Chapter Three


With reasonably startling success, I was able to iron a fresh set of work clothes this morning.


I even added a coffee stain to reward myself for getting it done with enough time to get to work.


And because I had been extra good, I even gave myself a bonus trip to the petrol station because I completely forgot last night.


My dad’s old Astra pulled into the station to have a destined encounter with a  arare free space. Getting out, I quickly headed for the pump. I had no idea how much money I could afford to waste so it made sense to just fill it up as much as I good so I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a while. I should really sell some stuff. I have some collectibles that are worth a week’s paycheck easily.


Even so, it was all kind of temporary until I got a real job, I thought, injecting liquid movement into my car. Times like this I wish I had just taken the job offer with that company, but moving would have been too much of a drag on the whole thing.


Getting a job wasn’t really a concern anyway.  Such a thing was a bother unless it was fun, and as I learned yesterday, at least with this job I can fall asleep and do what I want to.


As the fuel started coming back out, I replaced the handle, barely glancing at the thrity five pound meter and heading for the cashier. If I were to get a proper job, I’ll need something that pays a lot. I’m sure I could easily get a thirty grand job. Maybe I’ll apply for one today.


“Number two please,” I said, flashing my card.


“Ah, I’m afraid the card reader’s broken,” the man on the other side replied, his accent impenetrable in my preconscious state.


“Uh oh…” I looked to my purse, barren except for a sandstorm of copper. “I don’t have anything.”


“The cash machine’s over there.” He pointed to the link machine in the corner of the shop and moved to the customer behind me. He could at least have said that first. It just had to be the type of morning everyone is trying to stop you from doing the things that, under a rational mind, you weren’t even consider doing in the first place, even if you were to get paid for them…which I did I guess.


The Link machine stared back at me, the grime where a sticker once sat making it not at all inviting. I never understood why I had to pay extra with these things. Why is it the people who did business wit these things just happened to decide on charging Link users and no one else. What made their business so different that they had to charge an extra 1.50 that was subject to inflation.


I hd no choice really. Questioning whther this was some kind of scam set up for the people at the petrol station, I went ahead with getting money out, also checking my balance in the process. I had already wasted five minutes here. A little longer and I may have got into trouble.


But that was when everything had stopped.


Your account balance is:




You are able to withdraw:


300.00 (CHECK)


Everything took a back seat then, letting the body drive itself in automatic for a change, heading back to the cashier and paying without any worries anymore. Slowly, I hovered back to my purple Atra, slipping back into the seat and diriving, heading straight into the traffic jam and stopping again.


With the feeling I had left a sizable portion of my brain at the petrol station, I looked to the print out I had got myself:


Receipt goes here


Direct Debit         -25

Direct Debit         -150

Direct Debit         -35

Work                    180.00

Transfer 50,000

Current total: 50,263.55


Fifty thousand two hundred and sixty three pounds and fifty five pence. I hovered forwards with the rest of my car. That was impossible. A mistake with the bank? That was annoying. If I had to go somewhere just because they messed up with the account settings on the computer…


But no… it couldn’t be.


The envelope?


Players picked will receive an envelope when they enter the game. This envelope is the one you have been provided with. It contains a map of Britain, this rule sheet, your profile chart, and the profile chart of your first bounty that you, as a HUNTER, must target. At around the time you receive your first envelope, a total of fifty thousand British pounds will be placed into one of your bank or building society accounts and you will be considered ‘in the Game’ to all other players.


It has to be.


It’s too close.

Indicating, I slip into off the road and into a Sainsbury car park, amazed to see so many people already shopping there this early in the morning, as well as more kids than there should have been with their parents.


The envelope said fifty thousand pounds would be put into my account.


Now I happen to be quite rich.


Hell with this I wouldn’t have to work for at least three years.


But what does it mean?


If I have the money, it means I’m ‘in the game.’ If I’m in the game, it meansthat this isn’t some role play or assassin guild thing set up, it means that…


Someone is actually paying me to kill someone.


It was a crazy possibility, but it wasn’t impossible. Ripley’s game had something like this, didn’t it. A perfectly innocent man was hired to kill by ripley, just to see what would happen. So…was I chosen at random. Is this… no.




Don’t be so stupid. Don’t just start thinking that this is true. Regardless of what the world talks to itself about nowadays, people aren’t getting whacked left and right by hitmen hired by Italian gangsters. The majority of that is influenced by Brooklyn level television dramas where people throw crazy euthunisms at each otherlike they were reincarnations of a Shakespeare play.


But then again, it’s not like the television dramas started it. It was actually started by assassins and hitmen. As long as there were humans, they were people who killed humans and people who wanted humans to be killed. Sometimes they existed separately from each other, the one who wanted not wanting to get their hands dirty. And so these two peoples were always brought together with currency.


That has to be a more likely explanation.


But no one I know is rich enough to just toss cash out like that.


Especially since they know I won’t give it back.


I’m gonna be really late for work here.


So somebody’s thrown me into a situation where I’ve been asked to ‘remove my bounty’. And in order to reinforce it they have actually given me the fifty thousand they said I would. My friends are too poor, no matter how I think it. Unless they won the lottery, but would any of them actually bother setting up such a thing just to celebrate?


None of my friend’s are Italian gangasters, are they?


Maybe it’s some kind of psychological experiment. I could see that happening in unethical situations. Right now some scientist is getting a buzz out of seeing some innocent girl thinking whether or not she should kill someone for money.


Reality television? I had stopped watching Big Brother after the third season (and even that was only when forced) but this type of social reaction scenario is the type of thing that would occur on these types of shows, bringing innocent people into strange situations. The crowds would really get off on it, seeing what such a situation would drag somebody. A big time tv show would also have the moolah to blow on making it seem more real, the large cash incentive showing the severity of the the envelopes claims..


Would they really do something like that? It was dangerous. Hell, I could think of at least five ways on the spot I could take out Mr. Betterman without even being near him. One of them they have even provided me the funds for hiring someone else to kill him for me. Were they waiting for me to just wander up to him with a knife and just when I’m about to throw the killing stab I’d have Davina McCall burst out of the bushes and surprise me with my friends and family who had ‘been in it all along,,’ as I stood next to the severely wounded Mr. Betterman, who laughed and chuckled along with me as I finally realized I had been duped by an entire nation


Like I’d ever let that happen.


But if that line was true,they would need footage for their show, which means cameras might be watching me right now. Hll, my car might even be bugged right now.


Stepping out as if the vehicle was about to explode, I began to methodically check the entire automobile. I know there were cameras in the parking lot, but they couldn’t have known I was going to stop off here, and the car park itself were deserted except for a few employee cars, empty as far as I could see.


No helicopters above either. No, my car would be the best way to keep track of me.




I strolled into work half an hour late, reintroducing myself to everyone as I did everymore, and receiving ungrudgling passive responses. Exhaling loudly to myself, I made everyone look away until I fell down into my seat.


Someone could at least say something. I’m half an hour late. I look exhausted. I just spent the last half an hour peering over my car and getting strange looks from people who are at a supermarket oo early for their own good.Don’t just disavw my existence with a statemtn of how splendid the beginning of this day is.




No. No one’s going to say anything.


No  bugs are the car. I feel especially paranoid for doing sch a through check of the seating and windscreen mirror. Maybe I should contact a garage and get them to look at it through and through for me. It’s not like I don’t have the cash now.


It didn’t mean I was only being watched there though. They may not even be watching me at all at the moment. Perhaps they hadn’t figured I would check my account so soon or at that place. Maybe they were just waiting in Scarsborough for me to show up in a blind, money fueled rage.


But even if they hadn’t, surely there would be some sign for me to know I’m being watched. I’d have to rip the house apart tonight. If something was there, I’d find and expose it, ruin their whole little game for them. Do they honesty think they could set me up for a trick like this. Whether it’s a friend, scientists or channel four, I’ll find and take ‘them’ out for making me put up with their crap.


I breathed deeply, drinking stale water from yesterday and catching myself. A manic reaction wasn’t going to score me brownie points with whoever was doing this and it certainly wouldn’t allow me to find a way to not make a fool of myself I needed to think this through.


A few moments later, I retreated to the staircase, where I called Trent Motors for a check up on my car. They were in Scarsborough.