I opened my eyes to see nothing but darkness. I heard sounds of people talking quietly around me. They weren’t really talking, more of a mumble or whisper.
A foot kicked mine. My hands seemed to be tied up and I was about to say something but I couldn’t speak. My mouth wouldn’t open. I tried so hard to say something.
“Now everyone’s awake… good,” Mr. Harmon said.
The bag was lifted from over my head only to reveal Mr. Harmon standing in front of me with a wide smile on his face. We were in an entry room of the mansion. As my eyesight shifted away from him, I saw them. One…five…eight…ten…fifteen…sixteen.
There were sixteen people sitting around me, including Jasper, Tate, Caroline, and an angry Violet. The three kids that wore the mask were also sitting down with their hands together. I saw Caleb too. There was the girl who crawled on the wall when Jasper and I tried to leave. There was… my mom and dad, except they looked different. There was a bullet hole in my dad’s forehead and the same for my mom. Their faces were pale with thick blue veins pumping underneath their skin. There was… the old man from the abandoned house! There was the distorted woman that chased me in the garden at night. The other two, girl and a boy, I couldn’t exactly make out. They were young. The more I stared at the girl, the more I recognized her. She was the girl in my dream. However, I didn’t know this boy. His eyes were gone, just black sockets. He looked around Caleb’s age.
I guess that wasn’t the worse part. The worse part was that I now knew why my lips weren’t moving. Everyone’s lips had been sewn together. I was surrounded by friends, enemies, dead people, ghosts, and a psycho, and the only thing we had in common right now, besides Mr. Harmon, was that we couldn’t speak.
Mr. Harmon stood in front of us. He cleared his throat. “I just wanted to say thank you, to all of you.” He started to clap. “You all have made my artwork, masterpieces!” He then looked directly at the old ghost man that I saw in the abandoned house. “Living the dream, my parents never supported.”
“We are about to play my favorite game!” He started to laugh, throwing his head back. He was a true nut case and I had no clue what he was going off about.
There were moans that grew louder. Mr. Harmon yelled for everyone to be quiet but the moaning only grew louder than before. He then held up a box. A regular brown box. Everyone stopped moaning. He had the box all along.
“Who wants to leave here alive?” he asked.
The moaning started again and Mr. Harmon smiled and nodded his head. “Today, one of you will walk away… alive! That’s right. Alive. All you have to do is win. Like a contest.”
I’m sure everyone wondered what we had to do to win.
“You have to win the hide and seek game that we’re going to play. Sounds like fun?” he said. “Now, we’ll play by my rules. There are sixteen of you and today, only one of you will leave.”
Mrs. Harmon walked inside of the room, carrying a box. She emptied the box onto the floor where knives, axes, tools, and kitchen utensils fell out. I was beginning to feel very nervous.
“In this game, each one of you is, indeed, alive and will be untied then given a weapon. You will then be given a card.” He pointed his finger in the air and faced the floor. “If your card says murderer, it means you’re it. You do not tell anyone that you’re the murderer: that would be cheating.”
Mrs. Harmon stepped next to Mr. Harmon. He placed his arm around her. “My wife has specially sewed your lips together for you to say only these things: You’re dead, and, I found a dead body. He then pointed to the girl I saw in my dream. “Please, try it.”
She hesitated for a bit before saying it. “I found a dead body,” she said in a soft voice.
Mr. Harmon continued, “Whoever gets the card, Murderer, will search for the others. The lights will be off. Once you found someone, you simply whisper in their ear, you’re dead then kill them. You may leave the body or hide it. If someone finds the body they yell, I found a dead body! Once you yell that, the lights will come on and all of us will meet here in this room. We’ll guess the murderer then the game will start over again until there’s only one murderer left.”
Mrs. Harmon started to untie everyone’s hands. When she got to mine, I felt her hands on my hips and legs as if she was searching for something. When she was done with me, she gave me a long look. Mr. Harmon noticed her and cleared his throat indicating for her to finish untying the rest.
Once Mrs. Harmon finished, Mr. Harmon handed everyone a weapon. I got an axe. Caleb got a screwdriver. Tate and Jasper got knives. Caroline had an electric drill. I looked at them nervously. They stared back and shook their heads slightly. Jasper kept eyeing the front door. We could have made a run for it but the door was gone. We were hopeless.
“Also,” Mr. Harmon said, “cheating will kill you. If you are the murderer and you don’t kill the person you come across in eight seconds, you’ll die and the lights will come on. If you refuse to play, you will also die. If you yell out you found a dead body and there is nothing there, you die.” He placed his hands on his hips. “There is no escape. The windows are gone. The doors are gone. The only way out is to win.”
Mr. Harmon took out something from his shirt pocket. The cards. Everyone got a card. Mine was blank. I wasn’t the murderer and thank God. As I looked up at everyone, I realized that one of them was the murderer. It could have been anyone. All these eyes stared around at each other, hearts full of hatred and no mercy. Except for Tate, Caroline, Jasper, and me: there would be no remorse today.
I felt the eyes of angry dead people on me. Today was about survival. No one could be trusted, I’m afraid to say.
Mr. Harmon smiled one last time before disappearing. He vanished right in front of us. The lights were still on so the game hadn’t started yet. I felt my heart racing. I wasn’t ready for this.
“Lights off!” a whisper in the air shouted. The words made my stomach ache.
“Let the game begin!”