This story is by David A. Chase and was part of our 2020 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
As the sun began to set, Jamie silently slipped around the corner of the supply shed, certain that the man stalking her would hear her heartbeat which pounded loudly in her ears. How fast things had changed.
Just eight days ago she had arrived on Paradise Island with her best friend, Cathy, to celebrate her 18th birthday. Paradise Island was a tropical haven, the kind you saw in movies, and her father had surprised her with a two-week getaway for her and a friend of her choice.
Cathy had been her best friend since middle school, and it had been a no-brainer. Jamie now wished that she had brought someone else… anyone else… so that she would not have had to watch the most important person in her life die with fear and horror in their eyes.
Two nights after arriving, they had been awakened by the sound of alarm bells and ran outside to find some of the guest huts on fire. As they stood there in their shorts and tee shirts, a man in a black hoodie slipped out of the shadows behind them, and stabbed Cathy repeatedly, then ran off when Jamie began screaming, leaving her no chance to see him clearly.
By the time people got organized, it was too late. Someone had sabotaged the ferry and begun picking them off, guests and staff, until she was the only one left.
Now he was coming for her. It had been a game of cat and mouse up to this point, but she believed that she finally had a way out of this trap.
Jamie had survived this long because she had been trained by her survivalist parents for the chaos which would break out in the aftermath of the war they were certain was going to occur as Earth’s resources dwindled. She had been mocked in school, showing up in military style fatigues instead of dresses, but the training had paid off. She would live.
Checking to make sure that the path was clear, she ran down the embankment toward the garage which housed the island’s amusement watercraft. When she first found it, the building had been securely locked, and picking or breaking the lock on the sturdy door had been out of the question. Too many people had left their backs unprotected for but a moment, just long enough for the killer to strike, and Jamie had no intention of making the same mistake.
But now she had the key. It had begun when she found a set of keys hanging off the manager’s belt; the woman had been pierced through with a hook and hung like a macabre pinata. Those keys had opened a lock box attached to the underside of a desk in the main office, which allowed access to the numerous outbuildings scattered across the island.
Sidling up to the door, her back against the wall, Jamie unlocked it and slipped inside, locking the door behind her; making sure that the room was clear and there was no other way in or out of the building.
Certain that the structure was secure, she took stock of her options.
Several jet skis and motorboats were suspended over the water and she swiftly moved to the controls and began lowering one of the boats, keeping an eye on the door.
Once the boat was in the water, she lowered the security grate beneath the waterline and raised the garage door.
Jumping onto the boat, Jamie continued to keep watch as she started the engine and pulled free of the boathouse.
Gunning the engine, she felt the sea breeze wash over her as she entered the ocean. Looking back, she could see the man standing next to the boathouse, watching her from beneath a shadowed hood. There was no way he would be able to catch her now.
Laughing, she dropped into the driver’s seat and opened the throttle. She was free! It was o-
A fishing spear exploded through her chest, and she looked up to see the dark stranger standing behind her, smiling and licking his lips in excitement.
Her mind grew sluggish and she never completed the thought.
Kyle Davenport stood over Jamie Harris and watched the light leave her eyes, savoring her fear and surprise.
Mmmm. It was… delicious.
She had thought that she was free, and that had made killing her all the more pleasurable. He spent several minutes replaying her final moments in his head, over and over again.
She was one of the special ones. Capable of thinking her way through problems, a survivor. He had had to break the rules to win. But it would not do to let her get away. Now would it?
A cool feminine voice sounded clearly around him. “Warning. Colonist 135, Jamie Harris suffering cardiac arrest…
“Medical procedures initiated…
With a flick of his fingers, Kyle called up the readings from Jamie’s cryogenic chamber, the numbers hovering in the air before him. Satisfied that the imbedded medical routine would save her, he checked the rest of her vitals, to make sure there wasn’t any lasting damage.
As the overseer of the interplanetary expedition, Kyle was in charge of all 500 people in stasis; as well as the simulation which was designed to keep their minds active. Here he was in complete control. Here, he was a god. And like the gods of Ancient Olympus, these mere mortals were here for his pleasure. After all, he needed something to keep him amused for the 150-year trip. Colonists only required stimulation every decade or so; but he was required to be aware the entire time, even if his body was secure in its own stasis pod.
Now that he knew that she was safe, he shook his head in amazement. Eight days. That was a new record. No one had survived more than two days once he started the killing, but she had not only survived for over a week, she had found a way off the island. Jamie was truly special.
The next iteration would be even better than this one. More personal; both for him, and for Jamie, the new star of his living theatre.
Pulling up his files, he reviewed them, choosing those who had survived his amusements the longest, placing them on a list, and adjusting their profiles as he went; building backstories and relationships.
“System, upload the following colonists into the Paradise Island simulation, wipe their memories and begin sequence.”
The sun was brightly shining as Jamie stepped off the ferry, hand in hand with her boyfriend, Kyle Davenport. Her father had given her this trip for her 18th birthday, and she couldn’t imagine spending it with anyone else.
Turning to him she smiled brightly and said, “This place is awesome! I can’t wait to see what fun things they have for us to do!”
Then she kissed him and laughed. “This vacation is going to be perfect!”
Kyle felt his heart flutter in anticipation as he watched her brush back her flowing blond hair. She was right. There were lots of fun things to do on the island, and this vacation WAS going to be perfect. He was sure of it.