26 parts of a Speculative Fiction story by J Lenni Dorner
There’s a loud sound, almost like a gong, outside of our room.
“You must prepare.” Jenesis goes to the closet. She pulls out the clothing I noticed earlier, the ones that look like a heavier version of her own.
I look down at the black wrapping I’m wearing now. “Any chance I can get my boxers back?”
“Boxers? Those are a type of fighter on Earth, yes? My mother told me her father knew many of them.”
“Well, uh, yes, technically that’s true. In this case, I meant my underwear. A bit more comfortable than this wrapping.”
She shakes her head. “You are lucky your dangle bits were not torn off.”
I put my hand over my crotch. “That happens here? Hang on, how do you know they weren’t?”
She holds up the clothing, a black jumpsuit that looks like it’s made of leather. “I am the one who tended to you after your fight. That is one of the duties of a trophy. Now come, put this on. Or sit so I may dress you.”
“What did I fight in last time?” I step into the outfit. She pulls the healing worms off of my leg before closing the suit. To my surprise, the pain is gone.
“You wore your Earth clothing. I was able to wash them before being sealed in our room.”
“How’d you clean my jacket? That takes special care. Wait, hang on, did you say we’re sealed in here?” I tug at the collar of the jumpsuit. Lines in the fabric glow as I move.
“Of course. Only champions and key-masters are free to move about the fighting floors.”
I’m a prisoner. Locked up. There’s a key to this cell and I don’t have it.
“The suit is too tight. Get it off!” I try to free myself, but I can’t figure out how she closed this suit. There are no zippers, hooks, or buttons.
“Attie,” she grabs my face, one hand on each cheek. “Take a breath. You will leave this room in a moment. It will be time to fight for nourishment. It would be better for you to die in the ring than for us to suffer slowly in here. Remember that.”
My stomach growls as if it agrees with her. “Who or what am I fighting?”
“I do not know. I must wait here. If you die, they will come to kill me. But if you live, we will have a meal like I have never known. There are stories of the food of winners. I wish to stay alive long enough to at least know if the stories are true. Can you handle this?”
“Do I need to kill for us to live?”
Have you ever been locked in a place without a way out for an extended period of time?
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