"Well, they won't leave without me..."
"Oh, come on...I get up earlier than you every morning..."
"Oh come on, dad. I'll get the curtains myself."
"Dad, it's like six in the morning...why're you opening the windows now?"
"It's just...it's really bright and I've got a bit of a headache..."
This was the second time in less than twenty-four hours that Maynard had awoken from an anaesthetically-induced sleep, and, like the first time, the opening of his eyes had been accompanied by a stream of urine pouring down the side of his leg.
A muffled groan escaped his throat as he struggled to pull himself up, his hair caked with sand and strands of seaweed. Blinking, his eyes began to focus on his surroundings. Ahead of him stretched a vast expanse of beach, peppered intermittently with broken shells and clusters of driftwood. Beyond that was a stretch of ocean, the blue water glimmering in the morning sun. A breeze washed over him as he stood shakily, digging his boaters into the pale grains beneath his feet.
Maynard...this is not a time to panic...
"Is...is anybody there? It's me...it's Maynard! I'm...I'm lost..."
He staggered forward for a few steps, until his shoes collided with a heavy duffel-bag, causing him to stumble and fall into the beach. His jeans were now slick with urine, and his hands trembled as he turned the bag onto its side, to see exactly what it was. B049 was imprinted onto the black canvas in white ink, and as his eyes focussed on the lettering the events of the past few hours replayed themselves in his mind.
Screaming, and tears, and gunfire, and...oh God...they killed the teachers and "I'm gonna have to...I can't...I can't...I can't..."
Maynard was scared. He knew where he was, and what was happening, but some tiny part of his mind protested. It still felt oddly unreal, as if this was still some sort of lucid nightmare from which he'd soon awake, drenched in sweat and curled between his blankets. He'd text Daniel, telling him of this whacked-out dream he'd had, and they'd-
Oh god Daniel. Daniel and Michael and Ian and Juhan and Ami and Carmina and everyone...and...Gwen.
Maynard knew the odds. An eight stone weakling up against...anybody...
"Oh God...I don't wanna die...I don't wanna die..."
There was a chance, though. There was always a chance.
His body now racked with tears, Maynard tugged open the canvas bag and tossed aside the contents, intent on finding whatever he'd been armed with. After a few seconds of fervent searching he found nothing, only to feel his leg brush against the cold wooden shaft that lay nearby. Gently shifting amongst the white sands, Maynard's eyes widened as he took in the sight before him.
He didn't think it would be possible for him to smile, not in a situation as dire as this, but he did, a grin stretching across his face.
"They...they gave me a sword! A...a fancy one...a uh...a naginata, yeah, that's it. Like in that manga I-"
Maynard, you're in a fight to the death with your classmates and you're thinking about fucking manga?!
The slightly curved blade glinted in the sunlight, as Maynard picked it up again and tried to move with it. It was heavy for him, and the length rendered carrying it somewhat impractical. After staring at it for a few moments, Maynard decided to attempt to drag it behind him. He returned the other items that lay littered about into the canvas bag, and shuffled forward a few steps, before roughly falling down onto the beach again, making sure to avoid the point of the blade as he did so. It still seemed so fake, like some terrible reality show, that at any second someone would appear, camera in hand, laughing at the scrawny kid with tears burning his cheeks.
But they didn't, and Maynard was left resigned to his eventual fate.