemed long enough for her to bleed to death seven times over, Shou and Megumi finally divided up the food and their backs were turned long enough for Izumi to escape. If she remembered correctly, there was a hospital about a mile or two away. And if she ran fast enough, she could probably make it in time before she ran out of blood.
After five minutes of running, Izumi realized that this was not going to work. When her gunshot wound wasn't giving her Hell for running, her throat would begin to burn as if she hadn't taken a drink in a month. Why wasn't daddy here to tend to her wounds and give her a glass of water? He was always there for her before. Why wouldn't The Program let him help her?
"Good afternoon little warriors." No not him. "As I promised, I have today's death call..."
Wait, who's that? Fumiyo Fujiyoshi, the nurse's aide, she'd know what to do. Sweet natured Fumiyo, there'd be no way that she'd be playing the game and if she was, all Izumi had to do was threaten to choke her.
"Girl #6 Yukiko Kitano..."
"Shut-up you prick!" Just a few more feet...
"Girl #15 Noriko Nakagawa..." She heard a branch snap under her feet. No big deal, it wasn't like it wouldn't catch the attention of anyone like...
"Kazuo!" Izumi gasped at emotionless boy and his uzi. This isn't fair! Stuff like this wasn't suppose to be inflicted on people like her. Outside the occasional slip-up, she was a good girl.
"Girl #16 Yuka Nakagawa, Girl #12 Haruka Tanizawa, and finally, Boy #2 Keita Iilijima."
"Kazuo, no!" Alas, Shuuya's cries of justice were too late; Kazuo had already pumped Izumi full of holes.
"Opps." Kamon chuckled. "We got one more student joining us, Girl #5 Izumi Kanai."
End of Chapter 3. 34 Students Remain. The Black Team has been eliminated.