Unlucky Number Thirteen

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told.  Some will be fun, some will not.  Some will be great, some will be less so.  Some stories are true, some are merely possible.  This is one of them.

Unlucky Number Thirteen

Not so long ago Number Thirteen and his fellow prisoners had been promised greener pastures.  All he saw before him were walls he could not breach and multiple abysses that threatened to swallow him whole.  He was allowed to roam free; all the captives were.  The reasoning for that was clear.  There was nowhere to escape to.

In his interaction with the others, Number Thirteen could never find anyone who remembered how they got there.  Whatever lives they had enjoyed previously had been wiped out by their tormentors.  The prisoners only knew that they awoke one day to find them in this heinous trap; the last place they would ever go.  Harsh lights burned down on them from above, trying to simulate some sort of sunlight.  However the color above the walls, whatever that color was supposed to be, was unlike any skyline or horizon that they had ever seen.  They were trapped, hostages in a room with two masters.  And the only way to leave was to take the plunge. 

No one knew who these giants were.  They loomed over the captives with brash, mocking voices.  They seemed to derive as much pleasure harassing each other as they did tormenting the poor souls who were at their mercy.  The colors of the inmates did not matter to the guards for they were devious and harsh to all under their control.  Every prisoner was subject to poking, harassing, and outright cruelty.

Time had lost all its meaning to Number Thirteen.  He could not recall how long it had been since they had last picked on and prodded his fellow inmates.  When they were done having their fun, knocking the wretched back and forth; the jailers would take their sticks and corral the prisoners into one of the abysses.  After a prisoner had fallen in, Number Thirteen never saw them again.  To take the plunge was to never return.  From the way the giants celebrated and jeered after each inmate met their demise, Number Thirteen could tell this was exactly what they had designed this deathtrap for.

Number Thirteen tried to find his legs to escape, but he never could.  He concentrated but nothing came.  How were they able to wipe his mind so perfectly?  Many had been kept here, yet none could remember where they were from?  It was as if their captors did not care at all for their pasts.  As far as they were concerned, the prisoners were there to entertain them, to give them jollies.  Nothing else mattered to them.

Number Thirteen had observed the giants from his vantage point.  He tried to reason some bigger picture from all this pointless suffering he was sure he would soon succumb to.  There did not seem to be any rhyme or reason to the giants’ selections.  Sometimes they would take turns, but sometimes they would come after prisoners like dominoes; gleefully pushing them around until they were met with some resistance to thwart their plans.  Rebellion provided the inmates with an excuse to trade off, the other behemoth approaching the designated captive with a knowledge that they would come after him.  They especially seemed pleased when the wretched ones squirmed and tried to escape.  The more these fellows fled, the more the guards were elated.  However their joy was never as great as when one of the prisoners would fall and fall and fall deep off of the edge and into the awaiting arms of the abyss.

Number Thirteen looked around him now and realized how many of his comrades had already paid the ultimate price.  They had all awoken to find numbers blazoned across their chest and Number Thirteen had gradually accepted his label as his only scrap of identity.  When the attackers had first come after them, they were huddled together in a mass.  But the first strike was a brutal one and two quickly fell to the blows that were hurled upon them.  The force of the blows knocked any pack mentality from their minds and they all scattered.  Number Thirteen had huddled along the first wall he had come to, watching with horror as he saw the others be stricken and jostled about by the giants’ assaults.  Now there were only three of them left to go up against their captors.

Even that number seemed dubious.  There was a player on the field, one whose intentions seemed nefarious.  Number Thirteen looked across the field and the traitor stared back blankly in defiance.  The traitor was in the same trouble as the rest of them.  Number Thirteen had been told by Number Four that he saw the traitor almost fall into one of the abysses.  But in spite of that, its allegiance stayed with the giants.  It was odd, because he was the one who seemed to take more abuse and more hits than any of the other captives.  Number Thirteen had to wonder what kind of mind would let someone side with such evil.

Before he could register what had happened, the object of his wonderment came barreling towards him.  The jailors must have sent him to attack Number Thirteen when he was not looking.  Here came the traitor.  The overhead light reflected off of his accelerating form.  Number Thirteen wanted to run, but could not find the willpower.  Besides, where would he go? 

The impact was sharp and sudden.  A loud cracking sound echoed for all to hear, a sound which brought to mind bones cracking.  Number Thirteen was numb to the pain, but his fate was hurrying to meet him.  The dastardly traitor had done his deed and now Number Thirteen was being forced right into the echoing blackness in front of him. 

He felt the surface underneath him disappear.  He tried to cast a backwards glace to the two remaining prisoners.  It appeared that the traitor had already set his sights on the last remaining captive. He was sure to bring about their demise too. 

As the darkness greeted him and he resigned himself to his fate, Number Thirteen wondered why his life did not flash before his eyes.  Was their programming so great as to override this last little glimpse at his life?  Or had he lived such a dull, unimportant life that it was not even worth remembering?  Was his life so lacking that no one had notice he was missing?  Had no search and rescue operation been attempted? 

In the moments between his life and his ultimate fate, Number Thirteen hoped for a last minute revelation.  What was the meaning to it all?  He looked up to the pitiless sentinels, wondering if they had the answers.  Instead of vast pearls of wisdom, Number Thirteen only heard a cryptic comment that one guard made to the other.

“Eight ball in the corner pocket.”

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

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