Sirium 1.4

I. Twilight Raccoon Frat Party

4. Tungsten

I leaned forward and rolled into the pool. I hit the edge and cringed, but caught my fall and tumbled to the bottom mostly unscathed. Above me there was shouting as guys bumped into each other or started fighting. Most of them would be knocked out before they even crossed the crowd to chase the girls. It was the first real challenge of the games.

I wrestled with my hands as I tried to break the rope or untie it. Finally I scraped it along the rough siding of the pool until it wore thin enough to snap. As it fell off, I pushed up and, rubbing my wrists, feeling a bit of blood, I dashed for the ladder and hoisted myself out.

Most of the guys were starting to run off now, but instead of forcing myself straight into the crowd–a surefire way to lose time and risk getting disoriented and turned off track–I ran sideways along the pool and toward the last frat house on the row. I crashed over their fence, maybe knocking a post down as I went, and then skirted between the houses to the street on the other side.

A bunny with long, pink ears was leaning back against a street light, looking in the other direction from which most of the guys would probably be coming–most likely the same direction she’d just come from herself. I walked up quietly behind her, and just as I got there, another raccoon came out from the crowd and spotted her–she spun around, I caught her and ripped a pink slip of fabric from her back before she pushed away and the other guy ran off after her, calling for her to stop. As if she would.

I stuffed the token in my pocket and started running. Most of the girls followed a rather set path to the center of campus where they’d gather at the twenty-four hour library and wait out the guys below, laughing at our stupidity and, what had my friend told me last year, our unspoken animal cravings that demonstrated clearly how far the male species had devolved under the new oppression of a feminist majority.

I slipped from streetlight to streetlight, from dark to dark, as I ran toward campus. I saw a few other guys along the way, heard the music blasting at full sound from the fields, occasionally spotted a dropped scrap in green or blue that I pocketed as I went along. No one said I had to gather the trash all on my own, just that I had to have it to win.

I slowed down when I reached the edge of campus.

Most of the girls–the real players at least–took some time to wander around and toy with the guys. None of them were fools. They knew what they were getting into. Sure some of them were idiots and came in drunk, but the rest of them were in it for the thrill of the hunt as much as we were. I peeked around corners as I came up to the first few classroom buildings. The streets were desolate. Even the street lamps looked sad and sorry standing there, their yellow glows flickering on and off as I wandered under them.

I stared up at the sky, deep stripes of navy blue criss-crossed by dark grey clouds. Last year it rained. What a mess that had been.

I heard a shout and pressed myself back against whatever wall I was closest to and held my breath. There were no more sounds for a moment and I loosened up. I could faintly hear scuffling from around the corner and looked around. Heh. One of the guys was in front of a girl, shirtless just like me, but she wasn’t dressed scantily and didn’t even have any scraps clipped to her clothes. As I stared she lifted her hands and wrapped her long fingers around the guy’s head. Classic seduction technique there. His knees began shacking and she lead his head down her chest as he collapsed to his knees. I started looking away–I didn’t need to be distracted by her if she wasn’t in the race–when I noticed the guy start twitching. He fell over and she crouched above with him to keep her hands on his head. I stepped out unconsciously to get a closer look, my mouth open, gaping at the foam bubbling over his lips. Then she dropped him on the ground and stood up.

Before I could do anything she looked at me.

I started running away from her, and I heard her behind me, running just as fast.

I saw a trashcan coming up and as I passed it, I spun around and swept my arms toward it–it toppled over and the trash inside flew out across the path. But she just ran through it.

I leapt over a small embankment and vaulted a railing before I jumped around a corner and then back around. I turned direction once more to lose her and, not looking back, I made a line for the end of campus. I knew what she was. I wouldn’t have any power against her. I had to get somewhere where people would believe what I saw–and do something about it.

I started panting after I passed the last building on campus and ended up on a lonely street in the small neighborhood nestled between the university and the city beyond. I felt dizzy suddenly. I swayed a bit as I moved forward, then I fell completely.

NEXT PART: LED

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