“A Trap” by Jonah Feuerstein

Michael Pruitt was hanging out downtown with a group of his friends. The whole area had seemed rather empty before he had heard a faint, suspicious noise coming from afar.

“Hold it right there,” announced an assembly of people. They were carrying some modern weaponry, specifically shiny, black tranquilizers.

“RUN!” Michael shouted. He literally carried Charlotte across the blacktop and into the woods before she finally realized what was going on. The rest of the pack followed suit, trusting Michael and his instincts.

“I think we lost them,” Michael whispered. “I hope,” Leyla and Calvin replied. Soon, everyone’s phone almost simultaneously receives an anonymous text message saying, “Don’t return to your house, only trouble awaits.”

“If my memory serves, I’m pretty sure downtown is forward and to the right from here about 100ft,” noted Eli, one of Michael’s best friends.”

Michael said, “Okay, let me text my mom about doing this and make sure the text we all received isn’t a scam.”

His mom soon replied, the text message said, “Oh, I’m sorry, Honey, but it’s all true. You gotta get out of there quick.”

They were thinking about heading for the block with Wild Wings ‘N Bears and ChiSlawGo, but before anyone had even thought about making their mind up, everyone had been shot down by a tranquilizer, without anyone having much of an idea at all for what had just taken place.

“Where… are … we?” they all asked. “And what time is it?” inquired Katherine.

“Well,” said Michael, “my watch says it’s 1:15 in the afternoon, on Wednesday. It’s been almost a full day since we were last conscious.”

Soon after, a screen pulled down from the wall, and a person in a robot costume and an extravagant cape appeared on the screen. “Welcome to the death chamber.” he said in a robotic voice. “I, the one and only, magnificent, Jeb, created this masterpiece of memorabilia. Using teamwork, cooperation, and wits, you must complete 3 different challenges within each of the restricted time limits, no ifs, ands, or buts.”

The ceiling and part of the floor opened. Jeb informed everyone about the first challenge. “This first challenge is the giant’s ladder,” he said. “All participants must buddy up with someone of the opposite gender and complete the challenge together. Harnesses will be provided to everyone before the task officially starts, or you could say that’s where it starts. Mwah hah hah hah hahhh. This obstacle is a series of ropes with large distances apart. Both people must ring the bell at the top of the ladder to pass. Failure to complete this task by within 85 minutes will result in a twelve-hour suspension from leaving.”

Now Michael knew he had to get out of here as quickly as possible, since he had to be there to represent Windy City High School’s football team in their rivalry game against Springfield High. He decided to partner up with Leyla, Eli partnered up with Katherine, and that left Calvin to team up with Charlotte. Slowly but surely, all three groups figured out how to best this first obstacle, by using their upper body strength to propel themselves up the initial step, and then helping each other up (quite literally) every step of the way and everyone had completed in a matter of only 67 minutes.

“Great job, everyone,” Jeb sarcastically expressed in the robotic voice. “The tasks only get harder from here. Your next challenge is a high speed, high agility obstacle course, and trust me when I say the obstacles could be softer. Failure to complete this task in 20 minutes will result in a minimum of 5 extra days spent in the death chamber, but don’t worry quality meal service will be provided.”

“Okay guys,” Calvin said while huddling everyone up, “We must get through this obstacle course. I know it may seem tricky, but the key to completing this with as little injury as possible is jumping and twisting when there are two obstacles side by side.”  “Sounds great!” Katherine agreed.

Immediately everyone noticed this wasn’t your typical obstacle course on a moon bounce, but far more similar to what you’d find from American ninja warrior. Nobody made it out fully clean, everybody got at least slightly dinged up from the portion where you had to stay in a tiny path between a boulder and a sharp thorn bush. The path was very narrow, causing the boulder to scrape all of them, and unfortunately for Michael and Eli, the thorn bushes got them so hard it caused both of them to start bleeding. The section where they had to swing across a 300 ft. area where dropping out early would leave in turn for some serious injury from 185 ft. down was also a pain creator, but for a not so obvious reason. The work was strenuous enough to the point that the rope created a serious rug burn on everyone’s hands. All of them made it out, but only with 31 seconds to spare.

There was no screen this time for Jeb to give more information. He actually came to them in person, and with some goodies as well. He announced, “I have provided you with a break, so here are some snacks before you guys attempt the final challenge.”

“I’ll take it,” Michael replied, “but do you have anything like a Band-Aid?”

“I’m sorry my kind sir,” Jeb responded. “Joy will have its time, but you must battle the pain every step of the way, or if you want to spend an extra month here, step right up, be a coward.”

Michael gritted his teeth strongly. He knew he must not quit right now, but first he treated himself to mega-stuff oreos, but something seemed a bit off

“Like what I did?” Jeb asked. “I put a drop of poison in each of the Oreos.  Well, not actually, but there’s a lemon tint sprinkle in it.”

 

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