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Lights flash all around me. An array of blue and red dots flicker in the corner of my eyes, while a large screen displaying a red and yellow "Warning" took up the center of my attention. Dispite the obnoxious lights, it felt dark and cold. I was fitted with my exosuit. It fit snuggly around me, feeling like pajamas, but just knowing why I wore the suit made me more uncomfortable than ever.

The exosuit are supposed to keep the sacrifices alive, though some still died regardless. It is made of a tough and light material, and suited for each individual. While the material is incredibly tough, it does have a weakness to oxygen, and will become weak, and break apart easily at the touch of it.

The last bit of air is drained from my pod, and I let my tensed muscle relax a bit as I feel the exosuit recover to full strength. The life support kick in; it starts feeding me an air substitute, though it tastes bitter, and I try to breath as little as possible. The dark tint of the suit makes it increasingly difficult to see, but the illuminessence of the monitor allows me to see just well enough.

The moniter suddenly flashes to a bright blue, and a message from my friend, who is being kept in the lower half of the ship, begins playing.

"We'll make it through this, I know we will. Don't worry." She says, before beginning to sob.

The message cuts out, bringing a harsh silence. I sit for what feels like hours, questioning why this was happening to me. Being offered as a sacrifice isn't that uncommon; more than half of everyone gets to at least the offered part. I had tried my entire life to stay away from this, trying to prove that I was ideal, and to be kept alive, but regardless, I was chosen, and shipped away with thousands of others.

Most of the time, your have to be shipped away with another person to run the lower half of your machine, unless you're rich enough to afford a single operator machine. Usually, a member of your family is chosen, but my family had been dead for a long time, and my closest friend was forced to accompany me. She had such a promising future, but now I've killed her, doomed her to death. She tried time and time again to convince me that this isn't my fault, but I can't help but blame myself.

I start to feel my machine rise. I start having trouble breathing as fear grips me, gasping in quick breaths. I manage to calm myself down before I could pass out from hyperventilation. I activate the sound system inside the machine, allowing noises from outside of the soundproof shell around me to flood in. The sound system took up almost all the money I had to spend on the machine. While others spend thousands on toughening up their machines, and I bought a sound system. Most would think that I'm stupid, but in my mind, I have a completely justified reason; I don't want false hope. The others prefer to not listen to the screams for help during the sacrifice, but I'll be able to hear everything. I'll be able to listen to the fates, figuring out what we're up against. The way I see it, if the rich can't survive this, there will be no way I could.

The sound of the outside world pours in through speakers. Nothing but loud, booming voices coming from all around. The language of the voices are familiar, but fear keeps me from making sense of the words. Suddenly, another message from my friend plays out, temporarily tuning down the outside noise.

"Please turn that off, I don't want to listen to this." She sobs.

"I have to know, just let me keep it on." I beg her, my voice coming out raspy from fear.

I get no response. Suddenly the machine start to rock violently, flinging me into the walls of my pod. The exosuit saves my life, but I still get covered in scars. Soon, the movement ends, and my machine, along with at least thirty others, are lowered. I listen carefuly to the speakers, waiting to hear what will happen.

After about a minute of waiting, I hear it. The emergancy siren of one of the machines goes off, and I know the first sacrifice has been picked. I listen with angst, praying that their machine's armor will hold. What feels like minutes, but what I know are only seconds, pass before a crack thunders through the air, and I know the machine has been destroyed. I can hear the screams of terror from the two residing inside the machine, as they yell and scream for their lives, only to abrubtly end.

This goes on for a long time. More and more machines are taken, and destroyed with a loud snap. More and more people scream for their lives, from childern to the elderly. More and more silence. I know that soon, I will be picked for the sacrifice. I start saying my last prayers, crying to my dead mother to save me, anything to give me hope. I see the monitor, my friends life support had been turned off, manually. No life signs came from her pod, and I knew she was dead.

Tears filled my eyes as my machine was finally chosen. I was lifted into the air. I gave one last scream before the top of my machine cracked open, shutting down every system at once. The rest of the machine was torn apart, piece by piece, and soon, I could see the creature doing all this. It was gargantuan, and hideous, with grotesque limbs protruding from all over its body. It lifted me up with what I believe was its hand, and brought me to its mouth. As it opened its jaw, and brung me into the dark void, one last thought passed through my mind.

'I don't want to die.'







George finished off the last of the peanuts on his tray. He always loved the free peanuts some restaurants gave to you while you waited for your meal. George took a moment to think about what went into making the peanuts, what he was doing by eating them, but he disregarded the thought, after all, they were just a snack.

-marioblack3

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