The Game

No one knows who created the game. Maybe it existed when the first cars drove off the lot and onward to their destinations, but whoever it was probably didn’t see this coming or intend for it to happen.

The game, as Harold Pfinster and his friends called it, was a driving game. On any stretch of road with two lanes, driver A would pull up to driver B in order to drive with him/her, side by side. The fun was to make driver B uncomfortable, so they would, inevitably, slow down or speed up. Driver A, in turn, would keep pace, in order to keep the fun going.

Harold would argue that he invented the game. No one he knew of mentioned it, and his friends were shocked when he taught them the game. It was fun until one Friday night when he and his three friends went driving late at night looking for something to do. Unfortunately their little town didn’t have any cool hangouts for teens. At age seventeen and an itch to explore the adult nightlife, the group had very few options.

“We could go walking around Wal-Mart again,” said one of them.

Harold, a dark-haired, dark-eyed rogue, tilted his head back as he looked in the rear view mirror to his friend.

“Nah, man,” he said, “That shit’s old. Why isn’t there anything to do around here?”

“Why don’t we just go to my place and hang out,” suggested another, “This is getting boring.”

“I know, man,” said Harold, “I know. I just want to do something, you know? I wish there was, like, a teen night club or something.”

“Yeah,” said the last friend, “That served beer to minors.”

“I got beer at my place guys,” said the second friend, “My parents won’t notice.”

“Alright,” said Harold, “I guess I’m done…”

Harold sped up as he neared the turn for their destination, when they came upon a slow moving car. It was black ford focus with extremely tinted windows; Harold wondered how the person inside could see, and he also wondered why he was going 30 in a 55.

He honked his horn. “Damn it!” he said, “What is this guy doing?”

“He’s probably lost,” said the first friend.

“Wish he’d get lost somewhere else,” said Harold.

He pulled into the next lane determined to pass him.

“Wait, Harold,” said the second friend, “Let’s play the game.”

“Yeah,” said the third.

Harold smiled. “Alright, you guys. But this is going to be a long night if he keeps this up.”

Harold dropped his speed to 30 and stayed beside the black Ford. Because it was late, there weren’t many cars on the road. It went on for miles, just a flat stretch of asphalt, empty and peaceful. Great for speeding and also great to get caught in speed traps. But it seemed to Harold that there wasn’t a cop in sight. So the game may get really fun if the guy sped up.

He did. Now he was going 55. Harold adjusted accordingly, never leaving the side of the black ford. The it sped up even more.

“Oh, this guy is going to be fun,” said Harold.

“Don’t lose him,” said the first friend.

Harold didn’t, and the driver slowed down and sped up until finally just going the speed limit.

“Alright,” said Harold, “Let get out of here. That was fun.”

Harold slowed down and was going to pull behind the ford when it slowed down with him.

“Oh,” said Harold, unfazed, “He still wants to play.”

So the two drivers kept at it for a while, but it was just getting later.

“Come on, Harold,” said friend three, “Give it up already.”

“He won’t leave us alone. I’m beginning to get worried.”

“Hey,” said friend 2, who was in the passenger seat, “He’s opening his window.” Friend 2 also rolled down his window, and as the group turned to their right to see the person driving, a light exploded from with a loud ‘bang’ and a round tore right through friend 2’s head.

“Shit!” shouted Harold as he swerved and ducked, the bullet flying over his head and spraying brains all over him and his remaining friends.

They hit the ford, knocking it to the shoulder a bit, but it knocked back with greater force, pushing them all into a ditch.

The car spun around and fell on its side. Harold unbuckled his seat belt and pushed the driver’s door open. “You guys OK back there,” he called behind him, trying to stop his mouth from shaking.

“Yeah,” they said, suffering the same speech impediment, “But what about…”

“Don’t worry about him,” said Harold looking out the door, “That, that guy is coming over here.”

Harold looked down the road to see the ford parked on the shoulder and a man dressed in black with even a black ski mask briskly walked towards them, a gun visible in his right hand.

“Oh shit!” shouted Harold as he crawled out trying to run.

‘bang’

“Angh!” Harold fell on his face, only five feet away from the car. The man shot him in the leg.

Friend 1 finally opened his door and peeked out to see the man.

‘bang’

He fell on top of friend 3, pushing him against the door.

Harold turned himself over to see the man looking into the back seat.

‘bang’

Harold could only assume all his friends were dead now. The man turned around. All Harold could see was his eyes, cold and grey. He looked like an adult, built like a soldier, and he shot with great accuracy.

He was upon him now.

Harold trembled. He couldn’t imagine how this was real. He was going to wake up, right?

The man pulled the mask from over his mouth. “I won,” he said, and then he lifted his gun, pointed it at Harold’s head, and pulled the trigger.

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