Categories > Games > Silent Hill > Survivor: Silent Hill

Episode 2: Part 2

by darsar 0 reviews

Category: Silent Hill - Rating: PG-13 - Genres:  - Published: 2012-12-21 - Updated: 2012-12-22 - 8371 words


Yesterday’s win at the reward challenge did a lot to boost morale, for sure. Everyone was laughing and joking and piling on the food. But I don’t think it changed anything in the group. It was just a reward challenge after all, and while it felt good to win, things can—and probably will—go right back to the way they were if we lose today’s immunity challenge. I feel that this is a must-win for me, because I don’t think Alex or Travis have cleared me of suspicion, so I need Alchemilla to stay away from Assembly for a while. If we lose and go to Assembly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see my name come up for the chopping block.

We’ve pretty much narrowed down our list of suspects to all of the girls. I know I didn’t vote for Alex, Alex couldn’t have voted for himself, Henry wouldn’t have flipped on us, and I’m sure that Harry, if he didn’t vote for Alex, would have voted for Dahlia. The girls, however, I’m not too sure about. I just found out yesterday that they’ve been meeting up every now and then in the women’s bathrooms. Could they possibly have picked a more cliché meeting place? But yeah, I have no idea what they’re thinking, and I know almost one hundred percent that three of those five girls voted for Alex. The majority of them are guilty, as far as I’m concerned. That’s how I see it and that’s how I’m gonna play it.

“All right, Harry,” Travis said. “I want to hear your side of the story. Where do you think the four votes came from and who do you think is the biggest threat?”

Harry looked around. “So is this storage room your secret clubhouse now?” he asked. “No girls allowed?”

“Something like that,” Travis said. “At least until we figure out which girls we can trust.”

Travis, Harry, and Alex were in the third floor storage room with the door closed behind them. They didn’t bring flashlights, so they were unable to see each other’s faces.

“Well as for who’s the biggest threat,” Harry said, “My answer is still Dahlia. And for the four who did it…”

He paused for a second. “Eddie, obviously. Dahlia… Claudia… and Mary. Those are my four guesses.”

“Eddie’s a given,” Alex said. “And of course you suspect Dahlia. But why Claudia and Mary?”

“Because Claudia is part of Silent Hill’s cult, like Dahlia, and Mary is Dahlia’s roommate,” Harry said. “Dahlia’s voice can easily reach them, so they’re the most likely suspects. Plus, you heard the way Mary speaks about the game. She’s watched this show plenty of times. You can bet that she’s already got a plan for the merge, and even a plan for the final three. If anyone is going to try a power play at the first Assembly, it would be her.”

“Makes sense,” Travis said. “But one more thing. Why not Heather or Angela?”

“I’m not saying anything for sure,” Harry said, “But they’re the least likely, I think. I don’t think Angela’s got the guts and I don’t think Heather has the motive.”

“I see,” Travis said. “Well… tell us if you hear anything, okay? You’re one of the few guys we trust around here, and we’d like you to be on our side.”

“I’m on your side,” Harry said, “So long as you aren’t on Dahlia’s side.”

“What is it between you two?” Alex asked. “You really can’t stand her, can you?”

Harry sighed. “She was one of the first people I met when I came to Silent Hill. I mean, after Silent Hill went crazy. She spoke in riddles and gave tidings of doom and told of the mark of the beast, of Samael, and I thought I could trust her. Turns out she had me running around the whole city making things worse when I thought I was saving the town. Then, to top it all off, she’s responsible for my daughter’s death, in a weird, complicated way.”

“Oh, sorry,” Alex said. “I didn’t know you had a daughter.”

“It’s okay. I don’t talk about it much. So no. I really can’t stand Dahlia. I want her gone. And like I told you before, I’m voting for her next chance I get.”

“I understand,” Travis said. “Can’t say I blame you either.”

“Thanks,” Harry said. He turned and left the storage room, closing the door behind him.

“Murder is one hell of an accusation,” Alex said. “Do you believe his story?”

Travis thought a moment. “You know, I think I do. When I was here, I had a couple run ins with Dahlia myself. Turns out she almost burned her daughter alive as part of some ritual or something.”

“Jesus,” Alex said.

“No kidding. So Harry’s story doesn’t seem that far off to me. We need to keep an eye on her.”

Everything I do, I do because Heather and I planned it that way. I could have cleared Heather’s name by saying that she was with me, but that would expose our alliance, and we aren’t going to let that secret come out if at all possible. Right now, after my story about Dahlia—which is all true, by the way—I think I’ve swayed Travis and Alex over to my side or, at the very least, away from Dahlia. If we can take out Dahlia at the next Assembly, I’d feel much better about this game. She really is poison.


The ten members of Brookhaven were in the third floor Day Room, which they had converted into a cafeteria, with tables and chairs taken from offices and the box of beef jerky sitting in a corner. The group had already eaten and gone their separate ways when Dr. Kaufmann came through the hospital and rounded them all up, calling for a meeting in the Day Room.

“What’s this about?” Eileen asked.

“Pay attention,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “I have one question for all of you. Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ quickly and don’t ask questions.” He turned to the nearest person, Elle.

“Elle,” he said. “Did you steal the idol?”

“Wha… the idol is stolen?” Elle asked.

“Yes or no, Elle. Quickly,” Dr. Kaufmann said.

“No. No I didn’t. Are you sure it’s stolen?”

“James,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “Did you steal the idol?”

“Me?” James said. “No. I’d never steal anything.”

“Are you sure it’s stolen?” Elle asked again.

“Positive. Eileen, did you steal the idol?”

“No,” Eileen said. “You didn’t misplace it, did you?”

“I haven’t touched it since I put it there in the first place,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “And I said no questions. Vincent, yes or no?”

“I didn’t steal the idol,” Vincent said.

“Cybil, did you steal the idol?” Dr. Kaufmann asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Cybil said. “Dr. Kaufmann, did you steal the idol?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “Walter—”

“No.” Walter said.

“No for me too,” Maria said.

“Wasn’t me either,” Lisa said.

“Wasn’t me,” Douglas said.

“Well, someone’s lying,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “That much is obvious.”

“Hold on,” Cybil said, “You dragged us all up here and started interrogating us because you thought one of us would confess or something?”

“I thought I’d give you all the benefit of the doubt,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “In case one of you had moved it without telling the rest of us.”

“But you didn’t ask that,” Cybil said. “You asked, ‘did you steal the idol’ which is a completely different question.”

“Fine. Did anyone here misplace the idol?” Dr. Kaufmann asked.

No one responded.

“Happy now?” Dr. Kaufmann asked Cybil. “That proves it. The idol has been stolen, and someone here is lying about it.”

“And you thought you’d come in here and interrogate us about it?” Cybil said. “Did you think one of us would crack under the pressure or are you just that good at spotting lies?”

“Stop making this about me,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “The idol has been stolen. We need to find it.”

“If we’re suspects, then you’re a suspect too,” Cybil said. “You’re the only one here who’s convinced of your innocence. The rest of us aren’t so sure.”

“That’s stupid,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “Why would I steal the idol?”

“I don’t know,” Cybil said. “Why would you?”

“Don’t pull that cop __ on me.”

“Did you steal the idol, Doctor?” Cybil asked.

Dr. Kaufmann looked directly into Cybil’s eyes. His facial features were still as stone as he said clearly, “I did not steal the idol.”

“Sudden stiffness and not using contractions are symptoms of lying,” Cybil said. “Just saying.”

“So is changing the subject,” Dr. Kaufmann said.

“So is blaming others.”

“Cut that out, this is serious.”

“I’m being serious,” Cybil said.

“I didn’t steal the idol!”

“Oh, now you use a contraction.”

Dr. Kaufmann stopped and looked at Cybil. His mouth was slightly open and his fists were clenched. He was about to say something when a thought occurred to him. “Wait. It’s illegal to steal the idol. So… shouldn’t the show’s producers be all over here, dragging someone off for breaking the rules?”

Everyone thought about that for a second. Vincent, however, was prepared for this sort of question. After a moment’s thought, he said, “Maybe you can’t steal it from a group? After all, the idol can only be used by one person. So only one person at a time can really be said to ‘own’ the idol, wouldn’t you agree? You may say that an idol belongs to the whole group, but if no one person lays claim to it, then it can’t really be stolen. That’s my theory anyway.”

There was a pause as the group thought this over. “Or…” Cybil said, “It’s possible that the idol has belonged to Dr. Kaufmann this whole time. After all, he found the door, he found the idol, he picked it up and unwrapped it, he put it in his pocket, and he carried it to the reception room. No one else has even touched it.”

“Stop this nonsense,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “I didn’t steal the idol.”

“Maybe it’s just lost,” Douglas said. “Things just happen in this town. Who can say for sure?”

“Things may just happen in this town,” Dr. Kaufmann said, “But I’ve yet to see an inanimate object grow legs and walk away. Someone—someone here—picked up the idol and put it in a different spot. Whether they did this on purpose or not is irrelevant. It’s stolen, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m going to find out who did it and where the idol is.”

“You’re doing a great job so far,” Cybil said.

“I don’t need your sarcastic remarks,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “If you’re really as innocent as you claim, you’d be helping me find the culprit.”

“It’s against police policy to assist crime suspects,” Cybil said.

“Damn it! Fine!” Dr. Kaufmann took off his jacket and turned out all of his pockets. “Not here. Not here either. Or this pocket. Or here.”

“It could be in your room,” Cybil said. “Or hidden somewhere else. Just because it’s not on your person doesn’t mean you don’t have it.”

“What are you getting at, Cybil?” Dr. Kaufmann said. “Are you trying to piss me off? Because you’re succeeding.”

“I’m saying that you can’t go and round us all up and start interrogating us like this,” Cybil said.

“It might have worked if you hadn’t interfered.”

“Oh come on,” Cybil said. “It wasn’t going to work no matter what I did. Either the idol is honestly misplaced and everyone says they didn’t steal it, or someone stole it and everyone says they didn’t steal it. You won’t learn anything useful from mass interrogation like this.”

Dr. Kaufmann didn’t respond.

“We should probably get ready to go,” Cybil said. “There’s an immunity challenge today and we need to win it, especially now that the idol is missing.”

“Stolen,” Dr. Kaufmann said.

“Missing,” Cybil said. “Until we can prove it’s stolen.”

Well that was certainly a lot of fun. I was hoping that the conversation would turn more towards Walter, or towards anyone really, just so long as people were actively searching for the idol. But starting a fight between two of the most dangerous people in the cult is a wonderful outcome and I certainly won’t be complaining. I almost don’t want to win this next challenge, just for the sake of seeing the fighting continue—and maybe even intensify. But I know I can’t be so short-sighted. I’m here to win, after all, and not just watch some petty squabbling.


In two single file lines, the cults walked to the parking lot of the Lakeside Amusement Park. The bright lights from the rides and attractions at the park were blurred by the thick fog. Some of the rides were playing slow, stumbling carnival music, providing an eerie ambiance. The parking lot was empty except for two large floor mats, Joseph, and an empty pedestal. Dr. Kaufmann led the way for Brookhaven, and he had the Flauros—the symbol of Brookhaven’s immunity—in his hands.

The nine members of Alchemilla stood on the red mat while the ten members of Brookhaven stood on the blue.

“Welcome back, teams,” Joseph said. “Ready for your next challenge?”

The two cults agreed.

“First things first,” Joseph said. “Dr. Kaufmann, give up the Flauros.”

Dr. Kaufmann stepped forward and placed the Flauros on the empty pedestal next to Joseph. He returned to his group.

“Once again, immunity is back on the line,” Joseph said. “Here’s how this challenge is going to work.”

This challenge is a nine-part relay composed of various individual tasks strung together. When a cult member completes his or her task, the next person in line can begin theirs.

The first task is to run up these long service stairs to this rollercoaster control booth. Once there, the first survivor must solve a simple puzzle to unlock the rollercoasters. Once the rollercoaster is unlocked, the second survivor must push it along the tracks and up this steep incline. When the rollercoaster clears the peak, it will roll down a slope and stop in a designated spot. The third survivor will remove an oversized mallet from the front seat of the rollercoaster and use it to ring the bell twice on a typical Test-Your-Strength challenge. Once the bell rings a second time, a nearby merry-go-round will start. The fourth survivor must run thirteen times around the merry-go-round. Warning, the horses on the merry-go-round are known to randomly spray a noxious smoke from their mouths. After the survivor completes thirteen laps, the fifth survivor must toss rubber balls at three targets as flying “Pendulum” monsters cross erratically between the survivor and the targets. When all three targets are hit, the sixth survivor will be dunked into a tank and must retrieve a key to the gift shop from the bottom of the tank. That survivor must then enter the gift shop and search for a tin box with the Survivor logo on one side. The box must be delivered to the seventh survivor, who will open the box to reveal a slide-puzzle of Robbie the Rabbit, the park’s official mascot. Once the puzzle is solved, the safety switch on a nearby shooting gallery will unlock, allowing the eighth survivor to begin shooting at five targets, through a particularly thick veil of fog. Once all five targets are hit, the ninth and final survivor will sprint for the exit. The first team to complete all tasks and send a survivor through the front gate wins immunity.

“Brookhaven, you have to sit out a member,” Joseph said. “Maria sat out last challenge; she must participate this time.”

“I’ll sit out,” Lisa said, raising her hand.

“Lisa, sitting out for Brookhaven,” Joseph said. “The rest of you, I’ll give you a moment to strategize and then we’ll begin."

“Okay, starting off this challenge, we have Heather for Alchemilla and Eileen for Brookhaven,” Joseph said. Heather and Eileen stood at the base of two immense metal staircases that were no less than five or six stories high. The stairs led to two separate control rooms and two separate rollercoaster tracks.

“Survivors ready…” Joseph said. “…Go!”

Heather and Eileen sprinted off their starting lines and raced up the steps, taking them two or three at a time. They kept both hands on the side railings, using them to help pull themselves up and keep balanced. Halfway up, Heather stumbled on a step and lost a little ground to Eileen.

“It’s very close,” Joseph said, “But Eileen reaches the control room first by a couple of seconds. Now the two survivors must solve a puzzle, turning all the lights on the control panel from red to green.”

A few seconds later, there was a ding from Eileen’s booth and her rollercoaster unlocked.

“In a matter of seconds, Eileen solves her puzzle,” Joseph said. “Now Walter can begin pushing the rollercoaster down the track.”

When I got to the top, I saw that it was one of those puzzles where once you push a button, all the ones next to that button turn the opposite color. I panicked, because I’ve always sucked at those kinds of puzzles, so I just pushed all the red ones randomly, and then like, five seconds later, it was solved! I’m as surprised as anyone.

Walter drove his shoulder into the back of the roller coast and, with a heavy grunt, managed to get it rolling. Once it was moving, he was able to push it with his hands and keep it moving at a steady walking pace. A loud ding came from the second control booth.

“Heather’s got hers solved!” Joseph said. “Alex can begin pushing his rollercoaster for Alchemilla.”

Alex got a short, two-step running start and crashed his shoulder into the rollercoaster. It jerked and shuddered with the impact, then started rolling. Alex pushed the rollercoaster forward, his legs kicking frantically.

“Alex seems to be making up a bit of time as Walter approaches the incline,” Joseph said.

Walter turned his head at this announcement and looked behind him. He saw Alex making progress on him, so he lowered his body and, with another grunt, began pushing the rollercoaster faster than before. His pace slowed slightly as he climbed the incline, but he never lost momentum and cleared the apex of the hill quickly. Gravity took over from there, bringing the rollercoaster down the hill. Alex’s rollercoaster was only a couple seconds behind. Rubber brakes at the bottom of the hill slowed the two rollercoasters down before they ran into two large rubber bumpers, which stopped the rollercoasters completely.

“The two rollercoasters have reached the bottom. James for Brookhaven and Travis for Alchemilla can start on the next part,” Joseph said.

James jumped into the rollercoaster as soon as it stopped and found a large wooden mallet in the front seat. He pulled it out, surprised at its weight, and headed to the Test-Your-Strength challenge. He awkwardly raised the mallet above his head and swung down at a large button on the ground. The impact launched a metal cylinder up a steel rail, but the cylinder stopped a few feet short of the bell and came back to the ground. James wound up and tried again.

“Travis has his mallet and has caught up with James,” Joseph said. “We’re neck-and-neck now. This is a unique immunity challenge today, because it’s completely individual. Weak cult members can’t sit by and let the stronger ones do all the work. Everyone has to chip in.”

The bell rang for Travis on his second attempt. James had taken several swings, but had come up short each time. Travis swung again and rang the bell again.

“Travis finishes his part,” Joseph said. “Harry’s merry-go-round has now started. He must run thirteen laps around it to complete his section of the challenge. James, meanwhile, has yet to ring his bell even once.”

Harry began sprinting along the inside of the merry-go-round, between two rows of horses. The horses were deformed and bloody, and occasionally a greenish-brown mist burst out from the horses’ mouths. Harry dodged to avoid the mist as he ran.

James wound up one huge swing and just barely rung the bell for the first time. He wound up again, but came up short.

“This is for immunity, James!” Joseph said. “You do not want to be the one to lose this challenge for your cult. It’s all on you.”

James took several quick, powerful swings, but accomplished less and less with each swing.

“James!” Cybil shouted from her station further down. “You’re just wearing yourself out! Take a moment, then put it all in one big swing! Come on!”

James was already out of breath. He grasped his mallet in both hands, took a few deep breaths, and jumped slightly as he came down with one massive swing. It was just enough, and the bell rang for the second time, triggering the next merry-go-round.

“Maria’s merry-go-round has started!” Joseph said, “She can now start running for Brookhaven. But Harry’s already got a big lead, with five laps of his thirteen already finished.”

Maria sprinted around her merry-go-round, completely ignoring the mist that came from the horses’ mouths. She was only a few laps in when a horse right next to her breathed out, spraying its fume directly into her face. The gas made her choke and her eyes water. She stumbled and blinked for a few seconds, trying to keep moving forward.

“Maria takes a face full from the horses,” Joseph said. “I warned you about that.”

Distracted by this announcement, Harry glanced over his shoulder at Maria’s merry-go-round. When he turned back, he caught a cloud of mist right in his face. Like Maria, he stumbled forward and coughed and gagged.

“Harry takes a face full now,” Joseph said. “It’s like no one listens to me.”

The effects of the mist wore off after a few seconds, and both Harry and Maria were able to continue running. Harry seemed to deal with the effects of the blast better than Maria, as he quickly returned to his former pace. Maria, on the other hand, seemed much more cautious than before, and dodged the horses as well as she could, but progressed at a slower pace.

Harry finished a few minutes later and his merry-go-round came to an instantaneous stop. With the floor suddenly no longer moving beneath his feet, Harry lost his balance and fell forward onto the ground.

“Harry finishes his run, and now Claudia can begin her section,” Joseph said. “She must use rubber balls to hit three targets, releasing a trapdoor and dunking Angela into the water. Pendulums are blocking her way, making this one of the trickier challenges today.”

“This… isn’t water,” Angela said from inside her glass box. She was sitting on a collapsible bench above a pool of dark red liquid. Ignoring her, Claudia began pitching rubber balls at her targets in rapid succession. The pendulums—wingless torso-shaped monsters that hovered in the air, spinning erratically and screeching constantly—blocked most of her shots with their random movements. The few that got through were nowhere near their targets.

“Maria finishes her laps,” Joseph announced. Her merry-go-round stopped and she fell forward. “Dr. Kaufmann can now start on his portion.”

Dr. Kaufmann took a ball in his hand, watched the pendulums, and then wound up like a baseball pitcher and hurled a ball at the targets. It made it through the pendulums but bounced harmlessly off the back wall, missing all the targets.

“Good shot, Doctor,” Douglas said. “Keep it coming.” He, like Angela, was in a glass box, sitting on a bench above a pool of red liquid.

“Claudia has yet to hit a target and we are tied at this stage of the challenge,” Joseph said. “Whoever gets out of here first may be the hero of this challenge.”

“Or heroine,” Claudia corrected.

“Or that,” Joseph said.

Dr. Kaufmann paused and watched the motion of the pendulums. He saw an opening, wound up, pitched, and barely struck the edge of one of the targets. The target flipped down, leaving only two remaining.

“Dr. Kaufmann hits his first,” Joseph said. “Brookhaven regains the lead for the first time since the beginning of the challenge.”

Claudia paused and emulated Dr. Kaufmann’s style. She watched the pendulums as they flitted around the area, then saw and opening and pitched. One of the pendulums spun unexpectedly and swatted her try out of the air. Claudia curled her lip and grabbed another ball.

“So close!” Joseph said. “That one looked like it would have made it.”

A few seconds later, Dr. Kaufmann hit his second target. “Good shot, Doctor,” Douglas said. “Good shot.”

“That’s what you said when I missed,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “Make up your mind.”

“Just trying to help,” Douglas said.

“Well you’re not.”

“Claudia hits her first target!” Joseph said. “It’s now two to one in favor of Brookhaven.”

Dr. Kaufmann grabbed his next ball and spent several seconds lining up the shot and waiting for the pendulums to clear a hole. He threw the ball and it arced perfectly over a low-flying pendulum and hit the third target. Instantly, the bench beneath Douglas gave way, dropping him into the water.

“Dr. Kaufmann hits all his targets, sending Douglas for a swim,” Joseph said. “Now Douglas has to search the bottom of the tank for the key to the gift shop.”

Douglas was invisible in the dark red liquid, but he burst through the surface of the pool a few seconds later, a bright gold key clutched in his fingers. He opened a side panel in the dunk tank and exited the pool, heading for the gift shop.

“Claudia hits her second!” Joseph said. There was still a wide gap between the pendulums, so Claudia hastily picked up her next ball and threw it between them before they could close the opening. Out of sheer luck, the ball was nearly perfect, hitting the third target dead center and dropping Angela into the water.

“Claudia hits all three,” Joseph said, “And Alchemilla is still alive. It’s anyone’s game.”

Douglas had already opened his gift shop and stepped inside. The gift shop was loaded with postcards, shirts, hats, mugs, plush Robbie the Rabbit toys, and a myriad of other distractions, but Douglas knew he was searching for a tin box, so he went to the back of the room, where he saw several near on a shelf, and began searching through them.

A few seconds later, Angela emerged, red and dripping, with her key. She headed to the identical gift shop next to Douglas’ and fumbled with the lock for a few seconds before entering. She scanned the aisles, checking everywhere instead of heading right to the tins near the back.

After pulling out several tins and tossing them to the floor, Douglas finally found the tin with the Survivor logo on it. He grabbed it and ran from the gift shop. Outside, Vincent was standing next to a table, awaiting Douglas’ return.

“And Douglas gets out first,” Joseph said. “Now Vincent has to solve a sliding puzzle to finish his portion of the challenge.”

Vincent took the tin and pried it open, revealing a scrambled picture of Robbie the Rabbit inside. The picture was printed on fifteen squares arranged in a four-by-four pattern, with one open square so that he could slide the pieces around. Without delay, he began shifting pieces into their spots.

“Angela comes out of the gift shop,” Joseph announced. Angela passed the Survivor tin to Dahlia, who set to work on the puzzle immediately. “Seven challenges of nine and it’s still anyone’s game.”

Within a minute, Vincent had solved his puzzle. He held the puzzle up triumphantly. There was an audible click, as the safety on Cybil’s mounted pistol released, allowing her to begin shooting at targets.

“Vincent is finished with his puzzle,” Joseph said. “Now it’s up to Cybil to shoot five targets through a thick fog. This is the eighth challenge out of nine. Alchemilla needs to hustle to get back in this.”

“Done,” Dahlia announced. Vincent’s smile evaporated when he realized that, adjusting for the different start times, it had taken her no longer to solve the puzzle than it had taken him. There was a click as the safety of Henry’s pistol released. He began shooting at targets immediately.

Cybil took a strong shooting stance, with both hands on her pistol and her arms perfectly straight. Henry had a more casual, limp stance, with his head cocked slightly to one side so he could stare down the sights. He’d fired weapons before, but lacked any formal training on the subject.

Cybil concentrated and took aim. She lined up the target and squeezed the trigger.

“One target down for Brookhaven,” Joseph said. “Alchemilla still not on the board.”

Henry took a shot that went well wide of the target. Cybil focused and fired again.

“Two down for Brookhaven,” Joseph said. “Cybil’s experience with handguns clearly a factor here.”

Henry aimed, fired, missed. There was a loud report next to him as Cybil fired again.

“Three down for Brookhaven!” Joseph said. “Cybil having no trouble with her task.”

Henry aimed, trying to line up his sights in a different way. This time he was rewarded as the target disappeared.

“Alchemilla gets on the board,” Joseph said. “It’s three to one in favor of Brookhaven.”

Cybil fired.

“Four to one in favor of Brookhaven,” Joseph said. “Cybil only needs one more to finish her task.”

Henry began firing wildly, unloading all his ammunition into the far wall. Despite all the shots he took, he’d succeeded in taking down only two targets with his outburst.

“Four to three in favor of Brookhaven,” Joseph said, “But Henry has to stop and reload. These guns do not load with a clip, so each bullet must be loaded individually. Reloading is a very-time consuming process.”

Cybil paused, took a deep breath, steadied her aim, and fired.

“Five down!” Joseph said. “All that’s left for Brookhaven is for Elle to sprint to the finish!”

A gate holding back Elle dropped and she barreled through the park, between kiosks and attractions. Henry was still reloading his gun when Elle crossed the finish line, racing under the large welcoming arch of the amusement park and emerging in the parking lot.

“Brookhaven wins immunity!” Joseph said.

The rest of Brookhaven cheered and left their stations, returning to the front entrance to celebrate.

“Win when it counts!” Eileen said.

“Brookhaven, take your idol,” Joseph said. Dr. Kaufmann stepped up and reclaimed the Flauros for his team.

“No Cult Assembly for you guys tomorrow,” Joseph said. Brookhaven cheered and clapped. “Go back to camp, get some rest. I’ll see you at the next challenge.”

Brookhaven took their idol and headed back to their hospital. Meanwhile, the members of Alchemilla cult were slowly gathering in the parking lot. When they all arrived, Joseph said, “Alchemilla, I have nothing for you. Once again, you’ll be facing Cult Assembly. Head back to camp. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

Silently, the nine members of Alchemilla marched off into the fog.


“Well, congratulations to us,” Dr. Kaufmann said as the cult returned to their hospital. He was carrying the Flauros. He walked across the hall from the entrance and put the Flauros on a table in the reception room. “And congratulations to whoever stole the idol. Since we don’t have Cult Assembly tomorrow, you, whoever you are, will be able to keep your secret for a little longer.”

“Right back to this again, huh?” Cybil said. “Can’t give us five minutes to enjoy our victory?”

“There’s been a theft,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “I would expect an officer of the law to show more concern for this matter.”

Off to the side, in the partial darkness, Vincent watched, one hand across his mouth to hide his grin.

“I am concerned,” Cybil said. “But I’ve been thinking, and I realized that it doesn’t matter.”

“What?” Dr. Kaufmann said. “That’s ludicrous! Of course it matters.”

“No, the theft itself matters, of course, but we can nullify it,” Cybil said. “All we have to do is check everyone as we head off to Cult Assembly to see if they have the idol. If no one takes the idol to Assembly, they can’t use it. If they can’t use it, they might as well not even have it.”

“You’re not suggesting we frisk people on the way out the door, are you?” Dr. Kaufmann asked.

“A million dollars on the line and you’re concerned about a little pat-down?” Cybil said. “Grow up. And it’s not like someone’s going to shove it in their ass or anything. It’s not a condom full of coke. The idol is about the size of a coaster, right? There’s only so many places a person can hide it. A quick pat-down should be enough to reveal it, if someone’s carrying it.”

“Unbelievable,” Dr. Kaufmann said.

“You have a better idea?” Cybil asked. “Admit it. You’re just angry because you didn’t think of it first. If someone stole the idol, they could have hidden it anywhere. Room searches, random interrogations, none of that is surefire. But the trip to Cult Assembly is the only time a person must have the idol with them, if they have any plans to use it. It’s the only time we can be sure to catch them in the act.”

“Wait…” Dr. Kaufmann said. “Wait a second. I think I’ve figured this out. Your plan won’t work, Cybil, because the person who stole the idol has no intention of ever using it!”

The others, who were growing weary of the argument and were beginning to disperse, gathered back around Dr. Kaufmann to hear his theory.

“Do go on,” Cybil said.

“Gladly! The person who stole the idol isn’t going to use it for themselves, they’re going to bring it with them to the merge and use it to side with Alchemilla!”

There was a pause as everyone took this in.

“Think about it,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “The person who stole the idol can bring it with them to the merge, show it to Alchemilla, and then we’d be crushed, especially if Alchemilla already has an idol!”

“But… Doctor,” Cybil said. “…We’re winning. Why would someone side with Alchemilla, the losing team? And furthermore, what if we check them as we go to merge? Then we’d know they had it and we could do something about it. Your plan has a lot of holes.”

“Whoever stole the idol is obviously stupid,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “So they’ll obviously have a stupid plan.”

“I’m tired of arguing this with you, Kaufmann,” Cybil said. “We don’t have to worry about it for the next three days, so let’s just all relax, enjoy our victory, and figure this out later.”

“I’m going to get to the bottom of this,” Dr. Kaufmann said. “With or without your help.”

“And I sincerely hope you do,” Cybil said. “But I’m not going to argue with you about it anymore. In the meantime, I’m going to assume we’re all on board for the pat-down idea. It’s the easiest way to check, and the simplest.”

“Fine,” Dr. Kaufmann said.

With the argument over, the ten members of Brookhaven went their separate ways throughout the hospital.

I fully expected someone to steal the idol, but I thought they’d do it right away, when we first got the clue. I now realize my foolishness. Of course it’s wiser to wait until the idol is already out in the open. Then the theft is much simpler. Whoever our thief is, they’re not a complete moron, which makes this more difficult. Furthermore, I am not content to merely see the return of the idol; I want the thief caught red-handed as well. I need to know who the rat is, so I can vote that person off. Nothing less will satisfy me.

I don’t think this was a grand heist, and I don’t think our thief is a criminal mastermind. I honestly believe that, for a million dollars, any one of us can be tempted into a bit of petty theft. This was probably just a crime of opportunity. The idol was there, it was unguarded, and it was taken on an impulse. The frisking idea of mine is really more of a bluff than anything, just to scare the thief. I’m hoping that whoever has the idol will put it back tonight and things can go back to normal. I’m also hoping that Dr. Kaufmann will stop trying to the big boss man, but I won’t hold my breath.


“It’s Angela, isn’t it?” Alex asked. He and Travis were in their “office,” the third floor storage room. The door was closed tightly behind them. “She’s obviously the weakest one here. I mean, we put her on the task that requires no skill, and she still did awful at it. Imagine if we’d had her actually do something requiring skill. It would have been a disaster, instead of just a loss.”

Travis sighed. “You know, I’ve been thinking. I think we want Angela around.”

“What? She has to go. She’s holding us back.”

“But she’s also the least threatening,” Travis said. “She’s not scheming. She’s not making alliances or friends. She’s not smart. She’s not strong or fast. No one feels sorry for her. To tell you the truth, I’m putting thought into the idea of a final three with you, me, and Angela.”

“You’re serious?” Alex asked.

“Dead serious,” Travis said. “Angela’s never going to win individual immunity, so she’s great to have after the merge. And if she keeps going the way she is, no one is going to give her a million dollars and say that she ‘outwit, outplayed, and outlasted’ us. She’s just along for the ride, and everyone sees that. She’s perfect for us.”

“…But… she sucks,” Alex said. “At everything. I kinda want to… I want to actually beat someone at the final three. To know that I really deserved to win, you know? Not just drag dead weight for the next thirty-odd days and then win by default.”

“I see where you’re coming from,” Travis said. “But part of this game is eliminating threats. Angela is not a threat. So she shouldn’t be eliminated.”

“She’s a threat to the group,” Alex said. “If we keep losing, then Brookhaven’s going to eat us alive at the merge. Imagine what would happen if the two cults combined with like, four left from Alchemilla and ten from Brookhaven. We’d never stand a chance, even with all the immunity idols in the world.”

“But that’s the best part. Alchemilla is cursed with a lot of dead weight. We can cut someone else, other than Angela, and still improve the group as a whole.”

“Okay then, who did you have in mind?”


“All right, you’ve gone crazy,” Alex said. “Not Angela, but Mary? Why her?”

“The only thing she’s really adding to the group is her intelligence,” Travis said. “She’s lousy at physical stuff, and she admits it. And what’s worse, she’s playing the game. She’s making friends, people are starting to like her, and she’s real familiar with the show. If Harry is right about Dahlia—and I suspect he is—then I’m sure that Dahlia got a worm in Mary’s ear about voting for you. So if we got rid of her, we’d take out someone who’s not contributing much in challenges and someone who is actively voting against us. It’s win-win.”

“You really think Mary voted for me?” Alex asked.

“Sure as I can be, really.”

“Then why don’t we vote for Dahlia?” Alex asked. “Harry said he was going to, and Dahlia seems to be the bigger threat, especially if she’s the one who gave Mary the idea to vote for me in the first place.”

“Dahlia’s been kicking ass at the puzzles lately,” Travis said. “She got the coin puzzle at the reward challenge faster than I imagine anyone else could, and she got the sliding puzzle damn fast too.”

“So doesn’t that make her a bigger threat than Mary?”

“Yeah, but she’s a bigger asset too,” Travis said. “And we can always get her next time. I got a feeling this won’t be Alchemilla’s last trip to Cult Assembly between now and the merge.”

“I don’t know,” Alex said. “I want… I want to see what everyone else thinks. See what the numbers are, then decide.”

“Fair enough,” Travis said.

I thought Travis and I were going to play this game simple. We vote out the weakest members and try to win as many challenges between now and the merge as possible. But he’s already making plans for after the merge, and even up to the final three? I can’t agree with that. We won’t make it to the merge or the final three if we keep losing. I want to take this in stages, focus on each task as it comes up, and do what’s best for us at the given moment, not what’s best for us a month from now. Travis is thinking too much, and it’s going to get us in trouble.

Alex and Travis found Henry as he was coming out of the second floor men’s bathroom. There was no one else in the hallway.

“Hey, Henry,” Travis said. “Got a moment?”

“Yeah, sure,” Henry said. A second later, Heather came out of the adjacent bathroom and almost walked right into their little circle.

“Heather,” Travis said. “Anyone else in there with you?”

“No. Just me,” Heather said.

“Then come on,” Travis said. He and Alex led Henry and Heather to the elevator room. With the door closed, they couldn’t be heard by anyone, and if someone stumbled upon them, they could claim that they were waiting for the elevator to come up. Though the hospital only had three floors, everyone in Alchemilla generally favored the use of the elevator, so this excuse was not far-fetched.

“Who are you guys thinking about?” Heather asked, beating the others to the question.

Travis was about to answer, but Alex interrupted him, “We were torn between Angela, Dahlia, and Mary,” Alex said. “Haven’t made up our minds yet."

Travis glanced at Alex, annoyed, then looked at Henry and Heather.

“I’ll vote whoever,” Henry said. “Just so long as it isn’t me.”

“How’d you come up with those three?” Heather asked. “Why are they on the chopping block? It was Claudia who screwed up the dunk tank challenge and gave Brookhaven a big lead.”

“True,” Travis said. “So let me add Claudia’s name to the list of options.”

“Then I pick Claudia, easily,” Heather said. “She doesn’t do anything around here, and she’s not helping much in challenges. Seems obvious.”

“Same can be said about Angela and Mary though,” Travis said. “Thing is, Angela probably does the least of anyone, which is why she’s on the list. Mary knows the game well and Dahlia is smarter than she seems, and I think they both voted for Alex last time. So those two are threats. That’s my reasoning. Angela might not be a big help, but at least she’s not a threat.”

“So what’s the big deal?” Heather said. “It’s Dahlia or Mary then. And I think Dahlia’s the better choice.”

“Why is that?” Alex asked.

“I heard a lot of stuff about Dahlia when I was here last,” Heather said. “She’s done a lot of messed up stuff in her life. She’s evil. Just from, like, a moral standpoint, she should go.”

“Has everyone had a run-in with Dahlia?” Travis asked.

“I haven’t” Henry said.

“Me neither,” Alex said.

“Well, it seems like a lot of people have,” Travis said. He sighed. “I guess it’s Dahlia then? We all in agreement here?”

Everyone nodded.

“All right,” Travis said. “That’s four votes Dahlia. We pick up one more vote and she’s gone.”

Truth is, I was okay with either Mary or Dahlia getting kicked off. I felt that Mary was the bigger threat because she has so much knowledge of the game, but like Heather said, there’s just something not right about Dahlia. Maybe we should be the good guys and get rid of her, if nothing else, then at least for the sake of our consciences. I’m sure that Dahlia and Mary are in an alliance, so either way, this’ll break up their little plans.

“Hey, listen,” Heather said. She and Mary were in the women’s restroom. “You know about the vote tomorrow, right?”

“I heard it was Dahlia,” Mary said.

“Yeah, but I wanted to warn you,” Heather said, “Your name came up. Travis and Alex think you voted for Alex.”

Mary sighed. “I told them I didn’t. Guess they didn’t believe me.”

“They believe whatever,” Heather said. “And they don’t change their minds very often. But hey, like I was saying, I think I have an idea, if you’re interested.”

“I’m interested,” Mary said.

“I bet they’ll vote for you next after Dahlia, and while I’m all for voting off Dahlia, you’re someone I can trust, so I don’t want them voting for you.”

“Thanks, Heather,” Mary said. “I trust you too.”

“So yeah, here’s the plan: we vote for Dahlia tomorrow, but next time we turn it around on Alex and Travis. I know I can get a couple of votes on our side, once Dahlia’s out of the picture. With you and me, plus a couple more, we can split up Travis and Alex and, you know, keep them from coming after you.”

“Who are these mystery votes you’re banking on?” Mary asked.

Heather smiled, “It’s a secret for now. And also, I’m not one hundred percent on them just yet. I just wanted you to know that I’m on your side and I’m gonna fight for you if your name comes up in the next Assembly.”

“Thanks, Heather,” Mary said. “But why wait? Why don’t we take on Travis and Alex now?”

“Because… Dahlia’s not too popular,” Heather said. “You know about her?”

“I heard stories.”

“Yeah, a lot of people want her gone, and I don’t think I can change anyone’s mind about that,” Heather said. “But yeah, vote Dahlia, and then I’ll get people talking about taking out Travis or Alex. This will work, trust me.”

“Will do,” Mary said.

Heather’s a sweet girl. I trust her intentions, but I’m not sure I trust her strategy. And she, like everyone else, is keeping secrets. Which means that I can’t rely on her as much as I would like. I’ve heard a couple of stories about Dahlia around the hospital and I don’t doubt them, but Dahlia has never been the evil, conniving witch that everyone seems to believe she is. Sure, she has a few tricks up her sleeve, but if that’s all it takes to be evil, then I guess I’m no saint either.


“Okay, you win,” Mary whispered from her bed. Dahlia was in the bed next to hers, less than a few feet away.

“Oh?” Dahlia said.

“They’re voting for you tomorrow.”

“I know that, child.”

“And I suspect they’ll come for me after that,” Mary whispered. “They think we’re in this together.”

“I know that as well.”

“So… if everyone thinks we’re plotting together, we might as well be plotting together, right?”

“An odd genesis for an alliance, but I shan’t complain,” Dahlia whispered. “Did you have something in mind?”

“I was kind of hoping you did,” Mary said.

Dahlia rolled over on her side to look at Mary. “And I do. But all must be perfect for it to work. Many factors must come into play. It could easily come to ruin.”

“All right,” Mary whispered. “Let’s hear this idea.”
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