Sirium 1.3

I. Twilight Raccoon Frat Party

3. Halogen

I reached up and pulled the cord to turn my light on. I sat up, blinking aside the spots from the bright flash as it came on, and saw the room was empty. I pulled my clock from the nightstand and saw it was already past midnight. The party must have started already.

I tore off my shirt as I clambered out of bed and wandered to my closet. I rummaged past hangers until I found my old pair of jeans, faded denim with a hole over the right knee. I stripped and stepped inside them. I made way for the door without grabbing shoes. Wouldn’t need them where I was going.

The light wobbled behind me. I looked back and slapped at the switch, but it was the wrong one, and I wasn’t going back to my bed to turn it off now.

I staggered down the steps, blinking aside drowsiness. John should have woken me up. Who cared if I walked in on him hazing one of the pledges, I didn’t give a damn. If that’s how he got off, I didn’t care. Now I was going to be late for the year’s highlight.

The raccoon race.

A wall of music knocked me backward when I opened the door. It thrummed so loud I felt my blood vibrate with a higher frequency inside my veins. There were colored strobe lights flashing somewhere, people pushing past me in every direction. I stepped over a guy puking on the ground, still clinging to his beer can. It was hard to believe only a few hours before this place was a desolate field. Now it was a mosh pit.

“Challengers!” someone’s voice echoed over a loud speaker and the music was suddenly cut. My ears rang in the momentary silence. “Challengers,” he repeated, and in a moment I saw Ken from the frat down the lane standing at the edge of the pool. “Come hither, come thither, come to cum to the heart’s content!”

The crowd began moving in the direction of his voice, guys and girls wobbling toward him. A row of shirtless men were already lined up on the far side of the pool, facing the crowd, each on his knees with his arms behind him.

“You,” Ken said and pointed at me when I got close. “Are you a challenger?”

“Yeah,” I said, rolling my shoulders and sucking in my abs as I straightened up. “I’m a challenger.”

I didn’t fight when two guys grabbed me, forced my hands behind me and tied a thin rope around them, dragging me to join the others in line. I laughed and spat on the ground as they left me. It’s how I went the year before. Humiliating the warriors. We were like gladiators forced into the lion’s den. We were the show.

I looked down and saw a pool full of animals. The prizes. Sorority girls dressed in lingerie and short shorts and bikinis with cute, puffed up ears poking out of their hair for added effect. A few just wore leather thongs with black nails. Some looked drunk already. They’d be easy pickings. I’d have to aim higher to come out on top.

“The rules are simple,” Ken said and across the pool I saw the crowd gathered close and intense, waiting, eager, biting at the straps that held them back. “Mark as many girls as you can, or score the hottest babes. The ‘coon with the greatest treasures come daylight is the winner–and the rest, well, the raccoons like digging through leftover trash.”

There was laughter and cheering and some prissy girls complaining already, spouting out about feminism and sexist pigs, but that missed the whole point of the game: we weren’t pigs scrounging around in the mud. We were raccoons knocking over trashcans for a few tasty morsels in the night.

I saw the guys who’d grabbed me coming back with a can of spray paint. One of them started behind the guys on the far end, pulling their heads back, and the other walked in front of them, spraying the black paint over their eyes. A few guys fell backwards, writhing and screaming. Stupid cunts should’ve closed their eyes before they got spayed. Idiots. I squeezed my eyes shut and felt a tug on my hair and held my breath as the can of paint blew by. I stayed still for a moment, not breathing, and when I opened my eyes, I could see just fine with no afterspray left to sting me.

“Quiet, quiet,” Ken shouted to tame the crowd as the girls in the pool began climbing out. They swished their hair around. They popped their hips and twerked or ran their hands down their chests and stuck out their asses like a dump truck dropping its load. Small scraps of fabric were pinned across their breasts or down their backs or legs. These were the points we raccoons had to gather. The man with the most would be a hero for the year to come, a legend for the incoming freshmen. Then one by one, the girls slipped into the crowd and vanished. It would be no fun if they just dumped us in on top of them. We’d have to run to catch them. We’d have to take them by force if necessary.

“And the fifth raccoon race,” Ken shouted into his mic, “is on!”

NEXT PART: Tungsten

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